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Liver: Nature’s Most Potent Superfood


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beef liver nutrition, liver nutrition
Adding things like beef liver and onions to your diet is a nutritional win. iStock.com/freeskyline

Conventional dietary wisdom holds that the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and trace elements) we need from foods are most highly concentrated in fruits and vegetables. While it’s true that fresh fruits and veggies are full of vitamins and minerals, their micronutrient content doesn’t always hold up to what is found in meats and organ meatsespecially liver.

The chart below lists the micronutrient content of apples, carrots, red meat and beef liver. Note that every nutrient in red meat except for vitamin C surpasses those in apples and carrots, and every nutrient—including vitamin C—in beef liver occurs in exceedingly higher levels in beef liver compared to apple and carrots.

In general, organ meats are between 10 and 100 times higher in nutrients than corresponding muscle meats. (That said, fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients like flavonoids and polyphenols that aren’t found in high concentrations in meats and organ meats, so fresh produce should always be a significant part of your diet.)

In fact, you might be surprised to learn that in some traditional cultures, only the organ meats were consumed. The lean muscle meats, which are what we mostly eat in the U.S. today, were discarded or perhaps given to the dogs.

A popular objection to eating liver is the belief that the liver is a storage organ for toxins in the body. While it is true that one of the liver’s role is to neutralize toxins (such as drugs, chemical agents and poisons), it does not store these toxins. Toxins the body cannot eliminate are likely to accumulate in the body’s fatty tissues and nervous systems. On the other hand, the liver is a is a storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron). These nutrients provide the body with some of the tools it needs to get rid of toxins.

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Remember that it is essential to eat meat and organ meats from animals that have been raised on fresh pasture without hormones, antibiotics or commercial feed. Pasture-raised animal products are much higher in nutrients than animal products that come from commercial feedlots.

For example, meat from pasture-raised animals has 2-4 times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from commercially-raised animals. And pasture-raised eggs have been shown to contain up to 19 times more omega-3 fatty acids than supermarket eggs! In addition to these nutritional advantages, pasture-raised animal products benefit farmers, local communities and the environment.

There’s no question that liver and other organ meats are among the most nutrient-dense foods we can eat. Sadly, they have fallen out of favor and are no longer staples in the modern diet. 

If you like organ meats, I suggest eating one 3-4 ounce serving of them per week. They are so nutrient dense that you don’t need more than this to benefit.

If you don’t care for the taste or texture of organ meats, or you don’t have the time to prepare them properly, an organ meat supplement may be a good option.

The easiest way to eat your organs.

Bio-Avail Organ from Adapt Naturals. 

A blend of 5 freeze-dried organs from 100% pasture-raised cows.

Chris Kresser in kitchen

For more information on the incredible nutritional benefits of liver and some suggestions for how to prepare it, click here.

APPLE (100 g)CARROTS (100 g)RED MEAT (100 g)BEEF LIVER (100 g)
Calcium3.0 mg3.3 mg11.0 mg11.0 mg
Phosphorus6.0 mg31.0 mg140.0 mg476.0 mg
Magnesium4.8 mg6.2 mg15.0 mg18.0 mg
Potassium139.0 mg222.0 mg370.0 mg380.0 mg
Iron.1 mg.6 mg3.3 mg8.8 mg
Zinc.05 mg.3 mg4.4 mg4.0 mg
Copper.04 mg.08 mg.18 mg12.0 mg
Vitamin ANoneNone40 IU53,400 IU
Vitamin DNoneNoneTrace19 IU
Vitamin E.37 mg.11 mg1.7 mg.63 mg
Vitamin C7.0 mg6.0 mgNone27.0 mg
Thiamin.03 mg.05 mg.05 mg.26 mg
Riboflavin.02 mg.05 mg.20 mg4.19 mg
Niacin.10 mg.60 mg4.0 mg16.5 mg
Pantothenic Acid.11 mg.19 mg.42 mg8.8 mg
Vitamin B6.03 mg.10 mg.07 mg.73 mg
Folate8.0 mcg24.0 mcg4.0 mcg145.0 mcg
BiotinNone.42 mcg2.08 mcg96.0 mcg
Vitamin B12NoneNone1.84 mcg111.3 mcg
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  1. Because of the extremely high Vitamin A content in liver, one should not eat it more than 1-2 x/month. This is not betacarotene which can be consumed ad nauseum, but Vitamin A which, in excess, can become toxic in the body. It can lead to liver problems, hair loss, confusion and loss of bone density.

    • depends on how much you eat. Paul at PerfectHealthDiet.com recommends 1/4lb. per person per week

      • Including only grass-fed animals, wild fish and unprocessed but excluding those with toxins/antibiotics, four ounces a week seems reasonable given that the cooking method does not result in raising the meat to very high temperatures.
        That would not be much more than 12 pounds annually and that is far from the current number in the US.

