How Does a Carnivore Diet Reduce Vitamin C Deficiency

Updated on December 14, 2020

The carnivore diet is relatively new in a long list of ways to improve your health by simply changing your food habits. Like any new science, it has its share of proponents and detractors. Just like some people talk about the health benefits, some fear it may have an adverse effect on health.

One such adverse effect is the potential deficiency of Vitamin C. As it’s a diet that consists of only meat, many believe that it will not fulfill an average requirement for Vitamin C, causing a deficiency and all the related illnesses. But one look at platforms like and you understand all is not as it seems.

What Is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is one of the 5 essential nutrients the human body requires. It’s an antioxidant that protects the human body from skin, eye, and cardiovascular diseases. What makes Vitamin C important is its essential role as an enzyme, which helps create carnitine and collagen. These are vital for tissue and joint cell production.

Not Enough Vitamin C

As mentioned previously, Vitamin C is necessary for collagen production. When paired with Vitamin E, it prevents tissue damage and disease by reducing lipid peroxidation, which is essentially a breakdown of cell membranes that causes tissue damage.

A deficiency in Vitamin C leads to a whole host of problems, including but not limited to:

  • skin problems
  • anemia
  • hair loss
  • difficulty breathing
  • gum disease
  • ulcers 

Where Can I Get Some?

Vitamin C can be found in abundance in most fruits and vegetables. It exists in meat as well but to a much smaller degree. Vitamin C supplements are an artificial means for people with deficiencies to get their daily requirements.

Humans Are Different

Vitamin C is produced by most animals naturally. It is through an enzyme called L-gluconolactone oxidase, which helps turn glucose into Vitamin C in the body. However, humans and primates lack this enzyme, which means they need to get Vitamin C from their food.

But evolution has helped us counter this. Most species deficient in Vitamin C can pull out 100% of the antioxidant component in Vitamin C. At the same time, other animals are only able to pull out a very small amount. It means that humans, on average, require lesser amounts of Vitamin C to survive.

The Twin Brother

Glucose is generally considered to be the brother of Vitamin C. This is because the two compounds are nearly indistinguishable when comparing their molecular structures. They even take the same paths to get absorbed in your bloodstream.

But these similarities have a downside. Because they are so identical, your body needs to choose between the two for complete absorption, and glucose always wins. Your blood tends to favor glucose and often overlooks Vitamin C. This means when you have lemonade, you’re getting more sugar than Vitamin C.

The Meat of the Matter

The recommended requirement for Vitamin C for humans is 10 mg per day. With beef on average containing 16-25 mcg in just one gram, you might feel that this is too low to prevent a deficiency. But remember that you’re consuming a much lower amount of sugar on a carnivore diet due to the complete absence of carbs.

This means that the Vitamin C in your body has nothing to compete with, and your body gets 100% of the Vitamin C consumed, which doesn’t happen when you eat carbs or anything with sugar. Meat also contains hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine that are collagen production agents keeping your tissues safe from damage. Read up more to get a better idea of how to proceed with the carnivore diet.

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