This post was updated in May 2020 to ensure accuracy and relevancy.
In one issue of his newsletter (December 2016) Tim Ferriss, author of the best selling “Four Hour” series (Four Hour Workweek, Four Hour Body & Four Hour Chef) mentioned that he was consuming desiccated liver as a whole-food supplement raising his energy levels. Why is it worth checking on?
Tim Ferriss is famous for his successful experiments with supplements and lifestyle engineering. He has created the original PAGG Stack, experimented with cissus quadrangularis for weight loss, and with cod liver oil mixed with butter oil.
Liver is a superfood known for ages, playing today a crucial role in paleo diet. Anyone cutting down on fruit consumption to avoid fructose, looking for an alternative source of vitamins and micro nutrients should include liver in her diet. Cavemen derived their vitamins from organ meats, with liver being one of the most valuable meats from the nutritional point of view – you get the concept.
Modern diet is rich in processed food, if you rely on someone else to prepare your food as the most of us with a tight schedule do, your body might miss some vital nutrients. Liver contains lots of iron, vitamin A and vitamin B12 (more on them below). If you feel tired, stressed out and your waistline starts getting too wide, missing vitamins and micro nutrients might be an essential part of the problem.
What are the desiccated liver benefits?
To begin with, liver is a true superfood. Our ancestors unlike us didn’t have constant access to fresh fruits nor vegetables. They obtained a healthy dose of vitamins and micro nutrients from organ meat of game and raised animals, especially from liver. It happened partially out of necessity – meat and food in general was scarce, people often starved, and wasting food by eating only skeletal muscles of hunted or raised animals was not acceptable. So animal innards were unlike today a normal part of the diet.
Today liver still deserves a place in our diet. It has many advantages over vegetable sources of vitamins and micro nutrients, it contains no phytic acid, no fructose and you need less of it to get the same amount of vitamins than from plants or fruits.
Desiccated liver improves overall health, raises energy levels, strengthens the immune system, speeds up metabolism, supports healthy cholesterol (i.e. healthy cardiovascular system), improves digestion and respiratory strength.
Vitamin A contained in liver promotes healthy skin, nails and hair. The beneficial influence on protein metabolism makes liver extract an excellent post-workout supplement.
Lower levels of iron and vitamin B12 can make you feel tired and depressed. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency, causes a wide range of symptoms, among others fatigue and weakness. The symptoms of slightly lowered levels of vitamin B12 (not a deficiency yet) are among others fatigue, depression and lowered cognitive performance.
Does desiccated liver support hair growth?
Desiccated liver contains a number of micronutrients related to healthy hair, skin and nails. If the reason for hair loss is a deficiency of one or more of the micronutrients, supplementing dessicated liver can support hair growth (or hair regrowth after hair loss). These are:
- Vitamin A supports skin cell regeneration. A deficiency of Vitamin A causes dry skin and hair loss.
- Vitamin B7 or B8 called Biotin. A deficiency of Biotin causes hair thinning, brittle fingernails and rash.
- Vitamin C is required for the body to produce collagen.
- Copper is important for pigments in skin, hair and eyes. It delays hair graying.
- Iron deficiency is a factor in female hair loss.
- Lysine is a component of hairs and helps to reduce hair loss (check this research to learn more.)
Obviously there are conditions causing hair loss which cannot be cured by supplements. If you suffer from a medical condition consult a doctor.
What are the Perfect Desiccated Liver reviews?
So, what do other customers think of this supplement? A quick glance at the desiccated liver reviews on Amazon (for the brand mentioned by Tim Ferriss) reveals that the supplement scored mostly highest notes (total note of four and a half stars), and most of the reviews are verified purchases, i.e. from people who ordered their supplement on Amazon.com.
What are the pros and cons? And what are the common questions about the supplement? Consumers of desiccated liver often praise the commonly observed energy rush and increased stamina, appearing already in the first week of the supplementation. Some consumers noticed improved skin condition. The liver caps had been also prescribed and taken to address iron or vitamin B12 deficiency and they did their job.
On the flip side a common complaint was about the strong smell and aftertaste. Consuming the capsules with a glass of water or protein shake helps. A few users complained about the size of the caps – they seem to be too big to be swallowed easily for some. Taking the caps with some liquid should help with the problem.
What is the desiccated liver dosage?
According to his newsletter Tim Ferriss takes 8 caps of the Perfect Desiccated Liver a day:
- 4 caps of the supplement after waking up and then again
- 4 caps in the early afternoon, about 2PM.
4 caps add up to 3 grams, containing about 70% of protein, 2.8mg of naturally occurring iron, 969 IU of naturally occurring vitamin A, and as mentioned before, an excellent source of vitamin B12.
According to the manufacturer, Perfect Supplements, serving size is 4 capsules.
What are the desiccated liver side effects?
This product contains iron and vitamin A. It is possible to overdose both of them. Do not exceed the recommended daily intake of the supplement (check the packaging). The supplement is intended for adults – keep it out of reach of children. If you accidentally overdose desiccated liver contact a doctor or a poison control center immediately.
What are the bestselling brands?
There are many brands available on Amazon.com:
- The brand mentioned by Tim is Perfect Desiccated Liver, Grass-Fed Argentine Beef Liver. The manufacturer, Perfect Supplements is known for their superior product quality, their desiccated liver is a best seller on Amazon.com, tagged with an “Amazon’s Choice” label. Tim Ferriss has previously used and endorsed their other supplement, Blue Ice (Fermented Cod Liver Oil).
- Another brand is Vital Proteins Pasture-Raised, Grass-Fed Beef Liver. Made from livers of grass-fed cows raised in New Zealand it is rich in Vitamin A, B12, Folate, Riboflavin, Zinc, Copper, and Choline.
- Worth mentioning are also Zen Principle Desiccated Liver and Solgar Desiccated Liver Tablets, both made from liver of cows raised in Argentina.
Important disclaimer: desiccated liver is a supplement, not a drug intended to cure, prevent or treat diseases. It hasn’t been evaluated by the FDA.