    • Hilarious to me one could think this is true. Vitamin A is a vitamin. Beef liver is a whole/natural food. Anyone ever hear of any case of any person ever dying of eating, “too much liver because of the vitamin a?” Have some common sense. Your body stores vitamin a in the liver, so it’s easy to see why liver is so high in it. But what causes toxicity? One dose? NO. Weeks, and typically months or years, of extremely high vitamin a intake. This is because vitamin a has to build up to toxic levels in your own liver, levels which are way higher than you could ever eat in one sitting of liver. Liver is a very small portion of the animal, and should be eaten in relation to that fact(says common sense, get what common sense is now??).Liver should not be over consumed. What food is not in this category?? None. You can die from a water overdose. Keep the liver eating to at most 2x per week, not month as was suggested. If you can die from an average of 4 ounces of beef liver a day the stuff wouldn’t be sold in every single US supermarket, and my grandpa wouldn’t revere to it as a superfood. Also, mountain lions routinely kill deer and only eat the liver and heart. Oh and by the way, our human ancestors who evolved the quickest ate brains. And brains are so high in omega 3 fatty acids you would not believe me. Organ meats are just that, organs. They are not “meat” in the sense that meat is muscle. Rather highly functioning tissues and some of them store certain substances, liver stores vitamin a, d, b-12, and iron. “Too much of a good thing” might of stemmed from eating liver everyday. But a few ounces a day is not toxic and can be a backdoor way to revitalize your own liver. We are what we eat, right?

      • Great that you asked….yes, Arctic Explorers consuming liver did contract Acute hypervitaminosis. A severe condition resulting from consuming too much vitamin A during a short period of time which not only causes sickness but even can lead to death. Trying doing a little research before commenting and you might be amazed at the truth rather than speculating!
        I take it you know that different liver has different amounts of iron….have three ounces of goose liver daily and you will exceed your daily limit.
        You do know high levels of iron in the blood causes problems????

        • Well that was also because they ate the liver of polar bears; which are toxic because of their very high vitamin A levels that polar bears have specifically evolved to tolerate. I’d say beef liver – a serving the size of your palm once a week and you should be fine.

      • Dr Bailey, We raise and retail grass fed beef and as such have freshly frozen liver at all times in 1lb of sliced and frozen, vacuum packed potions.
        I am a healthy 74 year old male and eat about one bag per week, generally lasting four breakfasts, lightly fried, blue rare or pink in middle. It only takes about a minute to prepare. I am somewhat addicted to it and when I run out I drink one or two raw eggs from our farm yard hens. I also have about 1.5 onz of frozen beef Marrow and knuckle bone broth, thawed in about 15 onz of boiled water, with turmeric and pepper/salt to taste. I also have a small bowl of non cooked raw oat meal/ yogurt, which I believe keeps the bugs in my hindgut or colon healthy.
        A full breakfast often keeps me going all day except for drinking coffee/ tea water.
        The marrow broth portions test about 500mg/100g of Omega 6;3 balance of less than 1.5 to 1 and over 500mg/100g of CLA.
        I feel fine but have not visited Dr since mine retired 4 years ago when I last had full blood work done for insurance purposes. Then I had a clean bill of health and supposedly the blood work of someone in their 30’s. I virtually only eat grass fed beef and in season garden greens or wintered stored brassicas.
        I feel fine but I keep reading about liver toxicity and wonder about the symptoms because I do not seem to have the strength and stamina of last year. I have been eating a similar breakfast for at least 12 years and credit the broth in particular for reversing arthritis joint pains developing in my 60’s when Dr told I was candidate for joint replacement due to arthritic situation of my mother years before, who had a sweet tooth. Dr warned me then I was eating too much beef and candidate for diabetes and heart disease. In blood tests of late sixties when still eating some fast foods on road Dr indicated I was an anomaly and that my diet would eventually cause problems. I had quite a discussion because I had been told in my youth to eat beef daily if possible for a long healthy life, as my forebears had done and was going to continue. In light of recent press on animal fats, I am now convinced the old grazier/farmers of 60+ years ago were correct, ‘ live off the fats of the land, from grazing animals, with cloven hooves, that chew their cud’.

        • hi,

          what do you mean by this?: ”I feel fine but I keep reading about liver toxicity and wonder about the symptoms because I do not seem to have the strength and stamina of last year. ”

          you mean the liver you still eat does not give you the same benefits as before?

          • The best way to prevent build up of chemicals,vitamins,and toxic is to do coffee enema.Coffee enema let your own liver realist all this toxic built up.I know a body’s builder who consume 10 capsules per day of grass fed desiccated liver for years without any build up,or side effect.That,because he does coffee enema 4 times a week.I also do coffee enema for my IC pain,and I feel great!.No more pain.

        • Your oatmeal (its fiber and phytosterols) certainly helps your body flush out some of the extra cholesterol and fat from your rich diet.

      • I think you will find you are wrong. It is known that excess Vitamin a is toxic being oil/fat soluble it can not escape.
        I have read that one portion a month will you you all the benefits you need. Acute toxicity occurs after consuming large amounts of vitamin A over a short period of time, typically within a few hours or days. Chronic toxicity occurs when large amounts of vitamin A build up in the body over a long period of time. Symptoms of acute vitamin A toxicity include: drowsiness, irritability, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, increased pressure on the brain.
        A 4-oz serving of liver contains 18,928 IU of Vitamin A. This is almost 400% of your RDA,
        Eating a moderate amount of liver one or two days a week will not create the consistent, daily excess needed for chronic Vitamin A toxicity.
        The vitamin A content in beef liver is very high, with 100 grams of raw liver containing over three times the recommended daily value. As a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin A accumulates in your own liver and can cause serious health issues at high levels. These include dizziness, nausea, headaches, liver damage and — for expectant mothers — a risk of birth defects. High levels of iron can also be seriously toxic, producing nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, among other symptoms. The effects of overconsuming liver are usually slow or chronic, rather than acute, but you might experience an acute reaction if you overeat beef liver while taking supplements that contain the same range of nutrients.
        I won’t go on, it is very easy to research.

