Friday 13 December 2013

Home-made Mineral Water

Most water is pitiful, it's either contaminated with chlorine/fluorine, or is very poor in minerals after being cleaned/filtered. Here I purpose the ultimate solution (pun intended), for home-made mineral water.


  • ~2L distilled or very pure water
  • ~200mg silicia
  • ~150mg magnesium citrate
  • 1/2tsp sea salt, eg himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2tsp low-sodium salt (66% KCl)
  • [or 1/3tsp no-sodium salt + 2/3tsp sea salt]
  • 2tbsp lemon juice
  • 2tbsp distilled/white vinegar
  • Optional:
  • 200ug lithium orotate
  • 1 drop Lugol's solution, 3-7% (1.5-3.5mg iodine)


  • Start with very pure or distilled water to minimise toxins/contaminants.
  • Silica, used to remove excess aluminium, set at similar levels to Fuji water which is shown in studies to be effective.
  • Magnesium, needed for over 300 enzymes, most people are very deficient in this mineral due to soil depletion, diluting it in water is a great way to increase intake.
  • Salts (sea and low-sodium), these provide the electrolytes sodium and potassium, the sea salt provides trace minerals including a bit of magnesium.
  • Lemon juice and vinegar, these improve the taste and absorption of water, blunt glycaemic responds (stops high blood sugar peaks), and also remove excess iron.
  • Lithium, for mood support. Populations with water low in lithium are more prone to violent crimes and suicides.
  • Iodine, needed for thyroid health and prevention of certain cancers, set a base therapeutic level; if you eat seaweed then this isn't needed though.

If anyone has anything else they think should be in the mineral water, then feel free to comment below or send me an email :)

Update (20/12/13) - Version 2:

Mineral water #0: Water Base

  • 2,000ml distilled or very pure water
  • 2tbsp vinegar, white/distilled
  • 2tbsp lemon juice
  • 1-2tsp Himalayan pink salt or similar
  • 200mg silica / silicic acid
  • 200ug lithium oratate (optional)
  • 1.5-3.5mg iodine (1 drop 3-7% Lugol's solution)

Mineral Water #1: Magnesium
  • 315mg magnesium citrate (1/2tsp powder)
  • 250-500ml mineral water #0

    Mineral Water #2: Vitamin C
    • 2.5g vitamin C / ascorbic acid
    • 250-500ml mineral water #0
    • Update (21/12/13) - version 2.1: Due to acidity issues with my teeth last night, always add some bicarbonate of soda (bicarb) in equal amounts to the ascorbic acid.

    All can be sweetened/flavoured if desired. Drinking one of #1/2 plus two plain #0s, results in exactly my original recipe, minus the low/no-sodium salt which I am removing because I feel the potassium isn't that critical really.

    Why the split? For better timing of nutrients, for example drink #1 before bed. #2 is optional, drink #0 through the day.

    What to do if you can't filter crappy water (thanks for the reminder Raphi!):
    • Chlorine: boil water and allow to cool to room temperature, the chlorine will off-gas, so best to place outside or by open window to cool.
    • Chloroamines: add 1/4tsp vitamin C / ascorbic acid to the water base to neutralise chloroamines.
    • Fluorine: Use 4-8 drops 3% or 2-4 drops 7% Lugol's solution depending on level of fluoridation, this won't remove it from the water but combat the effects of the fluorine in your body.

    Sunday 8 December 2013

    Boosting Glutathione

    We've talked previously about how important good glutathione levels are, so here we'll talk about how to boost them naturally and also with supplements. First a quick review of how glutathione is made:
    1. First methionine is converted to homocysteine, via methyl acceptors (opposite of donors).
    2. Next homocysteine is converted to cysteine via vitamin B6 with the addition of serine.
    3. Cysteine combines with glycine and glutamate, using selenium to make glutathione.

    So the nutrients needed to make glutathione are:
    • Methionine + vitamin B6 (to make cysteine)
    • Then, cysteine + glycine + glutamate + selenium

    The best foods source of each 'ingredient' is:
    • Methionine: eggs.
    • Vitamin B6: red meat.
    • Cysteine: red meat, eggs.
    • Glycine: gelatin (heads, hooves/feet, tails, ears, skin, cartilage, powder/sheets, etc)
    • Serine (inter-converts with glycine): any protein source.
    • Glutamate: any protein source.
    • Glutamine (inter-converts with glutamate): any protein source.
    • Selenium: kidneys, brazil nuts.

    Notice red meat and eggs come up multiple times, this means they're very good foods to include in your diet if you want to boost glutathione production. But the other components are equally important, so brink your gelatin-rich broth and eat your kidneys/brazil nuts.

    Ok, now you're eating everything you need to make glutathione, lets make sure you make as much as possible. Methods for doing this include:
    • N-acetyl-cysteine: this is a special 'locked up' form of cysteine that really helps boost glutathione production. Never supplement normal cysteine as bacteria tend to get to it first and use it for their own reproduction. Suggested dose: ~600mg.
    • Milk thistle/Silymarin: this is a herb (and its active ingredient) that helps the liver to work properly, boosting its functions, including... you guessed it, making glutathione. Suggested dose: 100-200mg silymarin. This supplement is boosted when taken at the same time as choline, so eat some egg yolks with it for maximum effect.
    • Turmeric/curcumin: this spice boosts glutathione S-transferase which is hormone that regulates glutathione production. Suggested dose: 1tsp turmeric.
    • Whey protein: this boosts glutathione, due to its natural cysteine and other nutrients.

    Ultimate glutathione production method:
    • Diet based on red meat (for cysteine, B6, zinc), with additional egg yolks (choline), poultry liver (folate), kidneys/brazil nuts (selenium), and gelatin-rich bone broth (glycine).
    • Supplements: 600mg N-acetyl-cysteine, 200mg silymarin as milk thistle, 1tsp turmeric, 1 scoop whey protein powder.

    Glutathione nutrients for the carnivore RDA example diet (link):
    • Methionine: 2,180mg.
    • Cysteine: 1,130mg.
    • Vitamin B6: 1.66mg.
    • Glycine+serine: 13,700mg.
    • Glutamate+glutamine: 13,510mg.
    • Selenium: 194ug.

    2000 calories of rib-eye (877g raw) would have:
    • Methionine: 4,600mg.
    • Cysteine: 1,700mg.
    • Vitamin B6: 3.6mg.
    • Glycine+serine: 15,300mg.
    • Glutamate+glutamine: 27,600mg.
    • Selenium: 212ug.

    As we can see, both diets are strong glutathione producers. But I don't recommend a diet of JUST red meat steaks for many other reasons already stated in this blog, but glutathione production is not one of my concerns with such a diet. Bare in mind the rib-eye diet has a lot more protein overall too (~170g versus ~100g), so has more of the critical amino acids just from bulk.

