7

votes

For those of us who don't eat liver, can we get enough vitamin A from eggs and butter?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 23, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Liver is a nutritional powerhouse, a great source of many vitamins and minerals. In particular, it's full of vitamin A. It's something I'd love to include in my diet. I've tried cooking grass-fed beef liver a few times, but unfortunately, at this point in my life, I cannot stomach its taste, texture, or smell.

So, I'm wondering if I get enough vitamin A from the eggs and butter I eat. I usually eat 6 eggs a day; according to Cronometer, that provides me with 1488 IU, or 50% of the RDA. I also usually eat ~6 tbsp of butter a day, which provides 1940 IU, or 65% of the RDA. Both the eggs and butter are pastured, so perhaps I'm getting even more than Cronometer thinks.

100g of beef liver provides 16899 IU (338% RDA).

I often hear that the RDA amounts are too low, and are set merely to avoid deficiencies, not ensure optimal health.

Do you think I'm getting enough vitamin A? What's an optimal amount?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 23, 2012
at 11:01 PM

I already have one http://huntgatherlove.com/content/promethease-vitamin-folate-and-other-fun-genes I need to run promethease again though, since it's been awhile

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on February 23, 2012
at 10:19 PM

Melissa -Please do a posting on your blog about 23andme, so your loyal readers can make use of your knowledge. Like what the most useful parts might be on the original test and the snpedia. Just a suggestion ;)

43873f3cea4f22f91653b0f5ec7ab9d9

(401)

on February 23, 2012
at 09:10 PM

Hmm, I eat my eggs either scrambled (using low heat) or hard-boiled. I didn't know the vitamin A content was affected by how the yolks were cooked. Do you have a source for this? Does it make a huge difference how they're cooked?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 23, 2012
at 07:40 PM

I guess 23and me doesn't think it's important. Look it up on the raw data. You'll also need to convert the base pairs to read the SNPedia data http://www.snpedia.com/index.php/SNPedia:FAQ#Why_don.27t_some_genotype_names_match_between_SNPedia_and_23andMe.3F

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 23, 2012
at 07:39 PM

http://www.snpedia.com/index.php/Rs12934922(A;T) is a main one

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on February 23, 2012
at 07:07 PM

What gene/chromasome/etc are you looking at?

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on February 23, 2012
at 07:07 PM

Shitoink -The answers you have gotten are a huge pet peeve for me -they are almost all suggesting liver of some kind. That is so annoying. I was hoping to see answers to your real question.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on February 23, 2012
at 07:05 PM

Melissa -Then where does one look on their results? I have mine from 23andme and have been finding them pretty useless. What tab do I look at?

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 23, 2012
at 05:51 PM

And like Melissa points out it might not be a bad thing that the conversion is not stagnant and reduces with consumed beta. Any studies on conversion of beta in the presence of a meal containing liver? That could be interesting too. Getting off the point, but I was just now considering that.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 23, 2012
at 04:50 PM

get your DNA sequenced with 23andme or a similar company

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on February 23, 2012
at 04:49 PM

@JayJay - Ahh, I inferred something that was not implied :-) My bad. I'm just very curious -- we only have retinol and the carotenoids -- what else can we do? We either eat the retinol or make it.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on February 23, 2012
at 04:46 PM

How does one determine if one genetically is a poor converter of beta carotene to vitamin A?

9b0310b623f8ed289c9571ab3a58a142

(384)

on February 23, 2012
at 04:40 PM

I also recommend braunschweiger. I liked it even before I was paleo. It is processed if you get it from the store, but I don't buy into nitrates/nitrites being "bad" for you. "No nitrates added" products contain many times more nitrates from sources such as celery juice, and nobody says celery is bad for you.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 23, 2012
at 04:34 PM

@greymouser....not an argument for or against actually. Just an study of fact to shtoink's question about conversion.

D5cde8031564f905260ce9aa7a1f5e2c

(1170)

on February 23, 2012
at 04:29 PM

Do you buy the prepared or raw brauschweiger?

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:58 PM

I will absolutely SECOND that gilliebean! Love their liverwurst!

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:47 PM

@David Csonka - short of force feeding animal-sourced vitamin A (especially from organ meats) to OP, what are you suggesting? It's my opinion that beta carotene rich veggies (and eggs, which OP is eating) will help greatly. It's not perfect, but it ain't half bad.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:44 PM

@JayJay - that is definitely *not* an argument to not eat beta carotene rich foods. It could be a warning to those that are vitamin A deficient to not expect to only eat vegetables, however.

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:43 PM

"I'm maintaining if you stick to the veggies you are already eating, it sounds like you will be fine." I don't necessarily agree with that assertion.

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:42 PM

More accurately, vegetables often contain carotenoids which can be converted into retinal endogenously, but at varying degrees of efficiency.

