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Best Supplements for the Keto Diet

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  Published on May 24th, 2022
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  Last modified May 24th, 2022
Supplements for keto diet

Many people who are serious about their health take supplements to ensure they’re getting all the nutrients they need. When you’re on a well-formulated ketogenic diet, you might be wondering about supplements. Are dietary supplements keto-friendly? Are they necessary, or even helpful at all? Well, there are a number of supplements that can be helpful during your keto journey. Let’s delve into the best supplements for the keto diet.

1. Magnesium

Magnesium enhances energy, offers immune support, regulates blood sugar levels, and helps relax tight muscles [1]

Today, because plenty of medications deplete magnesium and people eat an abundance of processed foods and not enough natural magnesium-rich foods, there are widespread magnesium deficiencies and higher risks of deficiency in general [2].

While lots of magnesium-rich foods like fruits and beans are off-limits on keto, others are on the menu. Magnesium-rich keto-friendly foods include:

  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Mackerel

Whole foods are generally the best way to ingest nutrients like magnesium, but you might decide to supplement 200-400 mg of magnesium daily, especially if you have tight and painful muscles and muscle cramps or difficulty sleeping.

2. MCT Oil

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is typically made from coconut or palm oil, and it’s easy to add to your smoothie or beverage or gulp down a quick spoonful. These triglycerides are metabolized differently from long-chain triglycerides, which are the most common type of fat in food.

Your liver quickly breaks down MCTs, and they enter your bloodstream to be used as fuel for your muscles and brain. Coconut oil is a rich natural source of MCTs, and around 17% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are beneficial MCTs! [3].

You might supplement MCT oil to get more healthy fats, which increases your ketone levels to help you stay in ketosis [4].

MCT oil has been shown to promote feelings of fullness and weight loss [5].

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Krill oil or fish oil provides an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which have been found to lower inflammation and heart disease risk and stave off mental decline [6].

The modern Western diet is lower in omega-3s found in fatty fish and higher in omega-6 fatty acids present in processed foods and vegetable oils.

Salmon is high in omega-3s

An imbalance of omega-3s and omega-6s in your body can cause inflammation and has been associated with an increase in inflammatory diseases. You should aim for a diet containing more omega-3s than omega-6s and 9s [7].

Omega-3 supplements can maximize your health. One impressive study showed people on a keto diet supplementing omega-3 fatty acids from krill oil had more significant decreases in insulin and inflammatory markers and triglycerides than those who didn’t supplement omega-3s [8].

If you’re taking blood-thinning medications, you should consult your doctor before supplementing with omega-3s, which could further thin your blood [9].

Get more omega-3s by consuming fatty fish like salmon, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel!

4. Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is common, particularly for women. If you have a deficiency or low levels, you might want to supplement with vitamin D, which is important for calcium absorption, bone health, regulating cellular growth, and lowering inflammation [10] [].

Few foods are good sources of vitamin D, and lots of people aren’t getting enough sunlight. Your doctor can run a simple blood test to check if you’re deficient and advise you accordingly.

5. Electrolytes

The first two or three weeks of keto can be challenging for some people as they switch to ketosis and lower carb intake. People who aren’t fat-adapted might experience worse symptoms of the keto flu and could benefit from taking electrolytes while on keto.

Transitioning to keto results in water loss and, often, a drop in mineral levels like potassium, sodium, and magnesium as well. This sudden drop in mineral levels can contribute to symptoms of the keto flu, such as fatigue, muscle cramps, and headaches [12].

Athletes on keto could also lose more electrolytes and fluid through sweating [13]. Keto dieters often supplement electrolytes and add an electrolyte powder to their morning beverage. Salting your food provides you with sodium. Go for better quality and more natural salts like Celtic sea salt and Arctic salt.

You can also make sure you’re eating keto foods high in magnesium and potassium like nuts and seeds, avocados, and dark leafy greens.

6. Exogenous Ketones

Exogenous ketones are ketones supplied to your body through an external source. Endogenous ketones are those your body naturally produces on a ketogenic diet. Keto dieters and athletes often use exogenous ketone supplements to increase blood ketone levels. 

Exogenous ketones have been associated with better athletic performance, reduced appetite, and accelerated muscle recovery, but research on exogenous ketones is needed to establish the risks and benefits, and many experts believe they aren’t necessary [14]. Most studies are on ketone esters rather than ketone salts, which are the more common exogenous ketones found in commercial stores. While there’s disagreement in the keto community about their usefulness, the right exogenous ketones used correctly could be a helpful supplement, particularly for athletes.

7. Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes can help you digest the protein and fat you’ll be consuming on your ketogenic diet. If you’re experiencing digestive troubles like bloating and diarrhea when transitioning to keto, you might decide to assist your digestion with a digestive enzyme blend containing enzymes that specialize in breaking down fat and protein. Proteolytic enzymes help you break down and digest protein and have also been shown to reduce post-workout soreness [15].

8. Greens Powder

A healthy, well-formulated ketogenic diet contains nutrient-dense veggies and leafy greens that lower disease risk. A quick and easy way to up your veggie intake is by adding a greens powder to your smoothie or shake. Most greens powders provide a mixture of powdered plants like chlorella, kale, spinach, broccoli, and spirulina. Be mindful that you aren’t using greens powder as a replacement for consuming fresh produce but rather, as an addition to your healthy keto diet.

