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 who eat organ meat daily and phrases such as “More Energy”, “Body Healed”, “Healed Faster”, and “Mental Focus” are repeated.
It's no magic trick.
The results expose our nutritionally depleted diets. Our hectic lifestyle and processed foods have taken a toll on our bodies. And it can be fixed!
Organ Meat Is Making a ComEBack!
Our population lives 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.
What is Organ meat?
The 3 popular organ meats are liver, heart and kidney followed by eye, brains, spleen, trachea, lungs, tripe (stomach), testicles, etc.
Beginners can start with liver and expand to heart and kidneys.
OUr ancestors thrived EATING organ meat
Native Americans and other indigenous cultures prized organ meats. They took the time to scrape out the nutritious bone marrow and fed their dogs the muscle meat! Based on the tribe's need to survive, their ancestors passed tried and true teachings about organ meat. The organs provided the most nutrients, ounce for ounce, when compared to muscle meat.
Organ meat played an important role for couples planning to have a child. The future parents increased their organ meat consumption to improve their nutrient intake to birth a healthy baby and continue the tribe's survival.
Did You Know?
Remember when your doctor recommended to take folic acid while pregnant?
Guess which food has the highest concentrate of Folate?
Today, organ meat is on a comeback, fueled by the rapidly growing Paleo, Keto and Carnivore Diet community. The demand is making organs more accessible – you can find organ meats at large supermarket chains where traditionally you would need to visit specialty butcher shops.
Question: Which organ meat is loaded with Vitamin C?
Answer: Adrenal Glands. Tribes in tundra environments with no access to Vitamin C enriched fruits to prevent scurvy ate adrenals loaded with Vitamin C!
ORGAN MEAT HEALTH BENEFITS
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, the trendy B12 shots that help with energy and immunity get the limelight.
Organ meat is one of the richest Vitamin B sources. Why get the synthetic version?
The organ meat allows the whole vitamin B complex work together unlike the B12 shot.
Remember, each organ has unique nutrients and minerals. For example, large concentration of CoQ10 is found in heart. No other organ comes close!
Liver is a great go to organ when starting out. Unlike the green drinks you overpay at smoothie shops, liver has BOTH fat soluble vitamins (A, D, K and E) and water soluble vitamins (Vitamin B complex).
Take a look below on how liver compares to other popular healthy options.
Research reveals vitamins work better together. Each vitamin functions according to its individual uniqueness while providing a support function to others.
Example 1 - Vitamin C helps with immunity. Combine it with Vitamin D and B, which does the same, and your body benefits exponentially.
Example 2 - Magnesium is used to help with Vitamin D absorption.
A Vitamin is not a vitamin
Question: Does a 100mg Vitamin C capsule have the same potency compared to 100mg of Vitamin C from whole foods?
Answer: Not at all.
A lab created vitamin is drastically different from a natural source. Going natural is the best method for vitamin intake. You are guaranteed a higher bioavailable source.
Bioavailability is the measurement of how much the body absorbs the nutrient. Plus, don’t forget the co-factors and the micronutrients you get from a natural food source and not in a vitamin capsule.
VITAMINS FROM ORGAN MEAT
Main Function – Fat-soluble Antioxidant that fights free radicals damage. Provides 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 and helps with embryonic development and organ formation during fetal development. (1)
Brain Health - Aids 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 and protein activation to name a few. The vitamin discovery is fairly new and needs more research 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 mitochondria. The mitochondria are the cell membranes that produces energy in the form of ATP.(6) ATP powers the cell that includes macromolecules synthesis of DNA and RNA.
Bone and Heart Health – Calcium supplementation for bone health may pose a calcification risk in the heart’s arteries. Taking the right amount of K2 has shown to lower vascular damage risk by preventing calcium deposits to the artery’s walls.(7)
Depression – A small study shows 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 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. 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 its high energy demands. Also used for hormone production.(8)
Iron Deficiency Anemia – Prevents one of the most common global deficiencies. Symptoms are: weakness or fatigue, 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.
Organ Function – 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, many 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)
Protects 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 vitamin serves a specific purpose. Because these are water-soluble, the body stores a small amount and needs daily replenishment.
The vitamin B complex helps with energy generation, DNA / RNA generation and repair, brain function and immune support. Thus, why the popular B12 shots are promoted everywhere promising an energy boost and immunity support.
The below section shows everyone of the vitamins in 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 nerve signals delivery. (17)
Brain Health - 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 - Catalyst for Vitamin B6 and Folate to change so that they can be absorbed by the body. (22)
Eye Health - Early studies show 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 cells to utilize. (23)
Enzymes - The body relies on B3 for over 400 enzymes. (24)
B5 – Pantothenic Acid
Hair Health - Different forms of Pantothenic Acid are used in commercial products. A study shows it may help prevent thinning hair. (26)
B6 – Pyridoxine
Makes antibodies to help fight diseases and 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. Small studies show nail improvement but not enough for consensus. It does help with hair loss if you are biotin deficient. (34)
B9 – Folate
Research shows folate deficiency is highly prevalent. The deficiency is linked to cancer, anemia, cardiovascular diseases and neural tube defect during pregnancy. (35)
Pregnancy – Helps with embryo neurological development and aids in preventing neural tube defect, a birth defect to the brain or spine. (36)
Mental Health – Study shows 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 folic acid along with other B vitamins help prevent stroke. (36)
Important Note: There is a difference between Folate and Folic acid. Folate is naturally occurring 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 cells 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. Almost 15% of the population have this challenge. (40) People over 50 are highly susceptible.
