What Supplements Should I Take on a Ketogenic Diet? (Answered!)
A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that causes a state of ketosis in the human body. The body utilizes stored fats in this metabolic state to meet primary energy needs. This low-carb diet has many benefits, including weight loss and maintaining optimal health.
There are some keto supplements that you should take during a keto diet. These supplements are proven to improve your keto diet experience and increase health benefits. Some of these nutritional supplements are listed below:
- B Vitamins
- MCT oils
Dieticians usually recommend these supplements to minimize the side effects of this diet. It is essential to find the right supplements that meet your body’s demands, so doing your research is critical.
Going for natural supplements may help you avoid future health issues.
If you want to know more about the ketogenic diet or are planning to start this diet, you have landed in the right place. This article will discuss the dos and don’ts that will help you maximize your results.
The article will also discuss different essential nutrients and their importance to your body. So, read until the end to find answers to your questions and concerns.
What is a ketogenic diet?
A ketogenic diet is a healthy diet that includes a high-fat diet, moderate protein intake, and a very low carbohydrate intake. The diet has recently gained popularity due to its potential benefits. During this diet, ketones fuel the body’s metabolism instead of blood glucose alone.
Ketogenic diet shares commonalities with Atkins, which is also a low-carb diet. The drastic reduction in carbohydrate intake (50 grams per day) puts your body in ketosis.
During ketosis, the stored fats are broken down into ketones. These ketones are then utilized as a form of energy.
The fat intake during the ketogenic diet is mainly 70-80% of the total calories consumed daily. A high fat intake is necessary to maintain normal body functions without carbs.
The protein intake during this diet is neither too high nor too low. It usually contributes 20% of the total calories consumed in a day. Consuming a higher protein percentage will result in its conversion to glucose, therefore, interrupting the state of ketosis.
Some foods that are allowed during a keto diet include:
- Nuts and Seeds
On the other hand, there are some foods that are to be strictly avoided during this diet. These foods include:
The ketogenic diet is not suitable for everyone, especially for individuals with existing health issues. Therefore, it is recommended to consult a health professional before you start this diet.
Should you add supplements to your ketogenic diet?
Adding supplements to your ketogenic diet is not always necessary. If your nutritional needs are met through proper keto planning, there is a low chance of nutrient deficiencies. However, if the nutritional demands are not fulfilled by diet alone, you need to incorporate supplements.
During a keto diet, there are several foods that are limited or completely eliminated. This drastic dietary change can lead to some severe consequences, especially in the beginning.
While adjusting to the strict carbohydrate restriction, a person can face multiple side effects. This is because the body is getting used to using a new source of energy. This state in which the body is experiencing side effects is commonly known as “keto flu.”
During keto flu, a person may experience constipation, dizziness, and nausea. People are also reported to have issues with concentration and experience a lack of sleep.
Other bodily problems that one might face during keto flu include headaches, fatigue, and stomachache.
Going through these symptoms is an indication that the nutritional demands of the body are not being fulfilled. This is where the supplements step in. There is a need to consume dietary supplements when the body is at risk of losing vital nutrients and electrolytes.
Taking supplements during a keto diet is also important to improve the effectiveness of the diet. Supplements such as MCT oils aid the process of ketosis by increasing the production of ketones in the body. This leads to a quicker weight loss process without nutrient deficiencies.
10 best supplements for a ketogenic diet
To speed up your ketosis and optimize the results, you can go for different supplements. The supplements required for different individuals can vary according to their individual needs. Here are the 10 best supplements for the keto diet that you can go for:
1. B vitamins
B vitamin supplements are necessary to consume during a keto diet because they play an essential role in energy metabolism. Moreover, these vitamins are also vital to maintain normal brain function, a robust immune system, and healthy hair and skin.
The vitamins included in the B complex include:
- Thiamine (B1)
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Niacin (B3)
- Pantothenic Acid (B5)
- Pyridoxine (B6)
- Biotin (B7)
- Folic Acid (B9)
- Cobalamin (B12)
Large ratios of B vitamins are found in some foods, especially leafy greens. In addition to that, they are also present in meat, dairy, and whole grains. However, while following a keto diet, one can find it challenging to consume enough B vitamins.
Avoiding whole grains and fruits leads to decreased consumption of B vitamins during a ketogenic diet. Therefore, it becomes obligatory to consume supplements in order to meet daily requirements.
Some signs of B vitamin deficiency include fatigue, swollen tongue or mouth, weakness of muscles, and mood swings. The symptoms of deficiency can vary in different individuals. Hence, there is a need to maintain a close check on your B vitamin levels.
In case of a severe condition, you should immediately consult a physician and take the proper steps to help reduce symptoms.
An important fact to consider is that B vitamins work in a symbiotic way. This means that they generate the best results when they are consumed together as a complex. Therefore, it is recommended to consume a B-complex supplement instead of individual B vitamins.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D supplements are essential to consume during the keto diet due to a reduced consumption of vitamin D-rich foods and beverages like orange juice, yogurt, milk, and fortified cereal. Vitamin D deficiency can result in compromised bone health and a weak immune system.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that is fat-soluble and aids the body in absorbing other nutrients like phosphorus and calcium. It also helps to prevent inflammation and maintain strong bones, muscles, and teeth.
