7

votes

Is liverwurst sufficient organ intake?

Commented on November 20, 2014
Created February 12, 2011 at 3:05 AM

I am trying to up my organ meat intake (from nothing) and have started by ordering liverwurst from US Wellness Meats. I just tried my first piece about 10 minutes ago and it was awesome. It is all grass-fed cow meat, 30% trim, 30% liver, 20% heart, and 20% kidney. I am thinking it would nicely supplement my salad, bacon and egg breakfast each morning... actually becoming a major component of my breakfast (i.e. small salad, 3 pieces bacon, one egg, and 1/4 lb liverwurst).

Is this going to be enough organ meat to be considered optimal? Or is it possibly too much? Basically, 1/2lb liver, 1/3lb heart, 1/3lb kidney each week. Am I still missing anything important if this is my only organ intake? Lastly, is there anything about liverwurst (particularly the aforementioned version of it) that makes it a less than optimal way to consume offal?

Thanks

30290f3dec8549ecd53b91c52a62ebb7

on November 20, 2014
at 05:37 PM

Hi - does anyone have a recipe where beef liverwurst is the star? I have a pound of beef liverwurst thawing in the fridge now. I purchased it from US Wellness. Do most people eat it by itself? Can I make pate with this pre-cooked liverwurst? Any advice or cooking instructions are greatly appreciated!

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 04:12 PM

Sorry saiklón, I think it's right now. Please let me know if there's still a problem. By the way, I order from US Wellness too. I used to get the liverwurst too but I stopped because it contains onion and onion gives me migraines. Nowadays I just order plain liver. Their lambs heart is incredibly delicious.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 04:10 PM

Sorry saiklón, I think it's right now. Please let me know if there's still a problem.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 03:53 PM

Sorry saiklón, I will fix my post again!

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 03:51 PM

Sorry Saiklon, I will fix my post again! :)

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on February 12, 2011
at 03:39 PM

Rob, it isn't 1lb/week. Its a 1/4lb per day (see 1st paragraph) or 1.75lb per week. So for liver that would be 1.75lb*.30 = 0.525lb/week.

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on February 12, 2011
at 03:25 PM

Thanks for the very informative reply. I was somewhat aware of the vitamin A concern but wasn't entirely sure how it was viewed in the paleo community (e.g. had no idea about A vs D). Vitamin A concern is why I decided to go with this option which has *relatively* low vitamin A content for the amount of offal that I get. However, my concern was more with a long term build-up of toxicity rather than one single "overdose".

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on February 12, 2011
at 03:16 PM

Rob, I guess I should have used a better qualifier than "basically". My intention was to give a rough estimate of weekly intake (so i/o .525, 1/2 and i/o .35, 1/3. So for the former I was off by 0.025lb/week and the latter 0.0167lb/week.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on February 12, 2011
at 02:30 PM

I have been wanting to add offal to my diet and honestly, didn't want to cook it! I always loved Liverwurst as a kid (Oscar Mayer brand, but still... at least I liked it.) What an excellent idea, thank you!

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 11:30 AM

I just realized I miscalculated the amount of vitamin A in the liverwurst. I changed the answer above to fix the mistake.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 11:02 AM

Stephen, vitamin A from animal livers is toxic if too much is eaten in too short a time. It can even be lethal. The Inuit knew about this danger long before supplements were invented. It's mentioned in a 16th century European book. People have died from eating livers of certain species. They die from the vitamin A. Take a look at the Wikipedia article for "Vitaminosis A." With regard to your question, I treated the package contents (one pound) as a week's consumption because Saiklon said in his or her second paragraph that the package (one pound) is eaten over the course of a week.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 10:59 AM

Thanks for adding that qualia. I don't know anything about the A:D ratio; that's why I quoted the Jaminets.

5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on February 12, 2011
at 10:55 AM

i'm more for a 1:1 ratio of A:D. too much retinol or its derivatives apparently even can trigger IBS and celiac in susceptible persons

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 10:53 AM

Stephen, vitamin A from animal livers is toxic if too much is eaten in too short a time. It can even be lethal. The Inuit knew about this danger long before supplements were invented. It's mentioned in a 16th century European book. People have died from eating livers of certain species. They die from the vitamin A. Take a look at the Wikipedia article for "Vitaminosis A." With regard to your question, I treated the full package contents as a week's consumption because Saiklon said in his or her second paragraph that the package is eaten over the course of a week.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 10:49 AM

Stephen, vitamin A from animal livers is toxic if too much is eaten in too short a time. It can even be lethal. People have died from eating livers of certain species. They die from the vitamin A. Take a look at the Wikipedia article for "Vitaminosis A." With regard to your question, I treated the full package contents as a week's consumption because Saiklon said in his or her second paragraph that the package is eaten over the course of a week.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 10:48 AM

Stephen, vitamin A from animal livers is lethal in large amounts. I repeat, from animal livers. Forget supplements. I'm talking about animal livers. People have died from eating livers of certain species. They die from the vitamin A. Take a look at the Wikipedia article for "Vitaminosis A." With regard to your question, I treated the full package contents as a week's consumption because Saiklon said in his or her second paragraph that the package is eaten over the course of a week.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on February 12, 2011
at 08:42 AM

And you say package are you referring to the entire pound or the 1/4 lb portion he's eating? Which is only 1/8lb of liver?

