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Beef Liver Nutrition and Benefits

Table of Contents

You’ve probably heard the term superfood given as an accolade to kale, spinach, and blueberries for their seemingly unrivaled nutritional might. But did you ever stop to question those claims? Or to look at a comparison of nutritional benefits between, say, a hand full of blueberries and a sliver of beef liver?

Truth is, of all the so-called superfoods, beef liver reigns supreme.  It’s an absolute powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. While being low in carbs and high in protein.

Because of this unique macro and micronutrient combination, beef liver can promote overall health and wellness. 

Though for many people new to a nose-to-tail way of eating, beef liver can feel intimidating. 

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about beef liver and the benefits of incorporating it into your diet–whether fresh, or in a convenient supplement form.

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Beef Liver Nutrition

Beef liver is a nutrient-dense, high-protein, and low-carb superfood. In fact, it is so loaded it’s often referred to as nature’s multivitamin.  Looking at the nutritional profile, you can see why: 

Beef Liver: Raw
Based on 100 grams
Calories135
Fat3.6g
Protein20.4g
Net Carbs3.9g
VITAMINS%Daily Value
Vitamin A  

Vitamin A IU  

Folate 

Niacin 

Riboflavin

Thiamine 

Vitamin B6  

Vitamin B12  

Vitamin C  

Vitamin D  

Vitamin D 

Vitamin D3  

Vitamin E  

Vitamin K  

4968μg

16898IU

290μg

13.2mg

2.8mg

0.2mg

1mg

59.3μg

1.3mg

1.2μg

49IU

1.2μg

0.4mg

3.1μg

552%

870%

73%

66%

163%

13%

84%

2471%

3%

8%

2%

3%

MINERALS
Calcium 

Iron 

Magnesium 

Phosphorus 

Zinc  

Copper 

Manganese 

Selenium 

Choline   

5mg

4.9mg

18mg

387mg

4mg

9.8mg

0.3mg

39.7μg

333.3mg

1%

62%

6%

39%

27%

488%

16%

57%

61%

Check out the nutritional comparison between beef liver and other so-called superfoods: 

Daily Recommended IntakeBeef Liver (100g)Kale (100g)Spinach (100g)Blueberries (100g)
Vitamin AMen: 3,000 IU

Women: 2,300 IU

Pregnant Women: 2,566 IU

16,899 IU15,376 IU9,376 IU54.0 IU
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)Men: 1.3 mg

Women: 1.1 mg

2.8 mg0.1 mg0.2 mg0.0 mg
Niacin (Vitamin B3)Men: 16 mg

Women: 14 mg

13.2 mg1 mg0.7 mg0.4 mg
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)Adults: 5 mg7.2 mg0.1 mg0.1 mg0.1 mg
Vitamin B6Adults: 1.3 mg1.1 mg0.3 mg0.2 mg0.1 mg
Folate (Vitamin B9)Adults: 400 mcg

Pregnant Women: 600 mcg

290 mcg29 mcg194 mcg6 mcg
Vitamin B12Adults: 2.4 mcg

Pregnant women: 2.6 mcg

59.3 mcg0.0 mcg0.0 mcg0.0 mcg
CalciumAdults: 1,000 mg5 mg135 mg99 mg6 mg
CopperAdults: 0.9 mg9.8 mg0.3 mg0.1 mg0.1 mg
Vitamin CMen: 90 mg

Women: 75 mg

1.3 mg120 mg0.0 mg9.7 mg
Vitamin DAdults: 600 IU16 IU
Vitamin EAdults: 15 mg0.4 mg2 mg0.6 g
IronMen: 8 mg

Women: 18 mg

Pregnant women: 27 mg

4.9 mg1.7 mg2.7 mg0.3 mg
MagnesiumMen: 400 mg

Women: 310 mg

18 mg34 mg174 mg6 mg
PhosphorousAdults: 700 mg387 mg56 mg49 mg12 mg
PotassiumMen: 3,400 mg

Women: 2,600 mg

313 mg447 mg558 mg77 mg
SeleniumAdults: 55 mcg39.7 mcg0.9 mcg1 mcg0.1 mcg
ZincMen: 11 mg

