Liver and Vitamin A During Pregnancy

Eating Liver During Pregnancy

Eating a diet rich in nutrients is vital for every stage of human life, but it takes on an even greater importance during pregnancy and breastfeeding. An expectant mother will have an increased need for nutrients and the food that she consumes will directly influence fetal brain development, birth weight and even the baby’s immune function. In this article we'll discuss how the the key nutrients founds in liver can assist a healthy pregnancy.

1. Vitamin A

Vitamin A is vital for embryonic development and although vitamin A precursors (particularly beta-carotene) are found in many plant foods some people have difficulty converting these precursors to “true” vitamin A (retinol), so it’s best to get some retinol from animal foods such as liver, eggs, and grass-fed dairy. 

It's actually quite common for many pregnant women coming into term to be deficient in vitamin A. They are typically advised to limit the consumption and stick to the industry guidelines which can be confusing to say the least. Recommend daily amounts of 800 mcg during pregnancy and 1300 mcg while breastfeeding (with an upper limit of 3000 mcg for both), gives room to consume more liver and its beneficial cofactors depending on your individual requirements. 

Key Fact: Synthetic vitamin A (usually extracted from palm oil) and naturally occurring vitamin A can be quite different. Naturally occurring Vitamin A from sources such as liver are packaged with other nutrients including vitamin D and vitamin K2 which each offer unique health benefits.

2. Folate (Vitamin B9)

Folate (or ‘folic acid’ when added to food or taken as a supplement) is a B-group vitamin essential for the healthy development of the fetus in early pregnancy, in particular their neural tube.

Folate requirements increase substantially in pregnancy, so women should aim to consume at least 600 mcg of folate from their normal daily diet. In addition to eating foods that are rich in folate, if you are planning a pregnancy or are in the early stages of pregnancy (the first three months or ‘first trimester’) you should consider increasing your consumption of this important vitamin.

Key Fact: Beef liver is one of the most concentrated sources of folate available and consumption or supplementation can help you meet your daily requirements.

3. Heme Iron

Iron is needed for a fetus’s rapidly developing blood supply and for the expanding blood supply of the mother. Low iron during pregnancy can lead to anemia, so do your best to get enough iron through iron-rich foods or supplements.

There are two forms of iron, heme iron and nonheme iron. The term 'heme' is derived from a Greek word that loosely translates to 'blood.' This type of iron comes from animal protein, such as poultry, fish, and beef. Nonheme iron is found in plant foods including legumes, leafy greens, and nuts. Your body can absorb heme iron (from animal protein) more readily and is reported to be up to 18% more bioavailable.

Key Fact: Beef liver in particular offers a wide range of heme iron, B-vitamins and is especially rich in vitamin A. It's important to note that being deficient in vitamin A may interfere with your ability to efficiently absorb iron which may increase your iron needs.

Conclusion

As you can see from the information above, adding liver into your diet offers a good source of vitamin A, folate and heme iron which will support a healthy pregnancy and child. If you’re still not comfortable with the idea of buying and preparing organ meats you're not alone. Fortunately there is an easy solution...

Our beef liver and beef organ supplements are contained in easy-to-take flavourless capsules. They are non-defatted to preserve the fat-soluble nutrient content (including vitamin A) and are freeze-dried, which also helps preserve the full range of nutrients. They are 100% hormone, antibiotic and GMO-free and are 100% grass-fed and organic from the pristine Tasmanian pastures.

If you are paying particular attention to vitamin A, the levels in our capsules per serve are:
 
  • Primal Energy - 1,887 mcg
  • Primal Energy Womens Formula - 1,322 mcg
  • Primal Multi - 632 mcg
As you can see, Primal Energy and Primal Energy Womens Formula sit above the RDI but well below the upper limit. If you wanted to enjoy the nutrients found in organ capsules and stay below the RDI level, you could choose to take the Primal Multi Beef Organ Supplements.
 
And Finally... as pregnancy is extremely personalised, we do recommend discussing your diet and supplement plan with your healthcare professional to ensure that it aligns with their advice.