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

There is no denying that people feel amazing eating liver.

Some people describe it as giving them an untapped amount of energy.

People on Reddit even go as far as saying that liver gives them a feeling of euphoria.

This has led many people to attribute liver as having this unidentified ‘anti fatigue factor’.

This anti fatigue factor was first coined in a study which found that rats who consumed liver powder could swim for longer durations of time than rats who just consumed regular diets with added or fortified vitamins (1).

While this study on face value did show the benefits of consuming liver powder, it most likely missed the mark by attributing the benefit to this unknown ‘anti fatigue factor’. 

Instead, it was more likely that the benefit from beef liver powder was the result of the rats having adequate iron compared to the other rats, who were most likely anaemic.

Which then begs the question, does liver actually have an unidentified ‘anti-fatigue factor’? Or is it just folklore? Our tribal ancestors were certainly drawn to liver.

We believe that Liver does have this factor but that there are 3 plausible explanations for this extra anti fatigue factor benefit people describe.

1. Beef Liver Is Correcting Nutrient Deficiencies (e.g. Iron)

The reason people may feel so great on beef liver is that it is correcting long standing nutrient deficiencies and giving people the nutrients they need to actually feel great.

Beef liver is considered nature's multivitamin because it contains almost all of the nutrients humans need to perform at their best.

It is why our tribal ancestors always consumed the liver first before any other organ. It was the most nutrient dense food available to them and they knew it.

For many people, the one nutrient deficiency beef liver might be correcting is anaemia or an iron deficiency which naturally causes people to have low energy and feel chronically fatigued.

Beef liver is a concentrated source of haem iron but also all of the iron cofactors needed for iron absorption and utilisation. This includes B12, Folate, Vitamin A and even Choline (2)(3)(4)(5)(6).

A B12 deficiency is also another common cause of fatigue, brain fog and low energy which is also a vitamin heavily linked with conditions like low iron and pernicious anaemia.

Therefore, it is plausible that beef livers ‘anti fatigue factor’ is its ability to simply correct common nutrient deficiencies in people.

2. Beef Liver Contains Liver Specific Peptides

People in the ancestral nutrition community often talk about how they support it. For example, eating beef liver supports human liver.

While there is little scientific evidence to support this notion, it does make plausible sense.

Many people will put down beef livers benefits to its comprehensive vitamin profile. However, it is also plausible that many of beef livers ‘anti-fatigue factor’ benefits may be the result of consuming liver specific peptides such as:

  • Hepcidin Peptide - Antimicrobial Peptide involved in biliary health and iron metabolism (7)
  • Ergothioneine Peptide - Natural antioxidant against stress related conditions (8)
  • Liver Expressed Antimicrobial Peptide (LEAP-2) - Anti obesity potential (9)
  • Adiponectin - Immune and metabolism protective peptide (10).
  • Cytochrome P450 - Detoxification of BPA (11)(12)(13).

Many of these peptides have benefits relating to immunity, iron absorption, glucose metabolism, detoxification + more.

It is plausible the extra ‘anti fatigue factor’ you feel when eating liver comes from getting these additional peptides.

3. Beef Liver Contains CoQ10 (Anti Fatigue Nutrient)

Beef Liver is one of the most concentrated sources of CoQ10 which plays an essential role in energy levels.

One of the primary functions of CoQ10 is to support mitochondrial function as well as making ATP, which is essential for providing energy in humans (14)(15)(16).

CoQ10 is often not talked about when people talking about the benefits in beef liver which is why it could be another plausible explanation for beef liver's anti fatigue factor.

In Summary

It is clear that beef liver is an amazing wholefood for providing you with next level energy.

When looking to purchase beef liver, ensure that it comes from an organic, grass fed or grass finished source.

Or if cooking or eating beef liver is not for you, then perhaps try a freeze dried beef liver which is the next best thing.

We offer an organic, grass fed and grass finished beef liver powder sourced from the rich grazing lands of Central Queensland.

You can learn more about it here if you’re interested.


  1. ERSHOFF B. H. (1951). Beneficial effect of liver feeding on swimming capacity of rats in cold water. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine (New York, N.Y.), 77(3), 488–491.
  2. da Cunha, M., Campos Hankins, N. A., & Arruda, S. F. (2019). Effect of vitamin A supplementation on iron status in humans: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 59(11), 1767–1781.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Juarez-Vazquez, J., Bonizzoni, E., & Scotti, A. (2002). Iron plus folate is more effective than iron alone in the treatment of iron deficiency anaemia in pregnancy: a randomised, double blind clinical trial. BJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology, 109(9), 1009–1014.
  5. Carmel, R., Weiner, J. M., & Johnson, C. S. (1987). Iron deficiency occurs frequently in patients with pernicious anemia. JAMA, 257(8), 1081–1083.
  6. Bruce C. Kennedy, Jiva G. Dimova, Asha J. M. Siddappa, Phu V. Tran, Jonathan C. Gewirtz, Michael K. Georgieff, Prenatal Choline Supplementation Ameliorates the Long-Term Neurobehavioral Effects of Fetal-Neonatal Iron Deficiency in Rats, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 144, Issue 11, November 2014, Pages 1858–1865,
  7. Strnad, P., Schwarz, P., Rasenack, M. C., Kucukoglu, O., Habib, R. I., Heuberger, D., Ehehalt, R., Müller, M. W., Stiehl, A., Adler, G., & Kulaksiz, H. (2011). Hepcidin is an antibacterial, stress-inducible peptide of the biliary system. PloS one, 6(1), e16454.
  8. Fu, T. T., & Shen, L. (2022). Ergothioneine as a Natural Antioxidant Against Oxidative Stress-Related Diseases. Frontiers in pharmacology, 13, 850813.
  9. Lu, X., Huang, L., Huang, Z., Feng, D., Clark, R. J., & Chen, C. (2021). LEAP-2: An Emerging Endogenous Ghrelin Receptor Antagonist in the Pathophysiology of Obesity. Frontiers in endocrinology, 12, 717544.
  10. Gamberi, T., Magherini, F., Modesti, A., & Fiaschi, T. (2018). Adiponectin Signaling Pathways in Liver Diseases. Biomedicines, 6(2), 52.
  11. Arinç, E., & Celik, H. (2002). Biochemical characteristics of purified beef liver NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase. Journal of biochemical and molecular toxicology, 16(6), 286–297.
  12. Amjad, S., Rahman, M. S., & Pang, M. G. (2020). Role of Antioxidants in Alleviating Bisphenol A Toxicity. Biomolecules, 10(8), 1105.
  13. Nakamura, S., Tezuka, Y., Ushiyama, A., Kawashima, C., Kitagawara, Y., Takahashi, K., Ohta, S., & Mashino, T. (2011). Ipso substitution of bisphenol A catalyzed by microsomal cytochrome P450 and enhancement of estrogenic activity. Toxicology letters, 203(1), 92–95.
  14. Gül, I., Gökbel, H., Belviranli, M., Okudan, N., Büyükbaş, S., & Başarali, K. (2011). Oxidative stress and antioxidant defense in plasma after repeated bouts of supramaximal exercise: the effect of coenzyme Q10. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 51(2), 305–312.
  15. Garrido-Maraver, J., Cordero, M. D., Oropesa-Ávila, M., Fernández Vega, A., de la Mata, M., Delgado Pavón, A., de Miguel, M., Pérez Calero, C., Villanueva Paz, M., Cotán, D., & Sánchez-Alcázar, J. A. (2014). Coenzyme q10 therapy. Molecular syndromology, 5(3-4), 187–197.
  16. Saini R. (2011). Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient. Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences, 3(3), 466–467.
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