This is not your average organ meat guide Everything you need to know about organ meat is in this guide. You’ll learn why organ meat is one of the most nutritious foods on this planet.
I do believe in the mantra – “Food is medicine”.
Talk to people eating organ meat on a daily basis or taking organ supplements. Phrases “More Energy”, “Body Healed”,”Healed Faster”, “Focus”, etc. are echoed repeatedly. It shows how nutritionally depleted we are. And it can be fixed!
You see how our population is living day by day in an unhealthy manner. We rely too much on the quick fix. Feel tired? Drink an energy drink loaded with an insane amount of caffeine and sugar. Still tired? Have another one!
You on the other hand realize there needs to be a change. Nutrient dense foods like organ meat provide a wide spectrum of vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, minerals and cofactors.
The 3 popular organ meats are liver, heart and kidney followed by eye, brains, spleen, trachea, lungs, tripe (stomach), testicles,etc. Pretty much most organs are edible for the adventurous.
For beginners, start with liver and then expand to heart and kidneys.
Then challenge your mind and venture out. The exotic organs have been prepped for thousands of years. I am confident that each organ can be prepared to your liking.
Organ meat is popular in cultures outside the modern western world. But it’s making its way back to the west.
Native Americans and other indigenous cultures prized their organ meat. Even taking the time to scrape out the nutritious bone marrow while they fed their dogs the muscle meat!
The natives used organ meat for couples planning to have a child. They prepare the future parents by increasing their organ meat consumption to increase their health and the baby’s.
Remember how your doctor would recommend to take folic acid? Guess which food has the highest concentrate of Folate? Liver.
Today, organ meat is making a comeback, fueled by the fast growing Paleo / Carnivore Diet community along with the accessibility – you can find organ meats at Whole Foods in the USA where traditionally you would need to visit specialty butcher shops.
Question: Which organ meat is loaded with Vitamin C?
Answer: Adrenal Glands. Native Americans used them as a Vitamin C source during winters.
I wish people would understand how nutrient dense organ meat is compared to spinach and kale.
Liver is a nutrient powerhouse rich in vitamins A, D, K, Iron, Phosphorus, Copper, Selenium and Choline. If you take only one thing from this article - add liver to your weekly diet.
Let’s not forget about the vitamin B complex: B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B7 (biotin), B9 (folate) and B12.
Nowadays B12 gets the limelight with the trendy B12 shots that helps with energy and immunity.
Organ meat is one of the richest sources for Vitamin B. Why get the synthetic version?
Each organ has unique nutrients or minerals that other organs do not have. For example, CoQ10 found in hearts.
Liver is a great go to organ when starting out. Unlike the green drinks, liver has BOTH fat soluble vitamins (A, D, K and E) and water soluble vitamins (Vitamin B complex).
Today, research show how vitamins work better together. Each vitamin and nutrients functions its individual uniqueness while providing a support function for others. For example, Vitamin C helps with immunity. Combine with other vitamins that do the same (Vitamin D and B) and your body benefits exponentially.
Question: Is a 100mg Vitamin C capsule has the same potency as getting the same 100mg from whole food?
Answer: Not at all.
A lab created vitamin is drastically different from a natural source. Going natural is the best source for vitamins. You are guaranteed a high quality bioavailable source.
It’s all about the bioavailability. How much is actually absorbed by the body. Don’t forget the co-factors and the macro and micronutrients you get from a natural food source that you won’t find in a vitamin capsule.
You cannot beat the nutrient density found in organ meat. Below is a chart that summarizes each vitamin’s nutrient profile followed by a detailed explanation.
Main Function – Fat-soluble Antioxidant that fights free radicals damage. Provided immune support ranging from colds to autoimmune diseases. (1)
Provides body with protection from several diseases associated with inflammation and oxidative stress.
Eye Health - Vitamin A shown to help with eye health and consumed on a regular basis may lower the risk of macular degeneration (1), one of the leading causes of vision loss.
Skin Health - Helps keep skin smooth and tight. (1)
Birth Defects - Vitamin A is needed to prevent birth defects. It's needed for embryonic development and organ formation during fetal development. (1)
Brain Health - Helps with memory storage and recovery. Improves plasticity, which helps the brain’s neural systems adapt to broad and constantly changing environmental conditions. (1)
It’s part of the fat-soluble vitamins trifecta – Vitamins A, D and K, that helps the body absorb and utilize minerals better.