        • I was quite famished today and commited a 1st by eating probably close to a pound of cooked turkey livers. Then two apples and some cheese. And just before I ate the livers, I ate a about 9 ounces of cranberry sauce. I was fairly exhausted from a long walk and reporteded for jury duty, and I hardly ever eat like a wolf, normally! But OMG! The amount of preformed vitamin A I overdosed on with those livers! Will I pull out of it??? ha ha ha ha. Glad I looked it up and found out how much of this fat stored vitamin I injested. It’s alarming, and I already have osteopenia! Didn’t know it may accelerate,bone loss!

  2. I wouldn’t consume beef liver because of the horrific, protracted, daily cruelty and misery those poor feeling beings endure. The loneliness, heartbreak and torturous pain these animals endure is so shocking and so extreme, we have to be fairly segmented in our hearts and our consciousness to even discuss eating them. In other words: unfeeling and numb to the reality. I feel this issue, and the shocking amount of resources required to maintain these farm animals and attendant degradation to the Earth, supersedes all others for any thinking, feeling and sane human being; and thus that any discussion of its “benefits” is disingenuous and misleading. It’s not going to be very good for your health if the biosphere collapses. I agree that chicken liver is quite nutritious, and can be helpful for anemics.

    • Everything you mentioned has absolutely nothing to do with the cow liver that the author advises eating (pasture, grassfed) and everything to do with what he tells you NOT to eat (grain/corn-fed, large commercial operations). Pastured cows live incredibly blissful lives, and it is reflected in both the taste and nutrient profile of their meat and organs.

      • So true 90% of all meadow animals in New Zealand are out in the fields eating grass, during miking they get a small amount of grain.

      • How many cows live like you mention including when in the feedlot just before being slaughtered????
        Most cows get a high amount of hormones and other drugs in the period before slaughter no matter if they were grass-fed up to that point.
        Instead of speculating why not look at some research done on cow liver commercially sold in the US?
        One fact that is disturbing to people trying to eat healthy is the fact that the number one use of antibiotics in the US is for farm animals. If you look at the studies concerning milk what do you think is in the liver?

    • To challenge your arguments I would suggest reading The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith. She was a vegan for 20 years till she took the time to really examine how food is produced. She says
      “Certainly, most people who consume factory-farmed meat have never asked what died and how it died. But frankly, neither have most vegetarians. The truth is that agriculture is the most destructive thing humans have done to the planet, and more of the same won’t save us. The truth is that agriculture requires the wholesale destruction of entire ecosystems The truth is also that life isn’t possible without death, that no matter what you eat, someone has to die to feed you.”
      Eating pasture raised cattle and other animals can arguably cause less death than the plowing of fields, clearing of forests and growing of plants (especially vast monocrops like grains) which causes the death of birds, rodents, bugs, worms, and trillions of microbes in the soil, as well as fish from the waterway destruction to irrigate.

    • As my local free-range farmer likes to say, “My cows only have one bad day.” He is right. Until their “time” they enjoy life wandering around a beautiful grassland eating and pooping…what cows do best.

  3. Thank you so much for providing clear, strait to the point information. This will be extremely helpful to refer my female/fertility clients to.

  4. Comparing “red meat”(which is a pretty silly generalisation) and beef liver with apples and carrots doesn’t mean that the micronutrients of ALL vegetables are lower.. Such a ridiculously small scale shows literally nothing but that apples and carrots have less of certain nutrients that beef liver.

    • It does show that meats–particularly liver and organ meats–can be much better sources of nutrition and then many of us have been led to believe. Animal foods may not be the bad guy they are portrayed to be at all…

    • I think it shows that all whole foods are ok to consume crap food manufactured in factories is the cause of most of our illness, eat whole foods steer clear of manufactured franken foods.

      • Perhaps that is what it shows to you but I limit animal protein to a very minimum quantity about once a month.

  5. It is always better to have a Vegetarian Diet.

    whole grains

    Eat at the same time every day. And do not overeat.

    Exercise, sunshine, temperance, trust in God, which is a great stress reliever.

    That is all you need.

    That is what Seventh Day Adventists do and that is why out of all the groups in America, they live on average 10 years longer than the general population.

    • The Seventh Day Adventists also abstain from alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes and encourage exercise.

      Those factors alone will increase their lifespan – just think how much longer they could live if they added liver to their diets 😉

      • Excellent comment,Coco. In what you say is the problem with almost all modern nutritional studies, dating back to the 1950s. They have been poorly done and organized and things that are highly nutritious and needed by the body, like fats– particularly saturated — are not the villains we have been duped into believing . Yes, half of my diet is raw vegetables and fruits ( smoothies in my Vitamix are big). But I now know by researching, to eat fatty meats, cheeses, coconut oil, and plenty of nuts. And and no wheat or other starches. Plenty of fat is just as important as phytonutrients and fiber.

      • Mormons also compare favorably life span wise and they eat a lot of meat but also should avoid unhealthy drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc. Studies are generally done on Utah mormons so the benefits of southern, whatever they are, don’t apply. This in spite of the fact that if you go to any event/socal were snacks are available, there is usually nothing that has any healthy redeeming qualities but there’s always a prayer/blessing over the junk food that it will be good for them. Irony.

        Price Odwolfe Weston

          • So does everyone in America. They probably don’t eat any more organic than the average American, and are therefore subject to the same chemicals and GMOs that create those conditions.