    Recommended intake:
    • Methionine: 2,000mg.
    • Cysteine: 1,500mg. ???
    • Vitamin B6: >0.016mg/g protein.
    • Glycine+serine: 13,500mg.
    • Glutamate+glutamine: 20,000mg. ???
    • Selenium: 200ug.

    Wednesday 4 December 2013

    Inner Wolf Unchained

    I'm currently writing a book on nutrition, with my good friend Danny Albers of Primal North assisting. It's called 'Inner Wolf Unchained', with a subtitle of 'Eat and Train like a Wolf to Get Healthy and Conquer Survival of the Fittest'.

    It will cover our evolution in Africa, and how it essentially makes us fur-less wolves; it examines from the base up what we need and don't need in our diet; it looks at the latest science to understand what amounts/ratios of macronutrients and micronutrients we need; it draws this all together into a simple and easy to follow diet framework; it looks at the science of exercise and what forms are best for us; it looks at what supplements one should take based on what they don't eat to ensure complete nutrition for optimal health. The book will include plenty of meal plans and recipes too.

    Here's an extract:
    "There are certain nutrients we must get from our diet, such as essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, fat- and water-soluble vitamins, macro, trace, and ultra-trace minerals, and energy itself.

    There are many nutrients the body requires but can make for itself, but only partially so, such as glucose (with heavy exercise), fat, choline, co-enzyme Q10, semi-essential amino acids, and many others.

    Then there are substances in our food that negatively affect our health, either by blocking nutrients or doing direct damage, including fructose, gluten, excessive blood glucose, linoleic acid, anti-nutrients such as phytic acid, tannins, and many other phytochemicals.

    We must balance these three aspects together in order to achieve maximum health and wellness."

    Saturday 17 August 2013

    Carnivore RDA Chart, The End of A Long Road

    Amino Acids:
    NutrientUnitUSDA RDAcRDANPCD*Recommended Foods
    Total Proteing/kg0.8 (54.5g/150lbs)1.2/lean
    (1.78g/kg lean)

    13,700mgGlycine: gelatin
    Serine: muscle meat
    Methionine mg/kg10.4 (708mg/150lbs)30 (2,088mg/150lbs)2,180mgEgg yolks

    NutrientUnitUSDA RDAcRDANPCD*Recommended Foods
    Vit AIU3,00010,00010,927Liver, egg yolks, dairy fats, cod liver oil
    Vit B1mg1.20.50.52Pork meat, pork heart, lamb kidneys
    Vit B2mg1.3N/A3.10Liver, kidneys, heart, egg yolks, meat
    Vit B3mg16N/A25Liver, fish, kidneys, heart, tongue, meat, egg yolks
    Vit B5mg5N/A7.47Liver, kidneys, egg yolks, heart
    Vit B6mg1.30.016mg/g protein
    (1.6mg/100g protein)
    (0.0171mg/g protein)
    Liver, kidneys, tongue, heart, meat
    Folateug400~200191Liver especially poultry, egg yolks
    Vit B12ug2.412+27Liver, kidneys, meat, egg yolks
    Biotinug3030+50 (estimate)Egg yolks, liver
    Cholinemg550~550534Egg yolks, liver, meat
    Vit Cmg90017 (when raw)Raw organs, but none strictly needed
    Vit DIU200Use blood levels469Oily fish, pastured lard; sunlight.
    Vit D should always be eaten/
    supplemented based on blood levels
    Vit Emg150.65mg/g PUFA5.60
    (0.67mg/g PUFA)
    Grass-fed fats/yolks/dairy has more,
    though plenty in grain-fed
    Vit K1ug120053None needed with sufficient K2
    Vit K2ugN/A80?70.3-86.6+ (estimate)Grass-fed fats/yolks/dairy has more,
    though plenty in grain-fed; supplement
    1mg every 2 weeks if paranoid

    NutrientUnitUSDA RDAcRDANPCD*Recommended Foods
    (WAPF: 680)
    min: 200-300
    558Bone broth, egg shells,
    fish with bones
    (WAPF: 1,300)
    8781,149Protein-rich foods, bones
    Magnesiummg420420 ideally,
    ~170 minimally
    418Supplement 300mg citrate
    Potassiummg4,7002-3,0002,567Losalt, meat (juices
    from cooked meat very rich)
    Sodiummg1,5003-5,0003,946Salt, meat (juices
    from cooked meat very rich)
    Copperug9001-2.41.28Liver, kidneys, heart
    Zincmg1112-2915.40Muscle meat
    Seleniumug55~200194Pork, kidneys (pork best)
    Manganesemg2.311.24Spices, tea
    Ironmg181820Liver, heart, muscle meat
    Iodineug1501,000-3,000Without seaweed: ~600
    With seaweed: ~3,115
    Shellfish, fish, sea weed
    Molybdenumug4560?+70.5+ (estimate)Liver
    Chromiumug25-3550-200260+ (estimate)Liver

    * Nutritionally Perfect cRDA Carnivore Diet:
    10oz 30% fat beef/lamb (~284g)
    80g beef/lamb tallow
    2oz mackerel (~57g) [or 75g salmon or 40g sardines or 5g/week DHA fish oil]
    1 2/3oz pork liver (~47g)
    1 1/4oz pork kidney (~43g)
    2 large eggs

    3tbsp gelatin powder (or equiv from feet/hooves, skin, heads, tails, ears, cartilage), and
    ~1 cup bone broth (alt: egg shells)

    2g potassium salt
    9.5g sodium salt (unrefined sea salt recommended for ultra-trace minerals)

    Technically plant foods:
    1/2tsp tea or other manganese-rich spices (or alternatively shellfish such as mussels)
    1g  kelp/kombu flakes, for iodine (or shellfish)

    300mg magnesium citrate

    ~2100 calories, 97g protein (20% of calories), 2.3g carbohydrates (<1%), 184g fat (80%).

    Ratios, etc.:
    Calcium:Phosphorus = 0.49 (WAPF ideal 0.52)
    Zinc:Copper = 12.0 (ideal ~12)
    Potassium:Sodium = 0.65 (ideal ~0.6-0.66)
    Omega-6:omega-3 = 2.6 (ideal <2, good <4)
    Saturated:Mono-unsaturated = 1 (ideal ~1)
    Poly-unsaturated = 3.6% of calories (ideal ≤4%)

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Less salts:
    Using no potassium salt and only 3.5g salt maintains the potassium:sodium ratio at a lower total level of these minerals. This should be fine for those who've been on a ketogenic diet for a while rather than those just starting.

    Cod liver oil:
    Substitute 4.5ml cod liver oil for the pork liver and use 3g beef liver or 4g lamb liver for the copper.

