In Episode 147 of Keto Talk, Jimmy and Dr. Will Cole do a deep dive on the subject of offal and why it is so important to eat 'nose to tail'.
“Especially for people following the carnivore protocol, this is great because offal is one of nature's multi vitamins.” – Dr. Will Cole
“When you think back to our hunter gatherer ancestors when they got an animal they didn't let any part of it go to waste.” – Jimmy Moore
Offal and organ meats are most popular when used from beef, pork, lamb, or poultry. The different kinds of organ meats that you can eat include:
History Of Organ Meats
Each culture has their own opinion of organ meat and each views it slightly different than the next. In some cultures, organs are consumed daily while in others certain organs are illegal to eat. One thing that stands true for all cultures is that organ consumption has changed over the years.Centuries ago, not only were organ meats just eaten, they were praised and loved. When food was hunted and gathered there was a lot of effort put into supplying it for families and tribes. Hunters didn’t just walk to the local supermarket to buy meat, they had to fight for it. And when you’re putting that much effort into hunting food for your family, you use every ounce of it that you can. Not only was it eaten just so it wouldn’t go to waste, the organ meat was reserved for the respected society members. Whether it was the political kings and leaders, the hunters, or the elders; the organ meats were regarded as the best and saved for the best.
Over the years it has changed to be eaten by all, not just the well respected, in almost all countries. In some countries, organ meats are served as common street food and others as appetizers and entrees in expensive restaurants. No matter how common throughout the world though, eating organ meat isn’t a widely loved meat here in the United States, yet.
Why People Avoid It
I will admit that the taste can take some getting used to, but they provide far too many benefits to avoid it. Another reason that organ meats invoke negative perceptions is the thought of toxins. The misconception in our society is that the animals’ toxins are stored in their organs; and when eaten, the toxins now move into our bodies. This would make sense, however the toxins are not actually stored in an animal’s organs. The organs, the liver in particular, are where the toxins move to get filtered out. Once there, the liver doesn’t store it, but rather decide where it should be moved to. Most times, the liver moves any toxins to the kidneys where it is then expelled through urine. The toxins are removed from the animal’s organs and bodies before it has the chance to enter our bodies.
The benefits of eating organ meat reach far and wide. Each one acts as a superfood that provides many more nutrients to our bodies than the animal muscle meat that we normally eat.
One of the main nutrients that organ meats offer is the Coenzyme Q10, otherwise known as CoQ10. This coenzyme is found in the largest amounts in animal hearts. Like all coenzymes, our bodies naturally produce this nutrient, but only in small amounts and not enough that we need. That’s where organ meat comes in.
CoQ10 is also designed to help other enzymes digest and break down food. When it comes to energy, it isn’t always the same and instead comes in many different forms. The form that our cells use is called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. But when our energy comes in the form of fat or carbohydrates that we eat, how does our body make that change to supply energy to our cells? CoQ10 is crucial for the body to begin and sustain the ATP synthesis process to continually supply our cells with energy each day.
Our brain and cardiovascular systems are also impacted by this coenzyme due to its antioxidant features and its effect on oxidative stress. Although further research is needed, it is recommended to people with or at risk for cardiovascular disease to up their CoQ10 intake along with regular medications. Eating foods high in CoQ10 helps fight the backlash that come with these prescribed medications and keep blood flowing.
When it comes to our brain, it has been shown that those with cognitive disorders have lower levels of CoQ10 that contribute to the issue. As potential agents are looked for to combat the cognitive decline we see on a daily basis, research suggests that CoQ10 has potential to be used medically to fight the decline.
2. Vitamin A
Organ meats also offer one of the largest amounts of the antioxidant Vitamin A. When taken in supplement form Vitamin A in mass amounts can result in toxicity; but, Vitamin A present in food does not lead to any toxic results even in large amounts. When the body breaks down nutrients from food sources it can access how much our individual bodies need and expel any extra, avoiding any issues.
