In my recent quest to rebalance my hormones and detox a bit, I created a “nutrient chart.” It included nutrients that people with my particular ‘symptoms’ (which are minor) are probably deficient in, and which foods are highest in those nutrients.
One food that showed up on the chart repeatedly was liver! Liver is high in B12 and other B vitamins, iron, copper, selenium, taurine, vitamin A, and lots more. It is needed for brain development, immune function, energy, and so much more.
I do not care for liver. I have put it in spaghetti sauce, taco meat, chili, and other foods, but I can always tell it is there. It’s something about the kind of mushy, odd texture. The flavor doesn’t bother me, although I know that is an issue for some. Plus, to me, it’s annoying to thaw a package of a pound or so of liver just to take out a small amount to use and then try to figure out what to do with the rest of it.
A better solution to eating liver on a regular basis was to create liver pills!
You can certainly buy them if you don’t want to take the time, but they are more expensive, and you don’t know the quality of the liver. I am seeing a price online for ‘average’ liver pills of $15 for 250. I paid $8 for the capsules (but you can buy them for $4 on Amazon) and about $2 for the liver itself. So you see my price was $10 and could have been as little as $6. Plus, I know exactly how the cow was raised and I am assured of the quality of the liver.
If you are worried about eating liver because of the vitamin A, don’t be. Naturally-occurring vitamin A is not toxic. Synthetic retinol is toxic. If you are worried because of the liver’s job, which is to filter toxins, know that the liver does exactly that — it filters them. It does not hold onto them. Still, buy high-quality liver from a grass-fed cow. Since most people don’t want it, you can find it for about $2/lb. which is very affordable.
How to Make Liver Pills
Making the liver pills is really simple, just slightly time-consuming.
You will need:
- 1 lb. of liver (I had slightly more than this, maybe 1.25 lbs.)
- 250 gelatin capsules (I used “00” which are the largest)
- High-powered blender or spice grinder
Step 1: Thaw your liver if frozen. Some sources recommend freezing for two weeks prior to use to kill any bacteria. I had had mine in the freezer for awhile, so I thawed it completely.
I recommend getting a butcher to slice it for you. Mine came sliced. If yours didn’t, you will have to slice it, and this will be annoying. It’s easier if you leave it slightly frozen while slicing.
Step 2: When it is sliced, put it into a colander and rinse it with cool water. You want to get rid of the blood as much as possible.
Step 3: Lay the strips of liver on a dehydrator tray. If you don’t have one, you can do this in the oven as low as it will go, usually 170. Lay on parchment paper on a cookie sheet if you are using the oven, or put a cooling rack onto a cookie sheet to improve air flow.
Step 4: Dehydrate for about 24 hours, until it’s completely dry and hard. This is really important because if there’s any moisture left, it can go bad, and you really don’t want that. I probably dried mine closer to 36 hours, though I don’t think it needed it.
Step 5: When the liver is completely dried, rip it into smaller pieces, about 1″ by 1″. Put these in a blender or a couple at a time into a spice or coffee grinder.
Step 6: Lay a small towel on your working surface — I recommend sitting at the kitchen table for this. Place your shallow bowl of powder, your capsules, and a jar to hold your completed capsules on the towel.
Open one capsule. Scoop it into the liver powder. Fill the bigger part completely, and the smaller part about halfway. Put the capsule back together again firmly.
If you prefer, you can also buy a small capsule machine to make these 24 at a time — they’re around $20, and totally worth it if you’ll be making pills on a regular basis. Make sure it matches the size pills you’re doing, they have to fit snugly!
That’s it! Drop your finished capsule into your jar. Keep going until all the capsules are done. This will take an hour or so. I got 250 out of my just over a pound of liver, with a tiny bit left.
We plan to take 2 capsules each per day (adults). Your needs may vary.
How Much Liver Do I Need?
I did some math on this to figure out how much liver is really in the capsules. So, I had about 1 1/4 lbs. liver and I got 250 capsules out of that. It’s recommended that people get 2 – 5 oz. of fresh liver per week (pregnant and nursing women should get 4 – 5). 1 1/4 lbs. fresh is 20 oz., which is about 600g, or 600,000mg. Divide this by 250 pills, and it’s 2400mg per pill. The pills hold 700 – 900mg dried, so the dried is about 3x as concentrated as the fresh.
If each pill is the equivalent of 2400mg fresh liver, then 4 pills per day is 9600mg, or about 2/3 oz. 9600 mg x 7 days a week = 67.2g, or 2.25 oz.
So, it boils down to this:
- 2 pills/day = 1 oz./week
- 4 pills/day = 2.25 oz./week
- 6 pills/day = 4.5 oz/week
Take what you think is right for you, and adjust up or down as needed! I tried taking as few as 2 and as many as 10, and found when I was taking 8 – 10 I had so much energy and so many nutrients that my appetite was low and I didn’t sleep well. I adjusted back down to 4. But, I tend to be extra sensitive so most pregnant/nursing women (I have an EBF 6-month-old) will want to take 6 – 8. Others’ needs may vary.