The Carnivore Diet is possibly one of the most controversial lifestyle choices you can make, but even within the carnivore community, there are disagreements about supplements.
Some say you should avoid them for several months; others say they are essential right from the start. I’ll get to my personal recommendations below, but the important thing to keep in mind is that all drastic diets can result in certain nutrient deficiencies.
So, what I’ve done is sit down with a dietitian who was supportive of this high fat and protein diet for some extra advice. Over several months we managed to identify some carnivore supplements that can make things easier for people like us.
Unlike the vegan diet with strict moral and ethical guidelines, you should bear in mind that many recommendations below are plant-based or have some plant ingredients. Read on to find out more.
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Performance Lab has become a highly trusted player in the fitness and weight loss supplement industry. As far as multivitamins with added minerals go, this whole food option is considered to be one of the best available.
What I like about it is that you can buy it in a formula for men or women. As there are subtle differences in the amounts of nutrients both genders need, it’s convenient to get the ideal dose.
Yes strictly speaking it contains a lot of plant ingredients, but the fact is that it contains vital nutrients that you could be lacking in your diet.
I recommend using electrolytes, especially while you make the transition to the meat diet. Each pack has sodium, magnesium, and potassium to help you stay hydrated.
This will minimize muscle cramps, fatigue, and many people have reported it to help with their sleep. I switched to these packs after getting them recommended to me by a lady in one of the carnivore Facebook groups.
Developed by Robb Wolf, who is a New York Times best selling author and well-known health expert, focused on primal living, developed this pack with keto in mind.
Not sure if you consider it a supplement, but at one-time, salt was a form of currency in ancient times. That's how important it is, and I wish someone told me to eat more of it when I was first starting.
Redmond's is unrefined and packed with a wide range of minerals (just check out the chart on the package). Also, made in America and mined from an ancient seabed in Utah.
You'll notice it has a distinct taste and makes an excellent seasoning for fatty cuts of meat. Now I can't eat ribeye without it.
I supplement with Kettle and Fire when I don't have time to make my own broth from scratch.
Usually, I'll prepare a pot in the morning and fill up a thermos before work or long trips in the car.
It's made with 100% pasture-raised grass fed beef and provides natural collagen and amino acids—a good choice for a quick and easy snack.
You'll notice it has a distinct taste and makes an excellent seasoning for fatty cuts of meat. Now I can't eat ribeye without it.
For those of you who don't like organ meat, Ancestral Supplements has you covered.
Each capsule is filled with beef liver, heart, kidney, pancreas, and spleen. Beef liver was a staple of our early ancestors' and considered one of the first "superfoods."
Packed with vitamins B, D, A, and E, along with iron, phosphorus, and copper. You take 6 capsules per day and there are 30 servings in a container.
I found this idea from Dr Paul Saladino, author of the Carnivore Code. Colostrum is highly nutritious and comes from the cows after they give birth. It's packed with vitamins and is well known for improving gut health and your immune system.
From my experience, Ancestral Supplements does a good job of providing a quality product, and they are starting to build their reputation in the carnivore community. One customer even referred to it as immunity and skincare game-changer.
This brand of Alaskan fish oil is a good way to get some extra essential fatty acids in your diet.
Each capsule contains fish oil from wild-caught Alaskan Pollock, and it's one of the few brands I can take before bed without waking up with that nasty fish taste.
This product won't be necessary if you're already eating fresh fatty fish or fish eggs weekly.
Codeage is a premium supplement manufacturer, and this polyphenol is one of the most popular on Amazon. You can read more about the actual benefits in the next section, but there is good evidence that it helps to fight cancer cells in your body.
The product comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee which means you could have before and after blood tests done to find out what the exact effects are on free radicals in your blood.
The downside is that for very strict carnivore dieters it won’t be an option as it’s entirely plant-based.
If you’re particular about not having artificial crap added in for flavor and sweetening, the Transparent Labs is the way to go.
This collagen supplement uses natural ingredients to create a chocolate flavor, without giving you something with tons of carbs to mess with your ketosis.
While you do get 11 grams of collagen sourced from beef, it’s not grass-fed beef. For a lot of carnivore dieters, that is a very important factor, so keep that in mind.
Because the Carnivore Diet takes such a restrictive approach, there inevitably can be risks of some nutrient deficiencies.
Your protein intake will certainly not be lacking from all the beef, but if you ignore certain micronutrients and salt for long enough, you can start to feel generally bad and even develop some more serious health issues.
The good news is that the above supplements will provide a good solution and eggs contain most vitamins. But if you’re a purist when it comes to the Carnivore Diet (see the rest of the article here), then I have some options below that you can follow as well.
Unfortunately, most meat doesn’t contain high amounts of magnesium, and even when eating several pounds of meat per day, you can become deficient over time.
And here’s the health risk in that happening.
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals that your body needs. It is used for countless different functions that within a few months of deficiency can lead to substantial health issues.
Your metabolism needs it to process energy, it plays a role in regulating hormone levels, your muscles need it to synthesize protein, and it’s even required for DNA production .
One option is to eat fish eggs on a regular basis or to prepare your own beef bone broth using a slow cooking method. Find the our recommended one here. Alternatively, you can get extra magnesium from an Epsom salt bath.
This is another important nutrient, and as an electrolyte, it plays a vital role in the fluid balance in all your body’s cells. Meat, in general, is not a great source of potassium, unless you regularly opt for organ meats.
A lack of potassium on a consistent basis can lead to an increase in blood pressure , risk of kidney stones, weakened muscle function, and even irregular heart rates.
With the risk of heart disease generally on the rise, electrolyte deficiencies have to be carefully monitored. See the best ones here.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that we have to take in with our food because our body cannot produce it from other nutrients. It is quite abundant in plant foods, especially fruit, but animal foods, mainly beef, doesn’t contain much vitamin C at all.
