A restricted diet plus the process of ketosis may increase your need for specific supplements. These may include:
The kidneys excrete excess fluid and electrolytes during ketosis so replenishing electrolytes is crucial to feeling well and energetic while minimizing muscle cramps.
- Sodium: Sodium must be kept in a delicate balance in the body to avoid excess water loss or retention, maintain adequate blood flow and keep the nervous system running optimally. Sodium can be obtained through pickled foods, salted nuts, broths, brothy soups, and simply salting food on your plate.
- Potassium: This electrolyte helps blood vessels to relax and calms heart rate. Potassium is rich in these keto-friendly foods: avocado, nuts, seeds, Swiss chard, cocoa powder, and mushrooms.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is a mineral that helps muscles relax and may be needed to prevent constipation on a ketogenic diet. Two of the best forms of magnesium for oral intake are magnesium glycinate and magnesium threonate. This form is better absorbed than magnesium citrate. Magnesium sulfate is the form found in Epsom salt and is readily absorbed by the skin to soothe sore muscles. While food sources of magnesium are only absorbed by about 40%, it is still important to include magnesium-rich food sources like: hemp seeds, Swiss chard, Mackerel, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and dark chocolate.
FiberA review of 185 prospective studies and 58 clinical trials has found that 25-29 grams of fiber per day results in a 15 to 30 percent reduction in death from all causes. Even more benefit was observed in those consuming even more fiber per day.
- Insoluble: This type of fiber passes through the intestines to the colon where it adds bulk to the stool making it easier and quicker to pass. Examples of insoluble fiber supplements include psyllium seed husks and Metamucil (though these contain a higher percentage of soluble rather than insoluble fiber). Insoluble fiber is not recommended for those suffering from diarrhea.
- Soluble: Soluble fiber attracts water, forms a gel, slows digestion and is absorbed into the blood stream through the intestines. This fiber improves nutrient absorption and can help improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Grains, fruits and beans are high carbohydrate foods rich in soluble fiber. With a keto diet, you may not be eating enough of this type of fiber for benefit. Examples of soluble fiber supplements include Benefiber, Citrucel (methylcellulose), psyllium seed husks and Metamucil. This type of fiber supplement is ideal when battling constipation because it can soften or loosen stools making them easier to pass.
- Prebiotic: Inulin, chicory root, wheat dextrin and acacia gum are examples of prebiotic soluble fibers that feed healthy gut bacteria. It is especially important to protect your healthy gut bacteria from dying off which may jeopardize your long term health.
MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides also known as medium-chain fatty acids, a type of quickly and easily absorbed fat primarily found in coconut and palm. For more on the benefits of MCT oil click here.
MCT’s can help you meet your fat macronutrient goals while simultaneously improving health. MCTs have been shown to reduce weight, body fat and food intake, improve metabolism and gut health, enhance insulin sensitivity, reduce lactic acid build up after intense exercise, improve brain function in those with Alzheimer’s disease, reduce CRP, an inflammatory marker, improve heart health and more! MCTs are most often available in oil and powder forms and make a great addition to coffee, smoothies, salad dressings, and cooked vegetables.
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can be taken in supplement form (or by eating fermented foods). For more on the benefits of probiotics click here.
In some cases of a carbohydrate restricted diet, healthy bacteria in the colon does not receive enough fibrous fuel to stay alive which may jeopardize long term health. Probiotic supplementation may help to minimize this risk.
For ketogenic dieters who limit their meat consumption or feel more satiated by a higher protein intake, protein powders are a valuable supplement.
- Bone broth: Bone broth protein, yes, contains protein, but it provides so much more - collagen type 2, potassium, sodium, chondroitin, glucosamine and hyaluronic acid. This combination of nutrients works together to improve joint pain, skin aging, inflammation and weight management. This type of protein is easily mixed with hot or cold beverages and is dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and keto-friendly.
- Collagen: Collagen protein is derived from the bones, skin and cartilage of animals, but is not sourced from dairy like whey protein so it is suitable for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergy. Collagen protein offers an advantage over whey protein because it is high in glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. These amino acids help the body create its own collagen, the main protein in the human body, which supports healthy skin, hair, nail, joints, gut function, immunity, and strong bones. Make sure to consume collagen types I, II, III, IV and V for the most benefits. Like bone broth protein, collagen protein is easily mixed with hot or cold beverages and is dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and keto-friendly.
- Egg: This type of protein is obtained from egg whites and is keto and paleo-friendly, gluten-free, and soy-free. Egg whites’ protein provides all essential amino acids making it an excellent choice for muscle repair, recovery and growth.
- Whey: Whey protein is the most studied form of protein powder with substantial research supportings its use for muscle gain, repair, recovery and lean mass preservation. It is quickly absorbed and contains branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), key amino acids for muscle growth. While whey is sourced from cow dairy, and thus is not suitable for vegans, those with lactose intolerance or milk allergy, it is an excellent choice for many others. Choose grass-fed whey protein for improved nutrient profiles and a cleaner protein fuel.
- Vegan: Vegan protein powders often combine several sources of plant protein to form complete proteins and provide all essential amino acids. Common combinations include pea, hemp and rice proteins. In addition, vegan protein powders often add superfood powders, digestive enzymes, probiotics and other plant ingredients to provide a nutrient-packed supplement. Vegan protein powders are typically higher in carbohydrates, and therefore must be considered and counted when following a keto or low-carbohydrate diet.
Written by: Natalie Butler, RDN, LD.
Published: July 12, 2019
Jump to Another Section of the Beginner's Guide to the Keto Diet
1. What is Keto? | 2. Keto Health Benefits | 3. Keto Health Risks | 4. Keto Nutritional Macro Calculations | 5. Foods to Eat on Keto | 6. Foods to Avoid on Keto | 7. Keto Supplements | 8. Free Keto Meal Plan | 9. Get Started on Keto | 10. Keto Recipe Book
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