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The 9 Main Benefits of Eating Beef Liver

Our ancestors loved and prized beef liver and there is a good reason for it.

It was viewed as natures multivitamin and tribes like the Hadza, who are one of the healthiest communities still regularly eat liver after the hunt.

Liver truely contains almost all of the nutrients needed to support good health and people often start to notice health benefits once they start to add it into their diet.

1. Liver May Improve Brain Health & Cognition

Liver might help with brain and cognitive health given its vast array of nutrients.

However, many of the potential brain and cognitive benefits can be narrowed down to Choline. 100g of beef liver provides close to the recommended daily intake for choline.

Choline is an essential nutrient which rarely gets much attention. In fact, it is estimated that close to 90% of Americans are deficient in Choline (1). Even more concerning is that 92% of pregnant women do not meet their choline requirements (2).

Adding another layer of concern is that close to 1/3rd of the population has genetic polymorphisms in genes such as PEMT and MTHFD1, making choline requirements much greater than current recommendations (3)(4)(5).

In human studies, choline supports neurocognitive development in infants, showcasing its importance in maternal dietary patterns (6). Studies also provide evidence that choline might protect against Alzheimer's disease and improve memory in the elderly (7)(8). In one study, those with Alzheimers exhibited lower levels of 8 choline-containing phospholipids compared to healthy controls (9).

In multiple animal and in vitro studies we also have evidence that Choline may be protective against traumatic brain injury, may promote neurogenesis and may normalise APOE4-expressing astrocytes which is a gene related to Alzheimer's risk (10)(11)(12).

Outside of choline, we also know that vitamin B12 is another important B vitamin heavily implicated in brain health. So much so that researchers believe that B12 should be used as a neuroprotective ‘drug’ against traumatic brain injury (13). B12 may also have protective qualities against mental health conditions like depression (14).

Beef liver is a major source of B12, with 100g providing multiple times over the recommended daily intake of B12. Beef liver also contains a large amount of other B vitamins which have also been shown to help with attention, cognition and concentration.

Learn More: The Beef Liver ‘Anti-Fatigue Factor’: 3 Possible Explanations

2. Liver May Protect You Against Fatigue & Low Energy

Beef liver is jam packed with B vitamins which help your body convert your food into energy.

Almost all of the B vitamins are involved in helping the body produce energy within the cell (15). A shortfall of nutrients in any of these vitamins may cause issues with energy production, metabolism and your health (16).

B vitamins are essential to feeling good and having sustainable energy throughout the day. Despite their importance however, some research suggests that many people are not getting adequate levels. For example, one study found that 40% of people have subclinical or low levels of B12 (17).

100g of beef liver provides:

  • B1 Thiamine (13% of RDI)
  • B2 Riboflavin (162% of RDI)
  • B3 Niacin (66% of RDI)
  • B5 Pantothenic Acid (72% of RDI)
  • B6 Pyridoxine (13% of RDI)
  • B9 Folate (72% of RDI)
  • B7 Biotin (103% of Based on 75g)
  • B12 Cobalamin (988%of RDI)

Nutrition Data From

Outside of the B vitamins, beef liver is also a rich source of coenzyme CoQ10, with one study stating that liver and heart were more digestible sources of CoQ10 than muscle meat (18).

CoQ10 has many benefits but its main action is as a cofactor in a series of reactions that result in the synthesis of ATP, which we know is essential for energy production (19). One study showed, that two week supplementation of CoQ10 lead to an increased time to exhaustion (e.g. it took longer for people to become fatigued) (20).

Beef liver is also believed to an 'anti-fatigue' factor. While this factor has yet to be identified, we did write an article about what this 'anti-fatigue' factor could be.

Learn More: The Beef Liver ‘Anti-Fatigue Factor’: 3 Possible Explanations

3. Liver May Promote Vibrant Skin

Beef liver is full of nutrients which may help support the health of your skin.

While there are many, two of the most beneficial are preformed vitamin A and hyaluronic acid.

Vitamin A is one of the most important essential fat soluble vitamins. Is estimated that over 124 million children are vitamin A deficient, which equates to roughly 30% of children globally (21)(22). Vitamin A deficiency is also a concern for adults who consume less vitamin A than young children (23).

