Are supplements a must?


Hi all! I am 8 weeks in. Starting weight 150. Doing mostly carnivore. What supplements are most important? I was taking zinc, quercetin and vit C, K, B but have slacked off. I now only take electrolytes when I feel I need them but wondering if I should start back. Female, 139 lbs moderate physical activity.

(Bacon is better) #2

The only mineral that truly is necessary is sodium. The reason is that elevated insulin inhibits the kidneys from properly excreting sodium, so when we go keto and insulin drops, we have to work a bit harder to keep our salt intake in the proper range. The symptoms of keto or Atkins “flu” (lightheadness, dizziness, fatigue, constipation, etc.) are the result of a lack of sodium; too much, and the stool becomes unpleasantly mushy.

When sodium intake is in the proper range, the body can make the most efficient use of its magnesium and potassium supply. The same is true of calcium. If you feel you need potassium, Dr. Phinney recommends “lite” salt, which is half sodium chloride and half potassium chloride, as an easy way to get it. He also recommends a brand of magnesium supplement called Slow Mag, if you can find it somewhere near you.

If you are eating fresh meat as part of your ketogenic diet, you are most likely getting enough of the B complex and the other fat-soluble vitamins, which are not found in plants. The form of vitamin A is more biio-available in meat, and this is important because some people have trouble converting the beta-carotene in their vegetables. If you are doing vegetarian keto, you may or may not need to supplement; if you are doing strict vegan keto you will most assuredly need supplements. Most people eating meat and vegetables will not need to supplement, unless they have some condition that requires it.

As for the essential fatty acids, wild-caught fish are a better source of ω-3 than pills. The challenge with ω-6 is not getting enough, but avoiding getting too much, since the industrial seed oils are over-rich in ω-6’s. There are two problems with this: first, we need ω-3 and ω-6 in roughly equal concentrations, because they compete for the same cell receptors; and second, more than a small amount of ω-6 in the diet causes systemic inflammation.

As for the essential amino acids, most people find it far easier to get them in their meat than as supplements, and the meat that contains the essential aminos closest to the proportions needed by the body is beef. (This is one of the reasons many anthropologists feel that we evolved as meat-eaters.) Beware getting too much of the branched-chain amino acids (leucine, iso-leucine, and valine); they are essential, yes, but great quantities are not needed unless you are a body buildier. Too much of them overwhelms the pathway in the liver that metabolises them and if this happens they can cause liver disease. (The same pathway also handles alcohol and fructose, btw.)

(Troy) #3


Can you link that Slo Mag article when you get a chance please


Thank you so much Paul! I am so tired of taking all the vitamins I was taking religiously for over a year when covid started, and its good to know I am getting them thru my meat. I will continue to watch the sodium though, generally when I feel sluggish I take a couple electrolyte pills and drink a couple pinches salt in a bit of water. Hopefully I am on the right track! Thanks again


If your food is good enough and your body works okay, it should be enough. Some people need extra sodium but I for one never takes anything (I can’t, it’s against my core personality or something. I do it when needed, I took several magnesium pills a year on my original, carbier, vegetarian keto. enough meat solved my cramps problem). It worked well this far. I can’t possibly know if I have some subtle lack I couldn’t notice yet, Cronometer always complains about something when I check my day - but I don’t have a “normal” diet and especially carnivore is famous about changing our needs regarding some micronutrients… (I am not carnivore but usually pretty close as it seems to be enough for me. I eat maybe a few grams of vegetable a day in average and things got so much better… Meanwhile other people worry about eating enough vegs for nutrients :smiley: Meat is special like this, it has basically everything. Plants still may interfere but we know that people live for decades on meat only feeling good… Without supplements, at that. So enough meat provides enough nutrients on the right diet and probably helps a ton along with some extra plants too but things are a bit different there.)

Sometimes I wonder about a few micronutrients due to my abnormal diet (as I can’t do some proper, surely fine carnivore or some normal keto) but I feel okay this far… I understand taking some vitamin for peace of mind or when eating is messed up for some reason so I don’t say one just should hope for the best until problems emerge. It’s just me, I can’t take supplements, I forget, it bothers me… I rather focus on my diet, sounds more natural and safe, who knows if my pills absorbs well and give me the right amount…


Shinita, “meat being special” and “focusing on getting nutrients from diet” rings well with me!" I am going to try to always remember that going forward!

(Rebecca ) #7

This is an interesting question for me because my job is in an herb/vitamin/supplement department in a health food store!
Although I know and understand the different ones and can explain their benefits, I myself don’t take any because of the way I eat.
My diet, for the most part is animal proteins (not strict Carnivore). I believe I am getting adequate nutrients through that. I do drink electrolytes daily, as Paul suggested. I agree that those being balanced is crucial.


From someone well versed in supplements that’s good to hear, Rebecca!! Makes sense to me! May I ask if you can recommend an electrolyte pill? I don’t like drinking them.

(Rebecca ) #9

Depending on where you live, there is such a thing a electrolytes water…you can’t taste them at all.

(Ronnie) #10

I take double dose milk thistle and turmeric for inflammation.

But I drink alcohol, so that’s why, a significant amount.

Ehm, I take K and Mg supps, but I question why, sometimes.

I’m white and live in the Northern hemisphere, so i take vitamin D3 and K2.

Sometimes I take sublingual vit B12.

I felt fine before I took these…and I felt fine after taking these.

Load of bo11ox if you ask me…


I take vitamin D and K2 on a regular basis.

(Robin) #12

Welcome! Glad you’re here. Lots of us are in agreement that D3/K2 are needed.