Beef liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, among other healthful nutrients, that are essential for the health and development of children. It’s nature’s multivitamin and only a little is needed to reap the benefits, making it perfect for tiny tummies! This article covers the best age to introduce beef liver to babies, ways to get babies and kids to eat beef liver capsules, and important safety information.
This article was written in collaboration with Dr. Alyssa, an expert in Holistic Baby-led Weaning™. For more information about first foods, check out her free baby-led weaning guide and follow her on Instagram @thrivingfoundations.
What Are Beef Liver Capsules?
Beef liver is incredibly nutrient dense and an important part of traditional diets worldwide. However, it isn’t commonly consumed in North American diets. To get the benefits of beef liver without incorporating it into a meal, many people take beef liver capsules.
Beef liver capsules are simply desiccated (dried) beef liver ground into a powder and put into capsules. Four capsules of desiccated beef liver are equivalent to approximately 1 oz of fresh beef liver in terms of micronutrients. It is important to purchase freeze-dried liver supplements. Using heat to dry beef liver can destroy some important vitamins.
Beef liver supplements can be defatted or non-defatted. Defatted beef liver supplements mean that the fat has been removed from the beef liver, which also means that all the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) have also been removed. Non-defatted beef liver supplements preserve healthy fat and fat-soluble vitamins.
Non-defatted beef liver capsules contain all the nutrients found in beef liver, including protein, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folate, iron, zinc, copper, phosphorus, selenium, choline, and hyaluronic acid.
Why Do People Take Beef Liver Capsules?
Because beef liver capsules contain an extensive complement of nutrients in maximally bioavailable forms, there are many reasons that people would take them or give them to children and babies. The simplest reason is to provide a nutrient boost, especially for people who don’t regularly consume or have access to quality-sourced liver.
For infants and children, beef liver capsules are a great source of nutrients that are essential for proper growth and development. For example – iron is incredibly important for brain development and immune function, and zinc is important for immunity, skin health, and growth. Beef liver capsules are a rich source of both iron and zinc.
Beef liver capsules are often taken for:
- Energy and mood improvement
- Brain health and development
- Immune system support
- Red blood cell production
- Exercise performance and stamina
- Skin and connective tissue health
- Healthy teeth and bones
- Vision and eye health
Introducing Beef Liver To Babies
When Can Babies Eat Beef Liver Capsules?
Considering the nutrient density of beef liver, along with the fact that it’s easily digested and easy for infants to eat, it can be a great first food. Because beef liver capsules are essentially beef liver in a dried form, they can also be given as soon as solid foods are introduced (generally around 6 months of age).
How Much Liver Is Okay To Give Babies?
For infants and children, I recommend giving no more than 1 tsp of beef liver daily or 1 capsule of dried beef liver. Breastfed babies can get the benefits of beef liver before starting solids if mama is consuming beef liver or beef liver capsules as many of the nutrients will pass through breast milk.
How To Get Babies And Kids To Eat Beef Liver Capsules
Beef liver capsules can simply be opened and mixed into food. Certain foods are better at “masking” the taste/flavor, like taco meat, scrambled eggs, burgers, and smoothies. Mixing too many liver capsules into a food will definitely change its flavor. Usually, it’s easy to hide the flavor of just one beef liver capsule.
Beef liver is a healthy food consumed around the world by people of all ages. However, beef liver is high in vitamin A, which can be toxic when over-consumed. Use caution when taking beef liver capsules alongside supplements containing vitamin A.
For more information, see this article about pediatric vitamin A dosing: Benefits of Vitamin A + Pediatric Dosing – Dr. Green Mom.
Beef liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, among other nutrients, that are essential for the health and development of children. Beef liver capsules are a great alternative to consuming liver and can be given to infants by mixing them into foods as soon as solid foods are introduced (generally around 6 months of age).