There are two types of Vitamin A: retinol, or active Vitamin A, and beta-carotene. Active Vitamin A is present in organ meats and other animal meat in smaller quantities. This type can be broken down and used by the body right away, making it a perfect source to get this nutrient from. Beta-carotene, found in many vegetables, cannot be used by the body unless broken down and changed. Even though vegetables are great for you, they are an inefficient source of Vitamin A because of the work and stress it has on our bodies just to use it.
Vitamin A can also do a lot of good when it comes to the immune system. In a recent study of children under 5 in Colombia, they came to the conclusion that increasing the childrens’ Vitamin A intake was the most effective way to protect against disease. Not only was it the most effective, it was also the least expensive way to protect the immune system in the children to ensure health. When Vitamin A is present, the mucosal barriers that become damaged by infection can regenerate and repair themselves to provide immune protection. If your body is lacking this immune-boosting vitamin, then regeneration does not occur and infections become more prevalent and can spread faster.
One of the most noticeable benefits of Vitamin A is the glowing and clear skin it can lead to. Its support of cell regeneration keeps wrinkles away while the anti-inflammatory properties protect against acne and skin irritations.
3. B Vitamins
Organ meats also supply us with important B Vitamins. All of the B Vitamins that are present in organ meats offer some kind of help to our cardiovascular systems. These vitamins can maintain healthy levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, blood triglycerides, and homocysteine. When all of these are at healthy levels, the risk of developing a heart or cardiovascular issue is greatly diminished.
Vitamin B7, also referred to as biotin, is known for its ability to enhance beauty through the positive effects it has on hair, skin, and nails. One thing needed for radiant skin is fatty acid synthesis, and, of course, biotin aids this process and can therefore fight the effects of aging and prevent wrinkles.
Biotin deficiency and thyroid problems can both lead to thinning hair and hair loss. This can be reversed and restored through incorporating more biotin into your diet. The same is true for restoring weak and thinning nails back to full health. For this reason many beauty products and beauty enhancing supplements can be found with biotin. However, biotin is not as effective when use topically compared to when it is when ingested. 3 ounces of beef liver provides 30 mg of biotin, which is the daily recommendation for adults.
The B Vitamins in organ meats also aid in hormonal health and pregnancies. Folate, otherwise known as B9, is one of the most needed vitamins for mothers and babies for a healthy pregnancy. Folate supplements are often recommended by doctors, but I truly believe that when available, food medicines are the best way to get your daily dose of vitamins. Vitamin B6 can also decrease the risk of erectile dysfunction, reduce nausea related to pregnancy, and calm menstrual cycle cramps.
Vitamin A for immune system calming.
Vitamin A is essential for a strong immune system, and vitamin A deficiency has been linked to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes. Researchers suspect the reason has to do with our dendritic cells, which send out a “red alert” at the sign of a supposed invader, to stimulate immunity, or a “calm down” message that tones down excessive and damaging immune reactivity. The “calm down” message makes use of vitamin A!
Vitamin K2 for brain and spinal cord healing.
One study in the Journal of Neuroimmunology found that vitamin K2 was effective at inhibiting the pro-inflammatory iNOS in the spinal cord and the brain immune system in rats that had multiple sclerosis symptoms. That suggests it could do the same for humans, but unfortunately, K2 is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the western diet. You can fix that with the right food medicines!
Iron to replenish deficits.
Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is linked to many autoimmune diseases, but it isn’t clear how much of this is cause and how much is effect. One likely reason is that ferritin (stored iron) is mostly absorbed in the intestines. When absorption is compromised by inflammation and autoimmunity, iron stores can fall too low, and as you may already know, damage to the gut lining and leaky gut syndrome are considered (in functional medicine) to be preconditions for autoimmunity.
Micronutrients to quell inflammation and promote optimal function.
