Why do killer whales eat great white shark livers and leave the rest behind?

Why do killer whales eat great white shark livers and leave the rest behind?

An adult male orca whale  (aka killer whale)  weighs in at 12,000 pounds or more with females tipping the scales at 8,000 to 11,000 lbs. That is a lot of fish to feed.

Yet orcas are known to rip open a great white shark and make precisely placed bites eating the liver, heart, stomach and reproductive organs- leaving the rest of the flesh intact.

An average adult great white weighs in at 1,500-4,000 pounds.  It's liver is massive weighing between 500-1200 pounds. 

The liver acts as a reserve gas tank storing glucose in the form of glycogen. If blood glucose levels fall too low (nothing to eat for awhile), the liver releases glycogen back into the bloodstream so that that shark can continue to hunt.  It makes sense that the orcas target the liver-  that is where the gas tank is.  

The liver also performs hundreds of other functions from making the bile that helps us digest food to regulating blood flows. To perform all these tasks, each liver cell is packed with 1000-2000 mitochondria, each one a tiny energy production plant that provides energy to the cell.   As the mitochondria make energy,  they also make a toxic byproduct, reactive oxygen species(ROS), which if left unmitigated will lead to early death.  

We long written that astaxanthin, nature's most powerful antioxidant, is the antidote to ROS provided it is in the right form and in the right place 

Orcas, white sharks or humans for that matter cannot make astaxanthin. Higher order carnivores evolved without that chemical knowhow.  We didn't have to bother. There was so much astaxanthin in the food chain that we left the task of making astaxanthin to lower order animals and ate them. 

The orca evolved to "know" where to get their gas and their astaxanthin,.  Eat the liver (and other offals). 

It also knows that the shark’s flesh is not worth the time and effort to chomp on and digest. 

Yet when we slaughter an animal for human consumption we do the exact opposite, shunning the offals-  the liver, stomach, heart and brains for a nice piece of well marbled ribeye from corn fed cows. 

But it gets worse.  Even if you decide you mom's chicken liver and onions is tolerable or even tasty,  you won’t get astaxanthin into your diet. Chickens don't make astaxanthin either.  Farmed chickens  fed corn and soy diets don't have astaxanthin in their diet whereas barnyard chickens ran around eating astaxanthin rich bugs and slugs.

What about shrimp?  Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the United States . Wild shrimp is loaded with astaxanthin which you can see by the nice red color that develops when you cook it.   90% of the shrimp we eat is imported and most of that comes from shrimp farms in Central America and Southeast Asia.  
Our sister company, Sustainable Aquatics Inc., breeds ornamental sharks. They would rather starve than eat farmed shrimp. No surprise,  farmed shrimp lack astaxanthin and like the orca,  the sharks are smart enough to know farmed shrimp flesh is not worth the effort. 

So take a lesson from the orcas and sharks. Eat the offals of wild game,  eat wild caught fish and barnyard raised bug-eating chicken livers or chicken eggs. Or if that doesn’t appeal to you then simply take Adjuvia Astaxanthin supplements. You and your liver will be glad you did.