Carnivore fatigue symptoms?



I’m at 60 days of straight carnivore and I’ve been having cycles of fatigue with palpitations for the last two weeks. 3-4 days feeling great, then 3-4 days where I feel like a battery at 15% charge then repeat. By 15% charge I mean I feel leaden, like I’m walking through water, plus or minus a strong urge to sleep which is inconsistent. There are no other symptoms and overall I feel infinitely better than before the diet. My sleep is great, not overexercising, concentration is wonderful too. I’m otherwise very healthy with no preexisting conditions or medications. No history of high blood pressure or heart problems.

The diet has been the same for weeks with two meals a day at 12 PM and 8 PM - 500-700g beef, 80-100 ounces of water throughout the day, 1 cup or less coffee in the morning, 80g air-fried fat through the day, freely salting things to taste and taking the occasional electrolyte salt capsule. I started egg yolks four weeks ago and have two raw yolks every two days or so. I have 2-4 ounces of raw liver once a week (the taste is too repulsive, I can barely tolerate that). I take ancestral organ meats Brain and MOFO supplement as the beef organs one disagreed with me to hedge my bets against deficiencies. I started adding 10-20g honey into my morning coffee two days ago to combat this fatigue and haven’t noticed a change in fatigue or exercise tolerance.

I tried to eat more fat in the beginning, including the residual fat from ground beef and chewing all of the gristle but the taste and texture were nauseating. I still eat fatty cuts but they often have a “bloody” or some taste I find terrible unless I rinse them and boil or pressure cook. The air fried fat is delicious and I get 30-50g per meal. Over 50g per meal causes GI problems.

I read forum responses to similar questions that included answers like: need more salt, need less salt, need more fat, carnivore isn’t for you, try adding carbs … but without qualification or rationale. Many people with similar symptoms were doing some dairy/keto combination and I will not go that route for now, just meat, water, coffee, salt, maybe honey for flavoring but a limit of 20g daily or less.

I’m looking forward to the responses and thanks for your time!


You are normal and fine.

What you wrote is very typical adaption/transition issues. So many zc people can attest they had what you are going thru, which is good to know it can be a normal thing :slight_smile: but sucks to know you have to live thru it.

Key is just keep eating normally as you do. Drop the honey. It does nothing for you at all but keep the sugar addiction alive. The kind of fatigue and low energy, heart palps and more are all things I had also! I truly understand and what I did and most zc people do is just keep eating well. Eat all you need at all times and you will get thru this strange time.

My worst was around month 7-8 I got exhausted. Came out of nowhere for me. I was great one day then boom. Down I went. Got the heart palps, a strange, heavy lead legs feeling that was freaky and I just wanted to sleep all day and I thought Holy Cow! And I went kinda brain dead, too tired to think clearly actually. It was exhausting feeling exhausted all the time! I was doing so well and BAM and this went on for about 3 weeks and I asked on the zc forums and the old timers said normal…just get thru it! And I was like, nope, I am dying here LOL but I listened to them and just go thru my days taking naps. I just let it happen, ate great, just relaxed all I could and chill thru the changes and woke up one morning and I was fine! It was gone. Went to bed tired beyond tired, something I never felt ever before to this extent, and got a fab nights sleep and woke up a whole new person so you hold on!! But drop the honey cause truly it ‘won’t help ya’ with your adaption time at all…and yes we can get different adaption/changes at different times on plan. Just keep to basic foods, eat very well, chill and relax all you can and wait it out, I promise you will be ok!

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #3

You don’t mention your age, but whatever it is I presume you ate some variation of SAD those years and/or decades. Fatigue and related symptoms are mostly due to not utilizing the food you’re eating efficiently for fuel. If you’re eating sufficient overall calories and nutrients, the fatigue and other symptoms should lessen as time passes. Some folks transition quite easily and others don’t. But if you keep feeding your metabolism only/mostly fat and protein, it will eventually figure out how to use it.


Thanks for the great responses! I’ll continue as is.

Any recommendations for ways to mitigate the palpitations and muscle cramps in the meantime? I have calcium, potassium, magnesium, and selenium supplements but all contain microcellulose or rice fiber excipients. I don’t know if the amount is so trivial that it doesn’t matter or if I shouldn’t take them. Meat is expensive here and finding organs has been ridiculous, Liver is $10/lb.

