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Eating liver correlates with headaches and obesity in women and men

If you, or anyone you know, is part of a dietary group (or "cult") that advocates eating liver often, and you're wondering why so many people in a group like that who obsess over what they call "traditional nutrition" are obese, and that many of them have headaches...this reality of their self-poisoning with Poison/"Vitamin A" is presented below...known back in 1984!

Liver Lover’s Headache: Pseudotumor Cerebri and Vitamin A Intoxication.

To the Editor.--We wish to draw attention to dietary habits of patients with pseudotumor cerebri (PTC), a syndrome of elevated intracranial pressure that typically occurs in obese young women and is characterized by headache and papilledema.

They are linking headaches with dietary habits.

Patients would come in to their doctor with a headache first.  They likely wouldn't know the cause.

Pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) is "characterized by headache and papilledema".

Assessing a patient for "elevated intracranial pressure" requires a lumbar puncture to check on the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure, which tells the doctor if there increased fluid pressure on the brain causing the headache.

Papilledema is "optic disc swelling that is caused by increased intracranial pressure due to any cause."  This requires a fundoscopic eye exam (when a doctor uses an ophthalmoscope to look at your inner eye structures, this is best done by an ophthalmologist).

Now, if you've had headaches in the past of any type (this includes migraines), but you somehow think you surely couldn't have PTC...if your doctor didn't do a lumbar puncture and/or refer you to an ophthalmologist for a fundoscopic eye exam, it was basically impossible to rule PTC out.  The main symptom a person feels is simply a headache, it requires more tests to see if the headache is caused by PTC.

The nature of this condition is usually undiscovered but is associated with a variety of disorders, the most predictable of which is vitamin A intoxication. In fact, pseudotumor cerebri occurs in 30% to 50% of patients with hypervitaminosis A.1,2 This causal relationship prompted us to conduct a dietary survey of approximately 50 patients with idiopathic PTC.

Most predictable cause is vitamin A intoxication...and the nature of this condition is usually undiscovered.  So they're saying they know the main cause, it's just usually not found (or likely even looked for!)...probably because of the super inconvenient (and invasive!) tests mentioned above.

Report of Cases.--Surprisingly, we discovered five patients who ate beef liver at least once or twice a week.

That's surprising because most people find liver to be NASTY stuff.

Several patients consumed liver at multiple meals during a single day or regularly on luncheon sandwiches; two patients disclosed that they routinely purchased 6 to 24 lb of liver each week. None of the patients were using any of the medications occasionally associated with PTC.

It's not medications.

If it was supplement-caused, we would assume they would have mentioned that, right?  They didn't mention any supplements.

These are poisonings from FOOD ALONE, from EATING LIVER.

With the exception of mild to moderate papilledema, general physical and neurological examination findings were normal. Cranial computed tomographic scans were also normal, and CSF pressure was elevated in each of the four patients who permitted a lumbar puncture.

Papilledema, check.

Elevated CSF pressure, check.

Wait, your doctor didn't do an eye exam, or a lumbar puncture, or even a serum retinol ("Vitamin A blood test") on you when you came complaining to them about your headaches?  Guess they couldn't have found the CAUSE then...

Dietetic estimates of daily vitamin A intake in the five patients were 60,000 IU, 64,000 IU, 70,000 IU, 87,000 IU, and 341,000 IU. (Recommended dietary allowance is 4,000 to 5,000 IU/day.) Random serum vitamin A levels (normally 30 to 70 mcg/dL) were elevated in four of the five patients (75 mcg/dL, 107 mcg/dL, 121 mcg/dL, and 146 mcg/dL).

From FOOD alone, remember.  Common dietary supplements of Poison/"Vitamin A" run in the 10,000 IU to 25,000 IU range.

Two patients were men and three were women. All five patients were mildly to severely obese, and each had habitually ingested liver for several years or more.

Heard of the obesity epidemic in the Western world?  Interesting correlation, right?  I have other research linking obesity to Poison/"Vitamin A".

Skin manifestations of vitamin A intoxication were not observed in any of the patients; this suggests the possibility that neural membranes have the lowest level of sensitivity to chronic hypervitaminosis A.

Not everyone shows Poison/"Vitamin A" toxicity in the same way.  It shows up in whatever the individual's weak links to this poisoning are first, then it spreads to other areas as the poisoning gets worse.

Comment.—Acute vitamin A intoxication is widely acknowledged in Arctic explorers who ingested polar bear liver. A dietary source of acute hypervitaminosis A and documented PTC, however, was recently described in a housewife who ate the liver of a shark.3

Here are all the posts I've made (with references!) linking "eating liver" with causing health problems from Poison/"Vitamin A". 

Consumption of smaller amounts of vitamin A presumably has similar but more insidious effects.

This is a poisoning by accumulation. Read that sentence above again. Smaller amounts over time = similar effects, more insidious.

Farris and Erdman4 and others have reported PTC following protracted use of low-level (ten times the recommended daily allowance) vitamin A supplements. The induction of PTC from a diet of small but toxic amounts of vitamin A was previously limited to 7-month-old twins who were fed a diet containing 120 g/day of ground chicken liver for four months.5

I need to emphasize the danger of Poison/"Vitamin A" in children...because the adults who are eating liver and ignoring the blatant signs in their own health falling apart, are probably wondering why their children who they are feeding liver to (and cod liver oil) have so many health problems too.

A CHILD HAS DIED from being fed too much chicken liver paste.  This is NOT A JOKE.

Here is more info on the other twins who were poisoned with chicken liver.

I distinctly know of a group that advocates that adults should eat liver regularly and take cod liver oil, and they also highly advocate doing these same things to infants. If your child was hurt due to these ill-founded recommendations, I am sorry, and they will continue to hurt children (and adults) until someone legally makes them want to stop doing so.

Do you want or need more evidence on eating animal livers directly causing health problems in humans?  Here you go!

In the five patients described herein, the amount of liver regularly consumed for several years or more was astonishing but was verified from interviews with skilled dieticians.

Eating beef liver "once or twice a week" (quote taken from paper) is NOT an astonishing amount at all!!!  It is quite normal for many "traditional nutrition" type people, actually.

These observations in adults warrant closer attention to the possibility of habitual ingestion of liver and other dietary sources of vitamin A in patients with PTC. Added scrutiny of the diet is further justified because liver and vegetables rich in vitamin A are often recommended in weight-reducing diets.

Apparently the authors believe there is a correlation between obesity and Poison/"Vitamin A" intake, and that completely food-based intakes of Poison/"Vitamin A" are dangerous enough to "warrant closer attention".  What has happened with the "obesity epidemic" in Western countries since the authors made these observations in 1984?

Obesity rates in USA

The source doesn't matter, because it's not a "vitamin" at all.

Dr. Garrett Smith, the "Nutrition Detective"
Licensed Naturopathic Physician (NMD) in Arizona, home of the Love Your Liver program
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