The Carnivore Debate: Part 1 by Chris Masterjohn, PhD and Dr. Paul Saladino, Carnivore MD
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The Carnivore Debate: Part 1 by Chris Masterjohn, PhD and Dr. Paul Saladino, Carnivore MD

Dr. Paul Saladino, Carnivore MD, and I sit down to talk about the carnivore diet. In part 1, we focus on whether you can get all the vitamins and minerals you need on a carnivore diet, and how to best design a carnivore diet to maximize the nutrition you get.

We discuss what I consider high-risk nutrients:

  • Vitamin C
  • Folate

And what I consider conditional-risk nutrients:

  • Manganese​ 
  • Magnesium​
  • Vitamin K​ 
  • Potassium​ 
  • Molybdenum​ 

We also chat about some other things:

  • Dioxins in animal foods: a reason for vegetarianism? 
  • The methionine-to-glycine ratio: balancing meat with bones and skin.
  • Did paleo people get nutritional deficiencies?
  • Bioindividuality: why we all have different needs and our needs evolve over time.
  • Diversify to manage risk: does this mean eat plants, or just eat all the parts of an animal?
  • Ketogenic diets and oxidative stress.
  • Do carbohydrates give you more intracellular insulin signaling?
  • Should carnivores eat dextrose powder for carbs?
  • Are today’s hunter-gatherers representative of those from 80,000 years ago?
  • Did the Maasai really mostly eat meat and milk?
  • My open-door helicopter ride in Hawaii.

Dr. Saladino completed residency in psychiatry at the University of Washington and is a certified functional medicine practitioner through the Institute for Functional Medicine. He attended medical school at the University of Arizona where he worked with Dr. Andrew Weil focusing on integrative medicine and nutritional biochemistry. Prior to this, Dr. Saladino worked as a physician assistant in Cardiology. It was during this time that he saw first hand the shortcomings of mainstream western medicine with its symptom focused, pharmaceutical based paradigm. He decided to return to medical school with the hope of better understanding the true roots of chronic disease and illness, and how to correct these. He now maintains a private practice in San Diego, California, sees clients from all over the world virtually, and has used the carnivore with hundreds of patients to reverse autoimmunity, chronic inflammation, and mental health issues. When he is not researching connections between nutritional biochemistry and chronic disease, he can be found in the ocean searching for the perfect wave, cultivating mindfulness, or spending time with friends and family. 

Find more of Dr. Paul Saladino on the Fundamental Health podcast and at

Get my free 9-page guide to optimizing vitamins and minerals on the carnivore diet at 

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Masterjohn and Saladino Show Notes

2:11 Introductions

6:36 Dioxins in food. 

14:33 Methionine to Glycine ratio.

23:08 Nutritional deficiencies in paleolithic people.

27:09 Bio individuality/diversity

36:07 Deficiencies that arise from eating only muscle meat.

37:26 Vitamin C

44:22 Weston A. Price’s documentation of whale stomach lining and moose adrenal as a source of vitamin C in Arctic diets.

56:03 Ketogenic diets, oxidative stress, and vitamin c. 

58:36 Insulin

1:05:46 Antioxidant status.

1:22:44 Folate.

1:26:05 Riboflavin.

1:30:23 Manganese.

1:32:28 Dextrose powder.

1:37:31 Potassium/sodium.

1:52:37 Hunter gatherer diets now vs. 80 000 years ago.

2:03:05 The Maasai.

2:09:00 Vitamin K

2:19:00 The most radical thing I’ve done recently. 

Links Mentioned in the Podcast

Dioxins in Animal Foods: A Case for Vegetarianism?

Balancing Methionine and Glycine in Foods: The Database

A Glimpse of the Masai Diet at the Turn of the 20th Century — A Land of Milk and Honey, Bananas From Afar

This interview was originally published on Dr. Saladino’s podcast feed here.

Dr. Saladino’s work can be found at

Dr. Masterjohn’s guide, Doing a Carnivore Diet Right: Vitamins and Minerals, can be obtained here.


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  1. Point #5) My ability to exercise is profoundly better as well on carnivore. The hike i used to think was a challenge is now a walk in the park, and when I go on it I think, “Why am I doing this? This is nothing!”.

  2. I was delighted to see this posted a hour before I went on a road trip with my sons. I got to listen to the whole thing. I’ve been carnivore for about 5 months, and have always appreciated your intelligence on all matters nutrition. Some comments for you Chris:
    1) You seem insistent on considering carnivore to be an unnatural state, insisting that keto diets were “developed solely to mimic fasting so as to cure epilepsy”. However, you do agree that hunter gatherers many times have probably eaten nothing but meat when meat was available. At least, say, after killing some large game, they maybe ate nothing but that for 2 weeks. So even if they alternated meat with plants, say seasonally or even bi-weekly, they still had periods where they were eating nothing but meat. So I just don’t think it makes sense to consider a diet of meat to be similar to a “fasting state” by our bodies. Fatty meat is intensely satisfying – more so than any other food. I think you should accept that carb-free diets are a natural state for the human body and not some weird “almost fasting” medicinal state.
    2) There was talk about hormones: I am on the Women Carnivore Tribe facebook group, and there are many women on there in their early 50’s who say that they had thought they were in menopause, but then when they started carnivore their period came back. Just fyi… that wouldn’t happen if the body thought it was fasting. Fasting and other body/mental stressors tend to stop a woman’s cycle. I have not heard any woman say her cycle was interrupted by carnivore… only the opposite. Also women get pregnant, have & nurse babies on carnivore without incident.
    3) I think you should try it for 6 weeks. You don’t know what mental clarity you’re missing out on until you try it. Almost universally people say keto diets improve mental clarity, I believe. I think your take on it can’t help but be affected by your experience. And if your experience is that carbs are an important part of what you’re used to eating, then it’s hard to understand how not eating them could actually work and be good. When I first tried going keto it was really hard for me to wrap my head around the idea of not eating carbs. I was really a big carb eater, and for a long time I clung to yams as my saving grace until I really made the jump to carnivore and finally understood that my body could run just fine without the carbs.
    4) Just fyi, the difference in mental clarity and emotional stability and ability to be happy is profound, for me at least. Life-changing. And I didn’t even have any diagnosed emotional problems. It’s not possible for me to believe that what’s good for my brain isn’t good for my body. Your idea that there is a trade-off between the brain and the liver is interesting, but in any case, people have a lot of brain problems these days, but I don’t hear about liver problems besides fatty liver disease, which won’t be caused by low-carb eating. So even if there’s a trade-off, maybe it’s a good trade-off.

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