What Supplements Do You Need On Keto?
As the ketogenic diet continues to rise in popularity, so does the importance of supplementing around it. While the keto diet can be a great way to lose weight, stay in shape, or just alter your current diet, it’s important to supplement with specific nutrients, given that the diet cuts out a variety of foods.
Following a ketogenic diet means digging into a very low-carb, high fat, and moderate protein meal plan. It requires a serious reduction of carbohydrate intake and restoring that loss with fat to set and keep the body in a metabolic state called ketosis.
It’s no wonder the keto trend continues to snowball as it is absolutely a substantial way to lose excessive weight. It combines the power of calorie restriction with the nutritional benefits of ketosis by targeting the stored fats in the body to be used as primary fuel instead of the sugar in carbs. Along with a rigorous workout routine, this diet brings forth an impressive way to lose weight and at the same time make progress with your overall health.
However, having a distinctly small amount of carbs and moderate protein also means limited food choices which may steer some dieters towards some nutrient deficiencies. But worry not because you can still pull off your keto weight loss plan with supplements to help prevent nutrient deficiencies and even boost the effectiveness of keto.
One other common issue that comes with getting on the keto diet is what is deemed the “keto flu.” When you initially start your body on the ketogenic diet, you might experience flu-like symptoms. This is because your body is not only detoxing, but it is switching over to converting its energy from carbs to fat reserves. One of the best ways to lessen these symptoms is by supplementing before you get on the keto diet, and throughout your time on the diet as well.
Today we are going to take a look at 11 of the best supplements to take if you are on a ketogenic diet.
Almost all the biochemical reactions in the body need magnesium to function. It is involved in the conduction of signals between muscles and nerves, DNA and protein synthesis, the building of strong bones, maintaining normal cardiac function, regulation of blood sugar, and so much more. Lack of magnesium in the diet may result in weakness, nausea, vomiting, abnormal heart rhythms, muscle cramps, and even seizures.
If you’re on a low-carb diet, check out the keto-friendly zucchini. It is has very few carbohydrates and is extremely high in potassium. 1 large zucchini has almost one gram of potassium. Very important to get potassium, magnesium and sodium while very low carb. #lowcarb #keto pic.twitter.com/8EZEZu4LTu
— Lori Shemek, PhD (@LoriShemek) August 24, 2018
The daily nutrient intake for magnesium does vary slightly for males and females. Men should goal for 400 to 420 milligrams of magnesium per day while women have daily food goals of 310 to 320 milligrams.
Granted that magnesium is found in a wide variety of foods, most foods don’t provide much magnesium and many of the foods that have magnesium are high in carbs such as cereals, bread, potatoes, and rice which are off-limits for a keto diet. For this reason, it is best to get your requirements from magnesium supplements.
One of the best ways to get an adequate amount of magnesium is by taking a daily powdered supplement. We recommend the Natural Calm Magnesium Citrate Powder because it is highly absorbable and yummy as well.
Just a side note, some forms of magnesium supplements can interfere with certain medications such as antibiotics, diuretics, and oral bisphosphonate and may cause digestive issues when taken alone. Magnesium supplements are generally well-tolerated, but it is best to speak with your doctor first.
Fiber is essential for our gut health; hence, for our overall health. A diet high in fiber can help lower the risk of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even colon cancer. However, when following a ketogenic diet consuming foods with high dietary fiber may be challenging in an effort to keep away from excess carbohydrate intake.
It’s common for people to notice a slow in their digestive systems after starting a keto diet. It’s especially important to consume plenty of fiber on keto in order to avoid digestive issues like constipation. pic.twitter.com/bX6GZ26m67
— Dr. Josh Axe (@drjoshaxe) February 15, 2019
To put it simply, dietary fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. There are two kinds of fiber and they are called the soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber sponge up water to form a gel-like material in the digestive tract. It helps in slowing down digestion, increasing satiety, lowering cholesterol levels, and regulating blood sugar levels. While insoluble fiber does not split up in the water which contributes bulkiness to the stool, preventing constipation and promoting the elimination of colon wastes.
The approved dietary intake per day is 30-38 grams per day for men and 25 grams per day for women between 18 to 50 years of age. Following a ketogenic diet, typically only allows 20 to 25 grams of carbohydrates making it impossible to meet the dietary fiber requirements. Adding fiber supplements is an eminent way to add more fiber to the diet and can also be beneficial if you are experiencing constipation due to keto – fiber supplements can keep you regular.
There are a variety of supplements on the market that offer a low carb fiber alternative. Many of these come in powder form and are similar to protein powder, with the main ingredients being flax seeds or chia seeds.
Creatine is an amino acid that can be found in the muscles of the body, as well as in the brain. Our body can naturally produce creatine, thanks to our liver, kidneys, and pancreas who work together to generate creatine daily. After the production of creatine, it is stored in the muscle where it can be used to extend energy, enhance performance, and increase muscle growth during exercise.
