Do I Need Supplements?

Keto Supplements on a Keto Diet
Keto Supplements on a Keto Diet

If you’re wondering whether you need to take keto supplements while starting or maintaining a keto lifestyle, we have good news. The ketogenic low-carb diet is actually very nutrient-dense when done correctly. What you eat can meet almost all nutritional needs while you work to stay in a state of ketosis. Still, sometimes supplements help or are even indispensable to optimize the health benefits on the ketogenic diet, depending on your circumstances. Read on to learn everything you need to know about whether you need to take supplements on your keto diet. 

Supplements Worth Considering for a Keto Diet

We generally recommend getting most of your nutrients from a healthy whole food keto diet. But there are some specific supplements that are helpful (and a couple that may even be necessary). Here are our top supplement suggestions when following a keto diet and why you might need them:

Salt: A Keto Essential

Just as we have spent years wrongly demonizing fat while we loaded up with sugar, salt has also long been a scapegoat. Meanwhilesalt is a very important electrolyte that helps with nerve conduction and maintaining balance in fluids surrounding your cells.

On keto electrolytes are especially important. Because the keto diet is naturally diuretic and thus, salt (electrolytes) is easily depleted, as is the amount of water your body retains (i.e. low levels of electrolytes can cause dehydration of body fluids).

Why does keto cause water and sodium loss or electrolyte imbalance? When you are on a ketogenic diet, the body uses body fat and fat from your diet rather than blood glucose (blood sugar) as your primary energy source. With less carbohydrate intake and less sugar to process as a fuel source, the kidneys naturally produce less insulin. Insulin is necessary for processing carbohydrates. However, very low carb equals less insulin production. And less insulin means the kidneys release more water, thus causing more trips to the restroom and the flushing out of electrolytes. With lower insulin, we run the risk of lower sodium (salt), and the undesirable, subsequent effects, including headaches, drowsiness, low energy levels, irritability, muscle cramps, and even nausea and constipation.

The good news is it’s easy to combat low sodium. Just be sure to drink lots of water and add a pinch of Himalayan salt or sea salt (preferably not table salt) to your food and water.

Magnesium: Because Everyone Needs More

Another mineral that most people can benefit from is magnesium. Known as the “calming mineral,” it’s responsible for over 300 enzymatic functions within the body, including the beating of our heart and flexing of our muscles!

However, due to modern farming practices, our soils, and thus vegetables, are becoming more and more depleted of this important mineral, so it’s easy to experience magnesium deficiency. Luckily, there are many forms of magnesium supplements out on the market, magnesium glycine, magnesium citrate, and topical magnesium, to name a few. Sometimes it takes trial and error to find the form that you respond best to based on your bio-individual needs. Magnesium glycinate is magnesium bound with glycine, which makes it more easily digested (less digestive distress). Magnesium citrate comes in powder form and is taken mixed in water. Some people respond well to this form, others may experience digestive issues (bloating, gas). Topical magnesium is massaged into the skin, bypassing the need for digestion altogether. 

Prebiotics and Probiotics For Healthy Digestion

When following a keto lifestyle, people tend to cut way down on vegetables in order to keep carbs low. However, vegetables contain prebiotic fiber, and prebiotics help to feed our beneficial gut bacteria (probiotics). Probiotics keep your gut in a healthy balance, which helps to ease digestion.
Taking a prebiotic and probiotic supplement may be helpful as well, especially if you don’t have the palate for fermented vegetables. There are many types on the market (both in liquid and pill form). Some brands contain both a prebiotic and a probiotic together, making for one less supplement to take. Be sure to read labels. Some forms of probiotics contain added sugars.

Supplements for Vegetarians and Vegans

Studies show that vegans are not capable of getting proper omega-3 fatty acids through their diet and that vegetarians can, but are often deficient. It’s recommended that vegans and vegetarians incorporate a fish oil supplement and vitamin K2 and B12. They’re derived from animal rather than plant resources, to enhance the Omega 6:3 ratio.

Food First!

We believe in getting as much of your nutrients from quality, whole foods as you can while eating to burn fat, stay in ketosis, pursue weight loss and metabolic health, promote overall wellness for your body and nervous system and optimal muscle function and body functions, or all of the above. But sometimes you need a little help, and the above supplementations are great places to start. Combine them with a quality, fat-burning keto diet and you will not only look and feel better, you’ll also discover just how delicious a quality, healthy life can be!

Regardless, it’s always a good idea to consult your primary care physician / healthcare provider, nutritionist, or dietitian before starting any new dietary practice.

Above are the different types of keto supplements, you can take the right one accordingly.

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