Nature's Multivitamin - The Resurgence of Beef Liver by Hayley McAlinden (Registered Nutritionist)

Posted by Josh Gape on

Beef liver is a highly nutritious organ meat that has been consumed by humans for centuries. Known as the original superfood, it's packed with various vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that offer numerous health benefits.


Personally I consider beef liver to be a one-stop shop for a multivitamin and mineral, especially useful for addressing blood deficiencies such as low iron, B12, and folate. These three nutrients, found abundantly in beef liver, effectively combat long-term anaemia. Individuals with the MTHFR gene mutation (affecting 50% of the population) particularly benefit from having these bio available nutrients from beef liver in their diet or taking capsules.


I also utilised liver when my son was two years old after a hair test indicated low levels of vitamin A and K. His dental health was suffering, and I recognised these nutrients as key players in addressing the issue, which the test confirmed. K2, notoriously difficult to obtain in the diet compared to K1 found in vegetables, is bundled with other essential nutrients in liver, facilitating absorption. Dr. Weston Price, a renowned dentist who studied indigenous tribes and their diets worldwide, referred to vitamin K2 as "Activator X" because it activates other fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins D and A, working synergistically to promote proper calcium absorption.


Indigenous diets contained ten times the fat-soluble vitamins from animal organs/fats compared to the average diet. Liver is an abundant source of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, K2, and E.


Now let's delve into the benefits and functions of vitamin A, with beef liver being one of the highest dietary sources providing more than 600% of the recommended daily intake in just one 85g serving. Vitamin A is essential for vision, immune function, thyroid health, skin health, and reproduction.


Retinol is the form of vitamin A found in animal-derived foods, plant-derived carotenoids, including beta-carotene, are known as pro vitamin A. These need to be converted in the body to retinoids, the active form, but the conversion rate is very low especially in people who have the BCMO1 gene mutation which effects 45% of the population. 



Inadequate vitamin A intake can lead to complete vision loss, as it's crucial for eye function and maintaining eye health. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. Without enough vitamin A, the eyes' protective layers weaken, leading to dryness (xerophthalmia) and, if untreated, potentially progressing to corneal ulcers and blindness.


Immune system 

Vitamin A also plays a crucial role in supporting the immune system. It aids in the development of immune cells, including T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells, essential for fighting infections and maintaining overall immune function. Moreover, vitamin A is crucial in addressing deficiencies related to childhood diseases such as measles. The WHO recommends vitamin A supplements for all children or adults with measles to prevent eye damage, blindness, and reduce the number of measles-related deaths. A meta‐analysis (Glasziou 1993) on the role of vitamin A supplementation for infectious diseases found that vitamin A reduced all‐cause mortality in children in low‐income countries by around one‐third.



Furthermore, vitamin A enhances the body's defence against parasitic infections. Studies have shown that vitamin A treatment significantly reduces total parasitic infection and Giardia spp infections, suggesting improved host defences against parasites.


Thyroid Health 

Vitamin A is also essential for thyroid health, as it is required for producing TSH, necessary for converting T4 to T3. Insufficient vitamin A levels may depress thyroid function, highlighting its importance in maintaining thyroid health alongside selenium, vitamin B1 and iodine.


Lets take a look at the array of other nutrients in beef liver and their Daily Value percentage (DV) per 100 grams.


B Vitamins: Beef liver is an excellent source of several ‘bioavailable’ B vitamins. These vitamins play crucial roles in energy metabolism, red blood cell production, nerve function, and DNA synthesis.


  • B1 (thiamine 15% DV) for stomach acid production, thyroid health and cellular energy.  
  • B2 (riboflavin 212% DV) and B3 (niacin 82% DV) for energy and cell function.
  • B5 (pantothenic acid 143% DV) supports adrenal glands and prevents infections.
  • B6 (pyridoxine 64% DV) promotes brain health, improves mood & balances hormones. 
  • B7 (biotin 333% DV) helps to keep your skin, hair, eyes, liver, and nervous system healthy.
  • B9 (folate 54% DV) for red blood cell formation, healthy cell growth and function plus prevents birth defects & HPV.
  • B10 (PABA unknown % DV) acts as an internal sunscreen to protect the skin from sunburn.
  • B12 (cobalamin 2471% DV) essential for brain health, energy and healthy nerves and blood.
  • Iron 99% DV: Beef liver is a rich source of heme iron, the form of iron that is most easily absorbed by the body. Iron is essential for the production of haemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood, as well as for overall energy production and cognitive function.
  • Copper 1084% DV: Beef liver is also a great source of copper, an essential trace mineral that plays a role in energy production, connective tissue formation, and iron metabolism. Copper alongside B12, Folate, and PABA, supports melanin production, which helps in preventing & reversing grey hair.
  • Zinc 36% DV: Beef liver contains zinc, another essential mineral that is important for immune function, wound healing, and DNA synthesis. Zinc and copper work synergistically and while beef liver contains limited zinc, I recommend balancing this ratio with another favoured food source of mine: oysters.
  • Selenium 72% DV: Beef liver is also a good source of selenium, an essential mineral with antioxidant properties that supports thyroid health, immune function, and helps clear mercury from the body.
  • Choline 61% DV: Beef liver is a good source of choline, a nutrient that is important for brain health, liver function, and metabolism.
  • Protein: Like all animal meats, beef liver is a complete protein, providing all the essential amino acids that the body needs for muscle growth, repair, and overall health.

Hayley McAlinden is an Nutritional Therapist with over a decade of experience helping people overcome health challenges. Her passion draws from her own health journey starting in 2006, overcoming chronic fatigue, low immunity and a myriad of other health issues. She now helps clients globally, one-on-one and through transformative courses, offering clear guidance for natural well-being.