The Benefits of Beef Spleen: The Best Natural Source of Iron | Vital Origin Skip to main content

Introduction

In the realm of nutrition, the spotlight is gradually shifting towards organ meats, but an often underlooked organ is beef spleen. While organ meats might not be mainstream, the advantages of consuming beef spleen, especially given it’s heme iron content, warrant attention. This blog delves into the scientific evidence supporting the numerous benefits of beef spleen, positioning it as a natural powerhouse for efficient iron supplementation.

What is Beef Spleen

The beef spleen is an organ located in the abdominal cavity of cows. As a part of the lymphatic system, it may play a role in the body’s immune function and blood filtration processes. Structurally, the spleen is composed of two main types of tissue: red pulp and white pulp. The red pulp consists of sinuses and cords where red blood cells might be filtered and removed if damaged, while the white pulp contains lymphocytes and immune cells that may help support body’s immune response. Additionally, the spleen may act as a reservoir for red blood cells and platelets, releasing them when needed.

The spleen has three primary jobs:

  1. Breaks down old or damaged red blood cells
  2. Produces white blood cells to fight infections
  3. Stores blood in case of sudden demand 

Because of this role, it is the richest source of bioavailable heme iron out of any food! It is also a modulator of the immune system containing important factors for immune cells and also peptides bioregulators.

Historically speaking, humans have either eaten spleen or processed it into spleen extract, which contains most of the organ’s active ingredients. 

But are these uses legitimate? Let’s look at beef spleen’s nutrition values to find out.

Beef Spleen Nutrition: 100 grams

NutrientAmount% RDV
Calories102 calories4%
Total fat3 grams5%
Saturated fat1 gram5%
Cholesterol 263 mg88%
Sodium126 mg5%
Potassium274 mg8%
Carbohydrates1.1 grams0%
Protein18.3 grams37%
Vitamin A00%
Vitamin D00%
Vitamin E0 mg0%
Vitamin K0 mcg0%
Folate3.3 mcg0.8%
Niacin7.2 mg42%
Riboflavin0.4 mg22%
Thiamine0.1 mg3%
Vitamin B60.1 mg4%
Vitamin B126 mg95%
Vitamin C38 mg76%
Calcium2.2 mg1%
Iron19.6 mg248%
Magnesium24.0 mg6%
Phosphorus305 mg30%
Zinc2.2 mg14%
Copper0.2 mg8%

Nutrient Density: A Scientific Perspective

Organ meats, including beef spleen, exhibit unparalleled nutrient density. They are rich in essential vitamins and minerals, providing a concentrated source of nutrients that can be challenging to obtain from other food sources. Scientific studies consistently highlight the exceptional nutritional profile of organ meats, emphasizing their role in promoting optimal health (Choi, 2016; Koeth et al., 2013).

Heme Iron Advantages Explored

Iron, a critical mineral for various physiological functions, can be sourced from both plant and animal products. However, the form of iron plays a crucial role in its absorption rate by the body. Beef spleen, being a rich source of heme iron, offers a highly bioavailable form of iron that the body can absorb and utilize more efficiently than non-heme iron found in plant-based sources (Collings et al., 2017). This aspect positions beef spleen as an effective natural iron supplement.

Benefits of Beef Spleen

Enhanced Heme Iron Absorption

The heme iron present in beef spleen is easily absorbed by the body, making it an ideal choice for individuals dealing with iron-deficiency anemia or seeking preventative measures. Research consistently supports the superior absorption efficiency of heme iron, emphasizing its advantages over non-heme iron sources (Hallberg et al., 1992).

Oxygen Transport and Energy Metabolism

Iron’s pivotal role in hemoglobin production, a protein facilitating oxygen transport, directly influences energy metabolism. Scientific studies indicate that maintaining optimal iron levels through beef spleen consumption can contribute to improved oxygen transport, potentially resulting in increased energy levels and reduced fatigue (Hurrell & Egli, 2010).

Immune System Modulation

Iron is essential for the proper functioning and development of immune cells. Scientific evidence suggests that maintaining adequate iron levels through sources like beef spleen supports a well-functioning immune system, contributing to enhanced immune responses against infections (Wessling-Resnick, 2010).