9. Collagen

Collagen is an abundant protein in your body known for repairing the intestinal lining and improving mineral absorption. Collagen contains essential amino acids and helps maintain healthy hair, skin, and nails [16] [].

Gelatin is cooked collagen found in bone broth and tasty keto treats like this keto crème caramel dessert. More research is needed on collagen supplements and on collagen-rich foods to determine how much supplements and foods actually increase the collagen in your body. Some research shows supplementing collagen peptides can benefit arthritis, skin elasticity, and muscle mass [18].

Keto dieters supplement with collagen to enhance overall health and wellness. Collagen peptides are available in powder form, and they’re easy to mix into soups, smoothies, and baked goods. Try making homemade keto Jell-O or keto gummies!

References

1.

Grober, U., Schmidt, J., & Kisters, K. (2015). Magnesium in prevention and therapy. Nutrients, 7(9), 8199-8226. DOI: 10.3390/nu7095388

2.

DiNicolantonio, J. J., O’Keefe, J. H., & Wilson, W. (2018). Subclinical magnesium deficiency: A principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart, 5(1), e000668. DOI: 10.1136/openhrt-2017-000668

3.

Eyres, L., Eyres, M. F., Chisholm, A., & Brown, R. C. (2016). Coconut oil consumption and cardiovascular risk factors in humans. Nutr Rev, 74(4), 267-280. DOI: 10.1093/nutrit/nuw002

5.

Mumme, K., & Stonehouse, W. (2015). Effects of medium-chain triglycerides on weight loss and body composition: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Acad Nutr Diet, 115(2), 249-263. DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.10.022

6.

 Nichols, P. D., Mcmanus, A., Krail, K., Sinclair, A. J., & Miller, M. (2014). Recent advances in omega-3: Health benefits, sources, products, and bioavailability. Nutrients, 6(9), 3727-3733. DOI: 10.3390/nu6093727

7.

Patterson, E., Wall, R., Fitzgerald, G. F., Ross, R. P., & Stanton, C. (2012). Health implications of high dietary omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. J Nutr Metab, DOI: 10.1155/2012/539426

8.

Paoli, A., Moro, T., Bosco, G., Bianco, A., Grimaldi, K. A., Camporesi, E., & Mangar, D. (2015). Effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids supplementation on some cardiovascular risk factors with a ketogenic Mediterranean diet. Mar Drugs, DOI: 10.3390/md13020996

9.

Ma, Y., Lindsey, M. L., & Halade, G. V. (2012). DHA derivatives of fish oil as dietary supplements: A nutrition-based drug discovery approach for therapies to prevent metabolic cardiotoxicity. Expert Opin Drug Discov, 7(8), 711-721. DOI: 10.1517/17460441.2012.694862

10.

Kennel, K. A., Drake, M. T., & Hurley, D. L. (2010). Vitamin D deficiency in adults: When to test and how to treat. Mayo Clin Proc, DOI: 10.4065/mcp.2010.0138

11.

Rogovik, A. L, & Goldman, R. D. (2010). Ketogenic diet for treatment of epilepsy. Can Fam Physician, 56(6), 540-542.

12.

Gomez-Arbelaez, D., Crujeiras, A. B., Castro, A. I., Goday, A., Mas-Lorenzo, A., Bellon, A… Casanueva, F. F. (2017). Acid-base safety during the course of a very low-calorie ketogenic diet. Endocrine, 58(1), 81-90. DOI: 10.1007/s12020-017-1405-3

14.

Stubbs, B. J., Cox, P. J., Evans, R. D., Cyranka, M., Clarke, K., & De Wet, H. (2018). A ketone ester drink lowers human ghrelin and appetite. Obesity (Silver Spring), DOI: 10.1002/oby.22051

15.

Udani, J. K., Singh, B. B., Singh, V. J., & Sandoval, E. (2009). BounceBack capsules for reduction of DOMS after eccentric exercise: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover pilot study. J Inc Soc Sports Nutr, DOI: 10.1186/1550-2783-6-14

16.

Koutroubakis, I. E., Petinaki, E., Dimoulios, P., Vardas, E., Roussomoustakaki, M., Maniatis, A. N., & Kouroumalis, E. A. (2003). Serum laminin and collagen IV in inflammatory bowel disease. J Clin Pathol, DOI: 10.1136/jcp.56.11.817

17.

Daneault, A., Prawitt, J., Soule, V. F., Coxam, V., & Wittrant, Y. (2017). Biological effect of hydrolyzed collagen on bone metabolism. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 57(9), 1922-1937. DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2015.1038377

18.

Oertzen-Hagemann, V., Kirmse, M., Eggers, B., Pfeiffer, K., Marcus, K., De Marees, M., & Platen, P. (2019). Effects of 12 weeks of hypertrophy resistance exercise training combined with collagen peptide supplementation on the skeletal muscle proteome in recreationally active men. Nutrients, DOI: 10.3390/nu11051072

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