Organ Meats With High Vitamin A: Liver has the highest, Kidneys have some
Main Function – An antioxidant that helps with bone building, blood clotting, protein activation just to name a few. The vitamin is fairly new and needs more research by the medical community as its benefits are pigeonholed due to the lack of academic research and interest.
Blood Clotting – Activates proteins to help with the process.
Mitochondria – Promotes energy production for the cell’s mitochondria. The mitochondria are the cell membranes that produces energy in the form of ATP.(6) ATP powers the cell that includes synthesis of macromolecules including DNA and RNA.
Bone and Heart Health – Calcium supplementation for bone health may pose a risk for calcification in the heart’s arteries. Taking the right amount of K2 has shown to lower vascular damage risk by preventing calcium deposits on the artery’s walls.(7)
Depression – A small study shows that Vitamin K2 helps with depression and anxiety.(7)
Fat Soluble Vitamin - It’s part of the fat-soluble vitamins trifecta – Vitamins A, D and K that helps the body absorb and utilize minerals better.
Note: Vitamin K1 is found in plants and Vitamin K2 in animals. Researchers believe K2 is absorbed better because it’s a fat-soluble vitamin.
Organ Meats With High Vitamin K2: Beef Liver and Spleen with Kidney, Pancreas and Heart a close second.
Main Function – A mineral used to make hemoglobin, a red blood cell protein that carries oxygen throughout the body.
Iron Types - Non-Heme Iron comes mostly from plants. Heme Iron comes from meats, which also have non-heme iron.(8)
Muscle Energy - Iron is used to make myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles to help meet their high energy demands. Also used for hormone production.(8)
Iron Deficiency Anemia – Prevents one of the most common global deficiencies. Symptoms are: weakness or tired, brain fog, immune issues, body temperature issues and swollen tongue.(8)
Note: Please regulate your iron intake, too much can cause issues.
Organ Meats With High Iron: Spleen, Liver, Heart and Kidney
Bone Health – Helps with the formation of bones and teeth.(9)
Cell Repair – Helps the body make protein for growth along with cell and tissue repair.(9)
ATP – Helps with ATP, the basis for the body’s energy production.
B Vitamin Complex – Helps in kidney function, muscle contractions, normal heartbeat and nerve signaling.(9)
Organ Meats With High Phosphorus by order: Beef Liver, with the rest of organ meats a close second. The Bone complex (marrow, bone and cartilage) is a good source for phosphorous.
Main Function - Categorized as an essential nutrient for cell growth and fetal development. Most adult Americans are deficient. Other than pregnant women, most people don’t experience any adverse health effects.
Cell Growth and Preservation – Choline helps produce key components for cell growth and maintenance.(12)
Memory - Choline plays a key role in memory function and overall brain health. A study shows young labs rats with reduced choline levels performed poorly as older lab rats. And older lab rats with choline supplementation performed as well as young mice.(12)
Fetal Development – Choline helps manage the stem cells’ life cycle and the embryo’s brain development. It appears it helps to decrease the risk of neural tube defects.(13)
Organ Health - A study showed healthy adults subjected to a deprived choline diet where 78% of them developed signs of organ dysfunction – fatty liver or muscle damage. The damage was reversed with a high choline diet.(13)
Breast Feeding – Choline demand is high during pregnancy and lactation. Sometimes the high demand for choline exceeds the body’s supply capability. Thus why choline intake during these times are increased.(13)
Organ Meats With High Choline: Liver with Kidney, Spleen, Heart and Pancreas all a close second.
Main Function - A trace mineral, if eating a balanced diet, you should be getting your daily intake. Copper deficiency is uncommon.(14)
Connective tissue synthesis
Organ Meats With High Copper: Liver
Main Function – A trace mineral where most people do not have a Selenium deficiency. One of its main purpose is to create antioxidants. (15)
Reproduction Function (16)
Thyroid Health (16)
DNA Synthesis (16)
Protect Body from heavy metals poisoning (16)
Organ Meats With High Selenium: Liver
Vitamin B (General Overview)
The Vitamin B complex comprises of 8 water-soluble vitamins and each function serves a specific purpose. Because these are water-soluble, the body stores a small amount and these vitamins need daily replenishment.
The vitamin B complex helps with energy generation, DNA / RNA generation and repair, brain function and immune support. This is why you see those popular B12 shots popularized everywhere promising an energy boost and immunity support.
The below section shows you that ALL of the Vitamin B complex is important and work together.