Micronutrient deficiencies – especially of selenium, magnesium, and zinc – are associated with several autoimmune diseases. That’s likely primarily due to chronic inflammation, which decreases the absorption of these vital nutrients. Yet, these micronutrients are required for the healthy production and conversion of the thyroid hormone, and thyroid problems such as Hashimoto’s disease are some of the most common autoimmune conditions. Supplementing with these micronutrients can help get thyroid issues back on track as you work on healing the gut and decreasing inflammation to increase micronutrient absorption.
In Episode 146 of Keto Talk, Jimmy and Dr. Will Cole answer your questions about Healing Chronic Fatigue, Elevated Glucose Response To High-Carb Meal While Keto, APAO2 Gene, Keto & A-Fib, Daily Laxative For Opiate-Induced Constipation, and more!
– How do you heal fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue when you’re doing everything perfect in your ketogenic lifestyle?
I’m a longtime listener listener and appreciate all of the information you give so generously! I’m trying to figure out how to heal from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome which I was diagnosed with in 2014. I have eaten an LCHF diet for many years and lost around 30kg (~66 pounds). I'm 59 years old and have been a yo-yo dieter my entire life. On low-carb, I have been much more successful in stabilizing my weight and the trend has been moving slowly in the right direction with about 22 pounds left to go. It’s such a struggle. Even still, my fasting blood glucose is 5-6 mmol/L and blood ketones are 0.5-0.9 mmol/L.
I’ve been very strict in my keto diet for a while, but the aches and pain in my arms and legs from my fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue persists. The good news is my brain is a lot clearer and I’m able work again. It’s so difficult to find any doctors here in Sweden willing to run the tests I need to dig a little deeper into this. What would you suggest I do to help with my health issues? Thanks for your input.
Susan from Sweden
– Why is the blood glucose response to a higher-carb meal greater since I’ve gone strict keto than it was when I was only eating low-carb?
Hey Jimmy and Will,
Can you explain more about the blood glucose rebound effect that happens after eating keto for a while and then having a higher carb meal? I’ve noticed much higher blood sugar readings when I eat carbohydrates while on a ketogenic diet than I did just eating low-carb. I suppose it’s sign that my insulin resistance has gotten worse, but I can’t imagine why since I’m on keto. Granted, it is not always perfect in my keto diet and I don't track macros anymore. But my normal readings two hours postprandial might have been 130 before but now it’s 160.
Good luck with your six-month sabbatical, Jimmy. And thank you for answering my question.
– How can I optimize my keto lifestyle with the APAO2 gene mutation that makes it difficult to process saturated fat?
Hi Jimmy and Dr. Cole,
I have been keto for a year and a half and I’ve lost 60 without taking any medications. I recently learned that I have the APAO2 gene mutation that makes it difficult for my body to process saturated fat. My doctor insists that I cut my fat intake and eat a lot of vegetables. My LDL-P is 2418 and my heart calcium score came in very high at 268. I also have high oxidized LDL. I’ve been dairy-free for a year which has helped me boost my HDL cholesterol to an all-time high of 49. I took statin medications for almost 18 years before the side effects became too much for me to bear. I’m 68 years and just want to be as optimally healthy as I can possibly be. The one bright spot is my inflammation marker hsCRP is stellar at 0.3.
Should I be eating more lean proteins and increasing my intake of avocado, olives, and nuts along with eating more leafy greens? I am considering the Ketotarian way of eating since it seems to fit my genetic needs at this time. I just hate to give up so many of the animal-based foods I enjoy.
Thanks for your help,
– Will a ketogenic diet help patients dealing with atrial fibrillation?
Hi Jimmy and Will,
I just listened to your special episode with guest cohost Dr. Jay Wiles from a few weeks back where you discussed the bogus a-fib study. As someone who has this condition, I appreciated your input on that. But you guys didn’t say whether keto would help with this disease or not.