Nutrient Synergy Explored

Beef spleen not only provides a concentrated source of heme iron but also comes bundled with a spectrum of essential nutrients that work synergistically. Scientific literature underscores the importance of nutrient synergy in organ meats, emphasizing their holistic impact on overall health (Koeth et al., 2013).

Cognitive Function and Neurological Health

The combination of heme iron and vitamin B12 in beef spleen contributes to optimal cognitive function. Scientific studies indicate that B12 is crucial for neurological function, and ensuring an adequate supply through beef spleen consumption supports brain health, memory improvement, and potentially reduces the risk of cognitive decline (Clarke et al., 2010).

Niacin

Beef spleen is also rich in niacin AKA vitamin B3. A 100-gram serving contains nearly half your RDV. Niacin plays an important role in cognitive function and also helps your body utilize carbohydrates for fuel. This is important, even on a low-carb keto and carnivore diet  because certain brain and muscle cells cannot derive energy from alternative energy molecules called ketones 

Peptides Unique to Spleen

Beef spleen also contains certain small proteins, called peptides. 

The top spleen-specific peptides, tuftsin and splenopentin, may stimulate your immune system’s macrophages (infection-fighting white blood cells) en route to improving overall immunity. 

Finally, beef spleen’s peptides and other proteins may enhance the activity of your body’s “natural killer” (NK) cells. NK cells secrete chemicals that turn on the immunological functions of other cells, making them critical to the initial immune response. 

The peptides in spleen are so potent that they can be formulated into an extract called splenin. This extract is used to directly support immune health. 

Splenin was first demonstrated to boost white blood cell counts and ward off infections back in the 1930’s. And it is so effective that it is still used in some parts of Germany. 

Adding Beef Spleen into Your Diet

There are many ways to consume beef spleen. You can find various recipes that incorporate spleen 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 Spleen in it along with 4 other nutrient dense organs for complete nose-to-tail nutrition!

Take Home

In the pursuit of optimal health, the scientific exploration of diverse and nutrient-dense food options is crucial. Beef spleen, with its documented benefits and concentrated heme iron content, emerges as a scientifically supported addition to a well-balanced diet. Whether addressing iron-deficiency anemia, enhancing energy levels, or supporting overall immune function, beef spleen provides a natural and scientifically validated solution. Embrace the scientific richness of organ meats and unlock the potential of beef spleen for a healthier, more vibrant you.


References

Choi, Y., Choi, Y. J., & Chung, H. K. (2016). The effect of organ and body fat on the association between visceral fat and metabolic syndrome: analysis using computed tomography. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 70(12), 1439–1443.

Collings, R., Harvey, L. J., Hooper, L., Hurst, R., Brown, T. J., & Ansett, J. (2017). The absorption of iron from whole diets: a systematic review. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 105(6), 1442–1454.

Hallberg, L., Brune, M., & Rossander, L. (1992). The role of vitamin C in iron absorption. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. Supplement = Internationale Zeitschrift Fur Vitamin- Und Ernahrungsforschung. Supplement, 30, 103–108.

Hurrell, R., & Egli, I. (2010). Iron bioavailability and dietary reference values. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91(5), 1461S–1467S.

Koeth, R. A., Wang, Z., Levison, B. S., Buffa, J. A., Org, E., Sheehy, B. T., … Hazen, S. L. (2013). Intestinal microbiota metabolism of L-carnitine, a nutrient in red meat, promotes atherosclerosis. Nature Medicine, 19(5), 576–585.

Wessling-Resnick, M. (2010). Iron homeostasis and the inflammatory response. Annual Review of Nutrition, 30, 105–122.

Clarke, R., Birks, J., Nexo, E., Ueland, P. M., Schneede, J., Scott, J., & Molloy, A. M. (2010). Low vitamin B-12 status and risk of cognitive decline in older adults. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91(6), 1489–1497.

Pizzorno J, Murray M. “Glandular therapy.” Textbook of natural medicine. Elsevier, St. Louis: 2013, pp 306-311.

Leave a Reply