You may have seen those orange looking things they sprinkle sushi with and wondered what it is. Is that candy? Are they gushers? No…it’s salmon roe.
For years we’ve been bombarded by marketing around superfoods that can “revitalize health, increase antioxidants and maybe even improve your credit score!”. Most of that is utter BS. But salmon roe is the real deal.
Salmon roe is packed with nutrients that many people are deficient in. Unlike vegetables, salmon roe gets them to you in their most bioavailable form. This is why salmon roe may have some benefits like:
- Anti inflammation
- Improved antioxidant status
- Increase in cognitive performance
It’s time to thROE your Kale in the trash and really gROE your health…
What is Salmon Roe?
Salmon roe is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. For thousands of years, your seabearing ancestors prized salmon roe as sacred (similar to beef liver).
And no, I’m not talking about the salmon roe you farm from the video game skyrim.
Weston Price discovered that in the Andes, people would walks 100s of miles to get fish eggs. Other healthy tribes would save the salmon roe for nursing mothers and newborn children. This was like gold for them.
Black bears too even go straight for the salmon roe
In fact, I like to think of them as the adult version of gushers candy…
Like other ancestral treasures, it is completely absent from modern diets (save for people who like to show off their wealth).
First off, what is salmon roe? Salmon roe are the eggs of salmon.
They vary in size from around 5 mm to one centimeter. Good salmon roe tends to be firm. It’s known by many names such as ikura or red caviar.
It’s processed using a few different methods. The most common is brining it. First the entire egg sac, or the skein, is removed from the female. It’s then soaked in salt. After the eggs are carefully removed and separated. An additional brine is often then used to cure and preserve the salmon roe. The fresher the eggs, the less amount of time they have to be brined (this is often why higher quality eggs taste less salty).
One skein of salmon roe is usually about a pound. The best quality salmon roe is processed within 24 hours.
I always opt for wild caught salmon roe over farm raised. Additionally I like to see a CoA to ensure they’re low in heavy metals and PCBs.
Benefits of Eating Salmon Roe
Salmon roe is like if beef liver & gushers had a baby…
Salmon roe has almost every vitamin, mineral and fatty acid you need. It also has unique components that are challenging to get elsewhere, especially on the carnivore diet.
Like with other animal products, each nutrient and mineral is in its most bioavailable form so that you absorb it directly (without having to convert it).
They are so nutrient packed that you can get almost all your nutrition in just a few table spoons. Like with chicken eggs, these are so nutrient packed because they house all the nutrition necessary for a developing offspring. It’s almost like eating nose to tail with each bite.
As you know, I love beef liver…and this is the perfect sidekick.
Here are some of the ways eating salmon roe may benefit you
#1 Might give you energy
Forget the Starbucks run. Salmon roe might be a better alternative. That’s because it’s filled with B vitamins & other critical nutrients for your brain.
If you’re constantly fatigued, it could be because you’re low on these.
One of the many functions of this family of vitamins is converting food energy into chemical energy for your cells. As a result, your food can fuel you much better.
B Vitamins play other important roles like supporting fat burning – another method of fueling our cells with the added benefit of improved body composition for you (less fat, more muscle).
The table below shows the b vitamin content of just 100g of salmon roe.
#2 May Boost Cognitive Performance
Ever see the movie limitless? I heard it’s based off of salmon roe…
It’s packed with almost every nutrient your brain needs to function optimally. The first of which is DHA.
DHA is a somewhat challenging nutrient to obtain on the carnivore diet.
But it is critical for the brain and all phospholipid membranes. It appears that all mammalian brains require a substantial amount of DHA and AA, without which neuronal growth and function cannot occur. In fact, DHA is~25% of all the fat in your brain.
This is why researchers Cordain and Mann hypothesized that an abundant DHA and fatty acid source was necessary for human brain growth. Spoiler alert, that source was not plant foods.
Salmon roe has DHA in its phospholipid form, which studies show can cross the blood brain barrier easier than other forms of DHA . It’s the ultimate fatty acid superfuel for your brain in its most ultimate form. (Dr Rhonda Patrick discusses in more detail here).
DHA is critical for brain growth and neuronal function. In fact, DHA deficiency in early life is associated with many mental disorders like ADHD, learning disabilities and hostility .
Some observational studies link higher DHA with lower risk of dementia and alzheimers .
Most other forms of DHA are not in this phospholipid form and are in fish that have high heavy metal content. Lastly, most fish oil supplements are oxidized which can backfire and actually damage cognitive health. Not salmon roe — it’s the best way to obtain sufficient amounts of DHA.
In fact, just 100g has over 1000mg of DHA — plenty to support your neuronal health.
Salmon roe is also high in the b vitamins, choline, copper and selenium.
Choline is so imperative for a healthy, functioning brain that deficiencies are associated with the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease.
Copper is required to balance zinc in the diet, experts suggest the ratio of 8:1 is ideal. Most people, particularly on a carnivore diet, get enough zinc but not enough copper.
Lastly, salmon roe has approx 65.5 mcg of selenium per 100g which is approximately 100% of the RDA. Selenium is critical for motor performance, coordination, memory and cognition…and another nutrient absent from most people’s diet .