My experience has been that my heart palpitations get worse eating keto and that if I backed off my thyroid medication I get relief from this. I’m not sure why, but I suspect it is the hormone regulatory effects that come from a ketogenic diet. Unfortunately, when I did this my TSH shot way up to (yes, that’s not a typo—338!), and my doctor was obviously VERY concerned. I went back on the medication for fear of not knowing what impact chronically high TSH would have on the body. (I live in Canada and doctors rarely test any of the other numbers on the thyroid panel).
Can you talk more about what impact eating keto has on patients with a-fib? Thanks so much.
KETO TALK MAILBOX:
– Is using senna leaf as a daily laxative to deal with opiate-induced constipation causing damage to the microbiome and general gut health?
I eat >keto, but have a really bad case of opiate-induced constipation which forces me to use senna leaf as a laxative on a daily basis. I try to boost my gut health with fermented foods, probiotics, and digestive aids. But it seems I’m hopelessly addicted to taking laxatives since I can’t poop without help. This is probably a silly question, but is my microbiome suffering from this? I haven’t had a solid stool in months. So embarrassing!
Thanks for helping me with this!
In Episode 145 of Keto Talk, Jimmy and Dr. Will Cole answer your questions about Persistent Itchiness, Bladder Pain While Eating Keto, Primary Hyperparathyroidism, Being Ravenously Hungry When Cutting Protein, Meal Timing To Increase Carbohydrate Intake, and more!
Jimmy and Will answer your questions:
– Why do I have a persistent itch ever since I started eating keto? What else can I try to try to deal with this?
Hey Jimmy and Will,
I have dealt with an extremely annoying itch all across my back, shoulders, and inside my arms ever since I started eating a ketogenic diet. I’ve tried eating no dairy, but the itching persists. I stopped taking as much of my vitamin C, but that didn’t solve the problem either. I highly suspect this is coming from oxalate dumping in my body as I eat lots of almond butter, almond milk, and raspberries as a keto dieter over the past seven months. I used to be vegan and added back in red meat after years of not eating it to help with my kidney health. Any suggestions about how to deal with this annoying itch?
Thanks for listening,
– Why would I experience cramping, bladder pain, and diarrhea when I eat a ketogenic diet?
Hey Jimmy and Dr. Cole,
I was eating a keto diet and loving along with my husband, but I started developing some cramping pain in my bladder and diarrhea as well as feeling an urgency and a burning sensation when I went to the bathroom. I went to see my doctor who gave me antibiotics and I saw only marginal improvement so we switched medications. This song and dance went on for about a month or so, but I decided to go off of keto to see if that would help. I slowly started feeling better from the bladder pain, but I sure miss the benefits I was getting from it. What could be causing this in my ketogenic eating plan?
Thank you for your wisdom and help.
– What impact is my Primary Hyperparathyroidism having on my elevated blood pressure and weight loss challenges while eating keto?
I’m a 63-year old woman diagnosed with Primary Hyperparathyroidism one year ago. I have doing strict keto for the past six months with a few slip-ups during the holidays. I have lost 40 pounds and about 20 inches off my body with another 25 pounds of weight loss to go. The pain related to this disease has eased up since I started eating low-carb, high-fat, but blood pressure has still remained elevated requiring me to take medication. How is this disease impacting the blood pressure and my ability to shed the rest of the weight off my body?
A thankful Ketonian,
3. Why did I get ravenously hungry when I reduced my protein intake and raised my dietary fat consumption?
Hey Jimmy and Will,
I hear you guys talk about moderating protein and eating a higher percentage of fat in the diet to be keto. I’ve been eating this way for about a year and have lost a total of 95 pounds and getting stronger each day. I’ve been consuming around 130g protein daily and stalled out in my weight loss efforts at 220 pounds. I dropped my protein down to 90g and raised my fat to 285g attempting to eat this in an 8-hour feeding window (16 hours of intermittent fasting). It went well for a couple of days and helped me break my stall. But then out of nowhere I started having ravenous hunger like I haven’t experienced before being in a state of ketosis. I workout six days a week, so I’m very active. Do I need to raise my protein back up again to help produce satiety with my keto meals? Any help or advice you can give is appreciated.