    Sunday 11 August 2013

    Trace Minerals


    The USDA RDA for selenium is 55ug, but studies show that 200ug daily is the best for a healthy immune system (link and link), and preventing heart disease (link) due to it's co-factor role in glutathione peroxidase (do we really need reminding how important glutathione is?). This is easy to achieve 200ug if kidneys are included in a carnivore diet, the best plant source is brazil nuts (1-2 a day only, too much can cause toxicity).


    Iodine is important for a healthy metabolism, as it's needed to make the thyroid hormones (and selenium is needed to turn inactive T4 into the active T3, another reason to get plenty of selenium). The USDA is 150ug, but this is the bare minimum determined needed to stop goitre (enlargening of the thyroid gland), the Japanese get 1-3mg a day (666-2,000% USDA RDA) (link) mostly from seaweed and so this amount seems perfectly safe. Also iodine deficiency seems to play a big role in breast cancer (link and link), the Japanese have very low breast cancer rates possibly due to their high iodine intakes. For these reasons I shall be recommending more iodine than the USDA, mostly from kelp/kombu flakes (these are the most iodine rich seaweeds: "Most Kelp or Kombu has about 2500 mcg/gm" (source)), shellfish are also another good source but just don't provide anywhere near as much iodine as kelp/kombu do. These will also provide many other trace minerals they we may not even realise are needed for health yet, so are a great addition to anyone's diet.

    Cattle fed plenty of seaweed or in iodine rich soil (coastal) will have much more iodine in their flesh and organs, same for eggs of chickens fed seaweeds, but still no where near eating the seaweed itself.


    There are two main sources of sulphur from foods: thiols in plants, and the sulphur containing amino acids (cysteine and methionine) in animal foods. Thiols are good for their antioxidant properties but aren't good sources of usable sulphur for bodily structures, for that we need cysteine and methionine. Cysteine and methionine (via cysteine) are the best for boosting glutathione levels. I'm happy that a diet rich in eggs and meat will have plenty of sulphur.


    The USDA was 50-200ug and has been lowered to 35ug for men and 25ug for women. Liver is a very rich source, and beef, eggs, chicken, oysters are also good sources. Chromium deficiency is rare and the only ones needing supplemental chromium are diabetics still eating lots of refined grains. I'm happy that a diet based on meat, eggs, with some liver will have more than enough chromium especially considering that less will be needed on a diet lacking dietary carbohydrates.


    This vitamin is needed for gluconeogenesis so is important for a carnivorous diet, the best sources are egg yolks and liver, cheese also has some; raw egg whites without yolks can cause deficiency though. First signs of deficiency are hair loss and skin problems, though deficiency is rare unless consuming lots of raw egg whites or your food intake is just shakes or an IV without biotin.

    From wiki: "Pregnant women tend to have a high risk of biotin deficiency. Nearly half of pregnant women have abnormal increases of 3-hydroxyisovaleric acid, which reflects reduced status of biotin.[25] Several studies have reported this possible biotin deficiency during the pregnancy may cause infants' congenital malformations, such as cleft palate." (link)

    For this reason egg yolks and liver are even more vital for pregnant women. In China eggs are considered a fertility food and pregnant women will eat up to two dozen a day to ensure an intelligent child.

    The RDA for adults is 30ug, and 35ug for pregnant women; though this amount for pregnant women is likely too little. 30ug can be found in 4oz/114g liver or ~1.5 eggs (source). For this reason I recommend plenty of eggs and liver in a carnivore diet, and lots during pregnancy/lactation.


    This mineral is needed for xanthine oxidase to work, which if you've read my previous posts you'll recognise as that all important enzyme that makes uric acid to help us ward off scurvy on an ascorbic acid-free diet. It's also used for metabolising the sulphur-containing amino acids, cysteine and methionine, so is important in glutathione production.

    Livers contain about 150ug per 100g, and very small amounts in eggs. The RDA is 45ug for adult, so a diet containing plenty of liver will have no issues. My new perfect carnivore diet contains ~70ug molybdenum.

    Other Trace Minerals:

    These include boron, nickel, strontium, vanadium, lithium, and silica. Because I can't find much data on food sources (the latter two should come from our water though) and nutrient interacts, I won't be including them in the cRDA project. Once more is known about these minerals and their need though I will expand the cRDA to include them.

    Lithium and Silica:

    These mineral should come from our water rather than food, but most water has them removed. When buying bottled water look for one listing silica on the label, most water has 5-25mg/L (source), Fiji brand is best for silica (920mg/L) though expensive, any that lists it on the label is likely a good source and also check with your water provider to the content in your tap water; other good sources of silica are edible clays. Low lithium in water levels is linked to suicides (source), very high levels are used to treat bipolar and schizophrenia, but tiny amounts prevent mental disorders such as criminal behaviours (source) in the general population, so much so that some scientists are calling for adding lithium to the water in areas where the content is low! Again ask your water provider, most bottle water is unlikely to list lithium.

    A link on silicon.

    Thursday 1 August 2013

    What can we learn for breast milk? Part 2: Micronutrients

    All these calculations use 84 grams of protein worth of breast milk, to normalise it to the minimum needed for an adult (see part 1).

    I'm also aware that the nutritional content of breast milk varies depending on the mother's diet but using the USDA data for it means we get a nice average of an American (which I'm aware may not be the best nutritionally).

    Here's my CRONometer print out for the breast milk at 84g of protein (ignore chromium, there's just no data for it):


    Let's start with vitamin A, this amount of breast milk provides ~16.5kIU vitamin A which is quite a bit and more than what I or the WAPF recommend (10kIU). Infants are growing rapidly and so need more vitamin A though, so this is fine.

    With the B vitamins everything is in normal meaty amounts, except the B2 is slightly higher and B5 is a lot higher. B5 is needed for forming acteyl-coA so may be high due to the infant's high energy requirement, it's also used in the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol so again good reasons for it to be high. B6 is also fairly low, but the milk provides huge amounts of folate and choline instead so homocysteine levels will be fine. The WAPF comments that most mothers are also deficiency in B6 due to low meat consumption  The amount of choline is so incredibly high due (9 large eggs worth) to its other use for helping the developing brain. As previously discussed the amount of choline/folate/B6 needed are all interrelated.

    Vitamin C is higher than would be gotten eating a carnivorous diet, but the protein needs for infants is very high and so little is left over to make uric acid, so breast milk supplies ascorbic acid instead.

    Vitamin D is fairly low but almost all mothers are deficient in this vitamin. It's one of two supplements I recommend to everyone (the other being magnesium as soils are depleted), and should be supplemented based on your blood levels rather than a set IU amount.

    The vitamin K is K1, as the USDA doesn't measure K2. It's quite low compared to the RDA and about twice the amount in 2000 calories worth of grain-fed rib-eye (grass-fed meat would have more K1 though), but as previously discussed K2 can do clotting like K1 so this is no problem.


