Nature’s Multivitamin: Liver

Posted by on September 17, 2014

 So I’ve realized that I’ve become ‘that person’. That person that everyone looks at and thinks, ‘what a weird hippie’ when it come to the things I eat (kombucha, bone broth, sardines, bone marrow and now liver!) and the way I live. And I’m ok with that! I’m at a point in my life that I”ll eat anything once, twice to be sure I don’t like something and if it’s a nutrient dense food, forgettaboutit… I will find a way to eat it! With that said, a few weeks ago I received a phone call from my primary care doctor informing me of my annual lab results. I was feeling a bit smug I will admit, thinking “I’m the picture of health, everything will be normal”. Well, to my surprise it wasn’t! My Vitamin D level was quite low and as the good doctor that he is, he recommended that I start to take a Vitamin D supplement. I said, “ok doc” and hung up the phone. What he didn’t specify is what source would I try to get this vitamin from…

       Now don’t get it twisted, I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH ANYONE TAKING A VITAMIN D PILL. It’s very acceptable in the Paleo/Primal sphere to take a Vitamin D pill. For me though, I like to seek my vitamins and mineral from sources of real food. So in this quest I went looking to see what are the most nutrient dense sources of Vitamin D. 

       Being the cheapskate that I can be, I looked at this list and thought, “I’m eating 5 out of 7 of these things and I’m still low, what can I add in that is easy on the wallet?” The answer was LIVER! So what’s really in liver that makes it so great? Lets take a look: 

      Now, as you can see liver has quite a lot going for it. This food really does have it all: Vitamin A, all the B vitamins (B1, B2, B5, B6, folate, and B12), Biotin (another B vitamin, sometimes referred to as Vitamin H),  Vitamin D, E and K (oh, and that very special K2), Coenzyme Q10, as well as loads of trace minerals such as Calcium, Phosphorus, Copper, Potassium, Magnesium, Manganese, Iron, Zinc, Vitamin C and a healthy dose of Omega-3 fatty acid. Wow, if that isn’t a superfood, than I don’t know what is! And the best part of the whole thing? All the nutrients are perfectly balanced for excellent absorption by the body! (I see how you did that Mother Nature… very clever!)  

So why does’t everyone eat liver?!

    Funny you ask that. I can say almost without a doubt, it’s because we’ve been ‘trained’ to think these organ meats are ‘yucky’ (Yes, I know I sounded like a 5 year old but I know that’s what you were thinking…)  So here are the top arguments I’ve heard regarding liver:

1) Liver filters toxins, so by eating liver you are eat toxins   
Answer: WRONG! Liver filters toxins but it does not store toxins. You can read more here. The toxins found in most animals (including you and me) are stored in our body fat. That’s why its so vital to consume grass fed animals.

2) Liver is abundant in Vitamin A and it can be toxic 
Answer: Chris Masterjohn did a fantastic job shedding light on the poorly written studies on Vitamin A consumption. (A little hint: Bata carotin isn’t the same as Vitamin A, it’s a precursor that sometimes can be absorbed as Vitamin A, but not always) Find it here.3) Liver is high in Purines and can lead to Gout
Answer: Chris Kresser does a great job at dispelling this myth here

 So now that I’ve sufficiently turned your brain to mush with all this liver mumbo-jumbo let’s get down to business. Liver has been regarded by many cultures across many centuries as a superfood. (Natures multivitamin per se?!)At one point it was thought that early man may have consumed mainly organ meats and tossed muscle meat aside for the dogs (what a shame) as well as feeding organ meats to woman to increase fertility.

Liver is pretty inexpensive, as I was able to buy mine fresh from my local farmer at my farmers market for $3.99 a pound. Grass fed to boot! (Note: Only grass fed liver should be consumed to ensure the proper vitamin and mineral content as discussed in this post) Liver is the most natural energy booster I can think of! Ever wonder why all those energy drinks are so popular to give you that rush of energy? Well, besides the sugar and caffeine it’s loaded with B Vitamins! So ditch the garbage and go for the good stuff. You can always have a cup of coffee afterwards. So, as I bring this post to a close, I want to say that my quest started with only seeking out Vitamin D. As you can tell it quickly expanded. I found my answer and much more when it came to Vitamin D but it also came with a bunch of added goodies. What’s not to love about ‘free’ stuff?!


       I’m sure after you watched this video you’re probably asking yourself, ‘Adrienne, why in the heck would you post this video? Your not exactly “selling” me on trying this stuff’ Glad you ask! A couple reasons; I believe in being totally honest with you about my adventures and I also use to HATE sardines, brussels sprouts, bell peppers and spinach and now I love them! Tastes change and people grow up, so put on you big girl or boy underwear and give it a try!Note: You don’t have to only consume raw liver to get the nutritional value. I encourage you to play with liver! Try it frozen raw pill form, add a little bit to a chili, meatballs or eat it straight up liver and onion style! Eating liver is only limited to your imagination and cooking abilities. Here are a couple great recipes to try!
50/50/50 Burgers from The Paleo Mom
Garlicky Cayenne Liver with Herbed Mushrooms and Onions from Worth Every Chew

     Let me know your thoughts! Am I totally nuts or have I presented to you a new perspective as to what you thought a vitamin should look like? Thanks for reading and share your thoughts!

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