CoQ10- One of the main engine drivers for cell growth, energy and maintenance. Acts as a natural antioxidant produced by the body. (41) CoQ10 production decreases as you age.
Heart Health - Studies show that CoQ10 might help treat conditions such as congestive heart failure and may reduce blood pressure. (42)
Parkinson - Research shows it may help people with Parkinson disease – a nervous system disorder affecting movement. (42)
Athleticism - CoQ10 supplementation is shown to improve physical performance, but more studies are need for further clarity. (42)
Antioxidant - For kidney disease, oxidative stress is a major contributor to diabetic kidney disease. Some studies show high amounts of CoQ10 help reduce oxidative stress. The study is small and more research is needed for conclusive evidence. (43)
Inflammation - Diseases related to chronic, low-grade inflammation also known as metabolic diseases 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 – A 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 prevent the loss in bone density. (46)
Muscle Function – Increasing Vitamin D levels improves protein synthesis and ARP concentration which leads to better physical performance. (48)
Inflammation – Helps reduce muscle inflammation. (48)
Depression – Low Vitamin D and depression 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 exponentially.
In the Naturopathic world, medical doctors were promoting Vitamin D as an important immunity contributor for decades!
Vitamin D Absorption Factors
There are a lot of factors affecting Vitamin D levels:
Location – Northern parts (areas north of 37 degrees latitude) tend to have limited sunlight exposure.(52)
Age – Older you get, the ability for the skin to produce Vitamin D decreases. People over 65 generate 75% less Vitamin D compared to their 20s.(52)
Skin Color – Darker skin color usually means lower Vitamin D levels.(52)
Weight – Vitamin is stored in fat. Obese people have less Vitamin D circulating in the blood stream.(52)
Vitamin D Deficiency Problem
Getting vitamin D from food is not sufficient for some people. Supplementation is recommended. Staying indoors, pollution, time of day, age and geographically location are contributing factors in Vitamin D absorption.
Studies show the average American diet gets very little of the recommended 4,000 – 5,000 IU of D3 everyday. (53)
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 source is fish eggs. Or supplement with cod liver, trout or salmon.
Vitamin D can be sourced from bone marrow and bone. Ferment bone to make it edibility or try our bone marrow supplement.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF ORGAN MEAT
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 aiding the production of collagen and elastin. Studies show improvement in physical performance when combined with selenium. Both are found 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. People take Kidney as an antihistamine because of its high DAO levels.
Pancreas - A rich source of digestive enzymes, antioxidants, omega 3 fats, Vitamin B12, Vitamin K, copper, and healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats.
Spleen - Wonderful source of quality heme iron (more than liver!), 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.
How much Organ Meat Should I Eat?
This is an age old question with no correct answer. Dr. Paul Saladino, who is awesome, a contrarian and advocates organ meat consumes around 3-5 ounces daily. He admits his organ intake is probably in the top 1%.
If you eat clean and buy high quality foods (GMO free, organic) you probably can do 1-2 ounces daily. Or at least have a larger serving a few times a week. As a reference, 3.5 ounces of raw organ meat is about the size of an adult male’s hand spread out.
Take it up a notch! Rotate your meat selection to benefit from each organ’s nutrient properties. For example, heart has high levels of CoQ10. Adrenals have a boatload of Vitamin C.
Do you have to eat organs everyday? 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.
WHO IS WESTON PRICE?
Dr. Weston Price's 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 findings showed otherwise. He observed 11 cultures and consistently found healthy high fat diets from whole foods were eaten in healthy populations.
As a dentist, Dr. Price believed mouth health played a key role determining a person’s overall well being. He used cavities as an indicator.
This life journey started because Dr. Price lost 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 many perfect living case studies to compare.
A global consistent pattern emerged when natives stayed true to their ancestral diets. 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 jumped 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 play a significant factor in meat and crops. Grass fed and finished cattle supplied the best quality meat and butter in terms of nutritional dentistry. The same with crops that used naturally fertilized soil versus ones using commercial fertilizers.
WHERE TO BUY ORGAN MEAT?
Meat is not meat. Pasture Raised, Organic Grass Fed and Finished is king in my book. You can find organic chicken liver, feet and heart at Whole Foods and other grocery stores. As for pasture raised, you will need to find a specialty butcher.
Online companies such as White Oak Pastures and U.S.Wellness Meats will ship muscle and organ meats ranging from beef, pork, goat, sheep, etc. Their farming practices are either sustainable, regenerative or both. By now, I do hope you realize how the food source is very important.
Farmers’ markets are an excellent starting point to find a local rancher that promotes pasture-raised meat.
WHAT IF I DON'T LIKE ORGAN MEAT?
Some people just don’t like the taste of organ meat.
Some recipes suggest to soak 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 the onions to caramelize them. It enhances the onion’s flavor over the liver's. Plate the dish and then finish it off with a quality sea salt and you’re set!
ALTERNATIVE: ORGAN SUPPLEMENTS
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.
Get a supplement with minimal or no fillers. Who 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, except for ours. The One Earth Health Organ Complex. The meat is sourced from pasture raised, GMO and Hormone free cattle in New Zealand. They are grass fed and finished.
And based on food analysis by the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) between U.S. and New Zealand livers, the vitamin content in New Zealand liver has 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.
NOW IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU.
I hope you enjoyed this article and got value. I am always revising and updating this page. And I want to hear from you! Leave a reply in the comment section!