    As previously discussed in my post about calcium, breast milk in the amount an infant drinks (rather than 84g of protein worth) only provides ~320mg calcium a day and this should be fine for an adult too.

    Magnesium is lower than the RDA but still about double provided by just meat. Again I'll note that most mothers are deficient in magnesium due to the soil being depleted and that's why I recommend supplementing it.

    Phosphorus is at about half the level of calcium which is why I originally recommended a 2:1 calcium:phosphorus ratio but further research shows our calcium needs are lower. The total amount is similar to that found in 2000 calories of rib-eye so I'm happy that this amount is ideal for an adult.

    The level of potassium is almost at the USDA RDA which is interesting and may warrant the use of more potassium in a carnivore diet. But the ideal potassium:sodium depends on whether you're in ketosis or not, with ketosis meaning more sodium is needed per potassium. Infants, as far as I'm aware are not in ketosis due to the lactose in breast milk and so have more potassium and less sodium (or at least only mild ketosis). Additionally the level of sodium in breast milk is quite low as infant's kidneys struggle somewhat with sodium initially and slowly improve as the infant grows. This means that an adult in ketosis needs much more sodium and less potassium.

    With selenium, the level is almost three times the RDA, but similar to the amount recommended by most for proper thyroid health (200ug), again American mothers are likely to be slightly deficient in this so 150-200ug is properly the best amount.

    The manganese is quite high in breast milk, and is needed for mitochondrial functioning so may be high due to an infant's high energy requirements.

    The iron in breast milk is very low, as it is in all mammal milks, as iron interes with zinc absorption and zinc is needed for the developing brain. Infants have large iron stores when born (or at least they should do if the placenta is allowed to return the infant's blood back to its body after birth and not clamped early like is usually done in the developed world; as much as half an infant's total blood can be lost to the placenta with early cord clamping, which is a huge amount!) so little is needed in the diet until at least 6 months old (older if delayed clamping) and the first weaning foods should be high in iron such as meat or liver.

    The copper in breast milk is actually pretty low, only ~0.6mg total a day (rather than per 84g protein) and an infant will slowly run down the coper stored developed before birth similar to what it does for iron, again meaning the best weaning food would be liver (from beef or lamb, not pork) as it's rich in copper too. This means that our copper requirement is more than ~0.6mg per day, and as discussed in the phytic acid nutrients post I recommend 1-2.4mg of copper a day.


    We can see that looking at the vitamins and minerals of breast milk, again in the context of the body it's designed to nourish, gives is good insight into the nutrition of an adult. I points to us needing more retinol, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, selenium, and copper than is normally achieved just eating fatty meat. This points to the need include a few other choice animal foods in our diets for optimal health.

    Thursday 6 June 2013

    What can we learn from breast milk? Part 1: Macronutrients

    Warning: post contains maths!

    Breast milk is 1% protein, 6.9% carbohydrate and 4.4% fat by weight, or 5.6% protein, 38.8% carbohydrate and 55.6% fat by calories. It is low in protein and high in both fat and carbohydrates... Or is it?


    Due to babies huge energy requirements*, they actually get ~0.89 grams of protein per pound body weight**, but this is more than an adult needs as the infant is growing rapidly so this amount can be seen as the maximum we would need (especially considering formulas made with higher protein levels are toxic to infants). This translates as 150lb adult needing a maximum of ~134 grams of protein a day, and at 2000 calories a day, this is 27% of calories.

    * An infant weighing 5kg/11lbs needs 700 calories; this is ~64 calories per pound. A 150lb adult may need 2000 calories, or ~13 calories per pound. The infant’s energy requirements are almost five times that of an adult’s on a per weight basis.

    **700 calories @ 5.6% protein = 39.2 calories from protein = 9.8g protein / 11lbs = 0.89 protein/lbs.

    How little protein do we need though if that's the maximum? Well many keto dieters eat as little as 60g of protein a day fine (~12% @ 2000 calories), but this is usually done in fear of slightly higher fasting blood glucose levels on a ketogenic/low-carb diet even though such a thing is perfectly natural and safe. They're eating the absolute minimum they can get away with, which I think is a poor strategy. The body has an efficient system for getting rid of excess protein, via urea and uric acid. As previously discussed uric acid is a potent antioxidant and why I think we don't get scurvy on all meat diets, so protein in excess of our pure tissue requirement can be seen as a good thing!

    Phinney/Volek in The Art And Science of Low Carb Living/Performance generally recommend 1.5g/kg protein (~0.68g/lb), this is ~102g at150lbs (~20% @ 2000 calories). Other recommendations include 0.7+g/lb of lean mass (84g/150lbs@20%bf, 17% @ 2000 calories), this seems much more reasonable minimum. Basing your protein needs off lean mass rather than whole mass is much smarter, as fat tissue doesn't increase protein requirements but muscle mass does. 102g of protein is almost exactly half way between 84g and 134g, so is a good middle ground target of protein intake.


    The brain is the biggest user of carbohydrates in the body; in infants, it uses 50% of the body’s total energy requirements, but by adulthood only uses up 20%. This means the adult brain uses 40% of the energy required by an infant brain: this works out to ~15% of calories from carbohydrates (38.8% x 40% = 15.5%).

    BUT... the carbohydrate source is lactose, made of glucose and galactose. Now galactose is very special, it's not used as an energy fuel like glucose, it's used for myelin synthesis (that is making nerve insulation), this is why human breast milk is so high in lactose, for the galactose! So that ~15% becomes ~7% of calories coming from carbs for an adult (~38g @ 2000 calories).

    BUT... we can make glucose from protein (via gluconeogenesis) and glycerol from fats. Gluconeogenesis is constant regardless of diet, as we've discussed before, but as far as I'm aware there is no cap on glycerol->glucose synthesis. Estimates are at about 10% of whole fat can be converted to glucose from the glycerol.

    The actual dietary requirement for carbohydrates is zero, and even infants do very well on ketogenic diets; we can synthesis all the glucose we need (which is less while in ketosis) from GNG and glycerol. The main reason for muscle wastage in starvation is it's being used for GNG (which is constant even in starvation), this supplies the glucose requirement easily and blood glucose levels remain steady right up until you die.


    The rest of the body’s calories come from fat, which in an adult eating ~27% protein and ~7% carbohydrates is ~66%, or ~147 grams of fat on a 2000-calorie diet. This would be the minimum fat, as this is the maximum protein and carbohydrates we need. Taking in our minimum 84g protein and no carbs would mean we need to eat 83% of our calories as fat or ~184 grams of fat on a 2000-calorie diet.


