Welcome everyone to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health.
This week we’re going to talk about BEEF LIVER. This topic has come up recently in my conversations with patients who are on the Ketogenic and Carnivore Diets, as well as on the Tuesday Night LIVE Q&A. In my opinion, there’s not a more nutritionally dense food on the planet than beef liver. Therefore, we need to talk more about it!
Let’s dive in.
The Health Benefits Of Beef Liver
There are a lot of different types of liver: BEEF, PORK, LAMB, CHICKEN, FISH (think Cod liver oil that is so healthy for people). In this article, we are going to focus only on BEEF. To me, it’s the most nutritious type of liver food out there, one that I highly recommend for several reasons.
- It’s a great complement to the Carnivore Diet. Note: the Carnivore Diet really helped me when I was having GUT problems post Covid.
- It’s VERY rich in nutrients. Note: from a nutrient density standpoint, nothing compares! Fruits and vegetables can’t compete with it, plus you don’t have to eat that much to get all the nutrients.
- It has plenty of protein and iron (which may be good for some people and not for others). Note: Some people have hemochromatosis, a disorder in which the body can build up too much iron in the skin, heart, liver, pancreas, pituitary gland, and joints. With beef liver, you shouldn’t have to worry about that due to the fact it is NOT a synthetic form of iron.
- It’s low in calories. Note: if you are trying to lose weight, liver is going to be a very good supplement for you!
For the vast majority of people it’s a superfood.
Liver is a great source of:
- B Vitamins (especially B12)
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Note: The only negative about liver is that it doesn’t have a lot of fiber in it. Of course, you can get your fiber from other sources, so don’t let that be a limitation.
LIVER and MTHFR
LIVER is good for the Cytochrome P450 system. Cytochrome P450 is a group of enzymes in our liver that support hormone production, detoxification and overall good liver health. Eating LIVER supports methylation. Methylation adds a methyl group to these enzymes to detoxify heavy metals and support your neurotransmitters (linked to anxiety to depression).
These neurotransmitters are caused by a methylation defect from the MTHFR gene mutation. Note: The most common genetic mutation is the MTHFR methylation. Robin Riddle, FNP-C (our PM West Knoxville provider) did a great job explaining this mutation on the Explain This episode: MTHFR. I highly recommend you check out Robin’s podcast on MTHFR to learn more about this mutation. I check everybody’s MTHFR gene mutation when they come in for a Cleveland Heart consult. It’s very important in looking into the homocysteine levels.
LIVER is good for energy production. MTHFR depends mainly on two vitamins: Folate and B12. BUT, you have to get the right forms. BEEF LIVER has the right forms, in mega amounts!
How To Eat Beef Liver
I think beef is the best, nutrient wise, of all of the livers. Some people say lamb liver may be more tender and chicken liver may taste better, but my choice is beef liver. It has more nutrients than any of the others (pork, chicken, goose, fish, lamb, sheep, turkey, deer). Note: The only bad liver is from the walrus, seals, polar bears, and puffer fish.
Grass fed, organic, beef liver is the best. Preferably raw. A lot of people worry about food poisoning, but with any raw food you could run that risk. Just make sure you know the source (where it came from). I found a place in Kingsport that has their own farm. Their beef is pure, grass fed, and hormone free. If I’m eating raw liver, this is where I get it.
My method is just to swallow the liver whole (so I don’t taste it), but most people like to cook it. The key is to NOT overcook the liver or it will be rough and rubbery. Pan seared, lightly seasoned, keeps the nutrients in and gives it some flavor. If you don’t like the taste of liver at all, you can get it in desiccated capsules. This is actually what I used to do before I found a great source.
Note: There’s a couple of different things you can do to help with the taste. You can soak it in milk for about 30 minutes to an hour before you sear it. If you are eating it raw, cut it into an ounce, and eat with orange juice. This eliminates the beef liver taste.
Some people say that LIVER is high in cholesterol, but it’s important to remember that cholesterol in food does not cause heart disease. Also, when you lower the amount of cholesterol you get from food, your liver just cranks out more cholesterol. So remember, food sources of cholesterol do not cause heart disease.
Some people are concerned that because the liver is a detoxifying organ, they think there’s toxins in it. That’s not true. The liver’s job is to process toxins, but it doesn’t store them. What it stores is nutrients and minerals. It’s safe to consume liver.
Some of the concern is that people think if you eat too much of it, you’re going to get toxic on Vitamin A or Copper. Even if you eat liver daily, this won’t happen. It’s never been shown to cause a Vitamin A or Copper toxicity. Note: You can get toxic if you consume too much of the synthetic forms of Vitamin A or Copper, but it’s never been shown to cause toxicity eating actual liver.
Some of the concerned say, don’t eat over 100 grams of liver and only eat it once or twice a week. Ignore that. The truth is, you don’t need that much of it anyway to be nutritious.
I believe that beef liver is a superfood, somewhat like “nature’s” multivitamin. It’s definitely an acquired taste, but you can learn to like it! You don’t have to eat that much of it (a half an ounce to an ounce), and you can eat it 5 days a week, if you want. At least a couple of days a week would give you the added nutrients.
As for my daily regimen, I still take all of my vitamins with the addition of nature’s super nutrient, BEEF LIVER. I hope you will think about joining me.
Till next week.