I’m pushing 40 but otherwise in great health. I lived off of SAD, mainly sugar based, for decades. Always muscular and athletic, never overweight, but ate nothing but stir fry, tacos, ice cream, and cookies every day. Literally a whole quart of ice cream every day starting for breakfast. I have the metabolism to eat whatever I feel like luckily, but I was feeling physically and emotionally miserable. Asthma, bad eczema, joint pains, muscle cramping constantly, terrible sleep, anxiety…

The palpitations were the only thing concerning me because they were so regular and I can’t explain why they would occur physiologically. I’ve also seen plenty of arrhythmia based syncope, thrombus, and infarction episodes.

The randomness with how long these episodes last and when they occur is medically interesting but I’m glad they are transient.

I got the honey idea from Paul Saladino - CarnivoreMD - because I appreciate his evidenced based presentations. I’m able to control the sugar cravings when I have it but I don’t think it gave me any boost in exercise performance so I’m fine without it.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #5

I think better and far cheaper sources for sodium, potassium and magnesium are salts rather than supplement capsules. Sodium, of course, is in pretty much everything called ‘salt’. Potassium is in stuff like NoSalt, Lite Salt, etc. Magnesium is in Epsom salt. I drink salted water every day. I’ve been doing it so long now, that ordinary water tastes insipid to me. For example, 15 grams of a salt mix in a liter of water is not like drinking sea water at all.

(Bob M) #6

You drink epsom salt?


Thanks for the ideas and information. Can you explain what proportions you use for the potassium and magnesium? this is a clinical tox paper on bioavailability of epsom salt MgSO4 in man. I couldn’t access the whole article but they did 13.9g every four hours I healthy volunteers. They reported limited absorption and noted diarrhea. I read a paper a while back that topical epsom salt is absorbed <1% through intact skin so I stopped using that.

I think mark huberman - Stanford neuroscience researcher with some interesting interests in fear and motivation - mentioned 200-400 mg of Mg for sleep purposes, I think it was magnesium glycinate.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #8

My electrolyte proportions are:
Potassium salt: 400 :: Sodium salt: 500 :: Magnesium salt: 100

Mix: 40gr No Salt + 50gr Real Salt + 10gr Epsom salt
Daily dose: 10-15 grams in food & water

@ctviggen Only if I want a colon purge. Then it’s a massive OD in a glass of water.

@Ishimura My suspicion is that Epsom salt is not absorbed very well, but well enough. Epsom salt is cheap and available everywhere. Plus, it can unplug you if you’re plugged. It helped me get control of my foot/ankle/calf cramps. I’ve slacked off during the past several months, however, and have been using primarily Himalayan pink salt. I haven’t been able to purchase French’s No Salt for several months and I’m beginning the think it might have been banned in Canada. I am currently also supplementing with magnesium bisglicinate because I’m getting cramps deep in my thighs and also my torso on both sides of the lower edge of the rib cage. Does not appear to be helping yet.


Personally, I can’t tolerate when magnesium causes me GI distress. I’ve found that “slowMag” — a slow release product — works better for me than some of the other dissolvable forms. It helped with palpitations during my first few months on keto. Lately I don’t take it often because the palpitations stopped and did not return. However, I just read that limbs falling asleep at night (which I have) can be a sign of low Mg, so maybe I will restart.


I had weirdo time too. But one thing I do know about me is I am a PVC person. Had cardiologist intervention when it got so bad but in the end I changed it all with extreme low carb and into carnivore it is now all gone mostly.

So yea as we change our bodies and electrical systems in our bodies and more change as we heal.

I had cramps for a bit and I AM NOT a cramp person ever in my life LOL so I took a little mag and did massages on the problem areas with heating pad and more to ‘make them all go away’ but ya know TIME is what did it all. Time holding plan and all went away with cramps. I had some weirdo ones too! I remember on a trip with about 6 hrs in the car around the 2 hr mark my whole top of my left foot went cramping in crazy fashion. I was like WTH? I rubbed it and talked a long time til hubby’s ear was bleeding about my weirdo cramped foot but then we stopped and I ate a few naked fast food burgers and I was fine. Sodium needed? I don’t know at all but I got thru some crazy crap for sure on this carnivore journey but time truly evens us out.


@Ishimura Hi, I was wondering if you found any answers to the fatigue and palpitations. I am also exploring ways to balance minerals. Thanks for any insights you might have found!