    So understanding the macronutrient ratios of breast milk in context of the body it is designed for gives up a good idea of what ratios are healthy for an adult human. This works out to ~17-27% protein, ~0-7% carbohydrates, ~66-83% fat, or 84-137g protein, 0-38g carbs, and 147-184g fat on a 2000-calorie diet. Such a diet would almost always be ketogenic (very metabolically damaged people may not handle even 38g carbs).

    As calorie expenditure increases, say due to increased exercise, the extra calorie should come from fat, little extra protein or carbs are needed. During very heavy exercise some non-insulin-stimulating carb source may be used to aid recovery such as super starch, palatinose, or possibly pure fructose in order to refill glycogen stores (as discussed previously our ability to refill glycogen is limited by GNG and is less than that of other carnivores).

    Thursday 23 May 2013

    Phytic Acid Nutrients

    MineralAbsorption factor by removing / lowering phytic acidAverageRDA
    Calciumx1.3, x1.2 1.251,000 --> 800mg
    (WAPF: 680 --> 544mg)
    Magnesiumx2.52.5420 --> 168mg
    Zinchigh/no: x6.2, x4.8; high/low: x3.2, x1.6/1.5,
    x1.5, x1.42.1 
    3.5411 --> 3.1mg
    Ironx1.5, x2.1/1.7 1.7718 --> 10.2mg
    Manganesex2.32.32.3 --> 1.0mg
    Copperx2.1/2.4V, x1.1^1.150.9 --> 0.78mg
    Phosphorusx1.46, x1.5 (estimates)1.48700 --> 473mg
    (WAPF: 1300 --> 878mg)


    Actual requirements studied here:


    Although the need predicted by phytic acid removal is only ~168mg of magnesium, most people are deficient because our soils are depleted due to industrial farming and artificial fertilisers, and our water is no longer a good source as it's removal at source because it damages pipes. For this reason I will not be lowering the RDA of magnesium and recommend supplementation to ensure sufficient intake.


    Although only ~1mg of manganese is needed due to lack of phytic acid, a meat and liver based diet only provides ~0.5mg, as manganese is needed for carbohydrate metabolism it's likely this is sufficient. Shellfish, such as mussels, are rich in manganese though so for those concerned are a great addition, as are bass, trout, and pike. Spices too such as cloves, ginger, cinnamon, spearmint, and turmeric are also fairly rich in manganese. Tea is very rich in manganese but may be poorly absorbed due to the tannins it contains.

    Copper & Zinc:

    The USDA RDA for copper and zinc are 0.9mg and 11mg respectively. My original menu provided 1.9mg and 22.9mg respectively. Both give a zinc/copper ratio ~12 so it's likely that this ratio is the ideal.

    Although copper need based on absorption factors above predicts that less copper is needed than zinc, more important is the ratio, with ideal being ~12, at 0.78mg copper this means you need ~9.4mg zinc, easily achievable on a carnivore diet with plenty of meat.

    Meat needs to be balanced with liver, especially lamb/beef liver which are very rich in copper to keep this ratio optimum. Pork liver in less rich in copper, instead being richer in iron.

    Copper & Iron:

    Copper and iron deficiencies can cause hypothyroidism, most plants have plenty of copper and grains are fortified with iron. Some cases of lower thyroid function in low/zero-carb may be due to lowered intakes of copper and iron due to relying only on muscle meat, these minerals are needed to convert the inactive T4 to the active T3 and may be a reason why we see lowered T3 in low/zero-carb diets (though lowered T3 in of itself is not hypothyroidism). Muscle meats have lots of zinc, very little copper, and are ok for iron; organs though, like liver, are very rich in copper and iron. Adding liver to a low/zero-carb diet will likely help thyroid function if it's caused by these deficiencies (link and link). Too high copper will also decrease iron absorption though, so all these minerals need to be balanced properly.


    Dose rangeApproximate daily intakesHealth outcomes
    >5.0 mg/kg bw(350mg/70kg)Gastrointestinal metallothionein induced (possible
    differing effects of acute and chronic exposure)
    100 µg/kg bw(7mg/70kg)Plateau of absorption maintained; homeostatic
    mechanisms regulate absorption of copper
    34 µg/kg bw(2.38mg/70kg)Hepatic uptake, sequestration and excretion effect homeostasis;
    glutathione-dependent uptake of copper; binding to
    metallothionein; and lysosomal excretion of copper
    11 µg/kg bw(0.77mg/70kg)Biliary excretion and gastrointestinal uptake normal
    9 µg/kg bw(0.63mg/70kg)Hepatic deposit(s) reduced; conservation of
     endogenous copper; gastrointestinal absorption increased
    8.5 µg/kg bw(0.595mg/70kg)Negative copper balance
    5.2 µg/kg bw(0.364mg/70kg)Functional defects, such as lysyl oxidase and superoxide
    dismutase activities reduced; impaired substrate metabolism
    2 µg/kg bw(0.14mg/70kg)Peripheral pools disrupted; gross dysfunction and disturbance
    of metabolism of other nutrients; death
    My final recommendation for copper will be 1-2.4mg, and zinc to be in the x12 ratio still.

    Many already have too much copper though due to toxic build up from too much plant foods and so my diet will have slightly on the lower side of the copper range in order to help regain balance. Therefore. my diet will use mainly pork liver as it is low in copper (instead being richer in iron), this also allows for more liver and therefore vitamin A in the diet (see fat soluble vitamins recommendations), but still provides plenty of copper. As you will see in the final post this choice of liver is perfect for balanced nutrition when other copper-rich foods such as kidneys are also included.

    Tuesday 14 May 2013

    Protein Propaganda Pisses Me Off

    There are a lot of pictures going round on various social media sites and elsewhere showing examples of 'protein-rich foods', and quite simply this pictures are outright lies! They are misleading, and real numbers provided are also wrong (sometimes by a lot), and people just assume they're true and think they can get enough protein just eating spinach. You'd have to eat ~1.75kg of spinach to get 50g of protein, I don't think anyone would actually be able to manage this but it would sure as hell be funny to watch.

    Just as a note, these pictures are almost always associated with raw vegan diets, so all data is of raw, not cooked food.

    Ok, lets take a look a a couple of pictures:

    Some versions of this picture has a line of text at the bottom mentioning that the numbers of percentage by calorie (rather than weight), but most have this line cut off.

     Lets go to the USDA food nutrition database ( and double check these:

    Food% caloriesgrams/100ggrams for 50g protein
    Mushroom (white)36.3%3.09g1,620g
    Cabbage (red)11.2%1.43g3,495g
    Beef (composite of
    trimmed retail cuts,
    separable lean and
     fat, trimmed to 1/8"
    fat, all grades)
    Chicken (skinless breast)79.5%21.23g235g
    Eggs (chicken)34.6%12.56g400g (8 medium)

    Number of plants falsely given higher high percentage of calories as protein = 9.5/10 (Only giving half a point from mushroom because the difference was small.