The 8 Vitamins Are:
B1 – Thiamin
B2 – Riboflavin
B3 – Niacin
B5 – Pantothenic Acid
B6 – Pyridoxine
B7 – Biotin
B9 – Folate
B12 - Cyanocobalamin
Organ Meats with High Vitamin B – There isn’t one organ meat that dominates in terms of Vitamin B concentration. A combination of Liver, Heart and Kidney will give you adequate coverage. If you had to pick one, go with Liver.
B1 – Thiamin
Energy - Helps convert carbohydrates into energy and plays a role in muscle contraction and delivery of nerve signals. (17)
Brain Health - Research has shown that thiamin deficiency can lead to cognitive decline caused by oxidative stress of nerve cells, memory loss and reduce glucose metabolism which are risk factors to Alzheimer’s. (18)
Eye Health – A study shows Thiamin’s relationship with eye health – higher levels of B1 decreased participants chances for cataracts. (19)
B2 – Riboflavin
Helps in red blood cell production, body growth and energy production. (20)
Vitamin Conversion - It acts as a catalyst for Vitamin B6 and folate by changing them into forms that the body can use. (22)
Eye Health - Early studies show that B2 is important to eye health and may prevent cataracts. (22)
B3 – Niacin
Niacin helps with nerve function, skin maintenance, digestive system and converting food into energy (ATP) for cell to utilize. (23)
Enzymes - The body relies on B3 for over 400 enzymes. (24)
B5 – Pantothenic Acid
Hair Health - Different forms of Pantothenic Acid is used in commercial products. A study shows it may help prevent thinning hair. (26)
B6 – Pyridoxine
Makes antibodies to help fight diseases and help maintain nerve function. (27)
Brain Health - Studies show that B6 combined with other B vitamins help with cognitive functions. (28) It plays a major role in protein metabolism.
Studies demonstrated a correlation between vitamin B6 and cognitive function in the elderly. The Boston Normative Aging Study found a relation between higher serum vitamin B6 concentrations and better memory test scores in 70 men aged 54–81 years. (29)
Enzymes - The body relies on B6 for over 100 enzymes reactions. (30)
Red Blood Cells - Helps with red blood cell creation. (31)
B7 – Biotin
Hair Health - There is a general perception that biotin helps make hair healthier and nails stronger. There are small studies that show nail improvement but not enough for consensus. It does help with hair loss if you are biotin deficient. (34)
B9 – Folate
Research shows that folate deficiency is highly prevalent. The deficiency is linked to cancer, anemia, cardiovascular diseases and neural tube defect during pregnancy. (35)
Pregnancy – Help with embryo neurological development and helps prevent neural tube defect that is a birth defect to the brain or spine. (36)
Mental Health – Study shows that people with low folate levels may be more likely to have depression. (36)
Heart Health – Low Folic acid levels are linked to lower homocysteine in the blood. This amino acid is linked to higher heart disease risk. Other studies show that folic acid along with other B vitamins helps prevent stroke. (36)
Note: There is a difference between Folate and Folic acid. Folate is naturally occurring that you find in foods. Folic acid is synthesized and fortified into foods like cereal. It’s recommended to take the natural source – Folate. (37)
B12 – Cyanocobalamin
Helps in the formation of red blood cell and supports the central nervous system. (38)
DNA - Helps with DNA formation
Prevents Anemia - Prevents megaloblastic anemia. (39) This is when red blood cells are larger than normal.
Immune System / Energy – B12 helps in boosting the immune system and the body’s energy levels.
Deficiency - People are getting enough B12 via diet, the issue is absorption, up to 15% of the population have this issue. (40) People over 50 are one of the susceptible groups for deficiency.
CoQ10- It’s one of the main engine drivers for cell growth, energy and maintenance and acts as a naturally antioxidant produced by the body. (41) CoQ10 production decreases as you age.
