Discover the Top Benefits of Beef Liver Supplements

Beef liver is a highly nutritious food, serving as one of the best sources of nutrients like vitamin A and iron, among others. However, its taste and texture can be a deterrent to regular consumption. Beef liver supplements are an alternative to obtain similar nutritional benefits of beef liver in a more convenient way. Continue reading to explore the top benefits of beef liver supplements, common concerns, and how to choose the right one for you.

What are beef liver supplements?

Beef liver supplements come from the liver meat of a cow, which has been dried through a process called desiccation, and then ground into a powder for beef liver capsules or tablets. Low-temperature heat or freeze drying are common desiccation processes to help maintain the original nutrient density of beef liver, though some manufacturers may choose to remove the fat of beef liver to create a defatted end product.

In most products, the suggested serving size (3,000 mg of dried beef liver) is nutritionally equivalent to 1 oz of raw beef liver.

4 benefits of beef liver supplements

The nutritional value of beef liver supplements will vary slightly from product to product. However, all beef liver is rich in several essential nutrients, which are helpful for promoting specific health benefits.

1. Rich in vitamin B12

Beef liver contains one of the highest amounts of naturally occurring vitamin B12 — a vitamin important for red blood cell production, nerve function, and DNA production. Vitamin B12 also plays a role in converting food into energy, which makes it a popular choice for those looking for an energy booster or to help fight fatigue.

The recommended daily amount of vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms (mcg), of which a standard serving of beef liver (3 oz) provides nearly 30 times the amount. Fortunately, the risk for vitamin B12 toxicity is low, since excess is removed through urine.

2. Provide significant amounts of vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin found in its highest amounts in foods like liver, fish, eggs, and dairy. It helps promote good vision, a healthy immune system, and normal growth and development.

Vitamin A comes in two different forms:

  • Preformed vitamin A (retinol and retinyl esters) from animal sources, which the body can use right away
  • Provitamin A carotenoids from plant sources, which can be converted to retinol

Beef liver is rich in preformed vitamin A, which includes retinol known for enhancing skin health by reducing signs of aging like uneven skin tone, fine lines, and wrinkles, as well as improving nail health.

Because vitamin A is fat-soluble, your body will store excess amounts, which can lead to toxicity over time. The tolerable upper limit for vitamin A in adults is 3,000 mcg of retinol, which is provided by a single ounce of beef liver.

Signs and symptoms of vitamin A toxicity include severe headache, blurred vision, nausea, dizziness, muscle aches, and coordination difficulty.

3. Packed with iron

Beef liver is also a top source of iron, particularly heme iron, which the body absorbs more efficiently than non-heme iron found in plants. A standard portion size of beef liver contains 6.4 mg of heme iron, providing 36% of the Daily Value.

Iron is an important component of hemoglobin production for red blood cells so that your body is able to carry oxygen. Without enough iron in your diet, you can develop iron deficiency anemia, which is most commonly characterized by fatigue.

4. Contain essential amino acids

A 3-ounce serving of beef liver provides nearly 30 grams of protein, making it an excellent source. Additionally, the building blocks of this protein include 16 out of all 20 available amino acids, and all 9 of the essential amino acids (amino acids that our bodies can only obtain from food). The importance of these nutrients ranges from promoting optimal energy levels and muscle development to encouraging healthy nervous system function and mood.

How to choose the right beef liver supplement

When considering a beef liver supplement, you should consider the following and how it matches your preferences:

  • Where the beef liver has been sourced. Some studies show that grass-fed beef is higher in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
  • If the beef liver is organic versus inorganic. Organic will limit your exposure to pesticides, antibiotics, and growth hormones.
  • If the beef liver has been defatted versus non-defatted. A defatted product has had the fat removed, which can also remove some of the fat-soluble vitamins.
  • How the manufacturer has desiccated the meat. Some use heat, and others use a freeze-drying process. If high heat has been used, it can alter the nutrient density of beef liver.
  • Overall quality. Though tablets and capsules largely make beef liver more palatable, some supplements can contain an undesirable fishy odor.

Potential side effects and considerations

Beef liver supplements are generally safe in moderation. However, due to the high amounts of certain nutrients they provide, they can be a concern for certain populations. Here's when you should limit or avoid beef liver supplements:

  • If you are pregnant. The high amount of vitamin A in beef liver can cause excessive overall intake, which has been linked in studies as a contributor to certain birth defects.
  • If you have gout. People with gout should limit or avoid organ meats, including liver, because of the high purine content. Purine breaks down into uric acid, which can cause episodes of gout in high amounts.

Additionally, it’s always important to remember that dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA prior to market, and therefore may be advertising unsupported nutrient content claims.

As always, before buying or using a dietary supplement, check the product label and manufacturer, and speak with your health care provider about any medications you are taking.

Final words on beef liver supplements

Beef liver supplements can be a great way to enjoy the nutritional benefits of beef liver without the taste. However, certain nutrients like vitamin A can cause adverse health effects if obtained in excessive amounts, particularly for pregnant women. Always check with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement routine to make sure it’s appropriate for you.


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