How to Get Electrolytes on a Carnivore Diet: An Essential Guide

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs. You can read our complete legal information for more details. By using this site, you agree the information contained here is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, consult your doctor. NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.

“The carnivore diet is deficient in key nutrients!” This is a claim you will hear over and over. Of course, if you don’t know how to nourish yourself, you will hurt yourself and become unhealthy.

However, this applies to any diet not only the carnivore diet. You can have an ordinary diet and still lack essential nutrients. Just look at veganism and vegetarianism. There are some essential nutrients only found in animal products.

The crazy thing is the carnivore diet is probably not the food regimen you grew up on; it is a completely new way of living to almost everyone at one point in his or her life. Therefore, you can easily become the victim of scary claims like this.

Salt and Electrolytes

You do need to thoroughly hone your knowledge to get across from the unknown to the known. This will unlock all the benefits this diet can bring to your life. In fact, if you are totally new to the diet I’d recommend reading our article:

Or add these three Carnivore Diet Powerhouse Books to you bookshelf:

So, what are electrolytes, why do you need them, and how can you get them on the carnivore diet?

Disclaimer: All these numbers are based on healthy individuals. Individuals who suffer from chronic diseases especially lung or kidney disease must be extra careful and discuss this diet with their doctors. Be smart!

What are electrolytes?

Undoubtedly, you have heard of some electrolytes already like sodium and potassium. But do you know what they do? Chemically, electrolytes are minerals that carry electrical charges.

They can turn fluids into an electrically conducting solution. Biologically, they are present in your sweat, urine, blood, and tissues to support many body functions.

You get electrolytes from what you eat and drink. Sodium, calcium, potassium, copper, chloride, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, and bicarbonate are all electrolytes, but not all electrolytes are essential.

For example, your body can produce its own bicarbonate and phosphate. However, the 5 other essential electrolytes are found in water and food.

The 5 Essential Electrolytes

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Chloride

Why do you need them?

Electrolytes are essential for life. Most importantly, electrolytes balance the amount of fluid in your body. Through the process of osmosis, electrolytes maintain a certain volume of fluids in different body compartments, so your cells don’t burst with too much water or shrink with dehydration. (1)

With the help of your lungs and kidneys, electrolytes also balance your pH. pH is how acidic or basic a fluid is.

In healthy individuals, a pH of 7.35-7.45 is maintained. This appears to be optimum pH for all your body functions from respiration to urination. (2)

Also, your neurons fire signals, or send messages, by changing their cell membrane charge; you need electrolytes for a soundly functioning nervous system.

Some electrolytes have an additional task. For instance, calcium is responsible for your muscle contractions. If you don’t consume enough minerals, you will experience symptoms according to what’s missing.

Sometimes you might lose more than one electrolyte at the same time. Mild deficiencies might go without notice, and more severe deficiencies can cause symptoms like numbness, muscle cramps, confusion, convulsions, etc.

Rarely, electrolyte imbalances can be fatal as your system just collapses.

How can you get electrolytes on a carnivore diet?

First things first, up-your water game! This is not “drink enough water to be healthy” advice. This is based on what the nutrition experts say.

Water can make or break your electrolyte balance. If you don’t drink enough water, your electrolytes will keep shifting to balance water content between your body fluids.

Don’t wait until you are dehydrated to drink. Instead, keep a bottle of water close by and sip small amounts throughout the day to be well hydrated.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommended that men drink about 125 ounces (3.7 liters) of fluids per day and 91 ounces (2.7 liters) for women.

80% of your fluid intake comes from what you drink, and food is responsible for the other 20%. (3)

More importantly, invest in quality water. Spring-water is chemical-free, natural, and full of minerals too. It can be a smart way to add minerals to your diet.

If you want to get all hippy and save money you could even forage your own spring water. I do this when I have time and use glass containers so that I don’t get any unwanted chemicals in my water from plastics. BPA is a nasty chemical.

Warning: Be sure the spring you use is free of parasites or contaminants. I had a giardia parasite infection and that was not fun. Some people use Findaspring.com to source their spring water.

Harvesting Spring Water
My brother and I harvest water from a spring outside of Los Angeles.

I use 5 gallon Glass Carboys to store my foraged water.

Next, fix your salt situation. Most salts contain sodium and chloride, but some salts contain potassium and iodine. Therefore, you need to know what you are buying.