Adding to the complexity is that up to 42% of people carry a BCMO1 gene mutation. This makes it difficult for people to convert plant-based beta carotene into active vitamin A (24)(25). This is why some people on a plant based diet can report having dental and skin issues - preformed vitamin A is only accessible through animal foods.

Vitamin A is an essential vitamin for skin health. One meta analysis study found that those with the highest intake of preformed vitamin A but not beta carotene had a 20% reduced risk of melanoma compared to those with low intake (26). In another study, increased daily intake of dietary vitamin A conferred a decreased risk of Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma (27). We also know that topical application of Vitamin A has benefits for wrinkle reduction and reducing the signs of aging. 

100g of beef liver contains multiple times the recommended intake of the active form of vitamin A. Outside of Vitamin A, beef liver and organ meats are the leading dietary source of hyaluronic acid.

Studies have shown that oral intake of hyaluronic acid leads to improvements in skin hydration, wrinkle appearance, skin elasticity and skin roughness (28)(29). Bearing in mind that these studies look at supplementation with there being limited studies on dietary based consumption. 

4. Liver May Support Hair & Nail Health

Beef liver may help support hair and nail health, specifically in women.

This is because it contains biotin and haem iron which are important nutrients for protecting against hair loss and brittle nails.

100g of beef liver supplies over 100% of your RDI for biotin and roughly 1/3rd of your RDI for iron.

One of the main roles of biotin is to produce keratin which is the protein that makes up hair skin and nails.

In one study, 38% of women complaining of hair loss had a biotin deficiency (30). In another study, biotin was found to improve brittle nails following supplementation (31).

Biotin deficiencies are not as common as other nutrients but given the shift towards the western diet this is something to be aware of. Pregnancy, malnutrition (western diet), medications and conditions like IBD are risk factors for low biotin.

Iron is another nutrient which is important for hair health. It is the most common nutrient deficiency, especially amongst women making it difficult to study to connect to different conditions. 

One study looking at women with alopecia, 27.9% of women were iron deficient (32).In another small study, women with hair loss were more deficient than those without hair loss (33). Another large study confirmed a similar result in comparison to healthy controls (34).

Iron also plays an important role in nail health (35).

5. Liver May Support Bones & Dental Health

Beef liver is one of the best sources of vitamin K2 which is only found in animal foods unless you consume natto.

If you are following a western diet, there is a chance you barely get any K2. This is especially concerning given the amount of important roles this vitamin has.

In fact, Vitamin K2 has become so important that studies are now calling for it to have its own RDI away from just a blanket vitamin K intake (36).

K2 helps with calcium management and is needed to prevent vascular calcification (e.g. artery buildup)(37). It helps direct calcium into the bones and any vitamin D supplement should also be taken with K2 (38).

However, one of the main benefits of K2 surrounds bone health. For example, in one recent meta analysis it was shown that K2 significantly reduced (39):

  • Hip fractures by 77%
  • Vertebral fractures by 60%
  • Non-vertebral fractures by 81%

Beef liver also contains Vitamin D and A which together with K2, are 3 nutrients which may help prevent and reverse tooth decay.

Learn More: How 3 Nutrients May Reverse Tooth Decay + 1 Simple Solution

6. Liver May Turbocharge Muscle Growth

Beef liver contains all the nutrients you need for your muscles to grow.

100g of beef liver contains close to 20g of protein and contains all the essential amino acids.

It also is pure protein unlike common protein and BCAA supplements which contain additives, artificial sweeteners and preservatives.

Liver also contains some great cofactors for muscle growth including vitamin A, K2 and large quantities of leucine.

In men for example, vitamin A and K2 have been shown play an important role in producing or enhancing testosterone levels (40)(41)(42).

Likewise, leucine has been shown to be the most potent anabolic amino acid given its ability to activate a certain pathway called mTOR (43)(44).

7. Liver May Improve Detoxification

Beef liver may help improve detoxification given it contains an essential trace mineral called moledendyem.

Close to one serving of beef liver will be provide you with 100% of your RDI for this mineral.