A keto diet does not always come with a risk of vitamin D deficiency. However, most people already have a dangerously low level of this nutrient in the body.
This is due to limited sun exposure and an unbalanced diet. Hence, the keto diet can further deprive the body of this nutrient. Individuals with lower levels of vitamin D in their bodies often complain of the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- High blood pressure
- Weak muscles
All these symptoms can aggravate or worsen during a keto diet. Therefore, the patients are recommended to increase sun exposure and consume vitamin D-rich foods. Some foods rich in vitamin D include cod liver, fish oil, salmon, and beef liver.
If the nutrient demands are not being met with diet, you can go for natural supplements. These supplements will fulfill the body’s requirements without any side effects or risks.
Magnesium supplements are necessary during a ketogenic diet because this diet is low in magnesium-rich foods like legumes and whole grains. Magnesium is required by the body because it plays a significant role in nerve function, muscle function, and heart health.
Magnesium is one of the 7 “macrominerals” and is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. The low intake of magnesium-rich foods during the keto diet and the increased need for magnesium in the body due to high protein intake can pose a potential risk.
Other than legumes and grains, there are also some magnesium-rich foods that are keto-friendly. These sources include pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds, spinach, and yogurt. However, consuming all these foods during keto can be difficult.
This results in magnesium deficiency in individuals. Some common magnesium deficiency symptoms include pins and needles, sleepiness, abnormal heart rhythms, and muscle spasms. The individuals may also experience shaking and hyperexcitability.
In order to avoid these symptoms during a keto diet, it is recommended to make up for the magnesium deficiency by consuming supplements. However, before incorporating a magnesium supplement into your diet, it is essential to consult a doctor.
Proper prescription is vital because, in case of overconsumption, magnesium supplements can lead to abdominal muscle cramps, diarrhea, and even cardiac arrest.
Potassium regulates fluid balance, aids muscle and nerve function, and improves heart health. Potassium intake during the keto diet is essential because most potassium-rich foods like bananas and potatoes are restricted in this diet.
Consuming enough amount of potassium during the keto diet can work wonders for the body. Potassium helps to reduce water retention. This means that shedding those extra pounds will become much easier for you.
In addition to that, it can also help to prevent kidney stones, heart strokes, blood pressure, and osteoporosis.
Potassium also plays a pivotal part in maintaining good fluid balance in the body and supporting the nervous system. Overlooking the importance of potassium can lead to serious health concerns.
People who are potassium deficient often complain of weakness and fatigue. Other symptoms of potassium deficiency include difficulty in breathing, heart palpitations, and digestive problems. If you are potassium deficient, you may also feel tingling and numbness.
Potassium-rich foods that can be included in the keto diet include spinach, mushrooms, seeds, nuts, and salmon. However, meeting the body’s potassium demand through diet alone can be really challenging.
Doctors and physicians recommend potassium supplements to evade health risks associated with potassium deficiency. It is advised to go for natural supplements because they can fulfill the body’s needs without causing harmful reactions.
5. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids supplements are not to be neglected during a ketogenic diet. This polyunsaturated fat plays a crucial role in maintaining the body’s fitness. Moreover, these supplements can improve your metabolic health and enhance your keto transition.
While introducing your body to a ketogenic diet, taking the help of omega-3 fatty acids can generate effective results. These fatty acids are proven to help the body to adjust to a low-carb diet. Consequently, these fatty acids lessen the effects of keto flu.
Omega-3 fatty acids also contribute to muscle protein synthesis. This nutrient is found to increase lean muscle mass, therefore enhancing the overall health of the body.
In case of insufficient omega 3 consumption, your body displays signs of deficiency of this nutrient. Some of these signs include joint pains, cardiovascular concerns, insomnia, excessive ear wax, and weak hair, skin, and nails.
Some foods that you can consume during a keto diet to meet your omega-3 fatty acids requirement include fatty fish, shellfish, flaxseeds, walnuts, and chia seeds. If you have difficulty incorporating these foods into your diet, you can go for supplements.
Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in supplements that are re-esterified triglycerides free fatty acids or natural triglycerides. While consuming an omega-3 supplement, make sure that you don’t consume more than the suggested dosage.
6. MCT oils
MCTs constitute a significant source of ketones during a ketogenic diet. Being a source of healthy fat, this nutrient must be abundantly present in the keto diet. However, if the body’s demands are not being fulfilled by diet alone, it is recommended to go for MCT supplements.
Low-carb diets are known to restrict a person’s carbohydrate consumption severely. In such circumstances, the body starts to burn fat in the process of ketosis.
MCTs or medium chain triglycerides prove to be the best fat sources as they don’t have to be digested in the gastrointestinal system. Instead, they are directly sent to the liver and are processed to generate ketones.
