Beef liver supplements are a great way to get B vitamins, copper, retinol, folate, choline, and other essential vitamins and minerals into your body. Keep reading to discover all the amazing health benefits of beef liver supplements.
I recently wrote an entire post on the health benefits of beef liver – which is sort of like part one of this post.
If you want to learn about the history of beef liver, how to incorporate fresh beef liver into your diet, and the importance of vitamin A (retinol) then I highly recommend you read my previous post – health benefits of beef liver.
Instead of talking about how amazing fresh beef liver is, in this post I wanted to share the health benefits of beef liver supplements and address some of the questions people often have about beef liver supplements/pills.
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I am not a doctor and the statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please do not ask me for medical advice. Click here to read my full disclaimer.
Is Taking Beef Liver Supplements Good For You?
Beef liver supplements can be very good for you. Beef liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It is quite literally nature’s multivitamin and much safer and more effective than a synthetic multivitamin.
Beef liver supplements are an easy and convenient way to get the benefits of beef liver without having to consume fresh beef liver.
Although the nutritional profile of beef liver supplements varies from brand to brand, they typically contain high amounts of vitamin A (retinol), choline, folate, copper, B vitamins, bio-available iron, and more.
Beef Liver Supplement Nutrition Facts
As I mentioned before, the nutritional profile of beef liver supplements varies from brand to brand. Below you’ll find the nutritional profile of one serving size (6 capsules) of one of my favorite beef liver supplements.
Vitamin A – 5099 IU
Retinol – 1385 mcg
Retinol Activity Equivalent – 1391 mcg
Alpha Carotene – 3.1 mcg
Beta Carotene – 65.0 mcg
Beta Cryptoxanthin – 3.6 mcg
Vitamin C – 0.4 mg
Vitamin D – 4.5 IU
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) – 0.1 mg
Vitamin K – 0.9 mcg
Thiamin – 0.1 mg
Riboflavin – 0.8 mg
Niacin – 3.7 mg
Vitamin B6 – 0.3 mg
Folate – 81.2 mcg
Vitamin B12 – 14 mcg
Pantothenic Acid – 2.0 mg
Choline – 120 mg Calcium – 1.4 mg
Heme Iron – 2.2 mg
Magnesium – 5.0 mg
Phosphorus – 108 mg
Potassium – 87.6 mg
Sodium – 19.3 mg
Zinc – 1.1 mg
Copper – 2.7 mg
Manganese – 0.1 mg
Selenium – 11.1 mcg
The nutritional profile above is what you’d expect to find in about an ounce of fresh beef liver that you’d get from your local farmer.
Health Benefits of Beef Liver Supplements
The health benefits of beef liver supplements are the same as consuming fresh beef liver. The vitamins (specifically vitamin A) and minerals in beef liver pills can help to improve your health in the following ways.
Beef Liver Pills May Improve Eye Health
The vitamin A in beef liver pills may help to improve eye health. Vitamin A helps to protect the eye. It can help to reduce the risk of vision loss and macular degeneration.
Vitamin A deficiency can cause dry eye, night blindness, and even complete blindness. Vitamin A is essential for eye health.
Beef Liver Pills May Help to Improve Thyroid Function
The vitamin A in beef liver pills may also help to improve thyroid function. There have been many studies done on the connection between vitamin A and thyroid function.
Vitamin A is required for the activation of thyroid hormone receptors and has been shown to regulate thyroid hormone metabolism.
Beef Liver May Help to Improve Liver Function
Beef liver pills are beneficial to the human liver due to their abundance of B vitamins.
B vitamins are needed for phases 1 and 2 of liver detoxification and B vitamins also help to protect the liver.
Beef Liver Pills May Help to Improve Various Skin Conditions
If you want clearer, healthier, younger skin then you need beef liver pills! Vitamin A is an antioxidant and it helps to protect skin cells from oxidative stress.
Beef liver pills are also amazing for other skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
Accutane, which is used to treat acne is a synthetic form of vitamin A. It definitely helps to combat acne but unfortunately not without very negative side effects.
