The carnivore diet is a zero carb diet. It is an elimination diet where we eliminate all the plant foods and consume only meat. Generally, people think carnivores miss most of the vitamins by not eating fruits and vegetables.
The most frequently raised concern about the carnivore diet is about meeting the body requirements of essential vitamins. And a simple answer to this concern is, yes, the carnivore diet provides you with all the vitamins.
Let us discuss in detail the vitamin sources of the carnivore diet and how you can add them to your meal plan to avoid any deficiency.
Here is the list of vitamins and how we get it from a carnivore diet.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient naturally present in fish, poultry, eggs, and liver. Vitamin A plays a vital role in improving your vision, immune system, and reproduction. It also helps the heart, kidney, and other organs to function efficiently. Vitamin A is naturally present in only animal-based food.
Animals produce their own retinoids, which are active forms of vitamin A. Active vitamin A is stored in the liver and in fat, making animal fat and the liver the best sources of vitamin A. Beef liver is the best source of vitamin A retinol, 100g of beef liver contains around 15,000 IU of vitamin A. Liver has the highest amount of vitamin A than any other food.
Some other natural sources of vitamin A include;
Vitamin C is essential in the synthesis of collagen, L-carnitine, and other neurotransmitters; it plays a significant role in protein metabolism. It also helps in wound healing because collagen is an essential component of connective tissue.
Many animals do not require vitamin C because they can synthesize vitamin C out of glucose. But humans cannot synthesize vitamin C using glucose; hence we depend on external food for vitamin C. Deficiency of vitamin C can cause weakness, gum problems, poor wound healing, and fatigue.
Though vegetables contain high levels of vitamin C, meat does have vitamin C at low levels. Also during the carnivore diet, our vitamin C requirement is less and we get the needed amounts from the meat food.
A low carb diet and zero carb diet require less vitamin C because it does not have to constantly compete with glucose intake. According to experts, you need to consume 10mg vitamin C/day in the context of a high-carb diet, but in a low-carb diet, your vitamin C requirement is less.
In the case of a carnivore diet, meat content with zero carbs will not result in scurvy. Organ meat has more content of vitamin C compared to the apple. Vitamin C acts as a cofactor in hydroxylation reactions, and it helps to block collagen. Pre-packed meat with hydroxylysine and hydroxyproline reduces the requirement of vitamin C.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for your body. It helps in the absorption of calcium and in building strong bones. Calcium and vitamin D together reduces the risk of osteoporosis, a disease that thins and weakens the bone and makes it more fragile.
Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D3. It is believed that one needs to get a certain amount of sun exposure every day to produce enough vitamin D. But in our modern lifestyle most of the activities are indoor. We do not get sufficient sunlight. According to studies, meat-eating people have high levels of vitamin D compared to vegetarians.
Animal meat such as fish, meat, offal, egg, and dairy are the primary sources of naturally occurring vitamin D3. According to the studies, the highest vitamin D values are found in the fish liver; offal also provides considerable amounts of vitamin D. Other sources of vitamin D include muscle meat and egg yolks.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient found in egg yolk and organ meat. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, and it helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are the compounds formed when your body converts food into energy.
According to the studies, grass-fed animal meat is a richer source of vitamin E than grain-fed animals. In the carnivore diet, organs, egg yolk, and nose-to-tail eating patterns can provide an adequate amount of vitamin E for humans.
Vitamin k is available in two different forms, namely, K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is found in green vegetables and nuts but is hard to digest. Vitamin K2 is found in abundance in meat and fermented food; organ meat such as liver, high-quality fats, and eggs has a maximum quantity of vitamin K2. Other sources include salmon, beef, and chicken meat.
Vitamin K2 gets absorbed quickly. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protein synthesis and is involved in hemostasis (blood clotting) and bone metabolism.
Vitamin B12 is one of the essential nutrients that help to keep your body’s nerves and blood cells healthy. It also helps in the production of DNA, the genetic material in all the cells. Regular consumption of vitamin B12 helps to prevent megaloblastic anemia, which makes you feel tired and weak.
Animal products such as meat, fish, poultry, and eggs are rich sources of vitamin B12. Plants do not have vitamin B12; fortified foods may have vitamin B12. Deficiency of vitamin B12 leads to several health risks such as anemia, heart palpitations, and irreversible neurological damage. The carnivore diet is the best source of vitamin B12 that can maintain your overall health.
Folate is one of the vitamin B that helps in the production of new DNA and RNA. It plays a vital role in protein synthesis, helps in making red and white blood cells in the bone marrow. Folate is essential during the rapid growth phase, such as pregnancy and infancy.
Folate is rich in animal products such as egg and beef liver. Experts suggest that beef liver has the maximum content of folate.
Vitamin B6 plays a vital role in cognitive development, helps in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, helps to maintain normal levels of homocysteine and amino acid in the blood. It also allows hemoglobin production; vitamin B6 deficiency might lead to several health complications such as anemia, dermatitis, swollen tongue, and weak immune function. Vitamin B6 is naturally found in beef liver, egg yolk, fish and poultry, etc.
The carnivore diet can provide all the essential vitamins and nutrients. In fact, from the carnivore diet, we get a more active form of vitamins with high bioavailability and absorption. Unlike plant-based food, meat food has the least inflammation. Also, there are no dangers of consumption of any anti-nutrients.
Meat food is a rich source of all the nutrients, and by following a carnivore diet, you will not experience any deficiency. It is a healthy lifestyle with quality food that can resolve all your health issues.