(Robin) #12

@Ishimura Seems everyone has covered all the bases. I think I will always need to take magnesium powder at night for cramps. Plus it aids regularity. I can double it if needed, but usually the one scoop provided works. I take it before bed.

I mostly wanted to say I got a good chuckle out of you saying,
“I’m pushing 40 but otherwise in great health.” Oh to be pushing 40 again! But fortunate you to have found this way of eating at your age. You’ll likely avoid many of the age related issues.

(Edith) #13

@Wendy198, I make a salt mix that is 3:1 salt to No Salt (KCl). I am taking 2 teaspoons of that mix a day. My heart palpitations are gone and I am sleeping much, much better at night.


Hi All,

Thanks for checking in. It’s been a struggle for 8 months. My goals for ZC were to gain muscle, reduce the systemic inflammation causing my eczema/mood/fatigue, and improve mental clarity. I couldn’t figure out a way to make it work for me.

I continued as I was, but without the honey, for another three months. I ate 2-3 lbs of beef daily (chuck roast), 60g of the air fried fat, with 2-6 eggs but I kept losing weight. My BMI dropped from 23.5 to 20, which I know is within healthy range (I’m a trained healthcare provider). However, I looked like a skeleton, my face was hollow, I was pale, friends and family were worried about my health. Losing weight was not my objective, I was in great shape with low fat % before I started the diet. No matter how much meat or fat I ate I kept losing weight.

Overall my energy was constant, never high or good, but constant. Sleep was better. Mood was better. My exercise endurance improved but I was much weaker. Muscle cramps were a constant problem despite salt intake.

The palpitations did go away. Diarrhea never did, constipation or small volume stool 1-2 days, then diarrhea 1-2 days, back and forth constantly despite similar meals and eating times. This was the most intolerable part of the diet. There was absolutely no way I could consume the calculated ~140g of fat I needed to maintain weight, let alone gain weight. Anything over 60g seemed to guarantee uncontrollable diarrhea.

I had 2 or 3 cheat days for friends birthdays. I would eat whatever I wanted, gain about 5 lbs (I assume mostly water weight), and feel great for 1-2 days. My eczema only reappeared 1 of the three days. Then I readjusted back to the ZC diet over the next 2 days.

The impact on my social life was dramatic - I drive a lot and it’s difficult to sustain this diet. Hard to find snacks, it’s expensive, and I usually eat 1-2 lbs in a sitting so it’s hard to carry that much food.

After about 5 months of this pattern I started to relax the diet. I switched to nothing but Tri-tip as it was fatty and cost effective, I felt chuck roast caused diarrhea more often than not. I supplemented with chicken thighs and included more cheat days (1-2 weekly). My BMI slowly returned to 23.5. My energy is lower, eczema and mood come and go, but the diarrhea lessened, I am 30% stronger and I no longer look sickly although my face is still hollow.

However, 3-4 days of SAD eating will leave me feeling like garbage, lethargic, and in a poor mood. My joints begin to hurt and eczema flares. So that’s not the answer either.

I believe in the merit of the diet. But I have no idea how to get over the diarrhea, unintended weight loss, and social impact. I’m open to suggestions. Best of luck to everyone else.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #15

Hi. Not carnivore, just standard keto - sub-20 grams of carbs per day and usually sub-15 grams. I eat some plant-based fat: red palm and palm kernel oils, coconut and MCT oils, cacao fat. I do not eat plant proteins. I have been eating keto for nearly 5 years continuously - since Jan 2017 - and have never experienced any adverse effects. I did not even experience ‘carb withdrawal’ at the beginning. Keto just fell into place for me like an old shoe.

Just curious. Why are you subjecting yourself to what you describe here?

(Butter Withaspoon) #16

I wouldn’t go back to SAD , I mean everyone feels bad on that. Why don’t you add vegetables to your meat choices. There’s nothing wrong with meat fish eggs and vegetables as a diet. You might even go well with some fruit.

I used a very low carb meat based diet as my reset, but now I’m eating like I described. I’m fit, I exercise and am at a healthy weight. I feel best with this combination. You can use meat only as a reset occasionally if you think you need it.

The other important thing is that there might be another health issue you have that needs investigation. Don’t be so distracted by Carnivore is the answer that you forget other aspects of health.

Final thoughts - how you feel is really important


Thanks for the quick responses and suggestions.