Salt is blamed for hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. However, recent research proves that lessening salt intake doesn’t decrease the risk of stroke, hypertension, or death in healthy or hypertensive individuals (4).

In “The Carnivore Code,” Dr. Paul Saladino highlights how salt shouldn’t be feared especially in the first stages of your diet when your body is adapting. He recommends a daily intake of 6 to 10 grams. But it’s got to be the good stuff and he uses and recommends Redmond Real Sea Salt.

Redmond Salt is sourced from an ancient sea bed in Utah, which is better than salt sourced from the ocean as it potentially has microplastics and toxins associated with pollution.

I personally always buy Redmond Sea Salt 10 pound bucket to save money as being a healthy carnivore you will go through a lot. Especially if you are an active person. If you use the link to purchase it should give you a 15% discount if not use the coupon code Wild at checkout. That should do it.

Redmond Real Salt 10 Pound Bucket

We go even deeper on salt in this article and how salt relates to the carnivore diet:

While reading Dr.Paul Saladino’s book, “The Carnivore Code” he mentions that we can get a good amount of magnesium from spring water. The brand Gerolsteiner contains 100 milligrams of magnesium and 345 milligrams of calcium.

He mentions that drinking a few liters of spring/mineral water per day plus a pound of muscle meat should get you to the RDA for magnesium.

Dr. Saladino also says meat is a great source for potassium with over 1400 milligrams per pound.

He says, “eating animal foods and drinking good water from a good source will provide us with ample amounts of these minerals as long as we are thinking about sodium from an ancestral perspective.”

The keto and carnivore flu

Some people new to the carnivore diet will experience flu-like symptoms during the transition from a high carbohydrate diet to an almost zero carbohydrate diet. Sometimes electrolytes play a role. We provide a useful resource to help navigate this challenge

  1. Keto Flu vs. Carnivore Diet Flu & 7 Possible Remedies

Now let’s tackle electrolytes one by one:

Sodium:

Sodium is responsible for muscle contraction, including your heart, and fluid balance. It is also very sensitive to changes. When you cut carbs, your insulin level decreases, and this may cause a loss in sodium.

If you exercise or sweat a lot for any other reason, you will need to replenish your sodium as every liter of sweat contains 40-60 mmol of sodium.

Therefore, you will need higher than usual intake to compensate for losses. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of calcium is 1,000 – 1,200 mg for an adult.

Also when it comes to working out and being on a Carnivore Diet I use a pre-made electrolyte mix with sodium in it. It’s made by Elemental Labs and comes in a few different flavors. If you wanna be a strict carnivore I suggest the “raw” unflavored version.

The Elemental Labs pre-made packets have:

  • 1000mg sodium
  • 200mg potassium
  • 60mg magnessium
Here is my YouTube review of Elemental Labs electrolyte packets.

It is important to note that table-salt is only 40% sodium, and the rest is chloride; in every teaspoon (6 grams) of salt, there are only 2.4 grams of sodium.

Most carnivore diet advocates stay away from chemically altered table salt and go with the Redmond Sea Salt. Plus They make an amazing Electrolyte Mix called Re-Lyte!

Re-Lyte has the following mixture of electrolytes per serving:

  • 1000mg Sodium
  • 500mg Potassium
  • 1585mg Chloride
  • 74mg Calcium
  • 60mg Magnesium
  • 60+ Trace Minerals

Chloride:

Chloride works with sodium and potassium to balance your body fluids. If you are low on chloride, you will experience fatigue, nausea, difficulty breathing, or fluid loss in the form of vomiting or diarrhea.

The RDA of chloride is 3.6 grams for adults. Every time you add salt, you will get chloride.

Potassium:

Potassium is the most abundant positive ion in your body. It maintains normal cell function, intracellular fluid volume, and trans-membrane electrochemical gradients.

Heart palpitations, muscle cramps, increased blood pressure, kidney stones, etc. are all signs of potassium deficiency.

The RDA of potassium is at least 2,600 – 3,400 mg for an adult. Dairy is a good source of potassium. Seafood especially mollusks and salmon are very good sources too. Also, just one pound of meat gives you around 1600 mg of potassium.

Magnesium:

Magnesium covers a range of body functions from protein synthesis to mood balance. Symptoms of deficiency include tremor, poor coordination, muscle spasms, loss of appetite, and even personality changes.

The RDA of magnesium is 320-420 mg for an adult.

