Organ meats, once viewed as “a poor man’s food” have since evolved in their culinary status. During World War II, organ meats dominated the dining table. The reason? Food rationing made muscle meats like steaks and pork chops scarce while hearts, kidneys, and livers surged in abundance. While we are no longer in wartime, the popularity of organ meats has enjoyed a resurgence as “exotic” dishes in the last decade or so.
Perhaps chewing on beef liver or slurping up boiled tripe may sound icky to those who haven’t tried organ meats yet. But you may be missing out on their health benefits that our ancestors were privy to long ago. After all, offal contains significantly higher amounts of nutrients than the usual muscle meats. And it’s not just hearsay — clinical studies have proven numerous health benefits of organ meats.
At Zen Principle, we understand that organ meats can be an acquired taste for some. But we also wish for you to indulge in the health-boosting benefits of organ meats. If you can’t bring yourself to stomach beef liver and tripe amongst other offal, there’s another (subjectively) less off-putting way for you to reap their benefits — organ meat supplements.
What Are Organ Meat Supplements?
Before we zero in on organ meat supplements, let’s talk about organ meats themselves.
Organ meats go by various names, including offal, “variety meats,” and pluck. If you haven’t heard, organ meats are the edible internal organs such as the liver, heart, kidney, and pancreas, to name a few. Usually, they are extracted from animals such as cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, lambs, and goats.
So, what about organ meat supplements? These are primarily desiccated organ meats packaged into individual gel capsules. The type of organ meats used and the animal they come from depends on the product and brand. Most organ meat supplements provide the usual offerings of liver, heart, and kidney. Rarely will you find tripe (stomach) and intestines in organ meat supplements, even though these internal organs are highly nutritious, too.
That’s why at Zen Principle, we created a complete full spectrum bovine organ solution not provided by other brands. Introducing our Grass-Fed Beef Organ Complex that includes:
What Are the Benefits of Consuming Organ Meats?
It’s no secret that organ meats are chock full of the good stuff (read: vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants). But how exactly do organ meats (and their supplements) benefit you?
Boost Your Vitamin B12 Levels
Choose: Liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas, tripe, and intestine.
Vitamin B12 deficiency happens to many of us — its prevalence rate is around 6-20% in the general population, depending on your age group and dietary patterns. If you’re on a vegan or vegetarian diet, your odds are even higher because vitamin B12 can only be found in animal products.
The side effects of not getting enough vitamin B12 range from fatigue and headaches to depression and digestive issues. That’s where organ meats — and organ meat supplements — can help. Case in point: 100 grams of raw beef liver provides 988% of the percent daily value (%DV) for vitamin B12.
But, is there any difference in vitamin B12 content per the animal source? One study published in the Journal of Nutrition thinks so. It highlighted that “the meats of beef organs were higher in vitamin B12 potency than those of pork.” That’s why we specifically use beef organ meats in our Grass-Fed Beef Organ Complex.
May Correct Iron Deficiency
Choose: Liver, kidney, and spleen.
Iron deficiency is a widespread health concern. Research estimates that about 80% of the global population suffers from an iron shortage, with roughly 30% experiencing anemia as a result of it. Closer to home in America, roughly 30% of women and children qualify as iron-deficient.
While plant sources like dark leafy greens contain iron, it’s a less bioavailable form known as non-heme iron. The human body favors a more bioavailable form called heme iron, which can only be found in animal products like meats and organ meats. By comparison, one study found that beef spleen contains a whopping 72.8% of heme iron relative to only 64% of heme iron in its meat. For context, 100 grams of raw beef spleen provides 248% of the %DV of iron.
As such, organ meats are a much more efficient (and effective) way of meeting your nutritional intake. If you aren’t keen on organ meats themselves, organ meat supplements are a good alternative to top up your iron supply.
Retain Muscle Mass
Choose: All organ types.
