A Darker Side Of Cod Liver Oil


By Atom Bergstrom

Atom’s Blog


Adano Ley (Swami Nitty-Gritty) wrote the following words on numerous blackboards and whiteboards from coast to coast across the U.S.A. …

“A LITTLE of ANYTHING is MEDICINE for the system; too much is TOXIC, or abuse,”

It’s The First Law of Solar Nutrition.

The capital letters are his.


Friedrich Theodor Frerichs (A Clinical Treatise on Diseases of the Liver, Vol. 2, 1879) wrote …

“Carious Ulceration of the Hip-Joint and Necrosis of the Femur of many years’ duration. — Enlargement of the Liver and Spleen. — Albuminuria. — General Dropsy. — Protracted Use of Cod-Liver Oil in large doses.

“Autopsy: — Large Waxy Liver, with deposits of fat. — Waxy Spleen (Sago-Spleen, Sagomilz) and Waxy Kidneys.

“M.N., a girl, aged 10, was under treatment in All Saints’ Hospital, at Breslau, for several years, on account of scrofulous ulceration of the right hip joint. The morbid process had extended far along the femur, and, on several occasions, sequestra had been removed. About a year before her death, in the middle of March, 1857, the liver and spleen were observed to be enlarged; there was albuminuria, and subsequently general dropsy supervened. Death took place under symptoms of œdema of the lungs. The child had taken large doses of Cod-Liver Oil almost uninterruptedly for several years; Steel, Iodide of Potassium and diuretics were afterwards called into requisition, to counteract the increasing dropsy.

“The autopsy, in addition to extensive destruction of the right thigh and general dropsy, disclosed an advanced stage of waxy degeneration of the liver, spleen and kidneys.

“The liver was very large; its surface smooth; its margins rounded; its consistence firm. and its cut surface ænemic and glistening. The secreting cells were, for the most part, in a state of waxy degeneration, but here and there, branched deposits of fat, accompanying the ramifications of the portal vein, could be recognized by their grayish-yellow color and greater softness. Here, cells could be detected containing numerous oil-globules, and, in a few instances, pigment molecules. These cells were easily separated from one another, whilst, on the other hand, in the larger waxy patches the cells were everywhere firmly adherent, and at the margins of these patches vessels could be distinguished, with thickened rigid walls, and some of them completely blocked up. These parts assumed an intense red hue, when treated with solution of Iodine; after the addition of Sulphuric Acid, the blue color was only developed in isolated, oval flakes; the remaining portion of the parenchyma presented only a violet appearance. The hepatic tissue contained no sugar, but abundance of leucine.

“The spleen was enlarged to three times its normal size; its consistence was firm, and over its cut surface, which was pale-red and dry, numerous bodies resembling sago-grains (Sago-körner) becoming blue when treated with Iodine and Sulphuric Acid, were interspersed.

“The kidneys were enlarged; their cortical substance was grayish-yellow, and sharply defined from the dark-red pyramids. The degenerated glomeruli could be recognized even with the naked eye; and, after the employment of Iodine, they became everywhere very distinct. The epithelium was at some places normal, but for the most part fatty.”

'A Darker Side Of Cod Liver Oil' have 8 comments

  1. January 28, 2018 @ 2:47 pm Atom

    Friedrich Theodor Frerichs (A Clinical Treatise on Diseases of the Liver, Vol. 2, 1879) wrote …

    “Chronic Tubercle of the Lungs and Intestine. — Treatment by Cod-Liver Oil. — Waxy and Fatty Degeneration of the Liver. — Commencing Degeneration of the Spleen. — Kidneys normal.

    “Mrs. Jenke, aged 21, had suffered for two years from the symptoms of chronic tubercle of the lungs, and had been treated almost uninterruptedly during this period with cod-liver oil. She died under symptoms of colliquative exhaustion.

    “The autopsy revealed circumscribed tubercular infiltration at the apices of both lungs, isolated ulcers in the intestines and slight ascites, together with far-advanced waxy degeneration of the liver.

