Ancestral Supplements makes freeze-dried beef organ supplements in small batches from pasture-raised, grass-fed and grass-finished New Zealand cattle.
In this review, I’ll explain why Ancestral Supplements is one of my favorite manufacturers of dietary supplements, as well as why the entire Kummer family uses their products on a daily basis (including the kids).
But first, I want to cover some of the science behind the health benefits of eating organ meat, and dispel some of the common myths associated with organ consumption.
Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef Organs
For the past 39 years, I’ve been told that eating fruits and vegetables is crucial for getting the micronutrients (i.e., the vitamins and minerals) that my body needs in order to thrive.
But as I adopted a Paleolithic ketogenic diet and learned more about the science of nutrition, I came to realize that plants are an inferior source of both macronutrients (fat and protein) and micronutrients.
Without getting into a “plants vs. meat” discussion, here are a few key differentiators between the nutrients found in plants and (organ) meat:
- Many plants have an unfavorable omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio. You can learn more about why that matters in my article about the best nuts and seeds for keto.
- Plant-based protein has an incomplete amino acid profile and inferior bioavailability. In other words, the body absorbs fewer essential amino acids from plants than from animal sources.
- Many of the vitamins and minerals in plants exist in variations the body can’t readily use without converting them first, thus decreasing their bioavailability and effectiveness. Here are a few examples:
- Vitamin A: Plants only have a type of carotenoids that must be converted to vitamin A before use in the body. Organ meats, such as liver, are loaded with ready-to-use vitamin A that doesn’t have to be converted first.
- Vitamin B12: There is no reliable source of vitamin B12 in plants, which is why many vegans are deficient in this essential micronutrient. On the other hand, organ meat (and liver in particular) is an excellent source of B12.
- Vitamin D3: This vitamin doesn’t exist in plants, with the exception of microalgae. As a result, we need to get most of it from the sun and animals (especially fatty fish).
- Vitamin K: There are two versions of vitamin K. Plants have vitamin K1, which is poorly absorbed by the body. To get vitamin K2 from plants you need to ferment them first. The easier route is to eat meat (and especially liver), which is loaded with the highly bioavailable vitamin K2.
- Iron: Non-heme iron, the one found in plants, is three times less bioavailable than the heme-iron found in muscle and organ meats (especially the spleen and liver).
The bottom line is that plants have been a survival food throughout human evolution — meaning they’re what we turned to when other (better) options weren’t available. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors’ primary source of nutrients has always been animals — and particularly their organs.
Note: Some plants contain antinutrients to discourage animals and humans from eating them.
As a result, we can conclude that organ meat from grass-fed and pasture-raised animals (such as beef) is an excellent source of highly bioavailable and easy-to-digest nutrients, including carbohydrates, fat, protein, minerals, vitamins, cofactors and more.
The Case for Desiccated Organ Meats
The problem is that fresh organ meat is difficult to find. For example, the only organ meat I’ve ever seen at Whole Foods is air-chilled chicken livers.
On top of that, most people are turned off by the thought of eating offals (as I discussed in my blog post about the best beef liver supplements).
I’ve heard from many people who are disgusted by the thought of eating organs (even though they’ve never tried them). Some of them have tried liver, which is known for its strong taste, and assume that eating other organs would be a similar experience.
I don’t blame them because I used to be in the same boat. I tried liver when I was younger, didn’t like it, and then never tried organ meat again until just a few years ago.
The good news is that many organs taste really good, and you can even prepare liver in a way that masks the strong taste. In fact, I eat liver pâté almost every day and genuinely like its taste.
Check out my liver pâté recipe if you want to give it a try.
If none of that convinces you to consume fresh organ meats, then desiccated organ meat supplements are for you. These supplements are made using a gentle freeze-drying process that removes water, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules, while preserving most of the macronutrients and micronutrients (including fat, protein, vitamins and minerals).
In other words, you can get all the benefits that organ meat offers without the taste implications or the need to cook them.
Don’t get me wrong: I always try to get as many nutrients as possible from fresh food.
But I realize that can be a challenge when it comes to organ meat. That’s why I supplement with freeze-dried organ meats on a daily basis.
About Ancestral Supplements
- Huge variety of organ meats and other “odd” animal parts.
- Top-notch ingredient quality.
- Gentle freeze-drying process preserves most nutrients.
- Offers an easy way to include organ meats in your diet.
- All ingredients are third-party tested and free of hormones, pesticides, GMOs, fillers and flow agents.
- Containers are made out of plastic.
