Chicken Liver: Nutrition Facts and Top 10 Benefits

By Thomas Wrona Updated on — Medically Reviewed and Certified by Dr. Robert Kiltz

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Liver is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, and the nutrition packed into chicken liver offers numerous health benefits.  

While organ meats may not be as popular as they once were, new attention given their super-nutrient profile is helping them make a much-deserved comeback. 

Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional content and top health benefits of chicken liver.

What is chicken liver?

Chicken liver, as you might expect, refers to the liver of a healthy chicken. 

Chicken liver’s classification is less obvious. It’s not considered to be red meat or white meat; it’s simply organ meat, or offal. Chicken liver might come from a chicken, but the nutritional difference between it and, say, a chicken thigh or breast couldn’t be much greater.

NutrientChicken Liver (1 oz)Chicken Breast (1 oz)
Calories48 calories55 calories
Fat1.8 grams2.2 grams
Vitamin A81%0.6%
Vitamin C1%0%
Vitamin D0%0%
Riboflavin38%2%
Folate39%0.2%
Vitamin B1299%1.4%
Selenium35%10%

Chicken liver is so high in certain nutrients that it’s best viewed as a supplemental food. Unless you’re severely anemic, you probably don’t need to be ingesting it every single day.

Nutrition Facts

Like nearly every other animal liver (besides polar bear liver), chicken liver is impressively rich in nutrients.  Here are the nutritional highlights found in just 100 grams of liver.

Chicken liver nutrition: Calories and macros

Chicken liver has a high protein, zero-carb macronutrient profile that makes it a perfect addition to any keto or carnivore diet. 100 grams of liver contains:

NutrientAmount% of Recommended Daily Value (RDV)
Calories116 calories6%
Total Carbohydrate0 grams0%
Total Protein16.9 grams34%
Total Fat4.8 grams7%

Chicken liver nutrition: Vitamins

Chicken liver is unusually rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. 100 grams of liver contains:

NutrientAmount% of Recommended Daily Value (RDV)
Vitamin A11077 IU222%
Vitamin C17.9 mg30%
Vitamin D0 mg0%
Vitamin E0.7 mg4%
Vitamin K0.0 mcg0%

Chicken liver nutrition: Minerals

Chicken liver offers a wide spectrum of essential minerals, especially B12, selenium, and iron. 100 grams of liver contains:

NutrientAmount% of Recommended Daily Value (RDV)
Thiamin0.3 mg20%
Riboflavin1.8 mg105%
Niacin9.7 mg49%
Vitamin B60.9 mg43%
Folate577 mg147%
Vitamin B1216.6 mcg276%
Pantothenic Acid6.2 mg62%
Choline194 mg– 
Betaine16.9 mg– 
Calcium8.0 mg1%
Iron9.0 mg50%
Magnesium19.0 mg5%
Phosphorus297 mg30%
Potassium230 mg7%
Sodium71 mg3%
Zinc2.7 mg18%
Manganese0.3 mg13%
Selenium54.6 mcg78%

Top 10 Chicken Liver Nutrition Benefits

1. Rich in iron.

Iron is an essential mineral that helps our bodies stay oxygenated.  

If you don’t eat enough iron, you risk becoming anemic. Common symptoms of anemia include fatigue, shortness of breath, cold extremities, and headaches.  Women are especially susceptible to developing anemia, since menstruation, pregnancy, and childbirth all increase iron demands. 

Chicken liver is rich enough in highly absorbable heme iron to make a tangible impact on serum iron levels.  If you’re a menstruating woman, pregnant mother, or hard-training athlete, consider using liver as a safeguard against anemia. 

2. Low in calories.

While most people are able to reach their ideal weight just by switching over to a high fat, low carb diet, calories are still relevant. 

Chicken liver is simultaneously high in protein and low in calories — and that makes it a great choice for people who want to improve their body composition. Adding just a small portion of chicken liver to a meal may increase its overall satiety (that is, you’ll feel full faster, and you’ll stay full longer).. 

3. Rich in protein.

Chicken liver is 73% protein by calories. 100 grams of chicken liver contains 116 calories, 85 of which come directly from protein. 

The quality of chicken liver protein is also impressive. It’s a complete protein that’s especially rich in the antiviral, anti-inflammatory amino acid lysine.  

4. Chicken liver is loaded with B vitamins.

If we had to choose a single metric to best highlight chicken liver’s nutritional value, we’d probably point to its B vitamin content. 

Chicken liver is rich in some of the most important B vitamins. This quality makes it helpful to pregnant mothers, growing children, and anyone else who needs an extra boost of pro-metabolic energy.  100 grams of liver contains:

Vitamin B1216.6 mcg276%
Folate577 mg147%
Riboflavin1.8 mg105%
Pantothenic Acid6.2 mg62%
Niacin9.7 mg49%
Vitamin B60.9 mg43%
B1 (Thiamin)0.36 mg24%

5. Chicken liver supports dental health.

Chicken liver’s dental health benefits were first discovered nearly a hundred years ago. 

It all began when a dentist named Dr. Weston A. Price traveled around the globe to study the traditional diets of 14 different groups. Though the diets of these peoples varied depending on their respective climates, every diet had one interesting feature in common: organ meats. 

Lab analysis of organ meats like liver found that they were high in fat-soluble vitamins, including the yet-to-be-discovered vitamin K2, which Price dubbed “activator X.”  

The full role of vitamin K2 is still being elucidated, but Price knew enough from his early research to conclude that it could  strengthen bones, foster development, and remineralize teeth.