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on February 12, 2011
at 08:39 AM

Supplementation is toxic, yet nothing showing real food. Or A, D interaction, or increased A requirements dor increased meat intake. I'm not the slightestbit scared of vitamin A content from FOOD, pills are an overdose concern no matter what's in them.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 04:58 AM

In case anybody spends time calculating the nutrients for you, like I just did, they should be warned that your weights are wrong. They should use the percentages.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 12, 2011
at 03:25 AM

I can't answer your question, but that liverwurst sounds really good!

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6 Answers

6
82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 04:18 AM

Let's see. One quarter pound per day of this stuff is:

  • 22 g kidney
  • 33 g liver
  • 22 g heart
  • 33 g trim

First question. "Am I getting enough nutrients from this?" We can't answer that without knowing the rest of your diet, because other foods (not just offal) have the same nutrients and everything adds up. To answer this question, you need to enter everything you eat for a week or so into a program like Chron-o-meter (free download).

Second question. "Am I getting too many nutrients?"

You're slightly over the limit on vitamin A. The so-called tolerable upper intake level is 10,000 IU a day and according to Chron-o-meter, based on the USDA database, your daily quarter pound of liverwurst contains 10,466.

By itself, this isn't a problem, especially if you balance the vitamin A with vitamin D. But you might want to track your total intake because you're probably getting vitamin A from other sources too. Multivitamins often contain 5,000 IU.

Too much vitamin A is dangerous. People have died from eating livers of certain species because the vitamin A content is extremely high.

More recently, researchers have learned that smaller overdoses of vitamin A are also bad for our health even if they aren't immediately lethal. Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet, authors of Perfect Health Diet, explain in their book that:

  • a meta-analysis of seven clinical trials found that vitamin A supplementation increased mortality by 29 percent.

  • a prospective study of 72,000 nurses found that those who ingested more than 10,000 IU per day (the amount in your daily serving of liverwurst) had a 48% higher risk of hip fractures.

The Jaminets go on to explain that the problem isn't vitamin A by itself. The problem is the ratio of vitamin A to vitamin D. The two vitamins interact. If you get too much A without enough D, bad things happen.

In other words, the problem isn't ncessarily an excess of vitamin A. It could be a deficiency of vitamin D. That makes sense because nearly everyone has a deficiency of vitamin D due to lack of exposure to sunlight.

Here's what the Jaminets recommend:

  • Limit your daily intake of vitamin A to 12,000 IU.

  • Maintain a ratio of 3 vitamin A to 1 vitamin D. For example, if you're getting 12,000 IU of vitamin A per day, be sure you get 4,000 IU of vitamin D.

You can get your vitamin D from the sun or from capsules.

If you're taking a multivitamin, be careful. Many of them contain 5,000 IU of vitamin A.

The amount of B12 in this daily serving of liverwurst is also above guidelines, but B12 probably isn't toxic and the official agencies haven't established an upper limit for it, so you probably don't need to worry.

Reference:

Jaminet, Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet. Perfect Health Diet (2010). YingYang Press: Cambridge. Pages 217-219.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 11:30 AM

I just realized I miscalculated the amount of vitamin A in the liverwurst. I changed the answer above to fix the mistake.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 10:48 AM

Stephen, vitamin A from animal livers is lethal in large amounts. I repeat, from animal livers. Forget supplements. I'm talking about animal livers. People have died from eating livers of certain species. They die from the vitamin A. Take a look at the Wikipedia article for "Vitaminosis A." With regard to your question, I treated the full package contents as a week's consumption because Saiklon said in his or her second paragraph that the package is eaten over the course of a week.

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on February 12, 2011
at 03:25 PM

Thanks for the very informative reply. I was somewhat aware of the vitamin A concern but wasn't entirely sure how it was viewed in the paleo community (e.g. had no idea about A vs D). Vitamin A concern is why I decided to go with this option which has *relatively* low vitamin A content for the amount of offal that I get. However, my concern was more with a long term build-up of toxicity rather than one single "overdose".

