Original Publish Date: 4/30/22
For the record: I was on a meat-only carnivore diet (very strict with zero plant seasonings for 3 years). Almost 2 years ago, I started adding a little bit of vegetable variety. Most days I’m still meat-only but some days, I’ll have some steamed veggies (not for health but for resiliency and variety).
I have never taken any hormone supplements or thyroid medication. I have taken animal glandular (organs) but I don’t believe glandular therapy is the same level of support.
My diet: I eat two (mostly) meat-only meals a day and eat about 70-75% fat in terms of total calories. I started at 80% fat but I needed it from being 12 years low-fat and plant-based. I never eat lean protein meals. I do not believe it’s ideal for longevity.
I have been carnivore for almost 5 years and it has absolutely changed my life, and for the better.
Red Cell Distribution Width (RDW) – A Marker for Health Status?
In my Complete Blood Count (CBC) with Differential, my Red Cell Distribution Width (RDW) was low. So being me, I dug into the science.
The CBC panel of bloodwork is run with almost all annual physical checks and looks for many illnesses in the blood. Some of these imbalances include anemia, infections, and leukemia.
The red cell distribution width (RDW) test measures the difference in the volume and size of your red blood cells.
Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to every cell in your body. Normally, your red blood cells are all around the same size. A high RDW means that there’s a difference between the size of your smallest and largest red blood cells. We want the size to be the same.
Other names for the RDW Test?
- Erythrocyte Distribution Width
So the higher the RDW number, the more variation in red blood cell sizes. The more variation, the more association with illnesses:
- A potential prognosis for some cancers
- RDW has a strong association with hs-C Reactive Protein and Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR). Both these markers test for general inflammation in the blood. (PMID: 19391664)
- RDW also correlates with other inflammatory markers such as fibrinogen (context matters with fibrinogen), and leukocyte and neutrophil counts. (PMID: 25159489)
- RDW is a strong predictor of overall disease and disease-specific mortality in middle-aged and older adults. (PMID: 19273783)
- RDW correlates with IL-6, hepcidin, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and other cytokines that may affect tumor cell behavior. (PMID: 21737024 and 22309694)
- High levels of RDW can also mean deficiencies in folate and B12. (PMID: 27591862)
Yes, you can have B vitamins and even iron deficiencies on a meat-only carnivore diet. If you aren’t eating enough and/or your gut health isn’t absorbing your nutrients, it can happen.
Some of my clients hate that I recommend supplements when they’re first beginning their healing journey, but it’s a bridge while they better support their body to homeostasis. Then with proper nutrition and better gut function, we have the meats to give us most of our nutrients.
The right food as medicine isn’t just about nutrient-dense foods. It’s also about ensuring you are breaking down and assimilating the nutrients. And we all need gut support. Below is a sneak peek of a new graphic for Carnivore Cure Edition 2: It explains how our modern lifestyle causes gut permeability.
Back to my bloodwork, RDW is a strong predictor of longevity. (PMID: 27147570) And for someone who has had almost no carbohydrates or fiber in the last 5 years, I think I’m doing okay (including my thyroid and hormones).
DISCLAIMER: Before I get into my bloodwork, this is NOT medical advice. You should never take my content as medical advice. It’s educational material and learnings from my clients, research, and my own musings as a nutritional therapist. Never self-treat or diagnose.
I promised you my blood work. If you wonder why I won’t supplement vitamin D, here’s one study that states that the lowest all-cause mortality lies between 20-24 ng/ml. No benefit in being above 21 ng/ml. “A Reverse J-Shaped Association of All-Cause Mortality with Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in General Practice: The CopD Study”
I know it’s very controversial so I do not harp on this topic as I can’t promise low or high vitamin D is the way to go. I know Dr. Mercola believes we need to have extremely high vitamin D supplements and levels but I’ve seen enough conflicting research that I don’t plan on supplementing.
I give my clients the ultimate choice with vitamin D. (Note: I have to link to a non-Mercola website as he can only have his articles up for 48 hours since he’s been censored with the Disinformation Dozen. Makes my Instagram jail look like a walk in the park.