    But percentage of calories from protein matter little, we just want to make sure we get enough protein per day. 50 grams of protein is roughly the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for a 150lbs adult (46g for female, 56g for male), it's also a nice round number which we can use to compare how much of a food we need to get the small amount of protein. As I said in my introductory paragraph, you'll need ~1.75kg (~1750g) of spinach for 50g protein. You'll also need about   5.7kg of tomato to get 50g of protein. But you only need ~270g of beef, or 235g of chicken breast. The chicken breast really pisses me off, because they claim it's low in protein (23%) when in fact of all the foods mentioned it is the highest in protein both as percentage of calories and by weight! Maybe they were using another cut of chicken but the picture shows skinless boneless breasts so that's what I data I pulled out.

     - - - - -

    I want to start with my absolute scream at the computer how can anyone be this stupid point: Figs. They are 3% protein by calories, and you'd need to eat 6.7kg of them to get 50g protein. If figs are a high protein food then coconut oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids (hint it's really low!).

    Ditto the avocados, only 4.2% by calories, but you'd only need to eat 2.5kg for 50g protein which'll give you 4000 calories just from avocados! Similarly goji berries are 3.6% protein by calories and you'd need to eat 7kg of them to get 50g of protein, that's more than the figs!!

    Some of these foods aren't that bad really though. Hemp seeds are ~25% by calories, 135-150g for 50g protein (several data entries on CRONometer for hemp seeds (CRONometer draws from the USDA database and also has lots of brand names of health-foods)). This is likely the best protein source in the picture.

    Now for a few funny ones: Brazil nuts are 8% protein by calories and you need 350g for 50g of protein, but you'll also get ~7000ug of selenium which will kill you. Chia is 12% by calories, 300g for 50g protein. But you'll have massive diarrhoea with that, as even a few tablespoons will clear you out.

    Spinach, kale, and broccoli I've already covered in the last picture.

    Maca: 26.7% by calories, and you need 250g for 50g protein. Not bad, but as it's a 'superfood' good luck affording it and enjoy eating a whole bag of powder in one go :P That'll also come with 150g of carb which may be high for some people.

    With sprouts, it appears to be legume sprouts in the picture. Many sprouts are rich in protein because the legumes are protein-rich, but be careful as many sprouts lose protein during the sprouting process depending in species. Don't eat kidney bean sprouts raw either, they're poisonous. Mung bean sprouts, aka the bean sprouts in chinese food, are 24.6% protein by calories, but you'd need to eat ~1.6kg to get 50g of protein because they're so full of water.

    I don't have data for barley grass juice, but I do for wheat grass juice: 78.7% by calories, and you need to drink ~405ml pure juice for 50g protein, have fun trying to drink all that!!

    Spirulina: 54.8% protein by calories, and you need to eat 845g to get 50g of protein, which is really hard as you're eating pond-scummy bacteria.

     - - - - -

    Food% caloriesgrams/100ggrams for 50g protein
    Pumpkin seeds18.8%30.2g166g
    Quinoa (raw)15.3%14.1g355g
    Sweet potatoes5.1%1.6g3,125g
    Sesame seeds10.7%17.7g282g
    Sunflower seeds12.3%20.8g240g

    Pumpkin seeds aren't that bad actually, but 166g will give you ~34g of omega-6 fatty acids too, same story with the other seeds.

     - - - - -


    Now not mentioned in these pictures as a good protein source is legumes as they must be cooked or sprouted (we already talked about sprouting), and as we know cooked food is bad for us (not!). Cooked lentils are 26.9% protein by calories, and you need 2.8 cups (~555g) for 50g of protein (raw measure ~1cup dry, ~195g), which will also give 112g carbohydrates. Not bad for a vegan protein source.


    If you want protein, eat meat not greens. For plant based protein go for hemp seeds and cooked legumes like lentils and kidney beans.


    When a vegan points out that a cow can grow big on a vegan diet, point out the high protein content of wheat grass, but they also eat all day every day to digest it and need four stomach and multiple chewings to digest it. Gorillas also eat high-protein leaves too and also spend a lot of time eating a lot of food, have huge caecums, and eat their poop for vitamin B12 (go search youtube, there are thousands of videos capturing different apes doing this). Also these animals are actually eating a ketogenic diet as the huge amounts of fibre eaten are fermented into short chain fatty acids such as butyric acid (named for being in butter) which they get ~65% or more of their calories from (more for cows as fermentation is earlier)! (link) If you really want to eat like a herbivore, grow/buy ~3kg of watercress daily and ferment it until it's nice and rich in butyric acid then drink/eat the resulting concoction. Mmm, gross, that's why real herbivores ferment in their guts... which we're not able to do. Now grow a pair and eat your damn steak!


    If my numbers are wrong at all, please let me know and I will correct this article. I'd rather say I was wrong then continue to spread lies, unlike some people.

    Friday 3 May 2013


    Sources other than dairy:

    Small bones: fish (sardines, etc), eaten with the fish or as broth.
    Big bones: beef/lamb/pork/chicken/etc, as broth.
    Eggshells, as broth.
    Green leafy vegetables: darker the better, cook well and eat with fat. Avoid greens high in oxalic acid though, such as spinach, beets, celery, pecans, tea, and cocoa. (Although these aren't eaten on a carnivorous diet)

    Maximising calcium:

    Viamin DPhytic & oxalic acidsFibrePotassium
    Animal ProteinCaffeineBoron (-44%!)
    Phosphatase**High cortisol
    (metabolic stress)
    Vitamin K2 to get it into bones and not into arteries.

    * Although magnesium and phosphorus help calcium balance it should not be eaten/taken at the same time as calcium as they can compete for absorption.

    ** Phosphatase is an enzyme in raw milk, it is destroyed when milk is pasteurised (in fact they test that this enzyme is dead to confirm it’s pasteurised). This is why most studies show milk doesn’t help bone health: they used pasteurised milk! If you want to drink milk, drink it unpasteurised.

    Some other nutrients that help are copper (found in liver), iodine (seaweed, seafood), vitamin A (liver, egg yolks, dairy fats), silicon (bones, dark green leafy veg, certain spring waters), strontium (dairy, shellfish), sodium (salt), CoQ10 (heart), vitamin B5 (liver, egg yolks, dairy), boron (I can't find any good animal food sources of this), zinc (red meat), and manganese (tea/spices).

    Nutrients that hinder include sugar (refined and natural), lead, cadmium, fluoride and excess phosphorus (see note above).

    Weston A Price on how much calcium/phosphorus we need:
    • 680mg Calcium
    • 1,300mg Phosphorus
    Factoring in our absorption increases from lack of phytic acid this actually comes out as needing ~544mg calcium (just over half an egg shell's worth). Regarding phosphorus, at lot of that phosphorus on a WAPF diet is locked up in phytic acid so much less is needed on a phytic acid free diet.