Although the body can naturally produce creatine, it is also excreted daily. Especially during an intense workout, the body uses energy and creatine which decrease the creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), leaving us feeling tired. It can be sourced externally through food, mainly from animal products such as meat, fish, and poultry.
Creatine supplementation while on a keto diet can help improve athletic performance since carbs are limited and protein is in moderation. Ketones and creatine work on respective energy systems and do not get in the way of one another. So don’t worry that creatine might affect ketosis. Supplementing creatine while on a ketogenic diet will give you that extra umph when you need it most.
Potassium is also one of the most important minerals in the body to support optimum health. It is necessary for regulating the heartbeat, ensuring proper function of the nerves and muscles, synthesizing protein, and metabolizing carbohydrates. Adequate potassium intake can also keep the blood pressure in a normal range.
Potassium is a macro-mineral that is needed by the body in large amounts. The adequate intake recommendation for potassium is between 3,500 – 4,700 mg daily. Bananas are usually coined as a good source of potassium, but other fruits (such as oranges, cantaloupes, some dried fruits like prunes, raisins, and dates) and vegetables (such as cooked spinach and broccoli) also contain this often-neglected mineral. However, a 100 grams banana can only give about 358 mg of potassium while cooked spinach yields about 466 mg of potassium only for a hundred grams. Potassium supplements are a great way to help increase potassium intake since these food choices in large amounts aren’t keto-friendly.
Very beneficial to supplement with potassium when on keto. And go with chloride. https://t.co/gsBtRDsLU5
— Josef Rakich (@ImJosefRakich) January 4, 2018
It’s always a good idea to eat a banana pre-workout or post-workout if you are looking to increase your potassium levels. Another way to increase your intake is by cooking spinach and eating it alongside your breakfast in the morning, whether that be eggs or a low carb protein shake.
Just keep in mind that before supplementing with potassium, you should always consult with a health professional. Your blood potassium levels have to remain within the narrow range, and consuming too much potassium in concentrated form may be dangerous, especially if taken along with certain medications or if kidney disease exists.
Electrolytes are minerals in the body that bear an electric charge and are present in the tissues, blood, urine, and other body fluids. These electrolytes are a combination of sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride, phosphate, bicarbonate, and magnesium and a balance of different electrolytes are of the utmost importance for healthy function. They hydrate the body, balance the blood acidity and pressure, help to rebuild damaged tissues and regulate nerve and muscle functions.
When on a ketogenic diet, carbs are almost absent entirely from the diet. When the body enters ketosis, all the stored carbs are emptied, which means that the water that was stored by glycogen will also get flushed out. The body will shift from absorbing water to emitting it through urine, sweat, and breath. That’s why when the body first starts entering ketosis, frequent urination may be experienced. The body will lose a lot of water weight and feels less bloated. While this may seem like a positive result, the body is also expelling electrolytes in the company with the water.
Keto flu symptoms may be experienced by beginners due to an electrolyte deficiency. Electrolyte supplementation should be prioritized to keep the electrolyte levels in the right place. Since too much water excretion can cause electrolyte imbalance and dehydration while on keto, increasing the water and electrolyte intake is indispensable when going ahead on a keto diet.
One way to add electrolytes to your body is by using a powdered supplement to increase these levels naturally. Another way to increase electrolytes is by mixing coconut water, trace minerals, lemon, and a little bit of salt together. While it is a tart drink, this combo will help naturally increase your electrolyte levels at a fast pace.
6. MCT Oil
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are synthetic fatty acids mostly derived from the fats found in food like coconuts and dairy. MCT oil is a supplement that is made up of MCT fats, which represents the length of the carbon chain of these fatty acids. Since MCTs contain shorter molecules they can be digested easily and be absorbed in the bloodstream quickly.
With that being said, MCT can be an immediate source of energy. Not only that, but MCTs have also been associated with beneficial effects on weight loss, brain health, and obtaining antimicrobial properties. MCT oil is a popular staple for keto dieters as it helps in supplying energy and enhancing ketone production. In addition, MCT oil can aid in reinforcing the production of peptide YY and leptin, hormones that give the feeling of being full. More likely MCT oil will keep you satiated, thus, you’ll be less likely to overeat.
You cannot find MCT oil in foods, but you can pick it up at most supermarkets these days. As the keto diet has become more popular over the last couple of years, so has the product of MCT oil, making it extremely accessible.
7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that play vital roles in a number of functions in the body. It is widely known for its heart health benefits and anti-inflammatory functions. But it also aids in fighting depression and anxiety, improving eye health, preventing cancer and more.
The omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are observed in fatty fish and shellfish such as in trout, salmon, tuna, mussels, crabs, oysters, etc. While ALA, a different kind of omega-3, can be found in other foods, including some vegetable oils like canola and soy.
The general recommendation for minimum essential fatty intake to get its health benefits and reduce the risk of developing chronic disease is around 250 mg of combined EPA and DHA per day. However, higher amounts are often approved for certain health conditions.