Addressing the issue with real vitamin A is a much safer solution.
But keep in mind that some skin conditions like acne can get worse before they get better when beef liver pills are first introduced.
Beef Liver Pills May Help to Increase Energy
Beef liver pills are loaded with B vitamins which convert food energy into chemical energy for your cells.
Beef liver pills contain B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12. Supplementing with beef liver pills is a safe and natural way to increase your overall energy.
Beef liver pills can also help to strengthen your bones, promote healthy hormones, strengthen your immune system, and so much more!
Beef Liver Supplements VS Fresh Beef Liver
Many people don’t like the idea of consuming fresh beef liver and I don’t blame them. I felt the same exact way about consuming beef liver when it was first suggested to me.
I consumed beef liver pills for about a year before I gave fresh beef liver a try. So let’s discuss the differences between fresh beef liver and beef liver supplements.
Beef liver supplements are typically more expensive than fresh beef liver. You’ll get more bang for your buck if you consume fresh beef liver.
The beef liver supplements I used to consume (and still consume from time to time) are around $35. They contain 180 capsules and one serving is 6 capsules.
There are approximately 30 servings in one bottle and each serving is equivalent to one ounce of fresh beef liver. So that means each serving (1 ounce) is around $1.16.
Fresh beef liver is around $12 for a pound/16 ounces. So that makes each one ounce serving $.75.
Not a huge difference but it definitely adds up over time. Especially if more than one person in your household is consuming beef liver on a regular basis.
Beef liver capsules are an extremely convenient way to get the health benefits of beef liver. There’s no cooking and no mess of any kind involved. You can also take them with you easily whenever you are on the go or traveling.
Fresh beef liver involves prep work and/or cooking. It’s definitely not as convenient as beef liver pills and you can’t really take it with you when you are on the go.
Many people do not like the flavor and/or texture of fresh beef liver. Beef liver supplements are a great option for those people.
In my opinion, beef liver supplements don’t have much of a taste at all.
Fresh beef liver can be an acquired taste for some – although there are people who really enjoy it.
With that being said, I consume fresh beef liver and I don’t taste it all.
I cut the raw beef liver into very small pieces and freeze it. When I’m ready to consume the beef liver I thaw a few pieces in cold water in the fridge. After it fully thaws I swallow it like a pill and wash it down with some OJ.
You can click here for step-by-step directions on exactly how I do it.
In my opinion and experience, there is no difference in health benefits from taking beef liver supplements vs fresh beef liver.
I started out just taking beef liver supplements and I didn’t notice any difference in the health benefits (either good or bad) when I switched to fresh beef liver.
I switched to fresh beef liver because I thought I would experience more health benefits but I honestly didn’t notice any difference.
I stuck with fresh beef liver because it saved me money.
Freeze-Dried Beef Liver VS Desiccated Beef Liver
When shopping for a beef liver supplement you might notice some are labeled as freeze-dried and some are labeled as desiccated. And some are labeled with both.
Desiccated typically means the beef liver is dehydrated with heat. The heat can break down the nutrients which is obviously a bad thing.
Instead of using heat, freeze-drying uses cold temperatures to dry out the liver. This helps to retain the majority of the vitamins and minerals that are in the beef liver.
But with that being said, some beef liver supplement brands use the term desiccated to simply refer to dried liver. Not necessarily beef liver dried with heat.
So if the brand uses both terms to describe its beef liver you can rest assured that it was freeze-dried and no heat was used.
How to Choose a Beef Liver Supplement
It’s really important to choose a high-quality beef liver supplement. Below is a list of things to consider before purchasing a beef liver supplement.
- liver should come from cows that are grass-fed and grass-finished
- liver should come from cows that are pasture-raised
- the pasture the cows graze from should be pesticide free
- liver should come from cows that are free of hormones and antibiotics
- liver pills should be free of fillers/additives
- liver pills should be 100% freeze-dried
- liver pills should be third-party tested for purity
Any company that is honest and trustworthy will be transparent about the liver that is sourced for its liver supplements. This type of information should be easily found on their company website or the product page.
