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.