Whether you are new to keto or are an experienced veteran, it might be a good idea to supplement with specific nutrients to maximize and optimize your keto experience and ensure you are getting the most out of this fantastic way of life. Supplements can help keto followers begin their ketogenic journey (or re-start after a lapse), reduce adverse effects of the keto flu and even enhance athletic performance when training on a low-carb diet.
Here are our top 9 suggestions:
Transitioning to a ketogenic diet results in increased water loss from the body. Levels of sodium, potassium and magnesium can drop as well, leading to symptoms of the keto flu, such as headaches, muscle cramps and fatigue. Additionally, athletes may experience even greater fluid and electrolyte losses through sweating.
Focusing on adding these lost minerals through diet and supplementation is important for people following a ketogenic diet, especially when first switching to this way of eating. The first weeks can be challenging as the body adapts to the very low number of carbs consumed.
Adding sodium through diet is the best strategy. Simply salting foods with a high quality naturally occurring salt or sipping on a broth should cover most people’s increased sodium needs. Increasing your intake of potassium- and magnesium-rich foods can counteract losses of these important minerals, too.
Keto-friendly foods that are high in both magnesium and potassium include:
Dark leafy greens
Electrolyte supplements containing sodium, potassium and magnesium that are keto-friendly are a great option, providing the support necessary through transition and for activity. (Could not find the link to the keto electrolytes you carry, Vega works well too)
Magnesium is a mineral that boosts energy, regulates blood sugar levels and supports your immune system. Research suggests that due to magnesium-depleting medications, reliance on processed foods and other factors, a good portion of the population has or is at risk of developing a magnesium deficiency.
On a ketogenic diet, it may be even more difficult to meet your magnesium needs, as many magnesium- rich foods like beans and fruits are also high in carbs. For these reasons, taking 200–400 mg of magnesium per day may be beneficial if you’re on a keto diet.
Supplementing with magnesium can help reduce muscle cramps, difficulty sleeping and irritability — all symptoms commonly experienced by those transitioning to a ketogenic diet.
Two of the most absorbable forms of magnesium include magnesium glycinate and magnesium citrate. Magnesium glycinate is best if your digestive tract is particularly sensitive to magnesium supplementation
If you wish to increase your magnesium intake through keto-friendly foods, focus on incorporating these low-carb, magnesium-rich options:
One of the main complaints of those new to the ketogenic diet is that the high fat content of this eating pattern is tough on their digestive system. If you are used to a diet lower in fat you may experience unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea and diarrhea when transitioning to a ketogenic lifestyle.
Although the ketogenic diet is only moderate in protein, it may still be a higher amount than some people are used to, which can also cause digestive side effects.
If you’re experiencing digestive issues like nausea, diarrhea and bloating, a digestive enzyme blend that contains enzymes that break down fats (lipases) and proteins (proteases) may help optimize digestion. We have enzymes specifically formulated for the digestive needs of a ketogenic diet.
These enzymes are proteolytic and support the break down and digestion protein, which also reduce post-workout soreness - a bonus for workout enthusiasts on a keto diet.
There are so many factors in modern lifestyles that can throw the microbiome out of whack, that even if you are eating a healthy diet, it is helpful to replenish your gut with beneficial bacteria to keep it in balance.
When you are on a very low carb diet for an extended time, your gut’s beneficial bacteria can suffer from a lack of resistant starch and fiber. For the majority of people, probiotics are a great way to ensure you properly digest and absorb all the food you eat. This is especially true if your keto diet doesn’t contain much fiber or low-carb green vegetables.
The right keto probiotics can act as a barrier against many pathogens, boost immune system defense, enhance nervous system function, reduce anxiety, and even help you lose weight.
You can get even MORE beneficial bacteria into your gut by consuming fermented foods like these on a regular basis:
Be sure to calculate the carbs into your daily budget and you’ll be in great shape!
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, such as fish or krill oil, are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have been found to reduce inflammation, lower heart disease risk and prevent mental decline.
Western diets tend to be higher in omega-6 fatty acids (found in foods like vegetable oils and processed foods) and lower in omega-3s (found in fatty fish). This imbalance can promote inflammation in the body and has been linked to an increase in many inflammatory diseases.
Omega-3 supplements can be particularly beneficial for people on ketogenic diets, as they can help maintain a healthy omega-3 to omega-6 ratio when following a high-fat diet. What’s more, omega-3 supplements can maximize the ketogenic diet’s impact on overall health.