5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on February 12, 2011
at 10:55 AM

i'm more for a 1:1 ratio of A:D. too much retinol or its derivatives apparently even can trigger IBS and celiac in susceptible persons

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 10:49 AM

Stephen, vitamin A from animal livers is toxic if too much is eaten in too short a time. It can even be lethal. People have died from eating livers of certain species. They die from the vitamin A. Take a look at the Wikipedia article for "Vitaminosis A." With regard to your question, I treated the full package contents as a week's consumption because Saiklon said in his or her second paragraph that the package is eaten over the course of a week.

5b69a02dadcae753771921d913909215

(1457)

on February 12, 2011
at 03:39 PM

Rob, it isn't 1lb/week. Its a 1/4lb per day (see 1st paragraph) or 1.75lb per week. So for liver that would be 1.75lb*.30 = 0.525lb/week.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on February 12, 2011
at 08:42 AM

And you say package are you referring to the entire pound or the 1/4 lb portion he's eating? Which is only 1/8lb of liver?

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 03:53 PM

Sorry saiklón, I will fix my post again!

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 03:51 PM

Sorry Saiklon, I will fix my post again! :)

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 11:02 AM

Stephen, vitamin A from animal livers is toxic if too much is eaten in too short a time. It can even be lethal. The Inuit knew about this danger long before supplements were invented. It's mentioned in a 16th century European book. People have died from eating livers of certain species. They die from the vitamin A. Take a look at the Wikipedia article for "Vitaminosis A." With regard to your question, I treated the package contents (one pound) as a week's consumption because Saiklon said in his or her second paragraph that the package (one pound) is eaten over the course of a week.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on February 12, 2011
at 08:39 AM

Supplementation is toxic, yet nothing showing real food. Or A, D interaction, or increased A requirements dor increased meat intake. I'm not the slightestbit scared of vitamin A content from FOOD, pills are an overdose concern no matter what's in them.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 10:59 AM

Thanks for adding that qualia. I don't know anything about the A:D ratio; that's why I quoted the Jaminets.

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1

on February 12, 2011
at 10:53 AM

Stephen, vitamin A from animal livers is toxic if too much is eaten in too short a time. It can even be lethal. The Inuit knew about this danger long before supplements were invented. It's mentioned in a 16th century European book. People have died from eating livers of certain species. They die from the vitamin A. Take a look at the Wikipedia article for "Vitaminosis A." With regard to your question, I treated the full package contents as a week's consumption because Saiklon said in his or her second paragraph that the package is eaten over the course of a week.

3
2d628b9fd1445800361a23abdf9ddef6

on September 19, 2012
at 01:34 PM

Those citing the Inuit's knowledge of the dangers of overconsuming liver need to be sure they are comparing apples to apples (or livers to livers). The Inuit were dealing with polar bear, seal, and walrus - the livers of which are extraordinarily high in Vitamin A. A portion of walrus liver contains over 4 times the Vitamin A of an equal portion of beef liver. The livers of polar bear and seal contain 13000-18000 IU per gram, compared to about 300 IU/g for beef liver.

Sources:

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/ethnic-foods/8134/2

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beef-products/3468/2

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1257872/?page=3

3
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on February 12, 2011
at 05:03 AM

You'd probably want to go to fitday.com and crunch the numbers to see how much of each nutrient you intake daily and weekly. There is no exact intake of organ meat known to be the healthiest. A lot will depend on the rest of your diet. The whole point of organ meat is just that it is packed with nutrients, many that we know of and perhaps even some that we don't know of. But that does not mean organ meat intake is required for health. YOu coudl get the same nutrients from other foods. It's just that organ meats are nutrient dense and it's easy to get a LOT of nutrients in just a few bites. Organ meats are the quick and easy way to get a lot of nutrition quickly and cheaply. Even more convenient if you get a lot of diff organ meats all at once like in liverwurst, plus in your case, it sounds like it's all natural grassfed. Yum! Sounds like a good deal to me!

1
7431586c21bca496c5a7ec7bd0ca4d6e

(974)

on February 12, 2011
at 04:45 AM

The Jaminets in the Perfect Health Diet recommend a quarter pound of liver per week (p. 219).

1
88905cfc5bb098ad3830671a1af373a8

on February 12, 2011
at 04:21 AM

I've been eating a ton of it lately, but solely supermarket brands. They contain preservatives and sugars and conventional meat but I'm hoping the good outweighs the bad. Far superior in taste and perceived quality and liver content is Kahn's/Kroger's (compared to Jones, Oscar Meyer and Boar's Head). Some of the others have slightly lower carb/sugar content (and none of them have that much) but they seem more processed. Want to try US Wellness at some point.

1
0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on February 12, 2011
at 03:56 AM

I have loved liverwurst ever since I was a kid. We went to a local German butcher who made his own. There are many different styles, some with brians ( the best) but most without. Stay away from supermarket brands that only try to match the texture and flavor with the real goods. I would say that it only meets your organ intake about halfway. But better than none, right?

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