While the keto diet is like a fast track to weight loss there are some downsides. The severe restriction of food can cause some unwanted side effects. Since the food is restricted so much you can deal with things such as an electrolyte imbalance, fatigue, constipation, and the dreaded keto flu. You don't have to just deal with these issues, you can supplement many of the problems away. We've put together a list of the best supplements for a keto diet.
Ketoers tend to be deficient in electrolytes. The diet tends to cause our kidneys to flush water out of your system and along with it those electrolytes. The 4 main electrolytes you will be low in are sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Electrolytes are important for muscle function and many other things. Low electrolytes can lead to common keto flu symptoms. Things like headaches, fatigue, or even constipation. You can help reduce the symptoms of keto flu by supplementing electrolytes.
Most of your sodium intake will come from dietary salt. Sodium is important for controlling the amount of water in your body and supports nerve and muscle function. Low sodium can lead to fatigue, headaches, confusion, and muscle spasms. There are natural ways to get sodium. One is simply adding table salt to your meals. Another is drinking chicken or beef broth. However, it's often more convenient to just take the supplement version.
Potassium also helps regulate the fluid balance in your body. It's important for heart and muscle function and helps to regulate blood pressure. A low level of potassium can cause tiredness, weakness, and constipation. It can help to break down carbohydrates and build protein. You can get some amount of potassium from leafy green vegetables, avocados, nuts, and mushrooms.
Low carb diets cause magnesium deficiencies. This can cause fatigue and muscle cramping. Magnesium is important for muscles and nerve function, immune system, and heart rhythm. Magnesium and calcium help keep your bones strong. It's important for hundreds of bodily functions such as sleep and testosterone levels in men. You can get some magnesium from almonds, green vegetables, and pumpkin seeds.
Most people know that calcium is important for strong bone and teeth growth. However, it's also used for muscle contraction and blood clotting, along with many more bodily functions. Low calcium levels can lead to seizures, muscle spasms, and numbness in the body. These symptoms are pretty rare though. You can get calcium from leafy green vegetables, eggs, and dairy products.
Combined Electrolyte Products
As I mentioned above, you can get most of these electrolytes from certain foods. However, it's difficult to get the amount to cover the deficit from the keto diet. Therefore, it's recommended that you take an electrolyte supplement to make up for the imbalance. It's much easier to just take a combined pill than it is to source all of the different foods you would need to eat. Those foods also contain carbs that would count against your daily goal. Most supplements do not contain carbohydrates. You can even get a low carb electrolyte drink like Gatorade's Propel water.
Medium-chain triglycerides or MCT oils are a clear and tasteless oil. Most MCT oil is extracted from coconuts. You can actually eat coconut oil itself to get some of the benefits of MCTs. MCT oils are important because the body can use them for energy right away instead of storing them as fat. They also help produce ketones to help you stay in ketosis while dieting. They are a more efficient energy source than glucose. You can get MCTs from cheese, butter, and coconut oil. However, you need to supplement to get a substantial dose
Omega-3, or sometimes fish oil, supplements are essential fatty acids. That means that your body cannot make these on its own and that you need to get these through your diet. Your body uses omega-3 acids to make cell membranes and to produce energy. Many studies show that people in the western world don't consume enough omega-3 fatty acids anyway. The levels can be even lower for people on a keto diet. Taking omega-3 supplements on a high fat diet will help to increase your overall health. You can get omega-3 naturally through avocados, walnuts, broccoli, and flax seed. However, you still need to supplement to get the levels that your body needs.
Vitamin D is important for strength and healthy hormone regulation. It's both a nutrient and a hormone in your body. You can get Vitamin D from the sun but it's hard to get enough exposure to the sun most of the time. Vitamin D will help your body absorb minerals such as magnesium and calcium. It's important on this diet to help you absorb through electrolytes. Almost 1/3 of Americans are considered deficient in Vitamin D. The is a higher risk of deficiency if you are on a keto diet. Basically, everyone can benefit from the effects of supplementing Vitamin D.
Since the keto diet is extremely low carb, we tend to be lacking in fiber. Sure we can get fiber from things like nuts and green vegetables, but we need to supplement to help keep our digestive system on track. Having low fiber can lead to constipation and bloating. Low fiber can be a real tough challenge when you're on a low carbohydrate diet. If you're on keto you might need to add some extra fiber to your diet.
Exogenous ketones are ketones that are produced outside of the body. Known as Beta-Hydroxybutyrate or simply BHB, these compounds can help you get into ketosis and stay in ketosis. They can speed up keto-adaptation. If you accidentally go over your carb count for a day ketones can help get your back on track. It can also help releive the symptoms of ket flu. BHB is known to help control your appetite and help your brain boost it's cognitive abilities.
John Ward has been experimenting with low carbohydrate diets since the early 2000s. He successfully used a low carb diet to lose 50lbs in the past and currently follows a keto diet for a variety of reasons including general health and managing mood levels.