KETO TALK MAILBOX:
– Could spacing out your meals allow for more wiggle room for a keto dieter to consume more carbohydrates than 50g in a day and stay ketogenic?
I have been keto for many years and am curious about the role of timing my consumption of carbs each day. I generally try to stay at 20-30g daily and never go over 50g, but I wonder what would happen if I ate 40g carbs each in three meals spaced out enough during the day to be cleared by the next meal if I could get to 120g of clean carbohydrates and still be in ketosis. Is there any research that has looked at this? I’ve personally seen it happen in me consuming as many as 150g carbs in a daily strategically spaced out and still showing solid ketone readings. I believe this is something that should be explored that perhaps seasoned low-cabers could be ingesting more than the standard no more than 50g carbs daily.
Thanks for talking about this.
In Episode 144 of Keto Talk, Jimmy and Dr. Will Cole dig into the subject of Functional Medicine and Dr. Cole explains to us exactly what tests every keto dieter should be running and what they mean to you.
“It's rarely one thing that is the magic bullet. Normally it's a confluence of different factors. These labs allow us to find the pieces of the puzzle.” – Dr. Will Cole
“You can take a shotgun approach with labs and do everything, or use them to really fine tune your health.” – Jimmy Moore
The specific tests we talk about in this episode and the ranges you should be looking for:
Inflammation is one primary way disease genes get turned on, and it is generally destructive all over the body. C-reactive protein is an inflammatory protein that, while it is essential for cleaning up bad bacteria, in excess it can lead to accelerated aging, chronic disease, and damage to the telomeres.
Optimal Range: < 0.5 mg/L
Small dense LDL particles
What you thought was “bad cholesterol” (LDL) isn’t all bad, and labelling it so is a simplistic and inaccurate view of cholesterol. LDL particles are proteins that carry cholesterol around in your body. Some of these particles are big and buoyant, while others are small and dense. It’s the small dense LDL particles that can cause damage, while the larger fluffier particles are essentially benign. Knowing your level of small dense LDL particles is much more instructive that simply knowing your total cholesterol, because it is the small dense LDLs – not the cholesterol itself – that indicate a riskfor heart attack and stroke (and thereby put you at risk for an earlier death).
Optimal Range: < 200 nmol/L
This protein in excess (especially when coupled with a B vitamin deficiency) has been linked to cognitive decline, which can drastically reduce quality as well as length of life.
Optimal Range: < 7 Umol/L
This test tells you what your blood sugar has been, on average, for the past two to three months. When it is high, it can indicate pre-diabetes or diabetes, and an elevated A1C has been linked with higher rates of all-cause mortality in patients with diabetes.
Optimal Range: < 5.3%
This nutrient is responsible for hundreds of different genetic pathways in the body but because most people spend most of their day indoors and get little sun exposure, vitamin D deficiency is rampant. That’s too bad because this deficiency is linked to chronic disease, and optimal levels are linked to an actual preservation of telomeres, meaning you live longer and stay healthier! If that’s not a reason to get a little sunshine, I don’t know what is. Note that vitamin D should be paired with other fat soluble vitamins, like vitamin A and K2, for maximum absorption.
Optimal Range: 50-60 ng/mL
When your body breaks down carbohydrates, and to a lesser extent, proteins into glucose, your blood sugar goes up. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin to send your blood sugar into your cells (for energy) and bring down the level in your blood. However, if insulin gets activated too often at too high levels, this has been linked to accelerated aging and telomere shortening.
Optimal Range: < 3 ulU/mL
C-peptide: Optimal Range: 0.8 to 3.1 ng/mL
Fasting blood sugar: Optimal Range: 75 to 90 mg/dL
Triglycerides: Optimal Range: < 100 mg/dL
HDL: Optimal Range: 59 to 100 mg/dL
Hormone testing: Urine and Saliva
Other Nutrients: Selenium, Mg, Iron, MMA,
Microbiome labs: We look to assess gut health, where around 80 percent of our immune system resides.