Texas-based Ancestral Supplements was founded in 2014 by modern-day hunter-gatherer Brian Johnson (aka Liver King), with the goal of “putting back in what the modern world has left out” and “return[ing] people back to strength, health and happiness.”
To do that, Brian and his wife created a line of supplements to help their customers consume more of what early humans and our ancestors ate for millions of years as their primary source of nutrients: organ meat!
Types of Beef Organ Supplements
One of the things I love about Ancestral Supplements is that they offer an incredible variety of organs and animal by-products.
The basic philosophy of Ancestral Supplements is that by eating a specific organ you can support the same type of organ in your body, because organ meats contain all the nutrients the organ needs to thrive.
For example, eating a kidney provides you with kidney-specific proteins, peptides, enzymes and cofactors.
While several Native American cultures have followed this principle, I haven’t found any scientific evidence to back up the idea that eating a specific organ supports the health of the same organ in your body.
However, there’s no doubt that organ meat in general is the best source of nutrients for humans.
Below is a list of all the types of organ meat the company offers as of this writing.
- Adrenal: The grass-fed adrenal supplement contains nutrients, such as fat and protein, commonly in the bovine adrenal cortex and adrenal medulla tissue.
- Brain: Grass-fed beef brain is an excellent source of sphingomyelin (an important building block of high-density lipoprotein), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to promote the survival of nerve cells, cobalamin (vitamin B12), vitamin C and heme iron. It’s also a good source of protein and healthy fats.
- Eye: Grass-fed beef eye tissue is an excellent source of vitamin A, omega-3 (DHA) and zinc. The eye also contains ample amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, which act as antioxidants that protect the eyes from light-induced damage.
- Gallbladder: The ox bile in the gallbladder supplements improves the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E and K.
- Heart: Grass-fed heart is an excellent source of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), vitamin B12, collagen, elastin and other proteins, peptides, enzymes and cofactors commonly found in heart tissue.
- Intestines: Grass-fed beef intestines are excellent sources of vitamin B12 and selenium.
- Kidney: Grass-fed kidney is an excellent source of diamine oxidase (DOA), an enzyme that helps break down excess histamine in your body. Too much histamine can lead to food sensitivity issues and other health conditions.
- Liver: Ounce for ounce, grass-fed liver is the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. By consuming liver, you can get most of the vitamins and minerals you need on a daily basis.
- Lung: Grass-fed lung is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin B12 and contains ample amounts of other B vitamins, such as riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid. The lung is also a great source of the following minerals: heme iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and selenium.
- Pancreas: Grass-fed pancreas is an excellent source of pancreatic enzymes such as lipase, protease, trypsin and amylase that are required to break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
- Prostate: Grass-fed prostate contains the building blocks of healthy prostate tissue, including proteins, peptides, enzymes and cofactors.
- Spleen: Grass-fed spleen is the best source of bioavailable heme iron (12.5mg per ounce).
- Thymus: Grass-fed thymus is an excellent source of proteins that help make disease-fighting T cells, support immune health and enhance natural killer cell activity.
- Thyroid: Grass-fed thyroid is a good source of preformed vitamin A, B12, choline, folate, heme iron and other micronutrients commonly found in thyroid tissue.
- Trachea: Grass-fed tracheal cartilage is a rich source of Type II collagen, Glycosaminoglycans, proteoglycans and chondroitin sulfates. The latter two are vital building blocks of cartilage tissue.
Ancestral Supplements also sells organ blends that contain a mix of several organs.
- Beef Organs Blend: Contains liver, heart, kidney, pancreas and spleen. If you’re not sure what desiccated organs to get, I recommend starting with this blend.
- Female Enhancement Mixture with Mammary (FEMM): Includes grass-fed reproductive tissue (ovary, uterus, fallopian tubes), mammary, liver and bone marrow.
- Male Optimization Formula with Organs: Contains bovine testicle, prostate, heart, liver and bone marrow.
Additionally, the company offers the following freeze-dried animal by-products as capsules:
- Blood: A rich source of red and white blood cells, heme iron, platelets, immune proteins and other micronutrients commonly found in blood.
- Bone: Arguably one of the best sources of bioavailable calcium, phosphorus, Type I collagen, glycosaminoglycans and bone stimulating peptides. If you or your kids don’t consume dairy, Living Bone is an excellent way to get enough calcium into your diet.
- Bone marrow: A rich source of stem and base cells, collagen, glycosaminoglycans and alkylglycerols which function as membranes in certain cells (such as white blood cells) and can improve wound healing, among other things.