Since ketogenic diets require high-fat consumption, the Omega-3 fatty acids supplement is just fitting not to mention that Omega-3s are considered healthier kinds of fats. It’s always important to keep in mind that a keto diet also aims to achieve optimal health and longevity.
8. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin as we can get the best source of Vitamin D in the sun. Be that as it may, too much exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun may lead to skin cancer, so it’s important to be careful of this. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for the reasons that it helps maintain healthy bones and teeth, support the immune, brain, and nervous system, and more.
Obtaining ample amounts of vitamin D is hard even if you’re not on keto. Due to its limited food choices which are also not keto-friendly like milk, orange juice, and cereals, a Vitamin D supplement can come in at one’s fingertips. In the case of someone on a keto diet, it might be more beneficial to either spend an adequate amount of time in the sun, or to supplement with a pill/capsule. Just remember to check with your doctor for the right amount of Vitamin D based on your needs.
You can also receive vitamin D by simply standing in direct sunlight for a few minutes. When your skin is exposed to direct sunlight, it makes vitamin D. The sun’s UVB (ultraviolet rays) touches the cholesterol in the skin cells and they provide energy. This allows for vitamin D synthesis to occur and then be distributed throughout the body.
9. Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes are substances secreted by the body to aid in the digestion of food. While the body can produce digestive enzymes, this can also be found in natural food sources, most common in fruits and vegetables.
If the body cannot produce enough digestive enzymes, stomachache, diarrhea, gas and other digestive disorders may be experienced. This is common for people who follow the keto diet since high-fat containing food is the hardest to digest secondary to protein and may take a toll on the digestive system. Digestive enzymes may help in breaking down the fats and proteins in the form of protease for better digestion and for relieving digestive symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, and bloating while adjusting on a keto diet.
Many people these days also do not have an adequate production of digestive enzymes, which makes it hard to digest various types of foods. Luckily, digestive enzymes are a popular supplement and can be found at pharmacies or health stores. These are helpful for those that are on the keto diet, as well as people with regular digestive health issues.
10. Greens Powder
Greens powder is a combination of dried, powdered, and blended fruits and vegetables which is formulated to fill nutritional needs. Ingredients may vary by brand, but customarily includes wheatgrass, spirulina, chlorella, kale, pineapple, beets, ginseng, kelp, green tea extract, pre- and probiotics as well as digestive enzymes. Check out our Superleaf Moringa Powder.
While on a keto diet, it is still important that you consume vegetables and fruits as they contain an array of vitamins and minerals that are needed to maintain the immune system and achieve overall wellbeing. Since keto diets have restricted food choices, green powders are one of the most convenient ways to get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals. Green powders are guaranteed nutrient-dense.
There are many “greens” supplements on the market to choose from, but make sure to look for one without any added sugar. Sometimes brands will slip it in without you even noticing! That said, there are a variety of low-carb, keto-friendly options to choose from. Just simply make sure to double-check the ingredients list!
11. Exogenous Ketones
Exogenous ketones are synthetic sources of ketone bodies. In doing a ketogenic diet it is very crucial to keep the body in a state of ketosis and exogenous ketones can come in handy. Taking exogenous ketones is designed to speed up the process of ketosis by producing more ketones in the body for a short period of time.
Supplementing with exogenous ketones is also a great idea for anyone that wants to naturally increase their energy levels. Studies have shown that by increasing ketone levels, your energy levels increase as well.
Usually, exogenous ketones can be found in the form of powdered ketone salts and unlikely for ketone esters, which are the purest form of ketones. Nonetheless, both forms of ketone supplements have been revealed to enhance ketone levels in the blood resulting in increased fat burning and accelerated weight loss. It can help the body get back to ketosis after consuming carbs.
If you browse your local health store or google for an exogenous ketone supplement you will quickly see that there are so many options to choose from. There are flavored supplements, like chocolate, or there are supplements that are flavorless. It’s really up to the consumer to decide what they want, just make sure to double-check the ingredients to make sure there is no added sugar.
Bottom Line: Supplementing For Keto
Perfectly balancing a diet is extremely difficult, and due to the fact that we won’t be perfect keto eaters all the time either, we’ll need to get some help from a range of supplementation options to fill the gaps. Food supplements can help perk up the benefits of a keto diet, not just for promoting weight loss but also enhancing body performance, preventing nutrient deficiencies, and achieving optimal health.
Of note, taking supplements can help you thrive while on a keto diet but don’t forget that supplements are not replacements for food. Get as much of your nutrient needs from whole quality food and use food supplements to balance out what you’re missing.
Whether you’re on the ketogenic diet to lose weight or simply increase your energy and stamina, the diet can be extremely helpful and relatively simple to follow. Sometimes it’s a bit trickier when you first start out, so supplementing with various nutrients mentioned above can be extremely beneficial.