Heart Health - Studies show that CoQ10 helps improve congestive heart failure symptoms and may reduce blood pressure. (42)
Parkinson - Research also shows that it may help people with Parkinson disease – a nervous system disorder that affects movement. (42)
Athleticism - CoQ10 supplementation is shown to improve physical performance, but more studies are need for further clarity. (42)
Antioxidant - The fat-soluble’s antioxidant characteristics have taken interest by the medical community. For kidney disease, oxidative stress is a major contributor in diabetic kidney disease. Some studies show that high amounts of CoQ10 help in reducing oxidative stress. The study is small and more research is needed for conclusive evidence. (43)
Inflammation - Diseases related to chronic, low-grade inflammation as also known as metabolic diseases are known to respond well to CoQ10. For example, patients with rheumatoid arthritis received 100 mg/day of CoQ10 for 2 months saw improvement. (43)
Vitamin D –
Main Function –
Long known to help with bone development and improve the body’s absorption of calcium and phosphorous. (44)
The Vitamin is getting a second look on how it helps with your immune system. (45)
Helps with -
Cancer – Research shows that Vitamin D along with Calcium may helps prevent certain cancers such as colon, prostate and breast cancer. Still more studies are needed to formulate a direct benefit because there are some studies that show a benefit and others that do not. (46)(47)
Cognitive health – One small dementia study shows that Vitamin D helps with cognitive health. (46)
Sclerosis – Long-term vitamin D supplementation helps reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis. (46)
Osteoporosis – Helps prevents the loss in bone density. (46)
Muscle Function – Increased vitamin D levels increased protein synthesis and ARP concentration which leads to increase in physical performance. (48)
Inflammation – Studies show that it helps with reduced muscle inflammation. (48)
Depression – Studies are showing that depression and low Vitamin D are linked together. (49)
Immunity – At the time this article was written, the Corona Virus (COVID-19) has become a global concern and the interest for immunity fortification increased drastically. In the Naturopathic world, the medical doctors were promoting Vitamin D as an important immunity contributor. And studies show Vitamin D’s direct relationship to immunity functions and the reduction in cold and flu. (50) (51)
Vitamin D Absorption Factors
Geography Dependant - There are a lot of factors that affects your vitamin D levels:(52)
Where you live: Northern parts (areas north of 37 degrees latitude) tend to have limited sunlight exposure.
Age – Older you get the less ability that your skin has to produce vitamin D. People over 65 generate 75% less vitamin D than they did in their 20s.
Skin Color – Darker the skin color usually means you have lower vitamin D levels.
Weight – Vitamin is stored in fat, thus obese people has less vitamin D circulating in the blood stream.
Vitamin D Deficiency problem
Getting vitamin D just from your food source is not sufficient. Supplementation is recommended. Staying indoors, pollution, time of day, age and geographically location are contributing factors in Vitamin D absorption. Studies show that the average American diet get very little of the 4,000 – 5,000 IU of D3 everyday. (53)
Over 75% Caucasian and over 90% of African Americans and Latinos are Vitamin D deficient. (54)
The trend is not looking promising – deficiency rates have doubled from 1994 to 2004. (54)
Recommended Intake for adults is 600 IU for Vitamin D and 800 IU for adults over 70 years old. There are other experts who recommend 1,500 to 2,000 IU. (55)
Difference between D2 and D3
The common Vitamin D types are D2 and D3
D2 – Known as ergocalciferol and comes from plants such as mushrooms grown in UV light and fortified foods.
D3 – Known as cholecalciferol and comes from animals such as oily fish, liver, egg yolk and butter
Organ Meats With High Vitamin D3: Liver has traces of vitamin D. The best is fish eggs. Or you can supplement your diet with cod liver, trout, salmon to get your full daily Vitamin D.
You also can get Vitamin D through bone marrow and bone. You can ferment bone to get with edibility or try our bone marrow supplement.
Liver - Liver is rich in Vitamin A, K, heme iron, phosphorus, copper, selenium and choline. And packed with the vitamin B complex: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12.
Heart - A rich source of CoQ10, protein, B2, B3, B12, selenium, phosphorous, zinc and several other B vitamins. CoQ10 plays a key role in heart health, cell growth and acts as an antioxidant. It’s a great way to rack up amino acids that can improve metabolism and compounds that aid the production of collagen and elastin. Studies show improvement in physical performance when combined with selenium. You find both in the heart organ.
Kidney - Rich in protein, omega 3 fats, DAO, selenium and the Vitamin B complex
Kidney is known to contain anti-inflammatory properties and act as an immunity booster. It provides nutrients for heart, cell function and blood health. It’s high in selenium and the vitamin B complex. Many people take Kidney as an antihistamine because of its DAO.
Pancreas - a rich source of digestive enzymes, antioxidants, omega 3 fats, vitamin B12, vitamin K, copper, and healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats.
Spleen - a source of quality heme iron, B3, B12, vitamin C, selenium, protein and healthy fats. It provides blood health support. It’s one of the few organs with a substantial amount of Vitamin C.
