Traditionally, Native Americans and other indigenous peoples consumed the internal organs of animals as a way to support health and vitality. And while they may not sound particularly appetizing, animal organs–including the liver, heart, and spleen–are, in fact, good for us. They’re very high in B-vitamins, protein, and iron, which means they have the potential to increase energy, alertness, and general health.
Of course, most people don’t love the idea of sitting down to a dinner of beef liver and hearts. But there’s a new way you can get the nutritional benefits of organ meats without necessarily eating them.
Ancestral Supplements offers grass-fed, pasture-raised beef organs in the form of easily swallowable capsules. In this review, we’ll look at their product pros and cons, as well as what customers have been saying.
What Exactly Is Ancestral Supplements?
Ancestral Supplements is a Texas-based company founded by Brian Johnson, who also goes by Liver King. When his children were young, Johnson saw that they had numerous allergies and seemed to be failing to thrive. He and his family began adopting an organic diet and supplementing with organ meats, and each member saw their health steadily improve.
Ancestral Supplements was formed in an effort to help other people discover the life that Johnson and his family found. The Johnsons are committed to ancestral living, which is essentially being as true as possible to the way our ancestors live.
Taking organ supplements is part of this way of life, and Johnson offers other ways to follow the lifestyle on the Ancestral Supplements website.
Pros and Cons of Ancestral Supplements
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What Products Do They Offer?
Because Ancestral Supplements is based on a belief in consuming an animal nose to tail, this company offers just about every beef organ imaginable. We’ll look at their top four products: beef organs, liver, heart, and marrow.
The name of this supplement might sound nebulous, but it includes the most nutritious of beef organs: liver, heart, kidney, pancreas, and spleen. If you want to try supplementing with organ meats and haven’t done it before, this product may be a good place to start. The organs included in these capsules are some of the first eaten by predators in the wild, and for good reason–organ meats like these are high in plenty of vitamins and minerals, including the following:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Of course, just like with any supplement, you may wonder whether taking in liver and other organs in caplet form is effective. The most-tested powdered supplements are liver supplements. A now-famous study from the 1950s tested three groups of rats: the first group had a basic diet with some vitamin supplementation, the second was fed a diet with extra B-vitamin fortification, and the third was supplemented with desiccated liver. The liver group was able to swim for over two hours, while the other two groups could only swim for just over 13 minutes.
This study was one of the first documentations of liver’s anti-fatigue effect. While nobody knows exactly why liver supplementations aid in holding off fatigue, liver supplements are used by bodybuilders and other athletes. While other organs have vitamin and mineral benefits as well, liver is the most beneficial ingredient here.
As mentioned above, beef liver in desiccated (dried) form has been shown to support healthy energy levels and dramatically reduce fatigue. In fact, it’s also been hailed as a superfood, largely because it’s high in the following nutrients:
- B vitamins–These help support the formulation of cellular energy, as well as brain and overall health.
- Vitamin A–Many people are deficient in vitamin A, which supports healthy organ function. It also is important for healthy vision.
- Iron–Iron supplementation helps ward off fatigue, and it also is essential for tissue oxygenation.
- Choline–This supports brain function as well as liver function.
- Copper–This helps to activate enzymes that support the formation of cellular energy.
Beef liver’s many energy-supporting components may explain why it has such an impressive anti-fatigue effect. If you’re interested in the health benefits of beef organs but especially want to reduce fatigue, this is a scientifically-backed supplement that may help.
While beef heart can be prepared and eaten like any other meat, it can be difficult to find. And like liver, many people would prefer not to consume beef heart in a meal. However, this muscle is surprisingly nutritionally rich: it contains every essential amino acid, and it also is rich in collagen, which helps support healthy bones, skin, hair, and nails.
The health benefits of beef heart don’t stop there, though–it also is rich in iron, zinc, and selenium, and it’s rich in electrolytes, iron, and B-vitamins. The manufacturer claims that this supplements is based on the ancient idea that “like supports like,” meaning that consuming beef heart will support the health of your own heart.