Best Beef Liver Supplements
Below are several brands that meet the criteria above and that I have personally used and that I highly recommend.
Ancestral Supplements Scandal
Recently one of the owners of Ancestral Supplements, Brian Johnson aka the liver king, was involved in somewhat of a scandal.
It was discovered that he had been taking anabolic steroids. Many people were upset over this because he claimed his muscly appearance was due to living an ancestral lifestyle and consuming beef liver.
I 100% do not condone Brian’s actions and I think what he did is totally wrong. I also think it was pretty obvious he was on steroids. I’ve had my suspicions ever since I first laid eyes on the guy.
But with all that being said I still think Ancestral Supplements are amazing. I don’t think Brian’s actions affect the quality of the company’s products in any way.
And I personally have no problem continuing to use Ancestral Supplements.
Best Time of Day to Take Beef Liver Supplements
I personally believe the best time of day to take beef liver supplements is in the early morning or around noon. In my experience beef liver supplements can give you a burst of energy.
Taking beef liver supplements early in the day will help avoid disrupted sleep.
With that being said, every person’s body is different and just because I and many others experience a burst of energy doesn’t mean you will.
If you discover they don’t seem to have that same effect on you then you would be fine taking beef liver supplements at any point in the day.
Can You Take Beef Liver Capsules on an Empty Stomach?
Most people will do just fine taking beef liver capsules on an empty stomach. But if you have low stomach acid or require any type of digestive support you would probably benefit from consuming beef liver capsules with a meal.
Eating a meal will help to stimulate digestive secretions such as HCL and bile which will help your body to break down and absorb the nutrients in the liver pills.
Can You Take Beef Liver Pills Everyday?
Most people can take beef liver pills daily without any issues. But once again every person’s body is different.
Beef liver capsules contain very high amounts of copper and vitamin A both of which can create toxicity in the body if consumed in excess.
I’ve taken beef liver supplements and consumed fresh beef liver almost daily for a few years now and haven’t had any issues.
But with that being said I do believe I was extremely deficient in vitamin A and copper prior to consuming beef liver on a regular basis.
I also spend a lot of time in the sun which increases my need for vitamin A.
So it really just depends on how vitamin and mineral deficient you are, the amount of vitamin A and copper you are consuming from other sources, how much time you spend in the sun, and the amount of beef liver you are consuming.
It’s important to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of hypervitaminosis A and pay close attention to how you feel whenever you consume beef liver supplements.
How Often Should You Take Beef Liver Pills?
You should take beef liver pills as often as needed and the amount needed will vary from person to person.
Once again it’s important to pay attention to how you feel and listen to your body.
As I mentioned before, I’ve taken beef liver supplements and consumed fresh beef liver almost daily for a few years now and haven’t had any issues.
Although last winter I noticed I was feeling a little off and I looked kind of sickly. I stopped the beef liver along with all my other supplements for a few weeks to see if it was connected.
Once the weather started to warm back up I began spending more time in the sun and I eventually reintroduced my supplements and beef liver back into my daily routine and I started to feel great again.
I’m not sure if what just a fluke or if maybe my vitamin A needs had decreased since I wasn’t spending as much time in the sun and I was overdoing it with the beef liver.
My main point is you have to listen to your body. A random stranger on the internet is going to be able to tell you the exact amount of beef liver supplements you should take every day or how long you should take them for.
If you want personalized advice regarding how much beef liver you should take and for how long I recommend getting a full monty iron panel and finding a practitioner to analyze the results for you.
That way you can get a clear picture of what’s going on internally in regard to your copper and vitamin A status.
Can You Take Too Much Liver Supplements?
I know there are a lot of people who would probably disagree with me but I do think it is possible to take too much liver supplements.
But the amount considered too much will vary from person to person.
I know I sound like a broken record but you have to listen to your body. The human body is amazing and it speaks to us through symptoms.
So don’t ignore your body. Pay attention to it and listen to it.
Every person’s body is different and I don’t believe there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to health and nutrition.
Each person has different deficiencies, infections, genetic mutations, and other situations going on inside their body which might affect their need and tolerance for beef liver.
