As the word gets out about the keto diet and its popularity continues to grow, one common critique heard from the naysayers is that people on keto are at risk for deficiencies in certain nutrients.
This leaves people interested in trying the keto diet – which is after all simply another iteration of the concepts long used in the Atkins Diet, the Paleo Diet and common diet restrictions for diabetics and pre-diabetics – wondering what supplements might be most helpful.
While it is true that the keto diet – short for ketogenic diet, a system of severe carbohydrate restriction and increased fat intake – does indeed alter the nutrient profile for most users, the fact of the matter is that study after study shows that it really works – and is safe when done right – for inducing rapid weight loss.
And with the what we know about supplements, not to mention their wide availability, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy the benefits of keto without losing out on vital nutrients.
Here are a few of the most needed supplements when on a keto diet, and the specific benefits they impart.
Let’s start at the very beginning: on a keto diet you’re radically altering your food intake, including cutting out starchy vegetables altogether, and thus changing the nutrient profile of your diet.
While you should still be eating plenty of non-starchy veggies, nonetheless a great place to start making sure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need to avoid fatigue and brain fog is with a high quality multivitamin.
Even though you’re taking a multivitamin, one mineral that still could probably use an extra boost when you’re on a keto diet is magnesium.
This is because starchy foods that are high in magnesium are restricted, foods like beans and fruits, so a daily dose of 200 – 400 mg of magnesium can help you avoid muscle cramps, irritability and difficulty falling asleep, all of which are commonly reported by keto dieters.
3. Protein Powder (Bone Broth)
While in ketosis a great way to stave off hunger while also getting tons of amino acids and still adhering to low-carb, low-calorie restrictions is through a quality protein powder, especially those made from bone broth.
If you do get a protein powder that isn’t bone broth-based, make sure you get one that’s low-carb and low in sugar. Look for stevia or monk fruit-sweetened brands.
4. Omega-3s or Fish Oil
A great way to remain in ketosis is to up your Omega-3 intake by grabbing a good quality fish oil or krill oil supplement.
Western diets typically have far more Omega-6 – found in processed foods and vegetable oil – than Omega-3s, and this imbalance causes inflammation.
Studies have shown that while on a ketogenic diet, people who supplemented with Omega-3s showed more pronounced drops in triglycerides, insulin, and inflammation than those who didn’t take them.
5. Digestive Enzymes
By radically changing your food intake to up to 75 percent fat on a ketogenic diet, you not only can experience rapid, safe weight loss, you can also wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal system.
A simple digestive enzyme that helps to break down fats or lipases and proteins or proteases can really ease symptoms of bloating, nausea and intestinal discomfort that are common as you transition to a keto diet.
And especially helpful to people who love to workout is a proteolytic enzyme supplement, as these help reduce post-workout soreness.
6. Electrolyte Supplements
The radical reduction in carb intake on a ketogenic diet leads to increased water loss, and this also means a loss of key electrolytes. What’s more, for those of us who love to work out, sweating means even more pronounced fluid and electrolyte loss when on a keto diet.
So be sure to hit your dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds and avocados to up your magnesium and potassium intake, as well as looking for an electrolyte supplement that contains these two as well as sodium as you transition to a keto diet.
7. MCT Oil
One of the most popular supplements among keto diet enthusiasts is MCTs or medium-chain triglycerides.
They are metabolized differently than long-chain triglycerides which are the type most commonly found in food, and are more quickly broken down by your liver and thus enter your bloodstream and become a bioavailable fuel source.
Coconut oil is a great source of MCTs, but also consider a straight-up MCT supplement to boost your fat intake and thus increase your ketone levels and help keep you in ketosis.
All in all, a few simple supplements can greatly enhance the benefits you gain from a safe, sensible ketogenic diet. Get started today!