    “The liver was considerably enlarged, and presented the smooth surface, and the rounded margins, as well as the pale-yellow color, of a fatty liver. On section, the fatty portion might be seen forming a layer with indented margins upon the outer surface only, and sharply defined from the portion of the gland, which was infiltrated with waxy matter. The latter constituted the greater bulk of the organ, and was distinguished by its pale-red color, and its great lustre, as well as by its dense, firm consistence. At some places, and more particularly upon the under surface, and in the lobus quadratus, the fatty layer was thicker. The fatty portion was everywhere more congested than the other part. The larger blood-vessels contained nothing but a little thin blood; dendritic layers of fatty liver were observed everywhere accompanying the ramifications of the portal vein, whilst the divisions of the hepatic vein were bounded by glandular substance in a state of waxy degeneration. The minute bile-ducts contained only a small quantity of tenacious mucus, presenting the yellow tint of fat. On microscopic examination, the hepatic cells in the pale rims were found everywhere loaded with fat; the pale-red substance on the other hand, presented an almost uniform amyloid infiltration, fatty cells being only observed here and there in the vicinity of the fine branches of the portal vein. The red tint characteristic of amyloid matter was produced by the addition of solution of Iodine and Sulphuric Acid, but the bluish color was only developed at a few points. Several small vessels, with their coats in a state of amyloid degeneration, were observed at the margins of fine sections. The liver did not contain a trace of sugar. The bile was scanty and pale.

    “The spleen was of normal size, somewhat dry and firm; it only contained isolated waxy deposits.

    “The kidneys were ænemic, but in other respects normal.”



  2. January 28, 2018 @ 2:50 pm Atom

    Charles Murchison, M.D. wrote (in 1868) …

    “Cod-liver oil is of questionable utility; [Friedrich Theodor von] Frerichs states that he has known cases where waxy liver was developed under its continuous use.”

    According to the same source …

    “The liver undergoes greater enlargement from the so-called waxy, or amyloid deposit, than from any other disease, excepting, perhaps, cancer. I have known the liver of an adult affected with this disease weigh upwards of 180, instead of 50 or 60 ounces, and the liver, of which I show you here a portion, weighed one-seventh, instead of a twenty-fifth, of the entire body of the child from whom it was taken.”



  3. January 28, 2018 @ 2:54 pm Atom

    According to “Friedrich Theodor von Frerichs,” Wikipedia (last edited Aug. 31, 2017) …

    “Frerichs made many contributions to medical science, and is especially known for his research of kidney and liver diseases. He published the first German textbook of nephrology, and performed microscopic research of Bright’s disease. He was the first to identify the three primary stages of Bright’s disease and how the condition leads to fibrosis and atrophy. Frerichs gave the first clinical description of progressive familial hepatolenticular degeneration (now known as Wilson’s disease), and also discovered the presence of leucine and tyrosine in urine involving yellow atrophy of the liver.”



  4. January 28, 2018 @ 3:13 pm Atom

    Ray Peat (“Oils in Context,” 2006) wrote …

    “In the 1940s, some of the toxic effects of fish oil (such as testicular degeneration, softening of the brain, muscle damage, and spontaneous cancer) were found to result from an induced vitamin E deficiency. Unfortunately, there isn’t much reason to think that just supplementing vitamin E will provide general protection against the unsaturated fats. The half-life of fats in human adipose tissue is about 600 days, meaning that significant amounts of previously consumed oils will still be present up to four years after they have been removed from the diet. According to Draper, et al.,

    “, , , enrichment of the tissues with highly unsaturated fatty acids results in an increase in lipid peroxidation in vivo even in the presence of normal concentrations of vitamin E. Fasting for more than 24 hours also results in an increase in MDA excretion, implying that lipolysis is associated with peroxidation of the fatty acids released.”



  5. February 2, 2018 @ 2:38 pm John

    Hi Atom,
    what part of the body is passion fruit good for ?


    • February 3, 2018 @ 8:14 pm Atom

      Small Intestines. It’s a vine fruit.

      According to Tropical Permaculture …

      “Passionfruit vines have large, three lobed leaves, little tendrils that wrap themselves around whatever they can get hold of, and the most gorgeous flowers of all fruits in my garden. (Ok, after pineapples.)”


  6. February 5, 2018 @ 9:29 am Patricia Valenzuela

    Good morning Atom,I hope you and Vibrant gal are doing alright,I love to drink nettle tea daily,can you please tell me when is the best time to drink it,can’t wait to hear what you have to say this morning with Patrick,I never miss your show with Patrick❤️❤️❤️


    • February 12, 2018 @ 11:38 am Atom

      Midday, especially during Small Intestine Time (1:00-3:00 p.m.). <3


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