A 6oz fillet of Tuna gives around 30% of the RDA. Other fish like mackerel, salmon, and cod are decent sources of magnesium.

Bone-broth is also rich in magnesium if prepared properly. A well-prepared bone broth cooked for at least 12 hours. It can provide you with around 120 mg of magnesium per liter.

Pre-made grass-fed bone broth brands:

  1. Epic Beef Bone Broth (not pure carnivore has jalapenos mixed in)
  2. Kettle & Fire Bone Broth

Magnesium is another supplement I use on the regular. I use a brand called Natural Calm which ensures my body has adequate amounts. It also acts like a laxative if you take too much. Be careful with dosing as you may end up with disaster pants!

Magnesium Natural Calm

Also it’s supposed to help with sleep and possible anxiety. I do a teaspoon or two a little after I eat dinner every night.

Calcium:

Calcium makes your bones, helps your body move, regulates your blood pressure, and is vital for proper neural and hormonal signaling.

If it’s absent, your body will demineralize your bone to get it as your heart needs it. You might suffer from muscle cramps, tingling, and irregular heart-beats.

The RDA of calcium is 1,000 – 1,200 mg for an adult.

Again, dairy is rich in calcium, but most carnivores try to remove dairy from their diet because a lot of people have digestive issues with it. Other very good options include canned fish like sardines, and a well-prepared bone broth.

Copper:

Copper supports enzymatic reactions that produce energy. Also, copper deficiency has been linked to vascular and neurological disorders.

The RDA of copper is just 0.9 mg for an adult. Beef liver contains 15 mg of copper per 100 g of the liver. It’s virtually impossible to be deficient on the carnivore diet if you don’t suffer from a copper metabolic disorder.

Phosphorus:

Phosphorus’s main function is bone and teeth formation and metabolism. It goes hand in hand with calcium.

It’s essential for fat metabolism, protein synthesis, and tissue repair. Its deficiency presents with bone pain, fragile bones, stiff joints, fatigue, irregular breathing, numbness, weakness, etc.

The RDA of phosphorus is 700 mg for an adult. Luckily, meats, fish, and dairy are all rich in phosphorus. An average quality salmon contains around 250 mg of phosphorous in every 100 gm.

Manganese:

Manganese is essential for bone formation and metabolism in general. Its deficiency equals poor bone health.

The RDA of manganese is 1.8 – 2.3 mg for adults. Meat is rich in manganese. Only 100 grams of beef tripe contains 6 mg of manganese.

Know when you need to add more

Sometimes you will lose more electrolytes than normal, and your body will be electrolyte deficient relatively. To avoid this pitfall, you should be oriented with these situations.

In the first few weeks of your transition in the carnivore diet, you may need to increase your electrolyte content especially if you experience the low-carb flu. Check out the article I was talking about before called, “Keto Flu vs. Carnivore Diet Flu & 7 Possible Remedies”

Also, when you are sick especially if you experience vomiting or diarrhea, your body will lose fluids continuously and electrolytes with them.

Definitely, having a warm cup of bone broth or more electrolyte-rich foods will help you a lot. If you are increasing your exercise frequency or intensity, you better increase your water and electrolyte intake to avoid muscle cramps and other unwanted symptoms.

When I first started the carnivore diet I would get horrible cramps in my calf muscles. I had to increase my salt and magnesium intake to help alleviate the problem.

Tomahawk Steak on White

Take home message

Electrolytes are substances that carry charges, and they are vital for your body functions. Their deficiency is an alarm for you to work harder on your diet not to give up on it.

Water and variety of foods are crucial to acquire all needed electrolytes in the carnivore diet. Carnivores, like all dieters, must keep an eye on their micronutrient intake. Bone broth can help too, and it’s always fun to experiment with different food recipes check out: 9 Most Underrated Carnivore Diet Dinner Recipes (With Pics).

If you are looking for a little motivation and live resource for the carnivore diet you can book me as your carnivore diet coach at MeatRX. Book me here!

Also, we have a Wild Lumens YouTube channel with plenty of useful and fun carnivore diet related content. View and subscribe here!

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Consult with and ask your doctor about any diet or medical-related questions. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.

Andy Storey

Artist, Designer, Sportsman, Athlete and Carnivore Diet Coach at MeatRX. Sharing my adventures in life, health, and wellness one post at a time.

Recent Posts