      • They also eat nuts and seeds but I like to see the study that proves consuming liver on a regular basis leads to a longer life…

    • You mean the 7th day adventists who live in southern california. The 7th day adventists are actually a rather large religion. The formula doesn’t seem to work for the rest of them. Hmm maybe its something else in the environment that they live in.

    • Nothing is always better for everyone, that’s something many people wanna believe or make people wanna believe -> fasting (IF), vegan, vegetarian, high protein, high carb, high fat, X amounts of fruit/vegs/fish oil/veg. based O3’s/…, supplements, meal frequency, meal size, food choices, amount of raw food, water, salt, sleep, physical training etc. Obviously nothing works always better for everyone – also as life goes on and we get older/change our daily routine/have different quantities and qualities of sleep and stress, the nutrition will change aswell.

      Some people actually died from vegan diets or diets which are very low on fat. Some people thrive on meat, some people thrive on a veget. diet, some on a vegan diet, some people need to switch for a few months to a vegan or vegetarian diet to get rid of some toxics and to relieve the system, some people need to start eating a little bit of meat due to various reasons – those people actually feel e.g. a significant energy boost as soon as the nutrients get absorbed.

      Though, the amount of meat consumed nowadays and the daily consumption are not only not necessary but also in most cases not healthy (aswell as the daily consumption of the same foods like chicken, milk, whey, eggs, corn). People quite frequently crave a lot of meat/protein, but that’s mostly due to weak digestion and therefore only a small amount of amino acids and nutrients gettin absorbed – I tested bcaa’s now for quite a while along with digestive enzymes, hcl and more raw food and I was able to reduce my meat consumption (body feedback) from 7days/week @ ~600g/day to ~4 days/week @ ~400g/day – not exactly the same amount and frequency every week because I rather listen to my body than to look on a nutrition plan or read suggestions from people on the internet who may have no idea what they are talking about and/or live at a place where the weather and the foods growing there are completely different and/or have a different origin and/or have a completely different response to stress and/or state of health and/or allergies/intolerances etc etc…

      Generalizations have brought a ton of problems and people seem to get crazy about nutrition/health nowadays and follow dogmas (IF, high fat, fish oil, vitD,…) blindly. As, for example Precision Nutrition have already realized and Paul Chek knew for a long time, it’s about individualization and listening to one’s body, adjusting as life goes on and things change up. That stuff is coming more and more.

      • Good point, Thomas. Not everybody can eat the same diet. Different strokes for different folks is the major key …!

      • You get the last word on this topic Thomas. You have covered it well and summed it up. There is not one size that fits all and the dietary needs of each individual is constantly in flux. I would characterize my diet as ecclectic. I have been eating what I broadly call a plant dominant diet (about 90% calories from animal sources). I have experimented with vegan, paleo, low carb, high fat, mono eating, ketogenic, intermittent fasting, prolonged fasting, kosher and probably others I’m sure are not readily coming to mind not out any ideological allegiance to any particular diet (I’m not even Jewish but a partially kosher diet played a crucial during a serious health crisis I went through years ago). I have even tried praying over my food and I am not religious. That is the problem that people often adopt a diet the way they do a political ideology or religious belief without thinking individually and critically as to if and how it actually affects there own body negatively or positively. I am constantly adjusting my diet – adding and removing foods – and sometimes adding back foods that I had previously removed. I am researching about beef liver now because I recently started eating it but I have now removed it and I am now considering substituting chicken liver instead. I am open to any information or suggestions. Glen

    • I just had a dear SDA friend die in his 60’s prematurely, he started with glaucoma and other things happening in his eye- optic nerve deterioration- which led to him falling in the bedroom and breaking a hip- all deficiency effects. Ultimately he gave up and went to heaven (we hope) . According the Ellen White, this was impossible. He should never have had these issues. So I don’t buy the SDA blather. Weston Price showed the healthiest people all over the WORLD and they were not vegans, they ate up to 80% of calories in animal fats. Look up Nutrition and Physical Degeneration free PDF, this was a 9 year study. He came home and put his knowledge to the test , there are pictures on that too.

    • Take a look at the book called, Eat Right For Your Blood Type”. It’s very interesting how they explain that different blood types create different nutritional needs. Type A should eat as a vegetarian, where type O is the original blood type and better suited to eat meat as our early hunters had to do.

  6. Hi Chris,

    I love your blog, podcast, and book. Thanks for all that you do!

    I agree that beef liver is the best source of vitamin A, but I think this post is misleading. First, using IU is not the best unit because it does not account for bioavailability. The IU value for plant-based foods will always overestimate the retinol equivalent and the IU value for animal source foods will always underestimate it. Retinal Activity Equivalent (RAE) is a better, though not perfect for every food. It assumes a 12:1 ratio of conversion of beta-carotene from fruits and vegetables to retinol. Read the overview of Vitamin A, RDA, IU etc. here: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/#h2

    Second, I’ve heard you mention this before, so I was surprised that you did not emphasize the wide range of bioavailability and vitamin A equivalency of beta-carotene depending on “the food matrix, food-processing techniques, size of the dose of b-carotene, and the amounts of dietary fat, fiber, vitamin A, and other carotenoids in the diet as well as by characteristics of the target population, such as vitamin A status, nutrient deficiencies, gut integrity, and genetic polymorphisms associated with b-carotene metabolism” (Haskell, 2012). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23053560