We carry a wide variety of well-sourced Omega 3 supplements. When shopping look for varieties containing a combined 500 mg of EPA and DHA per 1,000 mg serving like these. (Which are the Omega 3’s you recommend the most, we can link to those here)
Those on blood-thinning medications should consult a doctor before taking omega-3 supplements, as they can increase your risk of bleeding by further thinning your blood
To boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids through keto-friendly foods, eat more
Medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, are a popular supplement among keto dieters. They are metabolized differently than long-chain triglycerides, the most common type of fat found in food. MCTs are broken down by your liver and quickly enter your bloodstream where they can be used as a fuel source for your brain and muscles.
Coconut oil is one of the richest natural sources of MCTs, with about 60% of its fatty acids being in the form of MCTs. However, taking MCT oil (made by isolating MCTs from coconut or palm oil) provides an even more concentrated dose of MCTs and can be helpful and supportive to your ketogenic lifestyle.
Supplementing with MCT oil can help keto dieters since it can increase their fat consumption with a lipid that directly increases ketone levels and helps you stay in ketosis (as it is metabolized quickly by the liver). MCT’s have been shown to promote weight loss and increase feelings of fullness, which can be helpful for those using the ketogenic diet as a weight loss tool.
It is wise to start with a small dose (1 teaspoon or 5 ml) of MCT oil to see how your body reacts before increasing to the suggested dosage listed on the supplement bottle. MCT oil can cause symptoms like diarrhea and nausea in some people.
MCT oil can be easily added to shakes and smoothies or simply taken by the spoonful for a quick fat boost. MCT powder can be used in hot and cold liquids with less oily residue and is a great coffee ‘creamer’.
Increasing vegetable intake is something that everyone should focus on. Vegetables contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and powerful plant compounds that can fight inflammation, lower disease risk and help your body function at optimal levels.
Though not everyone following a keto diet is necessarily lacking in their vegetable intake, this eating plan does make it more difficult to consume large amounts of plant foods. A quick and easy way to boost your vegetable intake is by adding a greens powder to your supplement regimen. Most greens powders contain a mixture of powdered plants like spinach, spirulina, chlorella, kale, broccoli, wheatgrass and more.
Greens powders can be added to drinks, shakes and smoothies, making them a convenient way to increase your intake of healthy produce. While it shouldn't be used as a replacement for fresh produce, a well-balanced greens powder is an excellent and easy way for keto dieters to add a nutrient boost to their meal plan.
Those following ketogenic diets can also focus on adding more whole-food, low-carb vegetables to their meals and snacks. These are generally the leaves, stems, flowers and vegetables that grow above the ground.
Exogenous ketones are ketones supplied through an external source, while endogenous ketones are the type produced naturally by your body through a process called ketogenesis.
Exogenous ketone supplements are commonly used to increase blood ketone levels. Aside from potentially helping you reach ketosis quicker; exogenous ketone supplements have been linked to other benefits including boosting athletic performance, speeding muscle recovery, enhancing memory and brain activity and decreasing appetite.
Research on exogenous ketones is limited, and many experts argue that these supplements are not necessary for keto dieters. Additionally, most of the studies on exogenous ketones used a more powerful type of exogenous ketones called ketone esters, not ketone salts, which is the most common form found in supplements available to consumers.
Many people, however, find these supplements helpful when transitioning to a ketogenic diet or returning to the diet after some time away as well as those wanting a physical or mental performance boost. (Could not find a link to the ketones available in store)
Vitamin D is important for many bodily functions, including facilitating the absorption of calcium, a nutrient that could be lacking on a ketogenic diet, especially in those who are lactose intolerant. Vitamin D is also responsible for supporting your immune system, regulating cellular growth, promoting bone health and lowering inflammation in your body
Having optimal levels of vitamin D is important for everyone's health, including people following ketogenic diets. The keto diet doesn’t necessarily put you at a higher risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency, but since vitamin D deficiency is common in general, supplementing with this vitamin is a good idea.
Since few foods are good sources of this important vitamin, many health professionals recommend vitamin D supplements to ensure proper intake.
Your doctor can run a blood test to determine if you’re deficient in vitamin D and help prescribe a proper dosage based on your needs. The general recommendation is up to 5,000 iu per day preferably consumed with fat.
Keto supplements can support you on your keto journey and help ensure you get the results you are after. Supplements can also help you build muscle, improve digestion, and protect your overall health. Think of them as a form of complementary medicine that you use along with your keto diet to improve your outcomes.