Another benefit associated with medium-chain triglycerides is that they are not stored as fats in the body. This makes them easy to burn and process. Therefore, they are favorable to consume if you are aiming to lose weight.
Consuming enough MCTs during a keto diet can lead to higher energy levels, mental clarity, and improved focus. In addition to that, MCTs also suppress appetite by creating a feeling of fullness and satiety.
It is recommended to start with a small amount of medium-chain triglyceride oil and increase the dosage over time.
Watching your dosage will help to avoid problems like nausea and digestive discomfort.
The Keto diet is low in fiber due to a restricted carbohydrate intake. To prevent the body from experiencing bloating, constipation, and digestive disorders, it is crucial to make up for the fiber deficiency through fiber supplements.
Fiber-rich foods are usually carb-heavy options. Abandoning these foods during a ketogenic diet can lead to many irregularities in normal body functions. Among them is keto constipation which is a very common irregularity that people usually complain of.
Fiber is known to support the growth of healthy gut bacteria. This type of bacteria improves health and strengthens immune function. Therefore, it is considered very useful for the body.
Fiber is also vital for regulating blood sugar levels and increasing insulin sensitivity. High blood sugar levels can interrupt the process of ketosis. This is why consuming enough fiber in a keto diet is very critical.
Some fiber-rich foods that you can consume during a keto diet include coconut flour, berries, nuts, and seeds. In addition to that, you can also go for non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and kale. All these foods are low-carb and fiber-rich.
If you can’t meet your body’s fiber demands through diet, going for fiber supplements is a smart option. To achieve the best results, choose a supplement that is natural and suits your body’s needs.
Due to low blood insulin levels during the keto diet, there is a chance of the excretion of essential electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium from the body. This is why it is mandatory to consume electrolytes through supplements during this diet.
As crucial as supplement consumption is, there is a need to make sure that these supplements are not your primary source of nutrients and minerals. Ideally, the mineral requirements of the body should be fulfilled through diet.
Some food options that are keto-friendly and also contain a fair number of electrolytes include olives, cheese, coconut water, bone broth, and leafy green vegetables.
Incorporating these electrolyte-rich foods into your diet is vital to maintain normal fluid balance, regulating muscle contractions, and ensuring the transmission of nerve impulses.
Sodium is the most important electrolyte, and its consumption shall be diligently monitored during a keto diet. In the case of sodium deficiency, a person can experience headaches, fatigue, and dizziness.
Hence, if you are facing severe electrolyte deficiency during the keto diet, you must consult a doctor and start consuming dietary supplements.
9. Exogenous ketones
Exogenous ketones keep your body in a state of ketosis, even when you are not consuming food that is keto-friendly. Exogenous ketone supplements can be consumed in the form of a drink or powder. These supplements increase energy and suppress appetite.
The word “exogenous” means created outside of the body. Exogenous ketone supplements are forms of the ketone beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) which are usually made by the body on its own.
These supplements are consumed to maintain the number of ketone bodies in the blood, irrespective of the diet being consumed.
The purest form of ketones is ketone esters which take only 10 to 15 minutes to work. Compared to the other salts, which take over one hour, ketone esters are highly effective. However, they are also more expensive than the other exogenous ketones.
Despite their benefits, there is limited research regarding exogenous ketones. Therefore, their long-term effects on the human body cannot be predicted. More research can help decide if they are safe to consume over an extended period.
10. Digestive enzymes
Digestive enzymes are necessary during a keto diet. That is because they play a vital role in the breakdown of macronutrients into easily absorbable molecules. The absence of enough digestive enzymes can lead to digestive discomfort.
While adapting to a ketogenic diet, the body is going through a drastic change in terms of consumed nutrients. The decreased consumption of fiber-rich foods and an increased intake of fat-rich foods can lead to bloating and indigestion.
In such cases, consuming dietary enzymes in the form of supplements is recommended. Although the body does generate its own digestive enzymes during ketosis, the quantity of natural enzymes is not always enough.
Some enzymes that you can consume during ketosis include lipases and proteases.
Moreover, if you exercise daily, digestive enzymes can help you decrease muscle soreness after exercise. Additionally, it can also help to reduce inflammation and ease pain.
Takeaway: Determine the need of your body
Consuming a balanced diet is essential, whether or not you are on a keto diet. However, in the state of ketosis, the nutritional demands of the body change drastically.
During ketosis, it is vital to determine the nutrients that your body truly lacks or demands and go for supplements with the minimum potential side effects. Consuming supplements that your body does not require can also be risky.
Vitamins and minerals, if consumed in more than the required amount, can lead to different health problems, including heart diseases, nausea, diarrhea, hair loss, and fatigue. Some vitamins, like vitamin D, can prove to be easily toxic if consumed more than recommended.
To avoid all kinds of risks, make sure you consult a physician. It is also essential to use supplements that are natural, organic, and high quality. Why Not Natural offers quality and natural supplements with no preservatives, fillers, artificial additives, or sugar that really work, ensuring the safety of your health.