Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
April 2, 2023
I work with clients all over the world to provide guidance about their mouth, their gut, their diet, and their overall health. While each client has a unique situation, I’ve found there’s one thing most of my clients have in common. It’s also the first thing we address in our work together.
Almost all these individuals are taking daily supplements and multivitamin/multimineral products to get healthy. And they wonder why they aren’t feeling any better. This is not the way to get healthy. And that is not the way to get your bioavailable nutrients. “Bioavailability” refers to the portion of a nutrient that is absorbed in the digestive tract and released into the bloodstream for the body’s use.
Sound familiar? I’m going to share the “secret” I share with them. Give it a try for yourself, and I know you’ll be amazed by the results.
Organs are the Answer
Organs are the ideal “supplements”. They can be cooked and prepared as a delicacy. Or you can purchase them desiccated into a powder form and consumed in capsules or sprinkled on other foods.
However, I don’t like to label organs as “supplements”.
Organs are called “offal”. Organ meats have been a staple in traditional diets for thousands of years. They are still regularly consumed in many cultures today and were part of our diets in the U.S. and other industrialized countries until recently. Organ meats include heart, liver, kidney, pancreas, spleen, tongue, brain, tripe, thymus, gallbladder, bone marrow, cartilage, and other internal tissues. Our ancestors prized these foods and were strongly favored over the muscle meats that have become common fare today.
As part of our homo sapiens’ evolutionary history, we’re hardwired to eat an animal-based diet. These nutritional habits were perfected during the last 300,000 years. Our primal ancestors all over the world prized organ meats above anything else.
Today, butchers often throw away the organs. Yet in some cultures, natives give the muscle meat of animals they hunt to their dogs and consume the raw organs at the time the animal is killed in the wild. Despite the lack of scientific measurement techniques, these traditional cultures knew from their decades of experience that organ meats were far more nutritious than muscle meats.
Ounce-for-ounce, organ meats are the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. A paper by Matthieu Maillot and colleagues published in 2007 looked at seven major food groups and 25 subgroups, characterizing the nutrient density of these foods based on the presence of 23 qualifying nutrients. Organ meats scored the highest levels of nutrient density.
In another paper published in the journal of Frontiers of Nutrition in March 2022, the researchers also looked at the nutrient density of foods. They showed how nutrient dense organs compared to other foods. In addition, these authors considered the important role of bioavailability. The paper pointed out that organs were the most nutrient-dense foods as well as they contained the largest percentage of bioavailable nutrients.
Nutrients in Offal
One question you may ask is, “What are the nutrients contained in offal?”
Practically every nutrient your body requires is present in organs, and they are in their proper ratios and are bioavailable.
In general, organ meats are rich in essential nutrients that support cellular function, such as vitamins A & E, B complex, and heme iron.
- Liver is one of the highest sources of bioavailable retinol (the active form of vitamin A), vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and copper.
- Spleen is the highest known source of bioavailable iron.
- Heart is the richest source of bioavailable CoQ10, a critical antioxidant.
- Kidney is the third-richest source (behind liver and clams) of Vitamin B12.
Also, organ meats are great sources of amino acids like carnosine, which helps maintain normal pH in muscles, and taurine, which reduces muscle damage and improves recovery after exercise. One of the reasons that athletes consume liver and other organ meats is because they help to improve athletic performance.
In addition, organs have many different enzymes and biopeptides that perform important regulatory functions in the body, including improvements in intestinal health, nutrient intake, feed conversion efficiency, mineral bioavailability, and immune function. And it is a fact that organ meats are higher in protein by weight than muscle meats. Also organ meats have more favorable ratios of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids.
Some medical research suggests that diets high in methionine, an amino acid that is abundant in muscle meats and other lean proteins, may increase the risk of cancer and reduce lifespan., But this is only true if high methionine intake is not balanced with adequate intake of complementary nutrients like the amino acid glycine and nutrients like B12, folate, betaine, and choline. These nutrients offset the potential downsides of high methionine intake and are found in other animal tissues, including organs, connective tissues, skin, and bones.
Supplements are NOT the Answers
As I mentioned, individual nutrient supplements as well as multivitamin/multimineral products are not the answers to health or a robust immune system.
For the most part, “supplements” are generally synthetic chemicals packaged in capsules, tablets, or liquid forms in high concentrations. They do not offer the ratios that are required by the human body for daily nutrition. As a matter of fact, most of these man-made supplements can be harmful without being combined with other symbiotic nutrients that the body must have to function correctly. In addition, many of these supplements have “other ingredients” that are food dyes, emulsifiers, preservatives, and other chemicals that harm the gut microbiome. And since most people take many of these “supplements” daily, they are taking a massive amount of harmful ingredients which have a cumulative negative effect on the gut and its epithelial barrier.
My Organ Protocol
I don’t cook and eat individual organs daily. But occasionally I eat several ground-up organs mixed in with ground beef. However, I consume a combination of desiccated organs daily. The desiccated organs usually come in capsule form and allow me to get all those wonderful bioavailable nutrients into my body in a balanced state.
I swallow capsules, but sometimes I open the capsules and sprinkle the powder on other foods I have cooked and prepared for my wife and me.
Here is my daily protocol for desiccated organs:
- Organ Complex (heart, liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas)
- Bone Marrow
The dosing I take is 6 capsules of the Organ Complex daily; 4 capsules of the bone marrow daily; and 4 capsules of the Cartilage/Collagen daily.
The bottom line is that organs are bioavailable and extremely nutritious. My recommendation is to reduce your dependence on “supplements” you buy and replace them with desiccated organs. If you need assistance in determining what organs you need to consume, let me help you design your individual ideal organ protocol.
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Organ meats are very high histamine foods, and those with histamine intolerance or conditions like Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) should avoid most organ meats. One exception would be kidney, as kidney contains Diamine Oxidase (DAO), which is an enzyme that breaks down histamine in the digestive tract.
After dealing with mysterious symptoms for most of my life and searching for answers, a few years ago I read about MCAS, and I became convinced that it’s what I have. It explained why I seemed to be allergic to so many things since childhood. It explained why I continued to suffer chronic acne long after the age that it’s no longer a problem for most people. (I’m 47 now.)
I have not been able to cure myself of this debilitating condition. I’ve only been able to manage it. As part of my regimen, I take 2 desiccated kidney capsules before a meal, which helps prevent itching that I experience from many foods. Liver made my condition worse, so I avoid it completely.
As a post menopausal 70 year old woman I have to be careful of iron intake. I was donating blood but the last two donations did not go well for me at the local Red Cross. This last time I had huge hematomas that were 5 inches and blood clots coming out and clogging the tube, the time before I got phlebitis that took forever to go away. Frankly I am afraid to donate blood again. The thing is I feel really more energetic when I take the organs, so I am taking them.
It’s difficult for me to find grass finished liver and organs where I live, and so I am taking Chris Knesset’s bio-avail organ which has been working well.
I don’t know what I am going to do about the high iron though. My GP doctor will not give me a prescription for weekly or bi weekly blood taking as she thinks I do not have a problem with high iron.
This 34-minute video by Georgia Ede, MD may be helpful to understand Histamine Intolerance. She discusses why freshness matters. https://youtu.be/i9DA2swl0Ew