Liver is a high-energy, nutrient-dense food that provides a variety of essential nutrients in bioavailable form. These include copper, iron, zinc, retinol (vitamin A), choline, vitamin b12, cholesterol (one of the most important nutrients), and many more.
Many of the nutrients found in liver are essential for energy production. In fact, liver has been recognized for decades as having an “anti-fatigue” factor. For example, in an experiment in which rats where forced to swim, rats that were fed liver powder were able to swim SUBSTANTIALLY longer in cold water than the controls (many of the liver-fed rats swam almost 10x longer than the controls, and were still swimming for their lives when the experiment ended).
How Often Should You Eat Liver?
Not long ago, liver was a regular part of the American diet. If you are old enough, you may recall your parents force feeding you liver or sneaking it into meals on a regular basis. After becoming somewhat taboo in most households for a few decades, liver is now making a comeback, as more and more health professionals are talking about the benefits of liver (see Liver King and CarnivoreMD on Instagram).
If you struggle with fatigue and other health problems, I suggest adding liver to your diet to begin replenishing many vitamins and minerals. Portions of 4-5 ounces once a week to once a month is a good start. If you are very depleted, it may help to eat liver more frequently at first—perhaps two or three times per week. Another strategy is to have an ounce of liver daily, either raw or lightly cooked.
Some liver-enthusiasts recommend eating large quantities of liver daily. However, since liver is only a small portion of the animal, it may be best to eat liver in smaller portions than muscle meat.
The Best Source of Liver
The best type of liver, in my experience, is lamb or calf liver. Lamb and calf liver come from the young animal, and therefore may be less toxic and better quality than liver from older animals.
If you cannot find lamb or calf liver, beef liver is also good. Liver from wild game, such as deer, elk, and moose, are also excellent sources.
How to Eat Liver
Liver is a concentrated food, so I recommend eating liver with cooked vegetables, such as onions, and some carbohydrates, such as blue corn tortillas. Also, drink plenty of water when eating liver—about three liters per day.
I like to eat a combination of raw and cooked liver. When eating raw, I’ll have a few small cubes, about 1×1″. If you cannot bear the taste, you can swallow smaller cubes whole. For cooked liver, I coat the liver in a mixture of 100% whole wheat einkorn flour and onion powder, and then fry it in butter for about two minutes on each side until rare/medium rare.
When you eat liver, take a strong digestive aid such as GB-3 from Endomet Labs to help with digestion. This is essential if your hair analysis shows slow oxidation or if you otherwise have weak digestion. GB-3 will help improve the absorption of the nutrients found in liver.
Does liver contain toxins?
Some people argue that the liver is not a filter, and therefore it does not store toxins. However, numerous animal and human studies have shown that toxic metals, such as mercury, accumulate in the liver.
I don’t think that this is a reason to not eat liver. But I do think it’s important to source your liver from farms that use organic practices. The quality of animal feed is important for toxin-free liver. Severe damage from toxic metals tends to discolor the liver (and would probably make the animal ill), and so it would theoretically be easy for a food processor to spot.
Hashemi, M. (2018). Heavy metal concentrations in bovine tissues (muscle, liver and kidney) and their relationship with heavy metal contents in consumed feed. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 154, 263–267. doi:10.1016/j.ecoenv.2018.02.058