I tried this diet because medicine has failed to solve my ailments that appear to stem from inflammation and autoimmune issues. Fatigue, insomnia, IBS, eczema, mood irritability, asthma, elevated Anti-TPO antibodies (eventual will become Hashimotos). Despite a healthy lifestyle and pursuing all medications/tests and many specialists over 10 years nothing was resolved. These ailments dramatically limited my career and quality of life, for example, travel has been impossible for years and fatigue precludes several careers I’d enjoy. To the best of my knowledge, as a provider, there are no more avenues to pursue within traditional medicine so I branched into focusing solely on diet.

Carnivore provided more relief than medications on several of those issues, however, it did not remove the IBS and fatigue which are the biggest problems. It also added the issues of unintended weight loss and social hindrances. But that gave me hope that diet can be substantially helpful once I find a system that works for me.

Some things that may be interesting that I forgot to mention: On cheat days, within an hour or two after eating lots of carbs I would feel significant palpitations. I would also notice the sensation of having swollen hands or higher blood pressure. It would pass after a while.


Avoid heavily rendered (cooked) fat such as the oil in the pan or bottom of the airfryer. This will cause diarrhea.

Sadly 140g fat is not very much. I assume you are a small woman? If so still not enough for most.

Beef, chuck, blade roast, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/8" fat, choice, raw = 900g (2lbs) =

2,385 kcal
192g Fat
153g Pro

maybe you’re just not calculating correctly?


Thanks for the response. I’m a 180 cm male, 155 lbs, sub 10% body fat. The 140g fat was from a keto calculator for my size with 25g carbs and 180g protein came out to around 2500 calories. Maybe it was a bad calculation?

I lift weights for about an hour five days a week: six sets, 10 reps, 1 min rest, with four exercises per session. Ex: Incline bench, weighted pull-ups, flat bench, cable rows - would be one day. I’ve been doing this for six weeks and my strength is up 30% but my mass is the same.

That said it’s difficult for me to eat 3 lbs of tri-tip in a day anymore as I’m very tired of the taste of beef and it’s $6.50 a pound. So I started supplementing with 1 lb of chicken thighs with the skin. Unfortunately it’s still not very many calories, the tri-tip is ~800 Cal per lb and chicken thighs are ~ 950 Cal.

I used to buy 3 lb chuck roast steaks and ate everything including the fat and gristle. But the pattern was the same with random small volume stool 2 days and diarrhea 2 days which was intolerable for me. And I felt physically uncomfortable eating that much steak over the day.

I’d love suggestions on how to get more fat without worsening bowel issues, especially if anyone else with IBS has experience with ZC. Thanks again.

(Robin) #20

Well… you are in the right place. There are so many people on here that have knowledge about specifics like you are dealing with, and they are a persistent bunch; love a good challenge. So… don’t despair if Thanksgiving has manny of us taking a break from the forum. Check back in after and remind us you are seeking advice. Good job on giving all the pertinent info.

I do not have IBS, but I do have diverticulitis that I have finally controlled thanks to keto… eliminating foods until the culprits became obvious. Mine were undercooked veggies and nuts. But that’s just me. We are an incredibly cohesive yet diverse community.

The only thing that came to mind for me was your challenge with diarrhea. I’m curious if you take magnesium powder like the one I shared earlier in this thread. Natural Calm. When I first used it, I took enough to give me diarrhea, but I had the opposite for so many years, I welcomed it. Loved the feeling of being cleaned out. But it cause tummy gurgling and the runs. So I played around with the dosage… just one scoop every other day now. It also helps with my insomnia and nightly leg cramps. I add salt to mine, for good measure. Anyway… if you do take magnesium citrate, it could be part of the diarrhea problem.

A word of caution: my ex turned me on to keto originally. He is 6”6 tall and always worked out and was a mountain of a man. He loved keto and became very knowledgable. However, he started losing much too much weight and struggled for several months to stay keto and stop losing. He eventually found out he had Lymphoma. Had surgery and chemo and is now on the mend, but it was scary. He says he does not plan to go totally keto again, so cancer can’t sneak up on him again, I guess. He will keep a healthier diet than your average SAD eater. But will add more calories and carbs. He’ll still avoid sugar and stay clean, but less restrictive. My point is, being in the medical field, you probably are already well aware of other possible causes for losing weight, but just felt the need to share that.
Best of luck to you! You are a smart guy with determination to heal yourself in every possible area. I’m rooting for you! Good luck.