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:38 PM

Yes, I've bought USWM liverwurst before, it is quite good.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:36 PM

I didn't mean to imply that they were "the same thing", but it does convert. Animals sources are almost certainly pure vitamin A and maximally usable by the body, but beta carotene will convert. I'm maintaining if you stick to the veggies you are already eating, it sounds like you will be fine. Stop worrying about those numbers all too much!

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:31 PM

I promise I get nothing for mentioning them. I just love their braunschweiger and liverwurst so much!

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:30 PM

http://www.grasslandbeef.com/Categories.bok?category=Grassland+Beef%3ABeef+Organ+Meats

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:30 PM

US Wellness Meats makes a great brauschweiger and liverwurst. I almost guarantee you will be able to eat those. I'm pregnant and eating both! http://www.grasslandbeef.com/Categories.bok?category=Grassland+Beef%3ABeef+Organ+Meats

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:22 PM

What you get from carrots and what you get from liver are not the same thing.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:08 PM

The more beta carotene the worse the conversion according to this http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20237064

43873f3cea4f22f91653b0f5ec7ab9d9

(401)

on February 23, 2012
at 02:45 PM

I eat a sweet potato every day, and carrots and spinach frequently (because I really enjoy them). I know they provide a lot of beta carotene, but I hear it's not easily converted into vitamin A, so I'm not really sure how much it contributes to my total. According to Cronometer, on days when I eat all 3, I get 9000 IU of "vitamin A"/beta carotene (300% RDA); any idea how much of that is actually converted into vitamin A?

C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

(4069)

on February 23, 2012
at 02:40 PM

Hidden Liver Chile: Grind up a couple of portions of beef liver, put it in a paleo "chile", along with ground up pasture-fed beef and other ingredients- voila, delicious, passable chile with liver (no one can taste it, even my liver hating friend).

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8 Answers

4
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:09 PM

You could always choke down some Cod Liver Oil - I get a ton of Vitamin A and D from that. One shotglass is 2 tablespoons - which is insanely high in Vitamin A.

I still eat liver, when I can get it. On the weeks where I get good liver, I just skip the CLO.

2
4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:21 PM

Yes, despite what you hear, vegetables are also a source of vitamin A, provided you eat them with some fat.

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:42 PM

More accurately, vegetables often contain carotenoids which can be converted into retinal endogenously, but at varying degrees of efficiency.

1
05055dcbf12c81f1cce777ec365870af

(1791)

on February 23, 2012
at 07:56 PM

well, first understand that the RDA is bullshit. it's lowest common denominator recommendations. it's not about being healthy, its just about barely not being sick.

that said, your sources of A so far are pretty good, 6 eggs, provided that the yolks are very runny, and grass fed butter are very good sources, but i would say if you are having skin issues of any kind, feeling fatigued or over-stressed, then you could use more A, D3, K2, and E.

remember that vit a and d exists in a healthy ratio: chris masterjohn thinks anywhere from 10:1 to 4:1 a:d. luckily things like offal (including but not limited to liver), yolks, and butter have d3 and k2 as well as A.

i think you are barely getting enough A, and if you like the quality of your health right now theres no need to cross the liver threshold, but if you want to improve, you might want to look at why and how you have such a negative over-reaction to a kind of food that when prepared well is actually very delicious...

43873f3cea4f22f91653b0f5ec7ab9d9

(401)

on February 23, 2012
at 09:10 PM

Hmm, I eat my eggs either scrambled (using low heat) or hard-boiled. I didn't know the vitamin A content was affected by how the yolks were cooked. Do you have a source for this? Does it make a huge difference how they're cooked?

1
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 23, 2012
at 04:33 PM

I eat liver occasionally, but not that much (only during my menstrual period). The issue for me is that genetically I am a poor converter of beta carotene, the vegetable form of A, to retinol, the form our body uses. My strategy is usually to the 50% RDA from animal foods and then another 100% of beta carotene. So it says I'm getting 150%, but in my own body it's probably the equivalent of 100%. For you it might be different. I know some people are saying that limited conversion with increasing dose is a bad thing, but it's good thing in my book since it prevents at A toxicity. I also have seen my skin really improve with more beta carotene.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 23, 2012
at 04:50 PM

get your DNA sequenced with 23andme or a similar company

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on February 23, 2012
at 04:46 PM

How does one determine if one genetically is a poor converter of beta carotene to vitamin A?