Molybdenum is important because it activates various enzymes which are connected with detoficiation. The most known enzymes include:

  • Sulfite Oxidase: This helps covert sulfite to sulfate which helps prevent the build up of sulfites in the body (45). Sulfites are commonly found in processed foods with some people having a sensitivity.
  • Aldehyde oxidase: Assists in breaking aldhydes which are toxic to humans. Also assists in breaking down alcohol and some drugs (46)(47).
  • Xanthine oxidase: Assists in the conversion of xanthine to uric acid which break down nucleotides (the building blocks of DNA) (48).
  • Mitochondrial amidoxime reducing component (mARC): Yet to be fully understand but may help convert nitric acid into nitric oxid (49).

8. Liver May Support Mood

Liver may help support your mood given it has a large amount of B12, an important nutrient commonly overlooked in mental health pathology.

B12 is produced by bacteria in soil as well as the bacteria in our gut. However, overtime our the health of our soil has detoriated along with the health of our gut. Foods are not as vitamin rich as they used to be which has lead to nutrients like B12 becoming less available.

B12 is incredibly important when it comes to neuronal, brain and mental health. For example, one study showed that women deficient in B12 were 2x more likely to suffer from depression(50). B12 levels are also a good marker for the probability to recover from depressive symptoms (51).

Outside of depression, low B12 levels have also been implicated in:

  • Anxiety (52).
  • OCD (53).
  • Schizophrenia (54).

Liver is one of the richest sources of B12.

B12 cannot be acquired through a plant based diet without supplementation. Meanwhile, traditional factory farmed animals are commonly supplemented with B12 or fortified food given the limited access to wild pastures.

This is why liver from organic, grassfed and pasture raised cattle are best given they have access to grazing lands free of pesticides and agriculture.

Outside of b12, folate has also been heavily linked with mood and mental health conditions (55).

9. Liver May Help Heal The Gut Lining

Gut issues and IBD are on the rise which coincides heavily with the prominence of the western diet.

Beef liver may help with gut issues given it is the most potent whole food source of preformed vitamin A in the world.

While more research is coming out, vitamin A seems to improve gut health for 2 main reasons.

The first is that vitamin A maintains intestinal integrity by improving the tight junctions within the gut lumen (56). In other words, it helps treat leaky gut syndrome - the driver of many chronic illnesses.

The second reason is that vitamin A provides robust support for the immune system within the gut (57).

This makes sense as vitamin A is heavily implicated in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

In one study, it was found that people with Crohn's disease had a higher prevalence of a vitamin A deficiency (58). While another study showed that vitamin A deficiency exacerbates inflammatory colitis (59).

When vitamin A supplementation is added, IBD symptoms seem to improve. In one study, people with ulcerative colitis showed significant improvements in musical healing and disease severity after supplementing with vitamin A for 2 months (60).

Beef liver shines because it provides a rich source of Vitamin A but also other nutrients like B12, which people with IBD are commonly deficient in.

If you want to learn about the health concerns/conditions that health experts are using beef liver to improve then check out: 

Learn: Experts Are Using Beef Liver For These 9 Health Concerns

Sourcing Beef Liver

When looking for high quality liver, opt for organic, grass-fed and finished where possible.

For those who do not want to eat liver in this way, we also off a freeze dried Beef Liver Powder. It is sourced from Central Queensland and is organic, grass-fed and grass finished.

Whatever you choose, getting some liver into your diet is going to help take your health to the next level.

Nahla Earth Beef Liver Supplement


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  2. Ibid.
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  57. Ibid
  58. Soares-Mota, M., Silva, T. A., Gomes, L. M., Pinto, M. A., Mendonça, L. M., Farias, M. L., Nunes, T., Ramalho, A., & Zaltman, C. (2015). High prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in Crohn's disease patients according to serum retinol levels and the relative dose-response test. World journal of gastroenterology, 21(5), 1614–1620.
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  60. Masnadi Shirazi, K., Nikniaz, Z., Masnadi Shirazi, A., & Rohani, M. (2018). Vitamin A supplementation decreases disease activity index in patients with ulcerative colitis: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Complementary therapies in medicine, 41, 215–219. 
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