This is an age old question with no correct answer. Dr. Paul Saladino who advocates organ meat consumes around 3-5 ounces of per day and higher during the weekend. Though he admits that his organ diet intake is probably in the top 1%.
Most nutritional data analyzes organ meat at 100 grams which is 3.5 ounces of raw organ meat about the size of an adult male’s hand spread out.
If you eat clean and buy high quality foods (GMO free, organic) you probably can get away with 1-2 ounces organ meat per day. Or at least have a larger serving a few times a week if you can’t do it everyday.
Take it up a notch! Rotate your meat selection to benefit from each organ’s health properties. For example, CoQ10 found in heart.
Do you have to eat organs everyday? Again, it depends on your current diet and lifestyle. It’s not a magic bullet. If you eat liver everyday but load up on pancakes, hamburgers and fries don't expect miracles. Eating organ meat is one piece in changing your diet, if not your lifestyle, as a whole.
Dr. Weston Price and his book, Physical and Nutritional Degeneration, is required reading in the naturopathic world.
It’s a meaty 500 page odyssey chronicling his adventures throughout the globe in search of the perfect diet. Before his expeditions, he thought a vegetarian diet would prevail. His finds showed otherwise. He observed around 11 cultures and consistently found that healthy high fat diets from whole foods prevailed.
As a dentist, Dr. Price believed mouth health plays a key role determining a person’s overall well being. He used cavities as his health barometer.
This life journey was the product of him losing his child from a tooth infection.
His findings were from the 1920s – 1930s, a time period where old and modern worlds collided. Native populations adopted western diets while others stayed true to their ancestors ways of living. This gave Price a perfect scenario for before and after case studies in diet changes.
A consistent pattern emerged when natives would stick to their ancestral diet. The cavity rates were less than 1%. In some places, it would be as low as 0.0% (that’s not a typo).
When natives adopted a western diet that included sugar, heavy carbs, and processed foods, the cavity rate jumps to 40% and sometimes 70%.
Dr. Price observed natives with high cavity counts had other health problems ranging from facial and dental deformities, tuberculosis, arthritis, child birth issues, etc.
Dr. Price research showed quality food sources plays significant factor in meat and crops. Grass fed and finished cattle supplied the best quality meat and butter in terms of nutritional dentistry.
Meat is not meat. There is a difference. I try to find the closest to grass fed and finished. Organ meat popularity is growing. You can find organic chicken liver, feet and heart at Whole Foods.
You also have companies such as White Oak Pastures and U.S.Wellness Meats that will ship you their steaks ands organ meats ranging from beef, pork, goat, sheep, etc. and their farming practices are either sustainable or regenerative or both. By now,I do hope you realize how the food source for your meat is very important.
Farmers’ markets are an excellent starting point to find a local rancher that promotes pasture-raised meat.
Yes, I know. Some people just don’t like the taste of organ meat.
Start with liver and there are recipes that direct you to soak the liver in milk to help mitigate the “liver” like flavor.
The traditional liver and onions recipe is my go to meal.Liver mixed with onions helps balance out the taste.
For those willing to try this recipe make sure you sauté your onions so they caramelize. It enhances the onion’s flavor and the main way to counteract the liver taste. Plate the dish and then finish it off with a quality sea salt and you’re set!
If eating organ liver is still not your thing there is a great alternative – Organ Supplements. But not all of them are the same, just like your organ meat, the source is vital.
You want to get a supplement that has minimal or no fillers and source their meat from pasture raised cattle – this would be grass fed and finished.
There are not too many brands that fall into this category.The one would be our own, the One Earth Health Organ Complex. The meat is sourced from pastures raised, GMO and Hormone free cattle in New Zealand. So they are grass fed and finished.
And based on food analysis by the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) between livers from the US and New Zealand, the vitamin content in New Zealand liver had the following:
Vitamin B12 - New Zealand liver has 43% more than U.S. based liver.
Vitamin B5 - New Zealand liver has 44% more than U.S. based liver.
Iron - New Zealand liver has 72% more than U.S. based liver.
Thiamin (Vitamin B1) - New Zealand liver has 96% more than U.S. based liver.
Vitamin A - New Zealand liver has a whopping 459% more than U.S. based liver.
I hope you enjoyed this article and got value out of it. I am always revising and updated this page. I know there’s a lot of information here I did my best to make it enjoyable to read.