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on February 23, 2012
at 10:19 PM

Melissa -Please do a posting on your blog about 23andme, so your loyal readers can make use of your knowledge. Like what the most useful parts might be on the original test and the snpedia. Just a suggestion ;)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on February 23, 2012
at 07:07 PM

What gene/chromasome/etc are you looking at?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 23, 2012
at 07:40 PM

I guess 23and me doesn't think it's important. Look it up on the raw data. You'll also need to convert the base pairs to read the SNPedia data http://www.snpedia.com/index.php/SNPedia:FAQ#Why_don.27t_some_genotype_names_match_between_SNPedia_and_23andMe.3F

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 23, 2012
at 07:39 PM

http://www.snpedia.com/index.php/Rs12934922(A;T) is a main one

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on February 23, 2012
at 07:05 PM

Melissa -Then where does one look on their results? I have mine from 23andme and have been finding them pretty useless. What tab do I look at?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 23, 2012
at 11:01 PM

I already have one http://huntgatherlove.com/content/promethease-vitamin-folate-and-other-fun-genes I need to run promethease again though, since it's been awhile

1
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32566)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:35 PM

Chicken liver (from pastured, free-range chickens) tastes infinitely better than beef liver, IMO!

Make some chicken liver pat??. Here's a recipe (scroll down the page for the chicken one.)

IMO, 10,000 IUs of retinol is the max, I'd aim for . I like to get 5,000-10,000 IUs a day.

Many folk don't convert beta-carotene to retinol (even with fat in the diet), so I wouldn't rely on vegetables for your A.

Also, liver is full of B vitamins, folate & iron.

1
65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

on February 23, 2012
at 03:22 PM

Another alternative is braunschweiger, it's a processed meat, but is more palatable than regular liver in my opinion.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:30 PM

http://www.grasslandbeef.com/Categories.bok?category=Grassland+Beef%3ABeef+Organ+Meats

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:38 PM

Yes, I've bought USWM liverwurst before, it is quite good.

9b0310b623f8ed289c9571ab3a58a142

(384)

on February 23, 2012
at 04:40 PM

I also recommend braunschweiger. I liked it even before I was paleo. It is processed if you get it from the store, but I don't buy into nitrates/nitrites being "bad" for you. "No nitrates added" products contain many times more nitrates from sources such as celery juice, and nobody says celery is bad for you.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:31 PM

I promise I get nothing for mentioning them. I just love their braunschweiger and liverwurst so much!

0
Dc9fc91ad8b52e4d5791af610bc0da76

on February 23, 2012
at 03:19 PM

I grind it up and mix it in with burgers and meatloaf. Neither me, my wife or son can tell it's in there.

Austin

0
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on February 23, 2012
at 02:36 PM

Liver is a nutritional powerhouse, but it sounds like you're otherwise eating a solid diet.

Besides what you mentioned, consider carrots, spinach, kale, collards, sweet potatoes, and squashes.

Keep your food variety changing, and you'll be fine.

DISCLAIMER: I love liver! Make pâté sometime -- it's a great way to enjoy liver.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:08 PM

The more beta carotene the worse the conversion according to this http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20237064

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:22 PM

What you get from carrots and what you get from liver are not the same thing.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on February 23, 2012
at 04:49 PM

@JayJay - Ahh, I inferred something that was not implied :-) My bad. I'm just very curious -- we only have retinol and the carotenoids -- what else can we do? We either eat the retinol or make it.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:44 PM

@JayJay - that is definitely *not* an argument to not eat beta carotene rich foods. It could be a warning to those that are vitamin A deficient to not expect to only eat vegetables, however.

43873f3cea4f22f91653b0f5ec7ab9d9

(401)

on February 23, 2012
at 02:45 PM

I eat a sweet potato every day, and carrots and spinach frequently (because I really enjoy them). I know they provide a lot of beta carotene, but I hear it's not easily converted into vitamin A, so I'm not really sure how much it contributes to my total. According to Cronometer, on days when I eat all 3, I get 9000 IU of "vitamin A"/beta carotene (300% RDA); any idea how much of that is actually converted into vitamin A?

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:36 PM

I didn't mean to imply that they were "the same thing", but it does convert. Animals sources are almost certainly pure vitamin A and maximally usable by the body, but beta carotene will convert. I'm maintaining if you stick to the veggies you are already eating, it sounds like you will be fine. Stop worrying about those numbers all too much!

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:43 PM

"I'm maintaining if you stick to the veggies you are already eating, it sounds like you will be fine." I don't necessarily agree with that assertion.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on February 23, 2012
at 03:47 PM

@David Csonka - short of force feeding animal-sourced vitamin A (especially from organ meats) to OP, what are you suggesting? It's my opinion that beta carotene rich veggies (and eggs, which OP is eating) will help greatly. It's not perfect, but it ain't half bad.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 23, 2012
at 04:34 PM

@greymouser....not an argument for or against actually. Just an study of fact to shtoink's question about conversion.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 23, 2012
at 05:51 PM

And like Melissa points out it might not be a bad thing that the conversion is not stagnant and reduces with consumed beta. Any studies on conversion of beta in the presence of a meal containing liver? That could be interesting too. Getting off the point, but I was just now considering that.

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