Not all proteins are created equally.
Each protein has a unique make up of amino acids, and when you digest the protein, you’re actually absorbing these tiny amino acids, which your body then uses to form new protein chains.
If your diet lacks a certain amino acid(s) needed to make a protein, your body cannot always compensate for this, which is why some proteins are considered “essential” — aka, you must obtain these amino acids from your diet, as your body cannot produce them.
“Complete proteins” contain all 9 “essential” amino acids. However, just because an amino acid is ‘non-essential’ does not mean we should not include it in our diets, as the ability to *abundantly* produce some of these amino acids is limited to people in great health.
… Not those dealing with skin issues, joint pain, or connective tissue disorders. These issues may stem from (several) nutrient deficiencies, with notable mention of non-essential amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline (made from proline and lysine) - 3 amino acids that are abundant in collagen protein, an “incomplete” protein.
Collagen’s benefits (see image below) stem from these amino acids. Something to consider, particularly relevant to carnivore, is that the conversion of proline to hydroxyproline is significantly reduced when we’re deficient in Vitamin C.
Most animals can make their own vitamin C, humans cannot. A top argument made against carnivore is that we should be weary about scurvy, a disease causing bleeding in our mouths & internal organs, random bruises, poor hair recycling, & potentially death. Opposite of optimal.
Some credible names in the carnivore realm argue we do not have to worry about this, that the body has mechanisms in place to account for deficiencies, and we’ll be fine just eating meat (which contains a minuscule amount of vitamin C in comparison to plants).
Not arguing against this, but also not advocating for complete dismissal of this vitamin. 2 thoughts come to mind:
1. Considering potential benefits of vitamin C (see "roles of vitamin C" image), & vitamin C’s relationship with collagen ("vitamin C & collagen" image), are we truly optimizing our health if we don’t consume enough of it?
2. What if we’re wrong? Scurvy can take years to develop.
We’re the type of people who are after *optimal* health, so we figured we’d look in to this for our own sake.
The RDA for vitamin C is 75 mg/d for adult males, 60 mg/d for adult women. However, these amounts are minimums, not necessarily supporting optimal health, & people such as @chrismasterjohn recommend anywhere from 100-150 mg/day.
So, based on that, view the image below, where we’ve pulled together some carnivore sources of vitamin C. To hit the recommended amount, you’d need to have 2-3 servings of the red, 4-5 servings of the orange, 6-7 servings of the yellow, & 8-12 servings of the green.
We’ll be making an effort to include more of these items in our regular lineup. If you’re interested, you can source most of them online from White Oak Pastures. Use code “strongsistas” to help support us!
Just something to consider! Next post we’ll share our current favorite bone broth with extra wiggle jiggle.