Women: 8 mg

Pregnant women: 11 mg

4 mg0.4 mg2.8 mg0.2 mg

 

As you can see, beef liver exceeds these other so-called “superfoods” in almost every micronutrient including:

  • Vitamin A
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • Niacin (vitamin B3)
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate (vitamin B9)
  • Vitamin B12
  • Copper
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Phosphorous
  • Selenium
  • Zinc

Simply put, beef liver contains more vitamins and minerals than any other fruit or vegetable, often by many factors. A 100 gram serving of beef liver also contains 20.4 grams of protein, only 3.9 grams of carbs, and 3.6 grams of healthy fats.

Health Benefits of Beef Liver

Is beef liver good for you? The short answer is, are you kidding me?

Beef liver offers a wealth of benefits due to its broad and potent collection of vitamins and minerals. Let’s dig a little deeper into the health benefits of beef liver below.

Promotes and Supports Energy

Feeling sluggish every day may be a sign that you lack essential micronutrients.

Beef liver is loaded with nutrients that have been shown to support energy, including :

  • Vitamin B12
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3)
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Magnesium

These micronutrients help your body turn the food you eat into usable energy. The B vitamins and iron also help your muscles and organs receive sufficient oxygen, supporting physical stamina and mental concentration.

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Glowing Skin

It may help you look and feel younger. Beef liver contains the following vitamins and minerals that support and maintain skin health :

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc

Vitamin A, also known as retinol, may lessen the appearance of aging by increasing skin vascularity, thickness, and firmness

Vitamin C may also slow down skin-aging by reducing wrinkle depth. But most importantly, vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that protects your skin from damaging UV radiation. The protective benefits of vitamin C are most effective in combination with Vitamin E. Luckily, beef liver contains both of these vitamins.

Fertility

But making changes to your diet can support your path to pregnancy.

Beef liver contains vitamins and minerals that support reproduction, including :

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B12
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Folate

Research shows that vitamin B12 may increase sperm count and motility. 5 Selenium and zinc may also improve your ability to conceive. Studies show that adding these vitamins to your diet may reduce the time to pregnancy.6

Fetal Development

Beef liver may be a good source of vitamins and minerals that support healthy fetal development :

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B12
  • Copper
  • Folate (Vitamin B9)
  • Iron
  • Zinc

A 100 gram serving of beef liver provides 18% of the recommended daily intake of iron for pregnant women :

Strong Bones

Beef liver contains the following vitamins and minerals that promote bone health :

  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium

Heart Health

Beef liver contains the following micronutrients that support heart health :

  • Potassium
  • Niacin (vitamin B3)
  • Magnesium

Research shows that potassium intake may lower your blood pressure.8

Brainpower

If you’re looking for more cognitive power and sustained focus, adding beef liver to your diet may help.

Beef liver contains the following vitamins and minerals that may enhance cognitive performance :

  • Selenium
  • Copper
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3)
  • Iron

Research shows that selenium levels decrease as you get older . And this may cause declines in brain function. 

Copper may also influence cognitive performance

Niacin (vitamin B3) also plays a role in cognitive functioning . Deficiencies in this vitamin can impair memory. 

Individuals with iron deficiencies may experience better cognitive performance after iron supplementation. Cognitive improvements involved the following areas 9 10

  • Attention
  • Concentration
  • Memory

Strength & Endurance

Magnesium is a mineral found in beef liver. Dietary intakes of magnesium may improve neurological and neuromuscular functioning including 11 12:

  • Muscle strength
  • Muscle power
  • Muscle performance
  • Cardiorespiratory endurance

The more you exercise, the more magnesium you need to support physical performance. Beef liver may be a good source of magnesium for athletes and active individuals.

Elevated Mood

Eating beef liver may also support your psychological health by offering an abundance of mood-boosting and stress-reducing vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, folate, and magnesium. 11 12 13

Eye Health

Eating beef liver may promote eye health . Beef liver contains extraordinary amounts of vitamin A, which is crucial for healthy vision.