While it isn’t quite as nutritionally dense as some of the other supplements on the list, beef bone marrow is also an excellent health food. It’s consumed as a delicacy in some cultures, and it’s used to make soups and stock.
One of its major health benefits is the fact that it’s rich in collagen. Collagen is necessary for skin health, bone health, and dental health. And unless you regularly consume bone broth, taking a daily bone marrow supplement will help you stay healthy. Plus, many studies evaluating health benefits of bone marrow used concentrated supplements like this one.
What Else Do They Offer?
A few of the less common supplements offered are:
- Bone Marrow
- Bovine Cartilage
- Lung + Liver
- Male optimization formula
- Beef Eye
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How Does Ancestral Supplements Ensure Their Supplements Are High Quality?
According to Ancestral Supplements, all beef and beef organs used in their products are sourced in New Zealand from grass-fed cattle. This is important to them for a few reasons:
- New Zealand is known for greener pastures, which ensure that cattle receive higher-quality food
- It’s also known for cleaner air
- New Zealand animal husbandry is generally better than it is in the United States, meaning that animals are treated more humanely
Quality is also ensured through the way that organs are processed. Some capsule supplements are made with heat processing. Processing with heat is fine for some vitamins and minerals, but many of them, including folate, can be degraded through excessive heat. This means that you won’t be able to get the full nutritional benefit. Ancestral Supplements used freeze-drying technology to process their supplements, meaning that the nutritional benefits of all vitamins and minerals are preserved.
Because the company advocates a pure lifestyle, their products aren’t made with any additives. They also are allergen-free, making them safe for those with food allergies. Ancestral Supplements states that their products are third-party tested for purity–this is important, as supplements aren’t regulated for efficacy by the FDA. That said, their site doesn’t contain any information on who that third-party tester is. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should be concerned, but some supplement companies do openly offer a copy of an independent analysis if the buyer requests it.
What Are Customers Saying?
Perhaps predictably, the reviews featured on the Ancestral Supplements website are very positive. And while, based on ingredients and manufacturing quality, it sounds as though these supplements do have the potential to support better health, we think it’s important to read independently-published reviews, too. Here are a few reviews to help you make a decision.
The above review is a highly-detailed one and outlines both the excellent customer service offered by the company and the efficacy of the supplements themselves. In the case of this reviewer, these supplements were able to replace existing medications. This may not be the case for everyone (and you probably shouldn’t discontinue a prescription without consulting with your physician), but it does support the company’s claims that the supplements support both energy and general health.
This is a shorter review, but similarly, it underscores the benefits of these supplements. This reviewer also had bloodwork done confirming excellent liver and kidney health.
When trying a new supplement, many people worry that it won’t work at all. This was the case for this reviewer, who also suffered from fatigue. However, while they say the products didn’t work for them, this review highlights the excellent customer service they received from Ancestral Supplements–Brian Johnson even sent them different products to try free of charge.
Like the reviewer above, this reviewer also didn’t experience any noticeable benefits from the supplement, and they also expressed doubt at the many positive reviews the company received.
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Pros and Cons: Are Ancestral Supplements Right for You?
Any time you make the decision to purchase a supplement, you probably go through your own cost-benefits analysis. While everyone’s cost-benefit analysis will be different, we’ve included our pros and cons to help you decide whether Ancestral Supplements are the right choice for you.
Whether you want to start supplementing with beef organs as part of an ancestral lifestyle or are just looking for a way to improve your general health, Ancestral Supplements products may be able to help you reach your goals.
With quality ingredients and purely-formulated capsules, these supplements are more likely to work than some cheaper imitations. And with just about every report on customer service being favorable, you can be assured that the company will work with you if you experience an issue.
While it’s hard to say how many capsules are equivalent to consuming a serving of organ meat (and there’s no established daily value for liver and other organs), the fact remains that beef organs have established health benefits. We think that, all things considered, this is a supplement line worth trying.
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