Liver has never been on my grocery list until recently. I started my real food journey in 2008 and as I write this (2014) I am only this year getting to liver. I wish I had know about the health benefits sooner! In 2008 I was making changes because I began feeding my twin 6 month olds solid foods. I had no idea that liver was a nutrient dense food I could feed them too. Read more about nutrient baby foods and the Weston A. Price Foundation baby food introduction schedule here.
What are the health benefits of eating liver?
According to the Weston A. Price Foundation the following list of nutrients can be found in liver:
- High-quality protein
- Vitamin A
- All the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12
- Folic acid
- A highly usable form of iron
- Trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium; liver is our best source of copper
- An unidentified anti-fatigue factor
- CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function
- A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA.
What is the most important health benefit of liver to me?
All of the benefits above are self explanatory except number seven. This one I would like to highlight. The unidentified anti-fatigue factor is absolutely amazing (or “epic” as some would say). I started taking homemade liver pills since I am just not at the point yet where I eat liver and the results are nothing short of shocking. I have a consistent level of energy throughout the day without that dragging feeling that come around mid-afternoon.
The Weston A. Price Foundation wrote about the anti-fatigue factor and discussed a study that was done to prove the benefits:
Liver’s as-yet-unidentified anti-fatigue factor makes it a favorite with athletes and bodybuilders. The factor was described by Benjamin K. Ershoff, PhD, in a July 1951 article published in the Proceedings for the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. Ershoff divided laboratory rats into three groups. The first ate a basic diet, fortified with 11 vitamins. The second ate the same diet, along with an additional supply of vitamin B complex. The third ate the original diet, but instead of vitamin B complex received 10 percent of rations as powdered liver.
A 1975 article published in Prevention magazine described the experiment as follows: “After several weeks, the animals were placed one by one into a drum of cold water from which they could not climb out. They literally were forced to sink or swim. Rats in the first group swam for an average 13.3 minutes before giving up. The second group, which had the added fortifications of B vitamins, swam for an average of 13.4 minutes. Of the last group of rats, the ones receiving liver, three swam for 63, 83 and 87 minutes. The other nine rats in this group were still swimming vigorously at the end of two hours when the test was terminated. Something in the liver had prevented them from becoming exhausted. To this day scientists have not been able to pin a label on this anti-fatigue factor.”
A surprise benefit of taking the liver pills!
I had a clue that this might happen because my sister has been taking liver pills for several months but I didn’t 100% believe her. My mood started changing. Not that I am a moody or depressed person but I started feeling more consistently even keeled–so to speak. That is when I started googling to see if other people had similar reactions to eating these frozen liver pills (or liver in general). I found an article by Kelly of Primally Inspired who had similar benefits! She found out that “abundant doses of bio available vitamin A,D and K were all contributing to optimum hormone production.” What I want to know is if my consumption of these liver pills is going to help fix my hormone issues? I’ll come back here with an update if/when it happens. I really hope they do! How to make frozen liver pills:
How many frozen liver pills do I take?
I consume 3-4 liver pills per day. This is how I consume raw, organic liver and reap the benefits! Comment below and let me know how you get your dose of liver!
You can also learn about introducing liver to your baby in my article about Nutrient Dense Foods: Liver over at Homemade Mommy!