- Collagen: Grass-fed collagen contains peptides (the building blocks of protein) to build new connective tissue and support the growth of hair, fingernails and other tissue. You can learn more about why I use collagen supplements in this article.
- Colostrum: Grass-fed colostrum, also known as “first milk,” is packed with essential amino acids, fat, vitamins, minerals, and growth and immune factors that calves need to thrive. I supplement with bovine colostrum because of the benefits I outlined in this article.
- Fish eggs: Wild-caught fish eggs are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA, EPA, ETA), choline and vitamins A, D3 and K2.
- Tallow (rendered beef fat): Grass-fed beef tallow is one of our favorite cooking oils because it’s anti-inflammatory and an excellent source of beneficial fatty acids, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), arachidonic acid (AA), oleic acid, palmitic acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and stearic acid. Additionally, beef tallow contains “activators” that improve the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
As you can see, Ancestral Supplements offers virtually every type of beef organ supplement you can imagine. And the tasteless capsules make it easy to fill potential gaps in your diet.
I’m a huge fan of following a nose-to-tail eating strategy and I greatly appreciate its health benefits. That’s because I know I can get the most bioavailable micronutrients that I need to optimally support my body from organ meats without having to worry about the toxins I would expose myself to if I were eating more plants.
Quality of Ingredients and Manufacturing Process
One of the things that makes Ancestral Supplements stand out from the competition (besides the variety of organ meats they offer), is the quality of their ingredients.
All organ meats used by the company are harvested from pasture-raised, grass-fed and grass-finished New Zealand cattle. (New Zealand is considered one of the best sources of beef, thanks to the country’s clean air and water, as well as its higher standards for animal husbandry.)
Additionally, New Zealand has implemented national surveillance programs for all farming operations and reduced the spread of certain diseases, including BSE (mad cow disease) and scrapie. The country has had zero cases of BSE and zero cases of scrapie or other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) since the 1960s.
On top of using the best source of beef, Ancestral Supplements gently freeze-dries all of its organ meats without removing any of the macronutrients or micronutrients.
While it’s important to understand what’s in the product, it’s equally important to know what ingredients you won’t find in these supplements, including allergens, fillers, flow agents (stearates, silica, etc.), gluten, hormones, pesticides or other toxins sometimes found in dietary supplements.
Ancestral Supplements ensures the quality and purity of its products via third-party testing.
The only thing I have to ding Ancestral Supplements for is the plastic containers the company ships its capsules in.
Plastic isn’t great for the environment, and it also has the potential to leach harmful toxins (such as xenoestrogens) into food, beverages and supplements.
The good news is that toxins don’t leach as easily into dry contents (like capsules) as they do into water and other liquids. Plus, Ancestral Supplements uses containers made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is more resistant to leaching than some other types of plastic, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE).
So from a health perspective, I’m not overly concerned about these pill containers. But I’d definitely prefer glass bottles. The problem with glass is that it’s more expensive to source, and it’s also heavier (which increases shipping costs). So I understand the reasons why Ancestral Supplements has been using plastic so far.
While each Ancestral Supplements product contains 180 capsules, there are major differences in pricing and serving size. The latter plays an important factor because the serving size of some products is six capsules, while for others it’s only one capsule.
That means certain products will last for 180 days while others will last only for a month. That makes it a bit tricky to compare pricing.
I hope the table below helps add some transparency to Ancestral Supplements pricing, so you can find the products that provide the best bang for your buck.
|Supplement||Price||Price per Serving|
|Bone and Marrow||$48||$0.27|
|Male Optimization (MOFO)||$62||$0.34|
|Wild Caught Fish Eggs||$68||$0.38|
While the pricing of the individual products might change from time to time, the table above should give you a good indication of what the cost per serving size for each of the supplements is.
If you’re interested in giving Ancestral Supplements a try, I encourage you to use discount code MICHAELTEN to get 10% off your order. You can only use the discount code if you order directly from the company (not if you order through Amazon*).
What Beef Organ Supplements You Should Get
Considering the laundry list of beef organ supplements the company offers, you might be wondering which one you should get.
Personally, I like to mix things up. So a few weeks ago, I ordered nine different supplements and used each for a few days before switching to another one.
For example, I’d take the Grassfed Beef Heart supplement for three to four days and then I would switch to the Adrenal supplement, and so on.
That’s because the former contains a mix of desiccated beef organs, including liver, heart, kidney, pancreas and spleen, and the latter is an excellent source of calcium and other minerals.
