The Benefits of Beef Pancreas | Vital Origin Skip to main content

Introduction

In the realm of organ meats, beef pancreas stands as a nutritional treasure, often overlooked in culinary conversations. Beyond its distinctive flavour, this organ meat boasts a spectrum of specific nutritional benefits that warrant more attention. In this blog, we will unravel the benefits and scientific intricacies that make beef pancreas more than just a culinary curiosity.

What is Beef Pancreas?

Ok, so what is a pancreas? It’s a small organ situated near the stomach that assists with digestion and blood sugar stabilisation. A cow’s pancreas is also part of its endocrine system, since it releases digestive enzymes and hormones into the cow’s small intestine. 

Culinarily speaking, beef pancreas is categorised alongside the thymus gland as part of a cow’s sweetbreads. 

The pancreas is often referred to as the “heart sweetbread.” These organs are indeed slightly sweeter and more savoury than muscle meat is. While beef pancreas isn’t all that popular in the US, sweetbreads are considered a delicacy in many South American countries. 

Of all sweetbreads, pancreas is the most desirable and best-tasting. Its unique collection of nutrients — including B vitamins and selenium — make it a true nutritional powerhouse.

Beef Pancreas Nutrition

Organ meats, like beef pancreas, serve as nature’s reservoirs of essential nutrients, providing an unparalleled concentration of vitamins and minerals. This nutrient density establishes organ meats as vital components in nutritional science, contributing significantly to overall health and well-being.

100 grams of pancreas delivers a robust nutrient profile at only 233 calories: 

Calories233 calories9%
Total Fat18.6 grams29%
Saturated Fat6.4 grams32%
Cholesterol205 mg68%
Sodium19 mg1%
Potassium276 mg8%
Total Carbohydrates0 mg0%
Protein15.7 g31%
Vitamin A0 IU0%
Vitamin D0 IU0%
Vitamin E0 IU0%
Vitamin K0 IU0%
Vitamin C3.9 mg4%
Calcium2.6 mg0%
Phosphorus92.7 mg13%
Iron0.6 mg4%
Thiamin0.04 mg3%
Riboflavin0.126 mg10%
Niacin1.26 mg8%
Pantothenic acid (B5)3.9 mg78%
Vitamin B60.057 mg4%
Vitamin B1214 mcg583%
Copper0.017 mg2%
Zinc0.73 mg7%
Selenium24.7 mcg45%

Beef Pancreas: A Nutritional Marvel

Now, let’s dissect the scientific aspects that render beef pancreas a no-brainer addition to the diet.

Vitamins B12 and B5

Like many other animal sourced foods, pancreas is a great source of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12, a water-soluble vitamin, plays a critical role in DNA synthesis, neurological function, and red blood cell formation (O’Leary et al., 2012). Adequate B12 intake is essential for maintaining cognitive function, preventing megaloblastic anaemia, and supporting nerve health (Allen, 2009). Additionally, vitamin B12 supplementation has been linked to improved mood and energy levels (Fernández-Ballart et al., 2010). 

Along with B12 it is also a great source of B5, also known as pantothenic acid. B5 is vital for energy metabolism, hormone synthesis, and wound healing (Majamaa et al., 1985). It acts as a cofactor in numerous enzymatic reactions, supporting the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins (Hill et al., 2007). Adequate intake of vitamin B5 promotes healthy skin, alleviates stress, and enhances adrenal function (Leung et al., 2014).

Selenium

Pancreas is one of the best organ sources for selenium. Selenium, an essential micronutrient, offers various health benefits due to its antioxidant properties and role in enzymatic reactions. Research indicates its importance in immune function, thyroid health, and cancer prevention (Rayman, 2012). Additionally, selenium plays a crucial role in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, thereby mitigating chronic diseases like cardiovascular disorders and neurodegenerative conditions (Bleys et al., 2007). Adequate selenium intake has been linked to improved cognitive function and mood regulation (Solomon et al., 2009). 

Digestive Enzymes

One of the biggest standout differences and benefits of beef pancreas is its natural source of digestive enzymes to help with healthy digestion and gut health. The presence of natural digestive enzymes including lipase, protease and amylase, provides the basis for benefits in facilitating the breakdown of macronutrients, enhancing digestive processes (Lombardo et al., 2018).

Adding Beef Pancreas into Your Diet

There are many ways to consume beef pancreas. Being a sweetbread, it has a particular sweet flavour and you can find various recipes that incorporate pancreas into stir-fry, skewers, tacos, stew and more.

And of course, if you don’t feel game to cook it or simply don’t like the taste or texture, you can take our Nature’s Multi which contains Pancreas in it along with 4 other nutrient dense organs for complete nose-to-tail nutrition!

Take Home

Thanks to its nutrient density and source of digestive enzymes, beef pancreas offers a comprehensive blend of vitamins, minerals, and enzymatic compounds to assist with health and wellbeing. As it contributes to energy metabolism, immune function, hormone health, gut health and more, it highlights why its important to add this nutritional powerhouse into your diet!


References

  • Institute of Medicine (US) Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes and its Panel on Folate, Other B Vitamins, and Choline. (1998). Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US).
  • O’Leary, F., Samman, S., & Vitamin B12 in Health and Disease. Nutrients, 4(10), 2012–2021. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu4102012
  • Allen, L. H. (2009). How common is vitamin B-12 deficiency? The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89(2), 693S–696S. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2008.26947A
  • Fernández-Ballart, J. D., et al. (2010). Vitamin B12 and folate and the risk of anemia in old age: The Leiden 85-plus study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 64(5), 565–571.
  • Majamaa, K., et al. (1985). Pantothenate kinase (ATP: pantothenate 4′-phosphotransferase, EC2.7.1.33) deficiency, a new inborn error of coenzyme A biosynthesis. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology International, 35(5), 1031–1037.
  • Hill, J., et al. (2007). Biochemistry. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • Leung, L. H., et al. (2014). Exploring the therapeutic effects of pantothenic acid-based pharmaceuticals. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 57(3), 977–986.
  • Rayman, M. P. (2012). Selenium and human health. The Lancet, 379(9822), 1256-1268.
  • Bleys, J., Navas-Acien, A., & Guallar, E. (2007). Serum selenium levels and all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular mortality among US adults. Archives of Internal Medicine, 167(6), 498-504.
  • Solomon, E. P., Pasachoff, J., & Berg, L. R. (2009). Biology. Cengage Learning.
  • Lombardo, D., Guy, O., & Cocco, E. (2018). Enzymes in Food Processing: A Condensed Overview on Strategies to Improve Their Catalytic Properties. Compr. Rev. Food Sci. Food Saf., 17(2), 412-431.

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