Intestinal permeability lab: This blood test looks for antibodies against the proteins that govern your gut lining (occludin and zonulin), as well as bacterial toxins that can cause inflammation throughout the body, called lipopolysaccharides (LPS).
Multiple autoimmune reactivity labs: This array shows us if your immune system is creating antibodies against many different parts of the body, such as the brain, thyroid, gut, and adrenal glands. The labs are not meant to diagnose an autoimmune disease, but to look for possible evidence of abnormal autoimmune-inflammation activity.
Cross reactivity labs: Helpful for people who are gluten-sensitive and who have gone gluten-free and eat a clean diet, but still experience symptoms like digestive problems, fatigue, and neurological symptoms. In these cases, relatively healthy food proteins—such as gluten-free grains, eggs, dairy, chocolate, coffee, soy, and potatoes—may be mistaken by the immune system as gluten, triggering inflammation. To their immune system, it’s as if they have never gone gluten-free.
This enzyme is responsible for breaking down the amino methionine by converting S-adenosylhomocysteinase into pro-inflammatory homocysteine. Mood disorders are common for those with a double mutation but typically do well with SAMe supplementation.
The BHMT gene directs the enzyme responsible for the amino acid methionine, the building block in the choline oxidation process for optimal brain function. Changes in this gene are associated with ADHD.
No, not the television network! It actually stands for the enzyme that makes the amino acid cystathionine. A mutation of this gene will lead a person to produce more sulfur end products and as a result will need to limit sulfur-rich foods such as legumes and dairy. These foods can increase ammonia levels and contribute to existing health problems. NOS and SUOX are two other genes that can increase sulfur and are linked to immune disorders like asthma.
This gene is responsible for creating a healthy balance of neurotransmitters and, in turn, a healthy brain. A double COMT gene change is associated with increased risk for anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, and ADHD.
The main role of the MAO gene is to clear out excess neurotransmitters like serotonin. When changes to this gene occur it can create an imbalance in neurotransmitters leading to increased rates of anxiety and depression. Those with an MAO mutation, as well as the MTHFR gene mutation, can have a higher rate of histamine intolerance. Because of this even healthy foods such as fermented foods, bone broth, and vinegar can increase inflammation.
This is not an acronym for a swear word guys, get your mind out of the gutter. The biggest thing I use DNA testing for is to assess methylation, a biochemical superhighway that help your gut, brain, hormones, and detox pathways function properly. This process happens a billion times every single second so if methylation isn’t functioning well, neither are you. Since I often deal with a variety of gut, brain, and hormonal problems in my clinic it is important to see if my patients methylation is working well.
The MTHFR enzyme is responsible for converting folic acid into folate which acts as fuel to the methylation process. A1298C and C677T are the two main MTHFR mutation. When A1298C is altered it can lead to mood disorders due to its important role in neurotransmitter function. C677T changes can cause higher levels of inflammatory homocysteine. Both of these are linked to autism and autoimmune conditions like autoimmune thyroid issues.
These are necessary for B12 production, another methyl donor. Those who have this mutation need higher intake of B12 because their body uses it faster than it produces it. Oftentimes people who have this genetic change can also be low in lithium which is needed for mood regulation. We can easily check lithium levels through testing blood and hair.
VDR stands for vitamin D receptor. Every single cell in your body uses vitamin D. Other than your thyroid hormone, no other nutrient or hormone can claim that importance. It is responsible for over 200 different pathways in the body. Mutations in this gene make it really difficult to absorb vitamin D. It’s important to know if this is the case for you in order to supplement higher doses on a consistent basis to make sure you are getting enough of this vital nutrient.
9. Detox genes
I also look for changes in your detox genes such as CYP1A2, also known as your caffeine gene. This can show just how well you can tolerate caffeine and whether or not it can be harmful or beneficial to your health.