Frequently Asked Questions
I think every person who doesn’t follow a true nose-to-tail carnivore diet can benefit from including beef organ supplements in their diet. While it’s always best to eat a variety of fresh organ meats, it’s just not feasible for most of us.
Freeze-dried organ meats are the best alternative to fresh organs and they provide micronutrients that have a higher bioavailability and absorbability than most other vitamin or mineral supplements.
Studies have shown that most plastics leach estrogenic chemicals, including the HDPE used by Ancestral Supplements.
However, HDPE is one of the most leach-resistant plastics on the market and Ancestral Supplements aren’t liquid. Both factors combined make it relatively unlikely that toxins would make it into these freeze-dried organ supplements.
Yes, I strongly believe that Ancestral Supplements are worth the money considering that each serving costs only somewhere between 14 and 40 cents. In the case of beef liver, each serving provides the same amount of micronutrients as one ounce of fresh liver, as I explained in this blog post.
That depends on your current state of health and well-being. If you’re deficient in certain micronutrients, such as vitamin B12 or iron, you’ll likely notice an improvement in your overall health and higher energy levels within a few days of when you start supplementing with beef organs.
If you don’t suffer from any major nutritional deficiencies, you likely won’t feel a significant impact. I didn’t feel any better after starting to use these supplements because my dietary lifestyle was relatively healthy to begin with.
However, I continue using beef organ supplements to fill any gaps I might have because I don’t eat a huge variety of fresh organ meats (with the exception of liver, heart, kidney and bone marrow).
Yes, you can find Ancestral Supplements on Amazon. But if you purchase them there, you won’t be able to use my 10% discount code (MICHAELTEN). Plus, Ancestral Supplements is a small, family-owned business and the best way to support them is by buying directly from their website.
As I mentioned above, you should always aim to consume as much fresh organ meat as possible and only fill the gaps with organ meat supplements. At the Kummer household, we usually source the organs we consume from local farms in Georgia.
Once a year, we purchase a cow from Big Hickory Farms. Besides 400 pounds of meat, we also get all of the cow’s organs.
Additionally, we buy various organs (e.g., pastured chicken hearts) from White Oak Pastures*. If I need livers on short notice and can’t wait for a delivery, I get a container of organic chicken livers from Whole Foods*.
Weight loss is a byproduct of a healthy metabolism and not the result of using supplements. So watch your carb intake, reduce your exposure to xenoestrogens and stay away from food containing lectins (i.e., grains, legumes, seed oils, etc.) and you’ll likely lose weight. Organ meat supplements can certainly help with that effort but they won’t be the main factor.
The best source of bone marrow is probably bone broth. We make our own by boiling grass-fed soup bones in a slow cooker for 24 hours. If you don’t have access to high-quality bones, I recommend the bone broth from Bonafide Provisions. You can find it at Amazon* and the frozen food aisle of Whole Foods*.
Certain organs, such as bovine liver, are rich sources of iron and fat-soluble vitamins, including A, D, E, K and B12. In high amounts, these nutrients can be toxic. That’s why I recommend sticking to the serving suggestions instead of thinking that more is always better.
For example, one serving of Ancestral’s grass-fed beef liver contains the same amount of micronutrients as one ounce of fresh liver. Adults can safely consume one serving per day and we give our kids half or less a serving when they ask for it.
As a reference, one ounce of fresh liver (or one serving of freeze-dried liver) contains about 5,000 mcg of vitamin A. The Mayo Clinic suggests that if you consume over 10,000 mcg on a daily basis over long periods, you might experience negative side-effects such as bone thinning, liver damage, headache, diarrhea, nausea, skin irritation, pain in the joints and bone or birth defects.
Wrap-Up: Best Beef Organ Meat Supplements
Ancestral Supplements’ grass-fed beef organs are one of the easiest and most convenient ways to add more nutrients to your diet.
The reason why I prefer getting the micronutrients my body needs to thrive from animal sources rather than synthetic vitamin pills, vegetables, fruits or green “superfood” powders is their much better bioavailability and digestibility.
If consuming fresh organs on a daily basis isn’t in the cards for you, freeze-dried organ meat supplements are the next best option. I use and recommend Ancestral Supplements because of the variety of organ meats and other animal products they offer and the high quality of their ingredients.
Now I’d like to hear from you! How much fresh organ meat do you consume on a weekly basis and what’s your favorite organ? If the answer is “none,” would you consider freeze-dried organs? Let me know by leaving a comment below!
I’m a healthy living and technology enthusiast.
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