Brian Johnson, also known as Liver King, is a social media phenomenon who shot to fame by eating a raw meat diet. In a recent Instagram video, he takes his ancestral living schtick to a whole new level by chugging a hearty glass of animal blood.
The self-proclaimed CEO of ancestral living—the idea of connecting to the world around you by living like your cave-dwelling forefathers (walking barefoot and freezing your ass off in a cold shower)—gleefully guzzles down a glass of thick, dark red blood.
“The last time as an inner circle tribe as a family we drank blood was with the Maasai, and now we get to do it again,” Liver King says, referring to a tribe in Kenya and Tanzania who drink blood mixed with milk for special celebrations and as a healing accelerant for sick people. After quenching his blood thirst, Liver King passes the cup to his two sons and wife, who each dutifully take a swig.
“Primals need to know that blood is one of the most nutrient-dense parts of the animal”, reads Liver King’s caption. “It contains all of the minerals and vitamins utilized to sustain life.”
While Liver King is quick to chug his glass, you may want to hold tight before joining in.
Is Drinking Blood Safe?
Blood is raw (duh) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has strict guidelines on consuming raw animal products. Blood potentially carries the same foodborne risks that raw meat and other animal products do, including Salmonella and E. coli.
Feast like a lion on a gazelle carcass and you also run the risk of contracting bloodborne illnesses, like hepatitis, especially if you slurp on contaminated or infected blood.
Risks of Raw
Animals can actually drink their prey’s blood and eat raw meat because their immune systems are well-adapted to it and their stomachs contain certain acids to kill harmful parasites. Humans, not so much.
When your hunter-gatherer ancestors discovered fire—and that prey tasted way better cooked than raw—their ability to safely digest blood and raw muscle diminished. We still can eat raw meat and ingest blood if the quality is high, but good luck finding a medical expert to tell you it’s healthy.
Despite Liver King’s claim, blood is fairly low in vitamins in minerals. Plus, at least one third of the 5,000 foodborne illness-related deaths each year are connected to eating raw meat and poultry, according to the CDC.
In other words: don’t trade your protein smoothie for a pint of O-negative.