    Third, posting a chart that says carrots and apples have no retinol is obvious, but confuses people. What we should care about is the amount of retinol equivalent absorbed from the apples and carrots. This is not trivial. Even assuming a vitamin A equivalency ratio of carrots of 28:1, raw carrots have approximately 8285 mcg of beta-carotene, so this would convert on average to about 296 mcg of retinol. For an adult non-pregnant, non-lactating women with an RDA of 700 mcg RAE this is nearly half of her requirements for the day. I am aware that one study found the conversion of beta-carotene to retinol in raw carrots to be as high as 77:1 when the beta-carotene content was greater than 6 mg, but most of the beta-carotene (6 g) would be converted at about 28:1. Sources of beta-carotene in oil or in biofortified crops have much greater retinol equivalencies, as low as 2:1. See this article for a simple chart showing the average retinol equivalencies of beta-carotene from different sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25270992

    And the USDA Food Composition Table:
    US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27 (revised). Version Current: May 2015. Internet: http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl

    • Thanks for clearing this Ty! Since childhood I have been hearing that Carrots are good for the eyes because they have lot of vitamin A and I was surprised to see the table above.

      • You’re welcome Sumesh!

        One more thing I noticed. Studies have found that 27-45% of people may be low responders of beta-carotene (poorly convert beta-carotene to retinol) (Lietz at al., 2012: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/142/1/161S.short). However, even if this is the case, it does not mean they convert no beta-carotene to retinol. In fact, Lietz et al. only state that conversion efficiency can be reduced by as much as 59% in the low responders.


  7. Does flash freezing affect the taste and texture of liver? We regularly ate beef and then calf’s liver before we had ever heard the terms grass and grain fed and organic and before the so called cholesterol issues. We purchased organic, grass fed beef liver at our local farmers’ market a few weeks ago and both the taste and texture seemed different. I realize that it may have been due to the cow having been grass fed, but I also read a comment elsewhere about how flash freezing can adversely affect taste and texture. Experiences and comments?

    • We have been exclusively grass fattening all our calves since BSE on 19.5.2003 and retailing to local customers since. When we first started we could not give liver away and most went for dog food. Following word of mouth from health challenged customer we can no longer meet demand. Even more so since articles such as this by Chris Kresser.
      The livers are the most closely inspected organ under our Provincial system and butchers slice and package in approx 1lb vacc pacs as soon as they are chilled and set up to easily slice. they are then frozen, not flash, We then collect three weeks later when we collect the butcher aged cuts, retail ready. Customers really like the product and I have discovered from customers, it is absolutely delicious only lightly browned in butter or tallow, with the middle left pink to raw. I now have some several times a week for breakfast with bone broth, turmeric, black pepper tea afterwards.
      Now 73 and not had colds or arthritis pain for years since starting this protocol, and I am exposed to customers with flue, colds and other infections on a regular basis.
      I am now certain that it is because of the high carotenoid greens and wild medicinal plants, naturally present in our fattening pastures. Ground beef trim tests 220mg/100gram omega 3 in 6:3 balance ratio and bone marrow tests almost 900/mg/100g Omega 3 in 1.5to1 in 6:3 ratio. Regular grain fattened beef is ave 45mg/100g in much higher (up to 20to1, 6:3 ratio and ave grass fed is only 61mg in 6;3 balance.(Mark Hyman) For those who argue grass fed is not worth the hype and all you need is a fish pill to balance, I would suggest they do some in depth research.
      I also suggest that grass fed/fattened ruminant meat and fats led to our evolution, brains and civilization, not fish or other meats. Also grain fed meats cause fatty liver syndrome as is now becoming prevalent in humans due to vegetarianism and high carb processed diets.
      Once customers have tasted grass fattened beef liver from gradable young animals, most will not eat chicken or pork. I used to eat it occasionally but now cannot stand the taste.

      • Your anecdotal talk has no meaning. Everything you are saying is coming from your own assumptions and imagination.
        Eat what you want but don’t write your dribble and expect people to take it as gospel…

        • Masahiro Nomura
          October 4, 2015 at 9:10 pm
          Sorry you do not like my anecdotal dribble.
          Some may be anecdotal but the test results shown are actual independent tests done since 1996 when we first found scientific evidence that the anecdotal evidence is right of countless generations of grassland herders.

        • Sherry,
          Sorry, I just noticed your comment.
          We are as far east as you can go on the North American continental land mass. We overlook the Northumberland Strait, on the Gulf of St Lawrence, In the beautiful Province of Nova Scotia.

  8. Everything in moderation. You will not live forever. Eat and hydrate the best you can and enjoy your life. Try not to spend it obsessing about grass fed, free range, steroid free, vegan, paleo, vegetarian, ..don’t go to the extreme end of either spectrum.

  9. Gastroparesis is the disorder that gives me legs cramps before I get really sick. I’ve been eating liver for about a month now and my cramps have gone away. As well as my anemia -no longer cold -yey! Great article, thanks!

  10. Whoa the only people worse than vegans and vegetarians are the low carb paleo dieters like Kresser. I wonder how much grass he smoked to write this article. Didn’t kill as many brain cells reading this as the three eggs a day end up in the grave article but this was still mind numbing non-the-less. If I ever want a heart attack, high cholesterol and/or high blood pressure I know what nutritionist to consult – Chris Kresser!