Strong Immune System

Maintaining a strong immune system depends on many vitamins and minerals. Thankfully, beef liver offers an abundance of many immune-supporting compounds, including:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Copper
  • Zinc

Vitamin A enforces the mechanical barrier function of the skin and inner linings of the body, especially the intensities. 12 This prevents the passage of harmful pathogens into tissues and the bloodstream.

Vitamin C also boosts your immune response with its antioxidant properties. Vitamin C reduces tissue damage and oxidative stress by eliminating free radicals.14

Copper also provides cellular defense against free radicals. Lastly, the zinc in beef liver assists with wound healing11.  In short, beef liver may keep you healthy and reduce your risk for infectious diseases.

Potential Dangers of Eating Beef Liver

Now that you’re aware of the health benefits of beef liver, we’ll also touch on the potential dangers of eating liver. Though these risks are low and easily avoided, they are worth mentioning. 

Hepatitis E

Eating uncooked or undercooked beef liver may increase your risk of hepatitis E . Hepatitis E is an infection that can occur after consuming contaminated food. Symptoms of hepatitis E include:

  • Fatigue
  • Poor appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)

This sounds scary. But hepatitis E is not common in the United States. You can avoid hepatitis E by practicing good hand hygiene and cooking beef liver to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Food Poisoning

As with any food, food poisoning is a risk, but it is very low. You are more than twice as likely to get food poisoning from fruits and vegetables. Only 22% of food poisoning infections arise from meat and poultry .

You can prevent food poisoning by cooking liver to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Vitamin A Toxicity

Vitamin A toxicity results from consuming excessive amounts of vitamin A. Symptoms of vitamin A toxicity may include :

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Vertigo
  • Blurry vision

Pregnant women who experience vitamin A toxicity may have an increased risk of birth defects. But vitamin A toxicity is rare. And it is most often caused by supplements rather than natural food sources.

Consuming more than 600,000 IU of vitamin A may lead to poisoning. You may also experience vitamin A poisoning if you regularly ingest more than 25,000 IU of vitamin A daily .

You can avoid vitamin A toxicity by being mindful of your beef liver consumption. A 100 gram serving of beef liver contains 16,899 IU of vitamin A. You can eat this daily without risks of vitamin A poisoning.

How Often Should You Eat Liver?

Children should consume beef liver no more than once weekly. But adults can eat beef liver more often.

You may experience greater benefits with more frequent consumption. 

A 100 gram serving of beef liver surpasses the recommended daily intakes for the following micronutrients :

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B12
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • Copper

Beef liver also delivers over 50% of the daily recommended intakes for:

  • Niacin (vitamin B3)
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate (vitamin B9)
  • Selenium

As you can see, beef liver packs a healthy punch of vitamins and minerals.

How to Cook Beef Liver for the Best Health Benefits

Take care to avoid raw or undercooked beef liver due to the risks of hepatitis E and food poisoning. Make sure to cook beef liver to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Cooking beef liver also makes it easier to digest and improves the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Some cooking methods are better than others when it comes to your health. 

Cook with heat-stable healthy fats such as butter, ghee, and tallow.   

If you soak liver in milk before cooking, use full-fat milk. Your body needs fat for fuel, especially when you’re on a ketogenic or carnivore diet

Beef Liver: The Takeaway

Beef liver as one of nature’s top superfoods. This designation is based on beef liver’s robust nutritional profile and how it may promote and support physical, cognitive, and psychological wellbeing.

If you’re compelled by the benefits of beef liver, but still intimidated when it comes to cooking and eating fresh liver, you can get all the nutrition in the convenience of a Doctor Kiltz Nutritional Solutions beef liver supplement.

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To summarize, the benefits may include:

  • All-day energy
  • Anti-aging skin
  • Fertility
  • Fetal development 
  • Strong bones
  • Heart health
  • Brainpower
  • Strength and endurance
  • Elevated mood
  • Eye health
  • Strong immune system

These benefits are possible with minimal risks. You can avoid the dangers of eating liver by:

  • Following the recommended dietary intakes
  • Practicing good hand hygiene
  • Using proper cooking methods

Combining beef liver with a ketogenic diet may increase its health benefits. Check out our free resource — Dr. Kiltz’s Keto Cure — if you want to learn more about the healing effects of the ketogenic diet.

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