The Anti-Fatigue Value of Liver

The test conducted by Dr. B. H. Ershoff in 1951 on the value of liver in combating fatigue is now a classic study in the necessity of liver for the athlete. Dr. Ershoff was testing for an anti-fatigue diet in his laboratory. He used three groups of rats on three different diets which he fed for 12 weeks. The first group ate a laboratory diet to which he added nine synthetic and two natural vitamins. The second group of rats had this same diet plus all the B-Complex Vitamins. The third group ate the original diet with 10% desiccated liver added instead of the B-Vitamins. Each rat was placed in a drum of water from which he could not climb out. He had to keep swimming or drown so it was a genuine test of endurance as the motivation was of the highest order.

The first group swam for an average of 13.3 minutes before they gave up and indicated positively that they had no energy left. The second group swam for an average of 13.4 minutes before drowning. In the third group, the desiccated liver group, three were able to swim for 63, 83, and 87 minutes before retiring while the remainder of the group were still swimming vigorously at the end of two hours. The message is clear enough for the most “Doubting Thomas.”

From page 133 of: “The Strongest Shall Survive . . . Strength Training for Football” by Bill Starr, B.S., M.S.  (Fifth Printing, Revised First Edition, 1999

Litter mate male rats after 40 days of cortisone acetate administration. The rat in the foreground was fed a purified ration containing 400 mg cortisone acetate per kg of diet. The rat in the background was fed a similar diet supplemented with 10% whole liver powder.