    • I’ve been doing paleo for close to 3 years now. Blood pressure, cholesterol are normal, and my six pack is a hit with the younger women.
      Thanks for stopping by and adding nothing to the discussion.

      • Uh right Nikko I’ll take your word for it. I’ll just be over here with my ultra high vitamin and mineral levels. I’ll be over here with my abs, ability to run an hour a day, have an IQ of 120, low blood pressure, and an above average lung capacity because I’ve eaten the opposite of what Kresser recommends. I added info to the conversation, but because of the lack of plant food you have your brain is in a state of mental impairment. Maybe that’s the point of Kresser, maybe he wants us to do the opposite of what he recommends since no one can be moronic enough to listen to completely listen to him. You paleo-dieters can eat yourselves to an early grave I’ll be over here enjoying a very long life.

        • Despite your supposedly high intelligence, you’ve only shown how ignorant you are in regards to a paleo diet. You should look up Dr. Terry Wahls to see how life changing it was for her.
          My parents come from a village where eating liver and other organ meats is a staple in their diet. For some reason these people tend to live well into their 80’s without any health issues. Maybe you can explain that since you’re such an expert on the matter.

          • Nikko you’re lying, or they lived off of more than organs, or you’ve mistaken the words plant food for organs. That lady you mentioned looks decades older than she actually is. I never said I was an expert, I just know more than you and maybe Kresser if he actually believes the stuff that he says, that’s not a hard thing to do. As for ignorance, I’m not claiming that Paleolithic humans lived off a selective diet like the one’s you morons advocate for. I don’t need to debate you though, it’s obvious from this debate that evolution has left you behind and that your diet has deprived your brain of vital nutrients needed to keep it functioning properly.

            • I respect your right to express your opinion, but the delivery of said opinion is offensive. It is offensive because you have chosen to be offensive; you are a troll; nothing you say has any value because you have chosen a delivery devoid of value. Your contribution to this discussion is meaningless, and when all is said and done, you will be judged as meaningless.

              If your wish to raise your profile and the value of intercourse, try data, facts, and courtesy.

            • haha Jordan can you not read or something? why don’t you actually explain what is incorrect about what Chris is saying instead of making some BS claim that he is wrong with nothing to add to the conversation. Not sure how someone with an IQ of 120 as you claim can’t understand paleo…matter of fact I’m not even going to waste my time debating you. If you actually read Chris’s info. and still can’t figure it out then you’re just delusional.

        • Mate I’ve got an IQ of 150. And I stick to high fat diet. High fat diet isn’t actually bad for your health if managed properly, and liver (despite tasting like arse) is actually an extremely beneficial supplement to any diet.

          • High fat is fine, however you will likely die sooner. Okinawan’s consumed roughly 85% carbs 9% protein and 4% fat yet they have the longest lifespans on earth. In contrast, Inuit life expectancy is roughly 70 and their diet was high in fat and protein and had small amounts of carbohydrates. They were disease free for the most part but a high fat diet will just force you to die sooner than you would with a low fat diet.

            • Inuit people also live in tundra that’s frozen a good part of the year. People from Okinawa live on a tropical island.

              Diet isn’t the only variable here.

        • So much anger and insecurity for someone who claims to be such an otherworldly specimen. I don’t claim to be well versed in the details of a paleo diet, but your “knowledge” and ability to assess the real science seems to be limited at best.

        • Why can’t you do both? Eat liver for its huge vitamin and mineral contribution and engulf massive amounts of organic fruit and vegetables at the same time. Apparently there are studies that suggest that those who consume meat seldom do better than either low carb or full vegan. But when it comes down to it people will eat whatever they want – with a lot of dietary cheating going on.

        • Lol, bragging about 120? You realize the 115 is one standard deviation? So roughly 34% of people have a higher IQ than you. Tell me more, genius!

            • http://paulcooijmans.com/intelligence/sd15.html

              “In scientific and other literature on intelligence, I.Q. is almost always expressed on a scale with an S.D. of 15, except where one is explicitly talking about childhood scores on the Stanford-Binet;”

              You are factual wrong on both accounts. Do some research. Sorry to say you aren’t as special as you want to believe.

          • No, your ~34 per cent is the proportion of people having an IQ BELOW 115 but above 100; with (obviously) 50 per cent below 100, this leaves approximately 16 per cent of people more intelligent than IQ 115. Further, the difference between IQ 115 and IQ 120 is not as trivial as you suggest, meaning that in fact ~9 per cent of people are more intelligent than the poster, assuming his reported IQ is accurate (which is of course no trivial assumption).

        • Poor baby, IQ of only 120. Not high enough to get into Mensa. Try eating fatty meat, as I do, and you may score higher.

        • When i first looked into Paleo it seemed very meat heavy to me too. And I’m sure some people do use it as an excuse to eat way too much meat and saturated fat. But a “proper” Paleo diet is about half fruits and vegetables, way more than the average American diet, and even many vegetarians and vegans i know (who depend on grains and beans, rather than fruits and vegetables). Paleo is more about avoiding sugar and grains, rather than eating lots of meat.

          BTW, i don’t consider myself as Paleo, but a nutrivore. I am always striving to increase the nutritional value of my diet. However, by doing this, my diet has come to be very similar to a paleo diet.

          Take everything with a grain of salt and look up the scientific articles yourself.

    • Not sure what your focus is, paleo as a whole, or the high cholesterol in liver. What you don’t comment on is the value of B3/niacin with liver; niacin is recognised for elevating HDL, and lowering LDL. Also, liver has a a much higher level of B3 than most (if not all) animal sources, commensurate with the high levels of cholesterol.