    Bones have lots of phosphorus, as bones are made from hydroxylapatite [Ca5(PO4)3(OH)] and some calcium carbonate. Together these make up 65% of bones, water 25%, and the remaining 10% is formed by magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulphate, and other trace minerals. This means that bones are ~10% calcium and 6% phosphorus by weight (~1.7 Ca:P ratio). As a diet of pure muscle meat has little to no calcium (unless using ground meat due to trace amounts of bone in it), adding ~600mg calcium worth of broth will actually add about ~360mg of phosphorus too, and my upcoming second version of the perfect carnivore diet menu has about ~940mg of phosphorus (and ~160mg calcium), so adding broth rather than egg shells (as used in version 1) will ~1300mg phosphorus and ~760mg calcium which is in line with the WAPF recommendations.

    Breast Milk:

    Breast milk contains ~320mg calcium per litre, and this is about how much an infant drinks. Not very much at all considering how fast they're growing and calcifying their bones. We can probably safely assume that an adult is unlikely to need more calcium than a growing infant, even though some calcium will be needed for bone turnover, replaces trace loss in urine, etc.

    It's interesting the RDA for calcium under a year old is only 200-260mg, and jumps to 700mg at one year then 1,300mg after 4 years. Although I can't find the source at the moment, I remember reading a study looking at primitive cultures, their calcium intake and their fracture rates, many got only 200-300mg of calcium and had very little fractures, no culture ate under 200mg. This all points to us not actually needing very much calcium at all really, and rather needing more of calcium's co-factors for healthy bones.

    Update (19/12/13):
    I found the source I was originally referring to:

    The importance of vitamin K2:

    Many people know of vitamin K1, found in dark green leafy vegetables. Vitamin K2 can be made from K1 but only in small amounts (similar to our poor beta-carotene to retinol conversion). Vitamin K1 helps blood clotting (recent studies show K2 mk-4 can do this too), but vitamin K2 has many other jobs: Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium, but vitamin K2 gets it into the bones. Without vitamin K2, absorbed calcium tends to end up in your arteries causing heart disease! Never take a calcium supplement unless you take plenty of vitamin K2 with it.

    Vitamin K2 found in fermented plant foods, like natto and sauerkraut, is a different form than found in animal foods (‘Mk-4’ in animal foods, ‘mk-7’ in fermented plants). When a plant rich in vitamin K1 is fermented, bacteria turn some of it into K2 mk-7. Mk-7 doesn’t get absorbed into body tissues well so can build up in the blood. This mk-7 is actually slowly broken down into the animal form mk-4, think of it like a slow release form.

    The reason K2 mk-4 is found in animal foods is because that’s the form animal made from K1. Grass-fed animal fats are rich in K2 mk-4 because their food has loads of vitamin K1 and their digestive systems are great at converting K1 to K2 (unlike ours). Any food that concentrates healthy animal fats is rich in K2 mk-4. Examples include cheese (awesome calcium + K2 combo), liver (that’s where the body stores it; foie gras (fatty goose liver) has huge amounts), and egg yolks have lots for the growing chick.

    Links on k2: (research with graphs)

    My recommendations:

    Get at least 200-300mg calcium every day, which is about a quarter of an egg shell's worth. Make sure you eat plenty of animal protein and fats, avoid anti-nutrients, eat some liver (for the copper!), egg yolks, seafood/weed, and salt (sodium and potassium) too for the co-factors (as listed above), and drink unfluoridated water preferably one high in silicon.

    At a very minimal zero carb diet, I would say to make sure you're getting more calcium than steak provides (0mg), at least eat ground meat which has traces of bone in it (1lb 30% fat ground beef has ~108mg calcium) and drink some broth or make egg shell calcium (2 shells a week provides ~285mg calcium a day).

    Monday 4 March 2013

    How little vitamin A is enough?

    There have been many discussions between me and the zero carb community as to how much vitamin A is needed to avoid deficiency, they maintain that fatty muscle meat has enough to prevent deficiency and that extra source such as egg yolks, dairy fat, or the dreaded liver aren't needed. I could not find data showing the amount of vitamin A in beef, most nutritional databases have is zero. But as promised I continued my search into why many do not seem to be becoming deficient in this nutrient...

    In human tissue, there is some retinol (vitamin A) present in the fatty tissue, muscle, and heart: fatty tissue contains on average 1.46ug/gm, muscle 0.35ug/gm, and heart 1.08ug/gm [source, table 1 page 253]. Assuming beef is about the same (not condoning cannibalism here :P ), a diet of 500g lean muscle meat and 200g fat (for 100g protein and 200g fat, ~2000 calories ~80% from fat) would give us ~467ug of retinol (~1556.5IU).

    The USDA RDA for vitamin A is 900ug or 3000IU, which is about double our calculations; assuming increased absorption from plenty of fat and lack of anti-nutrients, this may well be enough to prevent deficiency. The paper also investigates blood plasma retinol levels and concludes that 1,200ug retinol is needed to maintain a healthy blood level, and under 600ug a day is when eye changes start to occur [page 273-274]. Again assuming increased absorption on a carnivore diet, fatty muscle meat way well be enough to prevent deficiency, but may not be enough to maintain a more desirable blood level.

    For comparison, the amount of vitamin A in our calculations above can be found in 55g of cheese or 20g of butter or two eggs. So adding any of these to your diet would mean you reach the USDA RDA. To get the 1,200ug retinol that the article recommends you need to eat ~5,100 calories of meat, or just 2,000 calories of meat plus 15g of beef liver a day (or 10g lamb liver).

    A whole cow will generally give 442lbs of bonless meat, 27lbs shanks/oxtail, 6lbs liver, 2lbs heart, and 2lbs tongue. This means that eating the whole animal you'd eat a pound of liver every 40 days if eating 2lbs. This is roughly similar to the Bear eating liver once a month. The cheese in his diet would have also provided some vitamin A/retinol. As I don't have the exact make up of his diet (other than him mentioning eating liver about once a month) I can't work out exactly how much vitamin A he was getting over the years but he was roughly eating liver in proportion to meat as found in a whole cow which is a very good strategy. A pound of beef liver every 40 days (~11g per day) gives us on average ~561ug retinol (~1876IU) a day, making the total in addition to the meat above 1,028ug (3,432.5IU) a day, above the USDA RDA and almost to the article's recommended 1,200ug retinol; so with some cheese we can easily reach this target.

    A diet of meat, daily cheese, and liver every 40 days would quite likely be enough to even maintain optimal blood retinol levels, while a diet of just fatty muscle may be enough to just avoid deficiency.