Side Effects of Beef Liver Supplements
Some people may experience negative side effects from taking beef liver supplements. Side effects can be due to one or several of the following conditions.
Extreme Mineral Deficiency
Mineral deficiency actually leads to heavy metal toxicity. If your body is not getting the minerals it needs it will begin to absorb less desirable elements such as heavy metals.
For example, if you don’t have enough calcium in your diet, the lead will begin to accumulate in your bones instead.
Also without sufficient magnesium in the diet, aluminum will begin to accumulate in the brain.
When you have an abundance of heavy metals in the body and a lack of essential minerals, those heavy metals will begin to displace certain minerals.
But the good news is when you have adequate amounts of essential minerals coming into the body they will compete with the heavy metals and displace them.
Eventually, the heavy metals will be excreted from the body.
This is a good thing but it doesn’t means it is without some possible negative side effects.
Detoxing heavy metals from the body can cause negative side effects such as diarrhea, headaches, and fatigue.
Beef liver contains an abundance of minerals so it is a very real possibility that one might experience detox symptoms when they first start supplementing with beef liver.
Histamine intolerance occurs when the body develops too much histamine.
Symptoms of histamine intolerance include:
- Nasal congestion
Diamine oxidase (DAO) is the enzyme responsible for breaking down histamines. DAO deficiency usually leads to histamine intolerance.
Beef liver can trigger a histamine response in some people.
Many people who experience negative side effects from beef liver tend to blame the beef liver but they fail to realize the side effects are most likely due to histamine intolerance caused by a DAO deficiency.
Beef liver pills contain very high amounts of copper. Copper is essential for good health. It metabolizes iron, forms enzymes that produce energy, builds connective tissue, and so much more!
But too much can be a bad thing.
Symptoms of copper toxicity include:
- stomach pain
- nausea and vomiting
- blue- or green-colored stool
- dark, sticky stool containing blood
- and more!
You can click here for more information regarding copper toxicity.
With that being said, retinol is essential for copper metabolism. Often times high copper is due to a lack of retinol in the diet.
Without retinol, copper remains inactive and builds up in the body. Retinol is essential for loading copper into ceruloplasmin which is its active form.
If you have symptoms of copper toxicity or confirmed copper toxicity you would probably benefit from cod liver oil rather than beef liver supplements.
Cod liver oil is rich in vitamin A (retinol) like beef liver but doesn’t contain nearly as much copper.
It is my understanding that vitamin A toxicity is most commonly caused by synthetic vitamin A supplements and not whole-food supplements rich in vitamin A.
But with that being said vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and it can accumulate in the liver and fat tissue over time.
So although I do believe most people have a high need for vitamin A, I also believe there still may be a possibility of developing vitamin A toxicity from food-based supplementation.
If you begin to experience negative side effects from taking beef liver supplements it is important to identify the reason why. I would recommend stopping supplementation until you find out what is causing the negative side effects.
If side effects are due to extreme mineral deficiencies and heavy metal toxicity they will subside over time. But if they are due to copper or vitamin A toxicity they will continue to get worse.
I would recommend working with a healthcare professional to figure out what is going on.
Tips for Taking Beef Liver Supplements
My philosophy when it comes to eating new foods or taking new supplements is to go low and slow.
Start with a very small dosage /amount and increase gradually over a long period of time. This approach helps the body adapt and minimizes possible negative side effects.
When I first started taking beef liver supplements I started with just one capsule a day. I eventually worked up to two a day and then three a day and so and so on.
Increasing DAO in your body will help you to better tolerate beef liver supplements.
If you struggle to tolerate beef liver supplements and it’s not related to vitamin A toxicity or histamine intolerance you could try a different brand or try fresh beef liver.
With all of that being said, beef liver supplements are not for everybody. I personally believe the people who experience the most health benefits from beef liver supplements are those who are extremely vitamin and mineral deficient.
And not everyone is extremely vitamin and mineral deficient.
I hope you enjoyed this post about the health benefits of beef liver supplements. Please let me know if you have any questions!