      I remember when avocados were the demon food due to high fat. “Stay away” they said before they recognised the exceedingly high amount of fibre that offsets the fat.

      Everything in moderation and balance, including rhetoric.

      • Beric,

        Not only the fiber, but especially the high fat content is good for you.

    • Chris, your body makes most of your cholesterol. In fact 25% of the cholesterol is in your body is in you brain. Your body needs protein. It does not need a single carb. You make and do make glucose as needed from protein. The process is called gluconeogemesis. Don’t believe the cholesterol hype!

      • The body loves carbs. I cycle a lot and the one time I tried replacing my usual carb loading with a pat of butter my performance was pitiful. A lot is made of hunter gatherers being healthier than those that have lived with agriculture, but we can’t go back to those days. There is no way to feed the world on grass fed cows. There simply isn’t enough room. I find that as long as you exercise and track your nutrient intake with something like cronometer then you can be very healthy without having to go near an animal product. Having said that, I suspect the healthiest people of all will have at least a little fish or meat in their diet. The problems seem to arise when you start consuming too much animal protein. And anything more than about 2oz at a time is probably too much.

      • From my experience from 0 carb and therefore converting protein to glucose is that after a few weeks all that extra nitrogen made me tired and smelly. Carbs and fat are made of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon; proteins have a nitrogen molecule are not needed to make glucose.

    • You should check your LDL-P if you want to know about your cholesterol risk of a heart attack; something that Niacin found in liver will help along with Omega 3.

  11. I finally found an online butcher that has pastured beef liver for a decent price. Pan fried and served with caramelized onions and bacon. My wife said it was one of the better meals she’s had in a while. Very creamy texture and it didn’t have any of that liver after taste.

    • That’s great! You can eat yourself to an early grave. I’ll even give you money to buy some.

      • Really? That would be fantastic. Could you send send it to my PayPal account? Regular consumption of liver has been life changing for me.

        • Lol Emily. This made me giggle. Mr. 120 IQ here should pay all of us for giving him any attention whatsoever.

          Btw, Mr. 120, my IQ is 146, I have thoroughly done my homework regarding vegetarian and vegan diets, Paleo, low carb, and many others. I have even had in-depth conversation with one of the Blue Zone researchers. I happily choose high fat and the inclusion of organ meats in my diet, along with plenty of veggies and some fruit. I have never been happier or healthier.

          You, my dear, are what we call in the elite circles, a self-aggrandizing nincompoop.

          Bragging about 120… I will be giggling about that one for awhile.

  12. Whole Foods has Chicken Liver (and beef liver) that is Step 1 (which they say means the animal was raised without hormones and antibiotics, but not necessarily grass-fed) I know that grass-fed may be MORE nutritious, but this quality of liver is better than none right?

  13. An old time bodybuilder recommends Argentine beef liver extract. Wonder if pampas grass is nutritionally cool?

    • Great article, back in the day i can remember my mother cooking liver and onions at least once a week, she said it was to keep the immune system working better.

      I do workout hardcore and have taken liver pills but they just don’t seem to have the same effect as a freshly cooked beef liver steak. so now at least once a week that is my evening meal brown rice a beef liver steak and some broccoli which usually helps me the next day in the gym.

  14. I just wanted to chime in. I have been eating this for three days. I know that the taste and the texture bother most people. If you want it crispyish on the outside, very hot pan with olive oil. 1 minute on side 1, 30 seconds on side 2. It leaves almost no pink and it does not cook so long that it gets that weird liver texture and taste. If you like it all soft, butter, I like Kerrygold unsalted, 2tblp. med high. 2 minutes side 1, 1 minute side 2. Both ways are delicious and keeps it from getting funk. You may notice the edges of the first method have that slight taste and texture, that is how I learned. I’m not kidding. I have loved it all my life, no matter how it is cooked.

  15. Chris, great article as always.

    The only overlooked fact is that liver can store heavy metals in great amounts as studies show, e.g.


    It doesn’t matter if it is grass fed or not. Grass-fed can actually be more exposed to heavy metal (better food, but the exposure to the environment is the downside).

    Important remark: if the liver is loaded with heavy metal, other parts of the animal are as well. Different heavy metals in different levels. This is the main problem on Paleo: giving a wildcard to eating a lot of animal meat. In theory it might work, but there is simply no ancient food available anymore. The overload with protein, which inactive people don’t need at all, only increases the cancer risk. Also check the rise of colon cancer in connection with the oxidation process of digesting meat: http://lib.ugent.be/fulltxt/RUG01/001/894/515/RUG01-001894515_2012_0001_AC.pdf

    More studies have to be done on that important topic.

    Yours, Olivia

    • Olivia. I do not disagree with you, I also think that some friits and veges are needed, but animal meat&fat is a priority. There is no risk of any cancer ect. as long as one eat sparingly and fast 1-2 day/week.

    • Thanks Olivia.
      As most cancer institute report that Beef or Veal liver (I think any kind) increase cancer risk. And people with breast cancer triple negative shall not eat livers because is full with Zinc, Copper and Iron. Where Zinc help cancer cells to divide faster and since cancer cells are reach in copper (do not feed them). Also high level of Iron to be avoided (but normal or slightly less level no problem). Note: Chlorella reported to help body to get ride of heavy metal.

