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Desiccated Liver

(Universal's Uni-Liver; NOW's Liver Powder)

By Gary F. Zeolla

In the 1960s to 80s, desiccated liver was a very popular bodybuilding supplement. Many old-time bodybuilders swore by it. Desiccated liver is liver that has been made into a dry powder and sold in pill or powder form, so it would be best described as a "supplemental food." By this term is meant supplements that are real natural foods not synthetic products like most supplements, but they are processed in some way to make them easier to take on a regular basis.

With desiccated liver you get all of the high quality protein and other nutrients naturally found in liver but without the less than desirable taste of liver. And desiccated liver is usually defatted, so you avoid the saturated fat and cholesterol of liver.

However, desiccated liver fell out of favor by the end of the 1980s due to the glut of other "muscle-building" products that began arriving on the scene. Today it can even hard to find it. But some companies still make it. It would be best to be sure the liver is derived from hormone-free, grass-fed cattle. I discuss the value such meats versus factory farm meats at length in my book Creationist Diet: Second Edition. Usually this means it is derived from from Argentine cattle, so look for that on the label.

Universal's Uni-Liver is one such product that is less expensive than some of the others. It is also "enhanced" with whey protein to increase the protein content of each tablet. The following is the nutrient contest of just two tablets.

Nutrient – Amount Per Serving – % DV
Calories – 14
Protein – 3.2g – 6%
Thiamin – 80mcg – 6%
Riboflavin – 800mcg – 48%
Niacin – 4mg – 20%
Vitamin B6 – 160mcg – 8%
Folic Acid – 104mcg – 26%
Vitamin B12 – 48mcg – 800%
Biotin – 20mcg – 6%
Para-Aminobenzoic Acid 52mcg
Choline 160mg
Inositol 28mg

The 3.2 grams of protein may not sound like much, but it is very high quality protein. And if you take the recommended 2-4 tablets with each meal, that can significantly increase your intake of protein, along with of the other mentioned nutrients.

A NOW products is also interesting as it is a powder and contains no ingredients other than desiccated liver. I tried adding it to my pre-workout drink, but frankly, the taste was tolerable at best. And I didn't feel like it was providing any real benefit, so I stopped it after a while. But if you're tougher than me, you might be able to tolerate it and find some benefit from it. Or use tablets to avoid the taste altogether. Another possible product is Perfect Desiccated Liver - Grass Fed Undefatted Argentine Beef Liver.

Desiccated Liver Products are available from Amazon and iHerb.
For iHerb, when checking out, use referral code HOP815 to receive $5.00 off your first order.

Desiccated Liver - Supplement Descriptions. Copyright 2008, 2014, 2017 By Gary F. Zeolla.

The above article was posted on this site April 1, 2009.
It was updated June 14, 2017.

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