Sarcopenia, or age-related loss of muscle mass, usually affects older adults (although younger demographics aren’t immune to it either). Regular physical activity is typically the first line of treatment and defense. Still, dietary changes in the form of higher protein intake can help preserve your muscle mass.
Scientific evidence indicates greater beef consumption positively correlates with higher muscle mass. Adding protein-rich organ meats like beef tripe and intestines to your diet may be one healthy way to enhance your protein intake to minimize, or even ward off sarcopenia.
Improve Heart Health
Choose: Heart, liver, and pancreas.
Cardiovascular diseases remain the no. 1 cause of death worldwide. High blood lipid profile is one of its risk factors, which can be prevented through a heart-healthy diet. But which foods qualify as such?
Look no further than organ meats like the heart. One study found that the heart butchered from calves has “the most favorable fatty acid profile.” Compared to other organ meats, it has the lowest percentage of saturated fats (the bad stuff) and the highest percentage of polyunsaturated fats.
On a related note, omega-3 fatty acids (a type of polyunsaturated fats) reduce triglyceride levels and increase good cholesterol levels, all in the name of better heart health. These healthy fats also lower the possibility of platelet aggregation, and by extension, blocked arteries.
What’s more, the liver is home to high concentrations of vitamin B6. This antioxidant plays an important role in regulating homocysteine concentrations in the bloodstream. Homocysteine is an amino acid that damages the arteries. Higher-than-normal homocysteine levels are associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, a disease that hardens the arteries.
Elevate Choline Content
Choose: Liver and kidney.
Choline is an important nutrient needed for neurological functions, cellular growth, and other vital bodily processes. Even though the human body produces choline, it doesn’t manufacture enough of it to meet the recommended daily intake for healthy adults. That’s why it’s imperative we get choline through other methods, primarily via whole foods and supplements. You’ve guessed it — organ meats (and organ meat supplements).
A 2003 study analyzing the choline content in 145 types of food shared that beef liver has the highest choline concentration at 418 milligrams per 100 grams, with chicken liver as a runner-up (290 mg/100g). If you aren’t a fan of beef liver, you can always try it in the form of an organ meat supplement.
It’s also good to note that higher choline levels correlate with a lower risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver, by as much as 25-32%. Non-alcoholic fatty liver is a chronic liver disease that affects about 20-30% of the general populace in developed countries like America. Regularly adding beef liver and other choline-rich organ meats is a viable way to boost your defenses against this health condition.
Protect Against Free Radical and Non-free Radical Damage
Choose: Heart, liver, and kidney.
Organ meats — specifically the heart, liver, and kidneys — are a rich source of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). The reason this fatty acid is highly prized is largely due to its ability to scavenge and neutralize reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species, which incite free radical and non-free radical damage, respectively. Since these radicals set chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and cancer, in motion, ALA consumption acts as a dietary talisman against these diseases.
Moreover, ALA is the key regenerator of other health-optimizing antioxidants such as:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
- Coenzyme Q10
For that reason, ALA is proven to support “cardiovascular and cognitive health, anti-aging, detoxification, anti-inflammation, anti-cancer, and neuro-protection.”
Even though our bodies make ALA, it’s still necessary to fulfill our daily recommended intake with dietary foods. Unfortunately, the average American diet does not provide enough ALA to meet our needs. In which case, organ meats or organ meat supplements may help.
Choose: Heart, kidney, and tripe.
Aside from citrus fruits and vitamin C supplements, organ meats (and their supplemental counterparts) function as immune-boosters, too.
Firstly, organ meats like tripe contain high levels of selenium. As a 2012 study puts it, “Adequate levels of Se are important for initiating immunity, but they are also involved in regulating excessive immune responses and chronic inflammation.”
Recent research also suggests that the triple threat of selenium, zinc, and vitamin D (all of which are present in organ meats in significant amounts) exert antiviral effects that may protect against COVID-19.