    • Not really. Carrots contain beta carotene which can be converted by the body to vitamin A, but contain no actual vitamin A.

      • And your system apparently converts only as much as you require, so that you don’t overdose on actual vitamin A that way.

        • Unless you are suffering from low thyroid or badly treated thyroid disorder including autoimmune thyroid disease. Under these circumstances the body fails to convert beta carotene to vitamin A sufficiently.

  16. I have anaemia and eat lamb and beef liver (grass fed only) quite frequently, it really helps me feel better. The main thing is that if you need liver for the iron do use any products that contain calcium i.e. butter/milk to cook it as calcium blocks the absorption of iron. So when ever I cook it I use avocado or high oleic sunflower oil and when it’s cooked I add some freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice as the vitamin c helps with the absorption of iron.

    • Russian doctor Kousmine recommends 2 raw egg yolks per day for people with persistant anemia. She had great results, even if egg yolks are not rich in iron!

      • I created a great recipe for raw eggs! Half a can of pure pumpkin puree, 3 whole raw eggs, a decent dose of stevia, 1 tsp vanilla extract, a couple ounces of water (or ice) to thin it, and a ton of your favorite fall spices — yummy! You don’t know it’s healthy!

      • Homemade mayonnaise is made with raw pastured egg yolks, a bit of lemon juice or vinegar, and olive oil. I use Julia Child’s recipe, and make it whenever we need it. It only keeps for a few days in the refrigerator, so don’t make too much. It’s delish!

        The best chocolate mousse recipe I have also uses raw egg yolks, along with chocolate, the whipped whites, and heavy cream. Best dessert ever!

    • I have a 17 year old daughter with special needs, one physical need being anemic. I started her on a bit of liver every morning but prepared it by soaking in milk! (I had never made liver before and just googled recipes) Thanks for this info!!! I will prepare this way next time!

  17. I grew up in and still live in Wyoming. My father hunted and everytime he would bring home a elk from a hunt i was so excited to eat the heart and liver. We always over cooked all game which now eat most of my meat medium rare to rare if i can have my way. Other hunters would take a bite of the liver fresh after the kill, an old tradtion the natives would do but I always thought they were crazy and ive always been a pretty rugged girl lol. Anyays ive been reading about how its better to get all th nutrients by eating it raw although i love liver this thought makes me slightly squeamish im going to give ot a try. Im very blessed and have. Elk, deer, antelope and wild bison meat and organ meats from my hunting . Im so excited that other people are eating it more although it makes me sad alot of hunters toss these wonderfull gifts. Ive saved kidneys, tounge, heart, liver and would love to learn and to cook those better and more!

    • I would advise extreme caution, considering:

      “Trichinosis is a common disease in many wild carnivorous and omnivorous animals worldwide…there are outbreaks that occur sporadically in the world when meat is improperly cooked or is contaminated with undercooked or raw wild-game meat…

      The best way to prevent trichinellosis is to cook meat to safe temperatures…Do not sample meat until it is cooked.

      For ground meat (including wild game): Cook to at least 160 F (71 C); ground meats do not require a rest* time.
      For all wild game (whole cuts and ground): Cook to at least 160 F (71 C).

      • Please, Rusty, since you know so much about this dreadful disease, tell people also what it is and how it manifests itself in the human body. AND that you can also get it from undercooked PORK…although people in the US don’t want to believe this!

      • I was a Sous-Chef for 5 years, cooking everything to 160 degrees is paranoia, and cooks a lot of what is good from the meat out.

  18. I find it rather concerning that there was not a mention of the cholesterol issues that go with eating liver. Any reasons for this?

    • John,

      Consumption of foods high in cholesterol does not increase cholesterol. I will not go into it here but if you are interested a google search on these topics should satisfy your curiosity.

    • Why would you care about cholesterol? It’s been already established that the whole cholesterol/fat scare was based on flawed studies and heart disease is caused by high intake of processed food and sugar, not fat.

      • No, it has not been established or proven by wide enough studies that show fat is ever good for you. There have been, however, very large studies that show there is a relationship between saturated fat and clogged arteries, leading to heart problems. Drs. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, Neal Barnard and John McDougall have all done substantial studies on the Western diet full of fat and they and many others have concluded plant-based diets are far healthier for the heart.

        • If you look at the people who conducted those studies, and the results themselves before the final copy, you will find that they are paid by the people that want you to believe fat is dangerous. Their financial success depends on getting a specific result. Their only “logical” course of action, then, is to alter the research until they get the result they wanted so they can get paid. In sum, you cannot trust those studies. No, you CAN trust them…to be wrong. Listen to people who are sharing the data without money getting involved in the process. Like the guy who wrote this article!

        • There are also unsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and Omega 3 fatty acids. Check out the independent studies on those!

    • Dear John,

      if you have been following Chris’ ideas on “cholesterol” you would know why. Its for the same reasons Eggs or Shellfish and their colesterol contents are no longer an issue!

  19. My sig other a gorgeous Jewish girl got me started eating chopped chicken liver

    I found a simple recipe online for beef liver. Several pounds for four bucks

    Slice yellow onion thin as possible get in pure butter. Remove from skillet

    Cut liver into 1/8 inch stops seAson in a bowl with salt and pepper only. You will see an immediate color change.
    Add butter to pan and fry the liver in high heat. Don’t overcokn slight pink inside is best.
    Most delicious meat ice ever had.

    Next week kidney then brain. Comon folks let’s promote this super food.