    So while fatty muscle meat may be enough to prevent deficiency, I still maintain that there is a difference between outright deficiency and optimum nutrition and will be sticking with the WAPF's recommendation for vitamin A in my carnivore RDA project, which is 10,000IU. This means including egg yolks, dairy fats, and of course occasionally the dreaded liver.

    Wednesday 23 January 2013

    Fat Soluble Nutrients

    Vitamin A:
    The best source of knowledge on vitamin A seems to be the Weston A Price Foundation, which recommends at least 10,000IU for all adults (double that for pregnant/lactating women, half that for children <12 years old). This is much more than the USDA's upper limit, but so is the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in this diet :P But if one is only getting the USDA RDA then it's likely to be enough to avoid strict deficiency, but not optimum.

    Update on how little vitamin A is enough.

    Vitamin D:
    Actually a hormone and not really a nutrient. We get most of our need for this of from the sun, but some people can be deficient. It's best to get a blood test and supplement based on your levels. The Vitamin D Council recommends everyone take 1,000IU per 25lbs body weight (6kIU per 150lbs) and that the ideal level is ~50ng/ml or 145nmol/l. I took 5,000IU at more than 150lbs, and after a year had levels tested and result simply said '>200nmol/l' so clearly this to too much for me. Always go off your blood levels, not a specific IU recommendation!

    Vitamin E:
    Dr Udo says in his book "Fats that Heal Fats that Kill" that we need 0.65mg(?IU?) of vitamin E per gram of PUFA. This is a much better start for establishing a proper RDA for vitamin E compared to a flat 15mg RDA.

    My diet version 2 gives 70% of that. As Udo is dealing with refined seed oils then the need of vitamin E is quite likely to be higher than with animal fats as saturated fats protect PUFAs from being oxidised. Udo's oil is 12.8/20.4/66.8% sat/mono/pufa with a omega-6:3 ratio of 0.44, while my diet is 47.3/47.6/5.1% and has a ratio of 2.3; as my diet has 3.7 times the saturated fat so the amount of vitamin E needed per PUFA may be as little as ~0.18mg/g. Using PUFA as a basis, my diet has ~7.6% the PUFA as his oil so this would mean vitamin E need is ~0.05mg/g PUFA.

    Additionally the increased levels of glutathione (the most potent antioxidant in our body) on a carnivore diet due to increased intakes of cysteine, methinoine, and glycine (from meat, eggs, and gelatin respectively), means that the PUFA will be less prone to oxidation once in our blood. Some vitamin E or saturated will still be needed to prevent oxidation during storage and cooking though, but I'm perfectly happy that the vitamin E requirement is so low it's not worth worrying about as there are so many other protective systems in place.

    Vitamin K1:

    One major issue with a carnivore diet is lack of plants containing vitamin K1, animals foods contain no K1. Vitamin K1 is needed for coagulation, or is it? This study suggests that K2 can provide this function of K1, making K1 requirement nil in a carnivore diet providing plenty of K2.

    Vitamin K2:

    Vitamin K2 can be synthesised by healthy gut bacterai but they need K1 as a starting point sadly. OTher sources include fats, especially dairy fats, grass-fed fats and feremented fats. I'm having a lot of toruble finding the specific amount of K2 needed but that may be because it's a very new vitamin and so little is known about it. Assuming the K1 requirement should be replaced wholely by K2, then this means ~80ug for adult, 150ug for eldery people.

    Where can be find that much?
    105g hard cheese a day will give you 80ug, 533g butter (grass-fed is better) or a similar amount of egg yolks, pastured egg yolks are better needing only ~249g. (source) The WAPF recommends taking high-vitamin butter oil which is a natural concentration of vitamin K2, but that it's not needed if one if eating a lot of grass-fed fats.

    Taking 1mg every 2 weeks gives an average of ~71ug per day, which in addition to the fats and egg yolks in the diet will provide ample amounts. But this is very unlikely to be needed because of the increased absorption from a high-fat anti-nutrient-free diet.

    I would say not to worry about vitamin K2 though due to increased absorption  but our knowledge on this vitamin is severely lacking. Watch this space, as they say.

    If you have osteoporosis or arterial calcification then supplementing is advised  up to 5mg a day may be needed in extreme cases if a VLC/ZC ketogenic diet doesn't help.

    The WAPF warns not to take vitamin A without vitamin D, and not to take vitamin D without K2. So if you're deficient in vitamin D, don't eat liver just yet, and make sure to always eat plenty of animal fats, preferably grass-fed or cheese.

    Thursday 3 January 2013

    Further Implications of Lowered Gluconeogenesis: Vitamin C Synthesis

    This is a follow up post to "Evolutionary Trade-Offs: Fast Versus Famine" and "Detox, Antioxidants, and Scurvy: Protein Beats Plants".

    We already looked at how we manage without the ability to synthesise ascorbic acid aka vitamin C, by using uric acid derived from protein instead, but why do we do this? Why not just make vitamin C like other carnivores do? Indeed all carnivores make ascorbic acid, so why are we different?

    I believe that our lower level of gluconeogenesis (GNG) is to blame. Ascorbic acid is synthesised from glucose, and with a diminished capacity to make glucose then we don't really have any spare, the muscles need all they can get. So to converse the precious small glucose pool we switched from using ascorbic acid (derived from glucose) to uric acid (derived from protein), and one big difference is the amount of the substance needed for the same anti-oxidant potential.

    Most animals synthesise tens to hundreds of grams (not milligrams  of ascorbic acid daily, where-as in humans if we supplement 10 or more grams we can experience diarrhoea from too much vitamin C (less on a ketogenic diet). It's almost as if the body doesn't want extra vitamin C, and high levels can only be achieved through IVs. Amounts over 1.5mg/dL (or 1.3mgdL in females) is rapidly excreted through the urine (this is about 75mg (or 65mg in females)  in the whole blood) with a half life of about 15 minutes, this is less than the USDA RDA at 90mg (75mg for females)! The body is actually very good at maintaining tight levels of ascorbic acid in the blood, and the daily turn-over on a vitamin C free diet (but grain-rich) can be as little as 2.5mg, so perhaps even less on a ketogenic diet.

    Where-as the amount of uric acid in the blood ranges from 3mg/dL to 7mg/dL in males and 3mg/dL to 6mg/dL in females (150-350mg or 150-300mg in the whole blood). Also although 'hyperuricaemia' (high uric acid levels) is set at 6 or 7 mg/dL, some people can have as high as 9.6mg/dL and not develop gout. Vegetarians can have as little as 2.7mg/dL uric acid.

    So a normal uric acid level is two to ~4.5 times as much as the saturation level of ascorbic acid!

    Not only do we not make ascorbic acid (because of lowered GNG) but the blood has very low saturation levels compared to uric acid and excess is rapidly excreted, excess uric acid is less easily excreted suggesting a preference for higher levels. This further supports by theory that uric acid replaced ascorbic acid in humans.