We often hear concerns about the safety of frequently consuming beef liver.
The liver is a vital organ in the body performing several important functions. It stores nutrients, detoxifies the blood and makes bile to aid the digestion of fat.
This blog has been created to look more closely at these common objections in order to debunk exactly what is perceived to be a risk and your key considerations to make an informed decision for what is right for you.
Beef liver is a renowned superfood containing around 25 essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin B12, and iron.
Is it safe? And if so, how much is healthy? Read on…
Beef liver is ‘nature’s ready-made nutrient package’ and is also a good source of many trace minerals, such as copper and selenium. As it is also high in folic acid, it helps the body to produce and maintain new cells. This is essential for fertility, and particularly in pregnancy to support foetal development.
A great source of essential fatty acids like Omega-3s and Omega-6s, for heart, brain and eye health. Beef liver supports cognitive development in young children and throughout the development cycle, from 6 months to adulthood.
It improves energy levels and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. With a good metabolic health approach, consuming beef liver can help to offset the biggest diseases in modern society today, such as heart disease, cancer and dementia.
Beef Liver ‘risks’
Beef liver contains high levels of Vitamin A that helps support vision, the immune and reproductive system…but Vitamin A is reported to cause adverse effects when excessive amounts are consumed as reported through Government and by standardised dieticians and nutritionists.
This deemed to be high risk Vitamin A advice is two-fold and without evidence:
- beef liver contains many toxins, and
- the dangers to be aware of given its high vitamin A content.
As we began in this blog, the liver plays a vital role in neutralising toxins, yet it does not store them. Instead the liver serves as storage for essential nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E, K, B12, folic acid, as well as minerals like copper and iron. These nutrients equip the body with the necessary tools to eliminate toxins.
Concerns about vitamin A arise from studies where doses of synthetic vitamin A were discovered to cause problems and potentially lead to birth defects. However, the natural form of vitamin A found in the liver is an essential nutrient for human health and does not cause issues unless in extremely large amounts.
Here we refer to the comprehensive The Liver Files as detailed in Weston A Price’s blog.
- acute toxicity from vitamin A has only been induced by long-term consumption of megavitamin tablets containing 100,000 IU synthetic vitamin A per day over many months.
The suggested toxic dose of 100,000 IU per day can be found in approximately three 100-gram servings of beef liver.
“It is estimated that primitive diets included around 50,000 IU of vitamin A per day.”
- With reference to pregnant women, a study found no cases of congenital malformations among 120 infants exposed to more than 50,000 IU of vitamin A daily
- Another study examined blood levels of vitamin A in pregnant women and discovered that a dosage of 30,000 IU per day did not correlate with birth defects
In pregnancy, beef liver helps support healthy iron levels and traditional nutrition journals recommended consuming beef liver regularly. Nowadays the message has turned to that of caution and thus hesitation and even avoidance when so many benefits are to be had.
The Natural Library of Medicine also emphasises in a paper focused on Vitamin A toxicity, published in August 2022 that:
- “Reported incidences of vitamin A toxicity are quite rare, with fewer than 10 cases per year from 1976 to 1987.”
Therefore it is highly unlikely to develop vitamin A toxicity from consuming liver.
How to enjoy beef liver safely
As we have reviewed, whole food beef liver is known for its high bioavailability and nutrient content, including iron. When it comes to iron, beef liver is regarded as the best food source as it contains a type of iron called heme iron, which is more easily absorbed and utilised by the body, compared to non-heme iron found in plant-based sources. Heme iron has a higher bioavailability, meaning a greater percentage of the iron can be absorbed by the body.
Mercola recently published a paper on the possible effects of too much iron in the brain stating:
“Most people are deficient in copper and actually need more copper in order for their iron metabolism to function properly.
Depending on your copper levels, you may need to eat copper-rich foods, such as grass fed
“Retinol, which makes copper bioavailable, is also important. It’s found in beef liver and
beef organs, so if you eat that, you may not need any kind of supplement.”
Freeze-dried beef liver is highly concentrated, three times as nutrient dense as its raw equivalent. The freeze-drying process helps preserve the nutritional content of beef liver, even after the water content is removed.
Freeze-dried beef liver is lightweight and convenient to store, with a long shelf life (Grassland Nutrition’s products can be stored for three years). Freeze-dried beef liver doesn’t need to be refrigerated and can be carried when on the move or added to meals for a boost. This is a practical option for those with busy lifestyles, or that have limited regular access to fresh liver.
Convenience and peace of mind with wholefood supplements
Overall, freeze-dried beef liver is a convenient and beneficial option for individuals seeking to increase their overall health, build strength, optimise energy levels and thrive. In practical terms it has been known to aid sleep, digestion, build strength, support and maintain energy, improve the condition of skin, hair and nails as well as alleviate headaches.
By choosing whole food products you can enjoy a plethora of nutrients and live life to the full, naturally without fear of overdoing it.
By reading trusted sources and understanding what your individual body needs, you can safely enjoy beef liver and get all its amazing health benefits.
Consider beef liver supplements; taking a natural whole food supplement with no fillers or flow agents will help you maintain a healthy balance. Always source organic or grass-fed beef liver from trusted suppliers. This will ensure that the liver comes from grass-fed and nurtured animals that haven’t been exposed to antibiotics or other toxins. Here at Grassland Nutrition, it is essential we know the animal has lived a full life and has been free to roam natural pastures where no pesticides have been present and fed on a diet of grass all its life.
Want to get in touch? We’d be delighted to hear from you.