Before we go further, are you interested in my 5 favorite ways to add salmon roe on the carnivore diet? Sign up below to see them.
5 Favorite Ways to Eat Salmon Roe
#3 May Help to Reduce Inflammation
DHA also plays a potent anti-inflammatory role. It’s an integral part of your cleanup crew, reversing and reducing inflammation after the immune system gets activated.
If your immune system is constantly activated and you don’t have DHA to clean up the damage, it could lead to major chronic issues down the road…especially if you’re eating a diet high in omega 6’s .
This may be why this one study showed that omega 3 fatty acids found in fish could help reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Many of the most common health issues today are due to excessive immune activation. Salmon roe can be a potent tool to help reverse these issues.
It’s also high in both arachidonic acid and conjugated linoleic acid which have anti-inflammatory effects .
#4 Improve Antioxidant Status
Oxidation & reduction of electrons is fundamental to life. But too much oxidation can be extremely harmful. Human bodies have developed endogenous anti defense mechanisms for antioxidation like glutathione.
But consuming antioxidants can help too.
Salmon roe is rich in antioxidants A, C and E. Antioxidants protect cells against oxidative stress, also known as damage from free radicals like UV rays, smoking, inhaling pollution, inflammation, poor diet, stress etc (*).
When Weston Price visited healthy hunter gatherer tribes he found that they consumed copious amounts of fat soluble vitamins: vitamins A, D, E K. These are sorely missing from diets today.
The challenge was that these tribes had to go out of their way to secure adequate amounts of these nutrients. Either raw dairy, organ, shellfish or fish egg consumption was necessary for adequate amounts. Foods that are entirely foreign to the standard american and even missing from most carnivore’s diets.
Regarding vitamin E, salmon roe is by far and away the best source. Just 100g of salmon roe has 10mg of vitamin E, compared to just 1.7mg in beef.
You see the oxidation process in action outside your body in the form of rust. One of the ways to potentially fight it inside your body is vitamin E . This is a big reason why I eat lots of salmon roe.
LDL particles carry also carry vitamin E to prevent oxidation. Both vitamins E and C inhibit oxidation of LDL . If you have high cholesterol and are worried about oxidized LDL particles, ensure you’re getting adequate vitamin E.
#5 Skin & Eye Health
Salmon roe is packed with nutrients your skin craves. How do you think mine is so smooth & porcelain?
Salmon roe has many nutrients that are essential for skin health.
Copper is necessary for the function of collagen and hard to find in foods other than beef liver.
Salmon roe is also a good source of biotin — a vitamin that used to be called Vitamin H because it was so good for your hair and skin.
Lastly, DHA is helpful for skin. Studies have shown that DHA helps reduce acne and protects against UV damage .
#6 Maintain Thyroid Function
Iodine’s main function is to help construct thyroid hormone. Current RDAs are 150mcg a day. Steak only has 0.1mcg per 100g, thus many carnivores are not meeting the RDA.
Iodine has 0.1 mcg per 100g of steaks. This makes it challenging to get sufficient iodine on a carnivore diet. Requirements are 150mcg a day.
However, there’s some reason to believe we may need less. We’d also likely see thyroid issues appearing in carnivores, which I have not seen many. With that being said, I like to try to hit the RDA.
Some symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, brain fog, high cholesterol, low sex hormones, period problems, thinning hair, puffiness, feeling cold and digestive issues….so yeah, just about everything.
Salmon roe is one of the best sources of iodine.
#7 Support Muscle Growth
Salmon roe is one of the best protein sources. Per 100g there is 25g of protein. It is also in highly bioavailable animal form and is just 200 calories.
Out of the 25g approx 2g is leucine, which is sufficient to stimulate mTOR to catalyze muscle growth.
It’s time to throw your BCAAs and whey powders in the trash. This has it all…and more.
- Contains all essential amino acids
- 10g of protein per serving
- Zero carb protein snack
- High in Vitamin A, which helps with testosterone production and muscle synthesis
- High in leucine, the most anabolic (muscle building) amino acid
#8 Bone strength
Salmon roe is also a pretty good and rare source of calcium on the carnivore diet.
I don’t eat dairy and thus am not consuming very much calcium. I’ve gone back and forth on this, but am definitely trying to add more to my diet. I think that our ancestors likely consumed substantial amounts of calcium in the form of dairy products, bones or egg shells.
Salmon roe is one way I add it to my diet.
Where to Buy Salmon Roe?
High quality salmon roe is hard to come by. The best way to get it is to farm it like in the video below. Make sure to warm up the fire in your hands extra hot to ensure quality of the roe.
In actuality, my favorite sources of salmon roe are the following:
- Local whole foods
- Local fish market
- Vital choice
- Caviar star
Make sure you get salmon roe from a good source to ensure you’re not getting a batch high in heavy metals and mercury.
Salmon roe is a true superfood…unlike those fake plant versions.
It is the best source of many of the most important nutrients for your body and that’s why it was prized by your ancestors.
If you’re interested in my favorite ways of adding salmon roe to your diet, sign up below.