And remember when we said organ meats are good sources of vitamin B6? Turns out this B vitamin also has immune-enhancing properties. Vitamin B6 deficiency downplays your body’s immune defenses, going so far as to diminish your antibody count. Thankfully, scientific evidence indicates that a large dose of vitamin B6 supplementation, either 50 or 100mg per day could strengthen your immune response.
How To Find Quality Organ Meat Supplements
At this point, you probably can’t wait to add organ meats or organ meat supplements to your diet. But the thing is, not all organ meat supplements are created equal. To help you choose a top-quality supplement, take note of these four factors:
Go For Grass-Fed and Pasture-Raised
It’s a well-known fact that grass-fed and pasture-raised animals are healthier, hence they require fewer drugs and antibiotics than those raised in feedlots. This is especially crucial given that antibiotic resistance remains a growing concern worldwide.
On top of that, research shows that a grass-based diet yields animal products with a more favorable ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming grass-fed and grass-finished organ meats may then lower your risk of inflammatory-based illnesses, such as arthritis, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases. Pasture-grazing also means the cattle ingest various health-optimizing compounds like phenolics, terpenoids, and alkaloids, which may have spillover benefits to humans who consume said cattle products.
In light of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease, the origins of beef organ meat supplements set the stage for product safety and reliability. If you didn’t know, the brain and spinal cord are classified as high-risk cow parts — they are the most likely to be infected with BSE. Thankfully, most bovine organ meat supplements don’t incorporate brains or spinal cords in their formulation.
If you really want to set your mind at ease, your best bet is to choose supplements that only use grass-fed and pasture-raised cattle from New Zealand. According to the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), “the World Organization for Animal Health recognised New Zealand as a country with a negligible BSE risk” in 2007 as it never experienced a case of mad cow disease.
That’s why we purposefully source grass-fed and pasture-raised cattle from New Zealand for our beef-based dietary supplements at Zen Principle.
Only the Wholesome Stuff
Organ meat supplements are only a good alternative to organ meats if the former is minimally processed. In other words, the supplement should not contain additives, hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and pesticides.
Choosing an organ meat supplement made from grass-fed and pasture-raised cattle already eliminates synthetics like antibiotics, GMOs, and hormones. To make sure the stuff you consume is free of harmful pesticides, go organic. It’s also good practice to read the ingredient label carefully and ensure the manufacturer does not sneak in any additives.
Make Sure It’s Undefatted
When scanning the product label of organ meat supplements, you’ve probably come across the term “undefatted.” But what does the term mean? Basically, defatted organ meats had their fats removed. Before you assume this is a good thing, keep in mind that consuming defatted meats means you lose out on nutritious fat-soluble micronutrients like vitamin A.
To replicate the full nutritional profile of organ meats, we chose to use only non-defatted organ meats in our Grass-Fed Beef Organ Complex. This way, you get the best of what Nature intended without taxing your taste buds.
Cover All Your Bases
Many organ meat complex supplements typically leave out tripe and intestines, which is a waste. If you recall, tripe and intestines possess fundamental micronutrients for your overall health and wellness. So, make sure they appear on the ingredient label of your preferred organ meat supplement to cover all your bases.
If you’re interested in an organ meat complex that includes tripe and intestines, check out Zen Principle Grass-Fed Beef Organ Complex.
Organ Meat Supplements — The Ultimate Nutrition Powerhouse
For many people, the thought of eating internal organs held them back from enjoying the health benefits of organ meats. But with organ meat supplements, you can partake in their nutritional goodness even if you aren’t a fan of their strong taste. Whether you want to balance out nutritional deficiencies or boost various health functions, organ meat supplements are a cost-effective way to do so.
If you’re in the market for a quality organ meat supplement, then you don’t want to miss out on Zen Principle Grass-Fed Beef Organ Complex. It checks all the boxes — grass-fed, pasture-raised, synthetic-free, and undefatted. For the proverbial icing on the cake, we’ve added beef tripe and intestines for the ultimate nutrition powerhouse that no other brand provides.