Desiccated Liver: What is It and Why Should I Try It?

 
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Liver is a food that not does NOT interest many people ... unless you're someone like my dad. He loves the stuff and will even order "liver and onions" off of a restaurant menu. He grew up eating it, which is not a common occurrence anymore. Liver is definitely an acquired taste and one that most people never do care to acquire. Liver is earthy, beefy, and maybe a little gamey. So, why in the world would someone want to ingest liver if they didn't like it?

The truth is ... liver is abundant in nutrients, a nourishing powerhouse food. It's chock-full of vitamins and minerals, notably vitamin A, B12, folate, iron, and selenium. Each of these vitamins plays a role in optimal health.

Vitamins and Minerals in Liver

Vitamin A is important for eye health, reproduction, immunity, and normal organ functioning. Vitamin B12 is one in which many people, especially vegetarians and vegans, are deficient. Vitamin B12 is necessary for healthy nerves and cells. It helps to make DNA. It also helps with energy, mood, and brain health. Folate is crucial for women of child-bearing years as it helps to prevent neural tube defects in fetuses. It is also important for production of red blood cells. Iron, of course, prevents anemia and is a major component of hemoglobin that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. Selenium, a powerful antioxidant, supports normal thyroid functioning, and fights free radical damage that may contribute to aging and health conditions, including heart disease and cancer.

In addition to other vitamins, liver also contains Coenzyme Q10. CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant. Our cells use it to produce energy the body needs for cell growth and maintenance. Getting an adequate amount of CoQ10 is essential for those taking statin drugs which are known to deplete levels.

I've written much, much more about the benefits of liver and some of the myths surrounding this organ meat (cholesterol, toxins, etc.) in a separate article. You can read that post titled Liver: Why and How to Incorporate It into Your Diet (Without an Unpleasant Taste) here. In the article, I also address some ways to make liver more palatable and offer up tips to "hide" it in dishes. However, if you're looking to get in the nutrients of liver without any taste, look no further than desiccated liver. 

What is Desiccated Liver?

Desiccated Liver is simply beef liver that is dehydrated, powdered, and placed into capsules. And since you'll be swallowing instead of chewing them, you'll taste and smell nothing! 

When looking for a desiccated liver supplement, it's of utmost importance that it comes from grass-fed cattle. By nature, cows are intended to eat grass. Their stomachs and digestive systems are uniquely formed to process and eliminate grasses. On the other hand, grain-fed cows eat (mostly) an unnatural diet based on corn and soy during the latter part of their lives. This food is likely GMO (genetically modified). All of this can cause them to become sick. Often the feed is mixed with antibiotics to ensure that they not become overly contaminated. Conventionally raised cattle is also often treated with hormones as well. We do NOT want to expose ourselves to exogenous antibiotics and hormones. And since liver is an organ of filtration, these toxins pass through it readily. 

So, stick to grass-fed, grass-finished liver and beef. Grass-fed is much higher in Omega 3s, vitamin K2 (needed for heart and bone health), the beneficial and cancer-protective fat conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), antioxidants, vitamins, and trace minerals. 

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