Vitamin L: We’re talking about Liver
Well this might go down as one of the most exciting nutritional discoveries I've come across in my time here on earth. And really it’s nothing new, most people know about it, some talk about it, but is anyone actually eating it? Maybe, but I know I haven't been. Lately, I’ve been researching all things that can help to gain some energy and prevent a total adrenal meltdown. With school, work, health, some big life changes and a general tendency to overthink and stress about the future, I have recently hit a wall. Like I ran straight into the wall and fell in a heap on the floor. Slightly dramatic I know, but really in terms of energy levels this is what it has felt like.
With all the information I have learned through my studies and research there are some common themes around nutrients to support the body in times of heightened stress: Vitamin C, B Complex, Magnesium, Zinc, and the list goes on. And then make sure it is this form not that form, this brand not that brand. Total information overload. And all the while, the true hippie in me wants to get all my nutrition from the food I eat. Your body knows what to do with food because it is natural. With that said, I understand that stress (both physical and emotional) eats up your nutrients like a hungry hungry hippo and sometimes you need a little extra support.
So what is the solution? Well food based supplements of course. And the one that has made a difference for me lately is Desiccated Liver - which sounds terrible so in my world it has been renamed Vitamin L. Because of the time I grew up in, liver just wasn’t something on the dinner table so even though I know all the nutritional benefits (there are SO MANY), I just can’t convince myself to eat this regularly enough to notice any positive health benefits. So really, putting this into a capsule is one of the brightest ideas the world has ever had.
In my research I found a few things that really sold me on this super duper food:
The famous rat study
Once upon a time in 1975, a scientist named Benjamin K Ershoff did a sink or swim test with 3 groups of rats, each supplemented a little differently leading up to the swim. Group 1 with a basic diet fortified with 11 vitamins, Group 2 with the same diet plus additional B Complex vitamins and Group 3 with the original diet plus liver. Can you see where this is going?
The liver rats kicked so much butt in this swimming contest:
- Group 1 (Basic vitamins): Rats swam for an average 13.3 minutes before giving up
- Group 2 (B vitamins): Rats swam for an average of 13.4 minutes
- Group 3 (Liver): Three rats swam for 63, 83 and 87 minutes. The other nine rats in this group were still swimming no problem at the end of two hours when the test was ended
Aside from the crazy amount of vitamins and minerals packed into liver, scientists have been unable to figure out exactly what the ‘anti-fatigue factor’ contained in liver is that prevented the third group of rats from becoming exhausted.
*For more info than my Cliff’s Notes version, the Weston A. Price website has a great article that includes more details on this study.
A nutrient comparison
Now let’s take a look at the nutrient profile of liver, it might just blow your mind. This comparison chart was published in another exciting article about liver on Chris Kresser’s website (yes I straight up swiped it):
Gang’s all here! All the B’s (especially B12), Vitamin A, D, iron, Magnesium, Zinc, even a bit of Vitamin C and more. I don’t know about you but I’m thinking liver is my new favorite multivitamin.
So about this Desiccated Liver...
I know, it just sounds so unappetizing. But really, desiccated just means “to preserve (foods) by removing the moisture.” This means that these capsules contain liver as close to its raw and natural form as possible aside from eating actual raw liver.
The brand I found available to me in Canada is by Perfect Supplements called Perfect Desiccated Liver. Four capsules contain 3g of liver. The liver comes from free range grass-fed cows untouched by hormones, antibiotics or pesticides and who graze on grass that sprouts from rich Argentinean soil. Check, check and check, I approve.
And the results for a human?
So far, what I can say is that Vitamin L has been a major team player in picking me up off my heap on the floor and bring me back to a state of normal functioning. My normal anyway. Since taking this regularly for a few weeks (2 capsules, 2 times a day) I have definitely been feeling better in terms of energy levels. Whether that is just life events calming down or the magic of this nutrient dense superfood, I really don't know. But after looking deeper into what liver has to offer, I'm convinced that it is something I need to be consuming on the regular. I’ve even experienced this extraordinary event of waking up before my alarm, ready to get up and shower rather than snoozing 4 times and rushing to work or school with half dried hair and in an outfit I don’t like. Which is THE WORST.
It's easy to forget that healing the gut takes a lot of energy in itself. When the outside world gets a little hectic, we need all the support we can get. As I’ve learned there is no cure-all out there but finding things that you can add to your arsenal to keep you feeling good or save you when things get a little rocky make all the difference.
So there you have it. Vitamin L, can you dig it?