This archived forum used to be called 'Peatarian' (in reference to Ray Peat).

Bad Reaction To Liver?

I had liver yesterday afternoon for the first time in awhile, about five ounces.  Eight hours later I awoke in the middle of the night in a sweat with a pounding heart.  For most of today I have had a very bad headache and my emotions have been nonexistant, as if I were detached from the world.  

I was wondering, what in liver might be causing me trouble.  Might the huge amount of copper be troublesome?  I also had a fair share of cocoa yesterday which is also high in copper.  I also thought about vitamin A, especially for increasing body temperature and all, but the headaches part and detachedness makes me think otherwise.

Has anyone else had weird reactions to beef liver?
asked Aug 11, 2012 by Teddy
According to cronometer, I ate over 22 mg of copper yesterday.  Acute copper toxicity?
I try eating like 2 ounces in a day max. Eating a lot can produce digestive discomfort.
Did you drink coffee soon after you finished that liver? That's believed to reduce iron absorption.

Teddy-22 mg is highly unlikely. That would be well over 4 pounds of liver. 22 mcg is probably what you mean, but that would be about 1/2 a pound of liver. Peat recommends 1/4 lb once every couple weeks. If you consume over 10,000 mcg, or 3 oz liver daily, you are at risk of copper toxicity or kidney/liver damage. This can be mitigated somewhat by consuming adequate zinc, or more than what liver provides. The importance of the copper/zinc ratio is underestimated. On liver days you should be consuming coffee and meat or a zinc supplement. The peat-approved food sources of zinc are limited, which is why I prefer oysters to liver. They both taste bad, but oysters have a perfect copper/zinc ratio, so I have a couple ounces daily.

4 Answers

I think cocoa makes me have palpitations. I don't know about copper. Maybe you should only have a small amount of liver, even smaller than 5 ounces.
answered Aug 11, 2012 by Westside PUFAs
reshown Sep 19, 2014 by Westside PUFAs
The thing is, I have been using cocoa for months and never had this reaction.  Next I have liver it will definitely be a smaller amount, though.

I had two bars of chocolate a day for a couple weeks. Then I started having the bad reaction to it. I don't know if the theobromine can build up in your system and cause reactions.

Do you drink coffee?

How much sugar did you eat that day? Chocolate should never be eaten on its own, just like eggs (due to leucine content). Liver itself is pretty high in protein too, promoting hypoglycemia if you don't eat it with sweet stuff.

Just sounds like hypoglycemia with high adrenaline. I doubt it's the copper, especially since you got it from food.

EDIT : At the time, I was taking vitamin A. Later on, I found out that stopping it significantly improved my thyroid function (making it quite easy to reach optimal temperature).
At first I thought that the supplement was an allergen, as Peat had told me months before that pregnenolone and vitamin A supplements often introduce impurities because of new techniques.
But, when trying small amounts of calf liver (with coffee) I was puffy again, and felt tired.

answered Aug 11, 2012 by Bruno
edited Mar 19, 2013 by Bruno
The sugar I ate was with the chocolate in the form of the flourless brownie recipe you gave, I think.  How much sugar would one need for each gram of protein?
I'm not sure I ever gave you a recipe :), but you want at least a 1:1 ratio, preferably higher. Ray has mentioned he needs 1 glass of orange juice to balance 1 egg, in Danny Roddy's book he mentions in one of his meal examples that, if you eat more eggs, you should eat more orange juice too. The same things apply to liver and chocolate. In an East West Healing podcast Ray also mentions that you should eat liver with some fat like butter or coconut oil because 'there is something with the protein and fat content of liver'.
Haha, must have been another regular on the site who gave me the recipe.  I think it was .75 cup of sugar to .5 cocoa, just to let you know.  

So really if I am to take that advice, I should experiment having 2 glasses of orange juice in the morning since I eat two eggs?  I cooked the liver in coconut oil so that's good.  I did, however, eat cocoa at the same time of eating the liver, possibly without enough sugar, based on the standards of Peat that you mentioned above.  Maybe that is the problem...
Thanks :), but yes, I think more sweet food would be good.
When I have about 3-4oz. of liver, I need about 60g of sugar to balance it out along with some butter and/or coconut oil.  I do not experience the hypoglycemic reactions this way and am very energized.  Too much sugar will cause an adrenaline response so find what works for you.

Even if this question has been here for several months, my experience fits. I made some braunschweiger with chicken livers and ate some of it three or four days in a row. Then I ate some cole slaw that was leftover in the fridge from the day before and tasted a bit fermented. I woke up feeling not good and even eating some fruit didn't help me go back to sleep. I finally did go back to sleep, but then that day I started feeling worse and worse. I felt very listless but at the same time edgy. It continued until late that night. Thankfully I felt better the next day, although kind of worn out. So, I'm wondering if it was too much liver which, I think is supposed to be particularly anti-thyroid in larger amounts along with the slightly fermented cabbage. Someone suggested over at the Ray Peat forum that I might be very hypothyroid.

Edit: This sounds a lot like the symptoms Teddy was describing- iron overload.
Sounds very much like iron overload. Maybe that's what I had, too. Ray Peat does say that the older you get the more iron your body will have stored.

answered Mar 19, 2013 by Sarah
edited Mar 19, 2013 by Sarah

Excess copper amongst other things can induce the so called "uglies" in your skin, so it definitely has some effect for some people. See The acute symptoms you describe however sound like Vitamin A excess effects. From

Signs of acute toxicity include nausea and vomiting, headache,
dizziness, blurred vision, and loss of muscular coordination.

answered Mar 19, 2013 by nograde
edited Mar 19, 2013 by nograde