How does taking liver capsules increase my iron levels?

How does taking liver capsules increase my iron levels?

Updated: Jul 02, 2024Veronika Larisova

One question we have been asked A LOT ever since we released our Organic Beef Liver capsules is how do they increase iron levels considering the iron content per capsule is relatively low?

Admittedly, isn't obvious because two beef liver capsules (one serving) contain 0.5mg of iron, but the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of iron is 8mg for an adult male and even more for premenopausal women. Yet, we constantly get feedback that taking these capsules daily has in fact fixed low iron issues for many people.

So how does it work?

Nutrient Dynamics

RDAs do not account for several bioavailability and synergistic factors affecting the efficacy of nutrient absorption, utilisation, and the interactive benefits of various nutrients working together, such as bioavailability, nutrient synergy, cumulative effect, source, and dose tolerance.



The iron in liver capsules is heme iron, which is more easily absorbed by the body compared to non-heme iron found in plant sources. Studies have shown that heme iron is absorbed at a rate of about 15-35%, whereas non-heme iron is absorbed at a rate of 2-20%. The bioavailability of synthetic iron supplements, such as ferrous sulphate, ferrous gluconate, and ferrous fumarate, varies but is typically lower than that of heme iron found in animal products. This means that even though the iron content per capsule is low, a higher proportion of it is absorbed and utilised by the body.


Nutrient Synergy

Liver is rich in other nutrients that support iron absorption and utilisation, such as vitamins A, C, B12, folate, and copper. These nutrients can enhance the effectiveness of the iron in the liver capsules, leading to a greater increase in blood iron and haemoglobin levels. For instance, vitamins A and B12 are crucial for the production and maturation of red blood cells. Folate is essential for DNA synthesis and repair and critical for red blood cell formation.


Cumulative Effect

The cumulative effect refers to the gradual and incremental improvement in the body's iron stores due to consistently consuming small amounts of bioavailable iron over time. For example, if someone takes a liver capsule daily, which contains a modest but highly absorbable amount of heme iron, the body steadily absorbs and stores this iron.

Over weeks or months, this consistent intake can significantly increase overall iron levels, improving conditions such as iron deficiency anaemia without the side effects often associated with large doses of iron supplements. This slow and steady approach can be particularly beneficial for individuals who may have difficulty tolerating high doses of iron due to gastrointestinal issues.


Whole Food Source

Liver capsules are derived from a whole food source, meaning they contain a complex mix of nutrients that work together to improve overall health, including better iron metabolism and storage.

Generally, consuming nutrients in their whole food form can be more beneficial than taking isolated nutrients. This is due to the synergistic effects of various nutrients working together to enhance absorption and utilisation. Research indicates that whole food supplements can have better bioavailability and efficacy compared to isolated nutrient supplements.

The other benefit here is that synthetic iron supplements will often leave you constipated, whereas our liver capsules will not.


Low Iron Dose Tolerance

Some people tolerate low doses of iron better than high doses, which can cause gastrointestinal side effects. Smaller doses of iron, particularly from heme sources, are better tolerated and less likely to cause gut issues. This can lead to better compliance and more consistent supplementation, ultimately improving iron status. 


RDAs are Flawed

Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) are the levels of essential nutrient intake that, based on scientific knowledge, the Food and Nutrition Board judged to be adequate to meet the known nutrient needs of practically all healthy people. This measure of our dietary needs has several flaws, including its basis on population averages, which do not account for individual variability in metabolism, health status, and lifestyle.

RDAs often use outdated information, focus primarily on preventing deficiency rather than optimising health, and have a limited scope that overlooks nutrient interactions and bioavailability from different food sources.

They also do not consider the prevention of chronic diseases, offer an oversimplified single number for diverse needs across life stages, and are likely influenced by industrial interests. Additionally, RDAs are often derived from studies on Western populations, potentially making them less applicable to people with different cultural backgrounds and dietary habits.


So there you go - mystery solved! These factors explain why liver capsules can effectively increase blood iron levels even if the amount per capsule appears low.

To learn more about the benefits of Beef Liver capsules, read our previous blog article.


    Veronika Larisova
    Co-founder, Nutritionist, Exercise Physiologist
    Follow Veronika on Instagram




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