If you’d like to improve your dental health, don’t neglect chicken liver. 3.5 ounces of chicken liver contains 12 micrograms of K2 — more than 10% of your RDV. 

6. Supports healthy blood.

Chicken liver also supports your body’s production of healthy, fully oxygenated blood. Its natural combination of heme iron and B vitamins is perfect for people who have anemia or other red blood cell problems.  

Even people with already-healthy blood may benefit from taking chicken liver as a preventative measure against future deficiencies. 

7. Packed with Vitamin A.

Chicken liver is high enough in vitamin A to be a boon to anyone interested in improving the health of their eyes, skin, hair, and nails. That’s because vitamin A plays a vital role in cellular turnover in your eyes and skin cells. It’s also a vital precursor (building block) for important eye pigments like rhodopsin.

Indeed, good things happen when your body is replete in vitamin A. Many people notice clearer skin, stronger hair, and better night vision once they incorporate chicken liver or beef liver into their diets. 

Chicken liver’s ultra-high vitamin A content is also the primary reason why it shouldn’t be eaten too often. Vitamin A becomes damaging when your body has too little or too much, so consider eating liver just once or twice a week.

8. Supports your organ health.

One of the most fascinating things about eating animal organs is their ability to provide health and vitality to your internal organs. Like attracts like, as the old saying goes. 

In addition to protecting your dental and eye health, chicken liver’s vitamin A content may strengthen your immune system’s thymus gland , improve your brain’s metabolic rate , and help your heart function properly.

9. A great source of selenium.

Just 100 grams of chicken liver contains over 100% of your recommended daily value for selenium. 

As a pro-thyroid, pro-immunity mineral, selenium may have an added layer of importance in modern times. It’s so important for the health of one’s immune system that some experts believe selenium deficiency enabled COVID 19’s quick initial spread throughout Asia.

Selenium is also a vital component of endogenously produced proteins called selenoproteins. These special proteins handle everything from reproductive health to DNA synthesis.

10. Chicken liver is unusually rich in vitamin C.

As a general rule of thumb, most animal products are low in vitamin C and other antioxidants. 

Chicken liver provides a welcome exception to this rule. Just 100 grams of liver contains nearly a third of your body’s daily vitamin C needs. This vitamin C content is yet another way that chicken liver may boost your immune system and quench inflammation/oxidation.  

Another benefit of vitamin C: improved skin tone. Vitamin C can boost your skin’s collagen production and increase its resistance to the damaging aspects of sunlight.  No wonder people who eat liver consistently report having better skin. 

Chicken liver benefits vs. health concerns

The idea that the liver is a ‘detox organ’ has pushed many health-conscious people away from eating it. 

The reality is that an animal’s liver is more of a processing plant than a detoxing filter. The liver receives metabolic products, identifies them, and then reacts in the safest way possible. Far from collecting toxins, it works to render them inert and quickly expel them. 

Even the livers of unhealthy animals are nutrient-dense. A 2007 study of liver, kidney and muscle meat from randomly selected animals found that all three types of tissue collected similarly low amounts of toxins.  

Source your chicken liver from a local organic farm if you can, but keep in mind that even store-bought liver has far more pros than cons.  

Is chicken liver safe for pregnant women?

Yes, chicken liver is safe for pregnant women — in the proper amounts. 

While some studies have linked preformed vitamin A (the kind found in liver) to birth defects, only large amounts of vitamin A have this effect.

Pregnant women can easily err on the side of caution by eating no more than an ounce of chicken or beef liver a week throughout their pregnancy. 

Is chicken liver safe for people with gout?

Chicken liver is also a safe food for people with gout. Gout is a painful type of arthritis caused by uric acid buildup in the joints. Since liver is high in the purine precursors that your body uses to form uric acid, some experts suggest that people with gout should limit liver and other animal products.

But the truth is that human biochemistry isn’t so simple. Much like elevated ‘bad’ cholesterol may be a signal that something more serious is going on, elevated uric acid levels likely point to a larger problem. 

This concept is anecdotally confirmed by the fact that gout is less of a problem — not more of a problem — when one is following a high-purine carnivore diet

Gout may be more likely to begin with a buildup of toxins in the gut than with a buildup of uric acid in the joints.

How to include chicken liver in your diet

Though chicken liver’s nutrition profile is pretty loveable, the same can’t be said of its taste. Here are some ways to make it more palatable.

Chicken liver recipe ideas

  • Pan-fry chicken liver with onions, mushrooms, or other low-antinutrient veggies. 
  • Chop and mince chicken liver together with tomatoes and pastured chicken/beef to make bolognese sauce. 
  • Incorporate small amounts of chicken liver into scrambled eggs. 

How to mask the taste of chicken liver

  • Use your favorite seasoning blend.
  • Soak the liver in milk or lemon juice before cooking; this will reduce the strong flavor.
  • Make homemade chicken liver pâté.

The Takeaway on Chicken Liver’s Benefits

Chicken liver’s uniquely rich nutrition profile makes it a worthy addition to any nourishing diet. It’s rich in fat-soluble vitamins, B vitamins, complete protein, heme iron, selenium, and more. 

This impressive nutrient profile allows for an equally impressive set of health benefits. 

Just to recap, chicken liver is:

  1. Rich in oxygenating iron
  2. Low in calories
  3. Rich in complete protein
  4. Loaded with B vitamins
  5. Supports dental health
  6. Supports healthy blood
  7. Packed with preformed Vitamin A
  8. Supports your organ health
  9. Rich in selenium
  10. Rich in vitamin C

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