I’ve been wanting to sit down and do a good write-up on liver for some time now. The problem was that I kept coming across new information about the benefits of liver, so I kept doing more research and didn’t feel I had the full picture still.
Eventually it started looking like I was going to have to write a full encyclopedia volume full of everything you could ever want to know about liver.
Then I realized we already have the internet for that. You don’t need to know everything about liver. You don’t want to know everything about liver.
But you probably do want the key points that will help you to live a better, healthier life.
So here we go. These are the fascinating facts about liver, presented to you in a digestible form:
1. Firstly, and most importantly, liver does not store toxins!
I had always believed that the liver was like the filter of the body, and for that reason I stayed away from it.
Actually, that’s a lie. I stayed away from it because I think it’s reallygross. As do most Americans under the age of 50 or 60. Unfortunately, liver has fallen out of favor in American cuisine, so almost nobody likes it unless they grew up eating it.
Back to the point. Liver doesn’t store toxins, but it does store a whole bunch of antioxidants and other nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, E, K, B12, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, (good) iron, copper, and more.
2. In fact, liver is the most nutrient dense organ meat, and one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet.
Throughout history, there have been several civilizations that primarily ate the organ meats–especially from the liver–and tossed the muscle meats to the dogs. Imagine giving your dog the filet mignon while you chow down on the liver and heart!
While, again, this seems unappetizing to many of us today, there was a good reason why these cultures prized the liver so much. It was one of the most efficient ways to get invaluable nutrients into the body.
3. One of these nutrients in particular, riboflavin, may play a very important role in protecting against certain methylation disorders.
Hang on, don’t give up on me yet. I’ll explain.
Ever heard of the MTHFR mutation? It’s one of several genetic mutations that can make it difficult for your body to methylate. Methylation is, in short, the process by which your body turns different genes on and off. If your body can’t methylate, the right genes will not be activated and you could experience a wide range of very unpleasant and potentially deadly symptoms, such as inflammation, depression, fatigue, and a susceptibility to cancer.
There are at least three ways that liver directly helps protect against the problems that come with an MTHFR or other methylation mutation.
A) Liver provides a naturally methylated form of B12. This is very important because B12 deficiencies are very common and many B12 supplements are artificial and need to be methylated. If your body cannot methylate well already, artificial B12 is likely to be toxic to you!
B) Liver also provides a naturally methylated form of folate. Everything above also applies here.
C) Liver provides riboflavin, which is extremely important to methylation. In fact, it is very possible that many people believe they are suffering purely from an MTHFR mutation when they are actually suffering primarily from a riboflavin deficiency. As it turns out, they will look nearly identical.
There’s a lot more and it can get complicated, but I think this is sufficient evidence that liver needs to be in your life.
By the way, if you have MTHFR or are concerned about potentially having it, feel free to reach out to me for testing, consultation, and/or treatment. I have a protocol for that 🙂
4. Even though liver is a superfood, it can still cause issues in some circumstances. A few examples:
A) Liver must always come from a pasture-raised, grass-fedsource. Don’t run to the grocery store and buy the first inexpensive liver you see. Factory-farmed livers will be full of many things your body just doesn’t need.
B) Pregnant women should eat liver sparingly, if at all. The risk is due to the high natural vitamin A content. While vitamin A is good, high doses could harm both mother and child (it is only known for sure that artificial vitamin A is harmful, but better safe than sorry).
C) Individuals with gout should back off the liver in order to prevent exacerbating their condition.
So no, liver isn’t perfect for everyone all the time. However, it is dang near close to a perfect food and should be on everyone’s weekly, if not daily, menu.
5. Sourcing good liver can be challenging. The liver is a small part of the cow (where the substantial part of our liver supply comes from), and a recent resurgence in popularity has made it difficult to come by. However, it isn’t impossible. Here are a few sources.
A) www.eatwild.com. This is a really good database of local sources of wonderful food, such as pastured products.
B) Grassland Beef sometimes has liver in stock that you can order online. It will sometimes come frozen, which isn’t perfect, but it’s still great.
C) White Oak Pastures is another fantastic online source.
D) For Utah folks, Redmond Farms will sometimes have it in stock.
E) If you know a local grass-fed farm, you might be able to call dibs on some of their livers. Definitely the best source if you can get access to it.
6. Okay, time for some real talk. For most of us, the thought of eating liver is nearly unbearable. It’s just gross!
So what do you do?
Fear not! There are some excellent freeze-dried liver supplements out there that provide just about all of the benefits without the flavor. One of my favorite is Catalyn from Standard Process.
However, my absolute favorite product has some other wonderful benefits. It has liver, heart, and kidney, all from a grass-fed beef source.
The company is called PaleoValley and they make some very excellent products. This is definitely my favorite of theirs, though. It’s called Grass-fed Organ Complex
We sell it in the shop, but if you can’t make it over, I’ve got a 10% discount coupon for you so you can order your own. Just click below to get it.
Okay, it turns out this was a monster post anyway. I hope you learned something interesting about liver, though. It really is quite the superfood, and it is more than worthy of a place in your diet.
PS – Was this helpful? I’m not insecure, but I really want to make sure I’m spending my time on providing you valuable information. Let me know in the comments.