Vitamins and Minerals

The first objection you are likely to hear to the Carnivore Diet is "but where will you get all your vitamins and minerals?". The simple answer is meat, but if you desire a more robust response to combat the FUD then read on.

We already know that the most nutrient rich foods come from the animal kingdom and don't come with the same anti-nutrient burden of plant foods. With the addition of organ meats and eating meat from a more varied range of animals you can get very close to the hitting the Recommended Dietary Allowances without too much effort.

However, along with the seminal Stefansson study we have many examples of individuals adhering to a strict Carnivore Diet for years even decades despite not eating appreciable amounts of organ meats or varieties of meat, and subsisting on mostly muscle meat in the form of rib-eye steaks. The DRIs (Dietry Reference Intakes) or RDAs (Recommended Dietary Allowances) are flawed and aimed at large populations of people eating a grain based diet. The absence of plant anti-nutrients and carbohydrates, plus running on a Ketogenic fat based metabolism, results in the need for some nutrients being lower via various sparing and synergistic effects, including; Vitamin C, Iodine, Folate, Magnesium, Thiamine and Calcium.

It is entirely possible that you will get a low reading on a blood test for a certain nutrient, but in the complete absence of signs/symptoms of actual clinical deficiency it is hard to say if this is actually a problem or will be detrimental to your health long term. We obviously do not know for sure however, so if you would like to hedge your bets and construct a more "balanced" Carnivore Diet then Chris Masterjohn has a comprehensive guide "Doing Carnivore Right" which targets all the vitamins and minerals considered to be at risk on a strict Carnivore Diet.


liver is an undisputed nutrient power house and will plug many of the gaps in a muscle meat only carnivore diet. Because of this, some Carnivore diet advocates will insist that eating liver is essential and that we must eat "nose to tail". This is clearly false, as previously stated most long term Carnivores don't eat liver or other organs and have even reported that adding liver to their diet was detrimental. There is also the potential risk of Vitamin A toxicity from eating too much liver, especially if not balanced with adequate Vitamin D, high amounts of Copper can also be problematic. Be that as it may, there are also many anecdotes of people experiencing health benefits after adding liver to their diet. Many indigenous cultures consider liver a super food , conversely Vilhjalmur Stefansson reported that the Inuit fed organs to the dogs. If you enjoy liver and find it beneficial then I think it is a great addition to the diet and would have no concerns with eating 4-8 ounces of liver a week. If on the other hand, you have a deep aversion to liver, don't feel obliged to eat it. After all, the liver only makes up a small part of the total edible carcass of the large herbivorous animals on which we evolved.

Sodium and Potassium

Salt or Sodium Chloride is another aspect of carnivore where opinions can vary massively. The paleolithic diet is thought to be very low in sodium and high in potassium, the Inuit shunned the use of salt and many long term carnivores from the zero-carb days do not use salt or recommend its use. However, a very good case can be made for increasing sodium intake on a Ketogenic diet as the kidneys will dump electrolytes with lower insulin levels. We know the balance of sodium and potassium is key for proper cell function but does this mean we need to supplement? or can we get adequate amoounts from meat alone? I personally have tried salting to taste, very high sodium and low soidum and after a number of years eating this way seem to feel best when not adding any additional salt to my food or supplementing with electrolytes. Ultimately, you will have to experiment and see what works for you, and hopefully the following resources can help you on that journey.

Additional Resources