One option to boost your vitamin C levels is to eat more organ meat like spleen and lung. Not the most appetizing idea, which is why supplements are a good option. Vitamin E deficiency on a Carnivore Diet is not as common, but if you tend to eat cheaper grain-fed meat, then this can happen.
One thing you won’t find in beef is fiber. It is one of the main downsides of switching to a carnivore lifestyle, but the actual health benefits are a little bit ambiguous.
On the one hand, high fiber carbs are hailed as a vital part of a fat loss diet because it fills you up and keeps your digestion moving.
The question is whether this is actually an issue when you eat only meat?
For this, there is no definitive answer yet, but my personal approach has been to supplement fiber from plant foods, especially in the early days when your digestion is still adapting.
It’s not necessary for the long term, but I found it did help initially. See fiber options here.
The carnivore lifestyle is often referred to as the keto diet in overdrive. It certainly is true that you will be eating high-fat and high-protein from mainly beef. While avoiding carbs from plant foods and dairy products, including yogurt, milk, and cheese.
In the early stages, before ketosis has set in and your body is fat adapted. You will likely encounter keto flu symptoms, which include headaches, nausea, and fatigue.
But these are not long term effects, and within a few days, your body will be producing ketones for energy, with the added bonus of some fat loss.
Until this happens, your blood sugar can fall low, despite eating plenty of protein and fat. You can either suffer through it or take some ketone supplements to make you feel a bit more energized.
I only recently stumbled upon polyphenols while reading a nutrition magazine at my dietitian's office.
The plant-based antioxidants have been studied through clinical trials, and while the full facts and understanding are still pending, it does look like there is a link to protection against cancer and heart disease .
Again, animal foods don’t contain any polyphenols, so the only option is to use supplements. See polyphenol options here.
When I spoke to my dietitian, collagen came up, and it was almost too obvious.
Unless you're eating the rather unappetizing parts of an animal like connective tissue and tendons, you’re not going to be getting much collagen through your food.
It’s a vital protein for healthy skin, joints, and connective tissue , and it’s fast becoming one of the more common supplements that people on the Carnivore Diet take. Check this collagen supplement.
You can hit your protein macros without going overboard by consuming more collagen, which is a source of protein that doesn’t contain the same amino acids as a steak. Instead, collagen is high in glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline — amino acids also support a strong gut lining.
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Deficiencies won’t happen overnight, and there are good options available to make you less reliant on supplements.
So, we’ve identified some nutrients that are lacking in beef, pork, and poultry; while some of these nutrients may only be needed in the short term, there are ways that you can make sure you boost most of them without resorting to supplementation.
Let’s get right to it.
3 options for getting more nutrients from animal foods.
Eating animal organs has fallen out of fashion quite a bit. Just a few generations ago, most organs would be on prominent display at your local butcher. These days, the majority end up in factories for dog food production.
It might take a bit of getting used to and learning some new cooking techniques to preserve the nutrients, but you’ll be amazed at how great you’ll feel if you start adding things like beef liver and chicken liver to your diet. Chicken liver is another good low cost meal option that you can frequently find on sale.
If you make your own broth from bone marrow by slow cooking it over 10 to 12 hours at a low temperature, then you can get all the magnesium and most vitamins you need on a day-to-day basis .
I usually make a batch once or twice a week and use a small amount either as a soup or sauce on my meat dishes.
Ready for a tough one?
Yes, eating pigs ears and snout, or the full range of tendons and ligaments from cows sounds as appealing as it is.
However, they are great options to use as natural carnivorous supplements. You’ll need to ask your butcher about getting some, and it might help to find one who kills his own animals.
If you’re looking for more advice about eating the types of animal foods that are less commonly used, then I recommend checking out Shawn Baker’s and Paul Sorbo’s podcasts and online resources.
Yes, the carnivore diet will put you in ketosis within 5 to 10 days on average. Similar to the ketogenic diet, a carnivore lifestyle choice will practically eliminate all carb intake with your body becoming reliant on fat and protein for energy.
No, the carnivore diet isn’t dangerous as long as you carefully plan what types of meat you’re eating. Most people that encounter problems have other underlying health issues, or don’t ensure that they get all the nutrients they need from less common organ meat sources.
No, you cannot eat mayo on the carnivore diet, as most of the products you can buy are laced with carbs and sugars. Some people think that it can help provide some additional amino acids, but that’s completely unnecessary.
Yes, you can eat yogurt on the carnivore diet, but keep in mind that dairy products contain a certain amount of natural sugar. Also, most yogurt you buy in a supermarket is laced with added sugar as well.
Yes, the carnivore diet can be expensive, but there are very good ways to reduce the costs. By switching to cheaper cuts, you can still buy grass-fed beef to eat on a day-to-day basis.
Yes, the carnivore diet can increase testosterone levels and has been supported by a study based on high-fat and low-fiber intake . Keep in mind, though, that other health factors will also influence your testosterone levels.
Yes, you can eat small amounts of cheese when starting.
Vitamin C is a controversial topic on the all-meat diet. I know many carnivores, including myself, who are doing fine without supplementation. I am still waiting for more research to see how much is really necessary.
Nutrient deficiencies can become a serious health problem, but it's not something you should expect to be facing immediately when you start the Carnivore Diet.
In the early days, it can be helpful to take some ketones for the mental fog, and fiber to allow your digestion to adapt.
After that, you really don’t need a whole lot of supplements. The above Performance Lab multivitamin and bone broth are two that I take on a regular basis, that I would highly recommend.
If you’ve found some other products that have helped your carnivore journey, then make sure you share them with us on social media.
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