Takeaway: Exogenous Ketones a supplement that will help you stay in a state of ketosis when following a keto diet. There are also supplements like MCT oil, collagen peptides, and electrolytes to help you optimize your result while on keto. Learn how and why each supplement can help you.
To set the record straight: no scientific evidence suggests you need to take dietary supplements on a keto diet. However, there are a number of keto supplements that can facilitate certain aspects of the keto diet—such as staying in ketosis and treating flu-like keto symptoms.
Keto Diet and Keto Supplements
The keto diet has caused quite the controversy in both the fitness and medical community. This diet goes against everything we’ve been taught about effective dieting—avoiding fats at all costs. When you’re on the keto diet, you consume a surplus of fats, moderate protein, and barely any carbs (30-50 grams per day) to achieve ketosis—a metabolic state of enhanced fat burning.
Keto is an extreme diet that tests anyone’s will-power (carb lover or not), which is why experts have developed a variety of nutritional supplements that pair well with keto and help people stick with it. Some supplements have been formulated with the keto-dieter in mind, while others are simply dietary supplements that help anyone with a particular nutrient deficiency.
What Supplements Should I Take on the Keto Diet?
Generally, there are three main reasons why you might want to take keto supplements while on a ketogenic diet:
- To treat keto flu-like symptoms: It is completely normal to start feeling flu-like symptoms during your first week or two of starting keto. The reason you experience a keto flu (or carb flu) is because your body is taking this time to adjust from sugar burning to fat burning. The drastic reduction of carbs causes a shock to the body and may cause withdrawal-like symptoms (nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, headache, weakness, muscle cramps, dizziness, stomach pain, muscle soreness, and poor concentration). Symptoms can range from mild to severe and vary from person to person.
- To prevent nutrient deficiencies: Nutrient deficiencies can happen on any diet, not just while you’re on keto. A lot of people who attempt to go keto tend to do it without taking the time to properly plan their meals and therefore suffer great nutrient deficiencies.
- To help your body under-go ketosis: Reducing your carb intake forces your body to burn ketones for energy instead of glucose. While some people’s body goes into a state of ketosis fairly quickly, others tend to need a little extra push. Of course, a keto diet plan needs to be properly executed to go into ketosis, but some supplements can help.
Keto supplements can boost your results, improve your health, and help your body stay in ketosis. Although there are hundreds of keto supplements, you really only need a handful of them to optimize your results, or in some cases, optimize your new dietary lifestyle.
Below is a list of the supplements you should consider taking while on the keto diet:
Exogenous Ketones are ketones in supplement form. The word exogenous means created externally, and these supplements are forms of the ketone beta-hydroxybutyrate—ketones which your body produces on its own. The purpose of exogenous ketones is to raise your blood level of ketone bodies. Your body might still take a few days to fall back into ketosis, but this supplement will definitely help speed up the process if you accidentally when over your carb limit.
If your body never left ketosis, then this supplement can aid in keeping your body in a ketosis state, as research has shown that exogenous ketone supplements are an effective way to raise concentrations of blood beta-hydroxybutyrate acid in humans. These keto supplements can speed up keto-adaption and ease the transition to nutritional ketosis. You can find exogenous ketones in powder, pill, or liquid form.
Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil contains medium-length chains of fats called triglycerides. The short length of MCTs makes them easily digestible. There are many benefits that link back to the way your body processes MCTs. A research review found that MCT oils are an effective way to improve nutritional ketosis and reduce symptoms of keto-induction. Your body uses MCT oil as an instant source of energy when carb intake is low, meaning the fat never gets stored in your body.
MCT oil has about 10% fewer calories than long-chain triglycerides found in foods such as olive oil, nuts, and avocados. It may also help control your appetite; MCT oil has been shown to increase the release of peptide YY and leptin—two hormones that promote the feeling of fullness in the body.
Collagen makes up about 30% of your body’s total protein content. Although our body can make collagen all on its own, collagen peptide supplements are here to make our life a little easier. Collagen is rich in amino acids that are sometimes lacking in our diet.
Collagen builds skin, bones, cartilage, tendons, and connective tissues in the body. It also promotes gut health and helps with nutrient absorption. Because collagen is a protein, people on keto must ensure that they are tracking macros and not going overboard on their protein intake (this includes supplements), as too much protein will cause you to regress from a fat-burning state to a glucose-burning state.
The amount of protein found in a serving of any collagen peptides supplement is not nearly enough to kick you out of ketosis on its own, so you probably don’t have anything to worry about if you are keeping a careful watch on your overall daily protein intake.
When carb intake is extremely low, electrolytes in the body can get out of balance, and you may begin to feel ill and experience a sudden lack of energy. Being on keto also requires you to drink a sufficient amount of water throughout the day, and this requires you to take frequent trips to the bathroom to get rid of all that fluid. As you release unwanted fluid from your body, you also release electrolytes. Therefore it is vital to ensure we replenish our body with these essential minerals our body needs to function properly.
Electrolytes are the electrical signaling molecules used for maintaining functions within the body, such as regulating your heartbeat and allowing muscles to contract for functional movement. There are five essential electrolytes for people on the keto diet: potassium, magnesium, calcium, chloride, and sodium. We’ll touch on these electrolytes in more detail a little later.
Fish Oil Supplements
Fish oils are the best source of omega-3s and omega-3 fatty acids are essential to all dietary plans—not just keto. Because our bodies can’t produce these essential fatty acids on its own, it is important to get them from either the foods we eat or with a fish oil supplement.
Omega 3s enable the body to make cell membranes and to produce energy. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA have been found to reduce inflammation, lower heart disease risk, and prevent cognitive decline. Omega-3 supplements can be particularly beneficial for people on ketogenic diets, as they can help balance omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids when the body undergoes a high-fat diet.
It is highly recommended that when shopping for an omega-3 supplement, you choose a well-known brand that provides at least 500 mg of EPA and DHA per 1,000 mg serving.
Electrolyte Supplements for the Keto Diet
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, controlling over 300 biochemical reactions. A lot of people—whether on a keto diet plan or not—experience magnesium deficiencies. You should get a total of 400 mg of magnesium per day. A magnesium deficiency can lead to muscle spasms, numbness, and fatigue.
Taking up to 400 mg of magnesium in supplement form is safe for most people with healthy kidneys. It is recommended that you look for supplements with magnesium citrate instead of magnesium oxide, as research shows that your body better absorbs magnesium citrate. Magnesium chloride and magnesium glycinate are also forms that are well absorbed.
Because some forms of magnesium can cause digestive issues when taken alone, it is highly recommended that you take a magnesium supplement with your meal. Supplementing with magnesium can help reduce muscle cramps, difficulty sleeping, and irritability, which are all common symptoms experienced within the first week or two of transitioning to a ketogenic diet.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. It helps improve muscle and nerve function, cell communication, and prevents blood clotting. A calcium deficiency can lead to muscle spasms, numbness, and in some cases, seizures. Good food sources of calcium include dairy products, eggs, and leafy greens.
However, for the sake of not going over your daily macros on keto, you can opt to take a calcium supplement instead. You need more calcium than usual when you start transitioning into keto—about 1,000mg of calcium per day—since some of it is lost with glycogen and water during the adaptation phase. Calcium supplements can help you fight of the keto flu and ease your way into nutritional ketosis.
Chloride is great for balancing the level of acidity in your body. Deficiencies in chloride can lead to loss of appetite, weakness in the body, lethargy, and dehydration. It is perfectly fine for people on keto to use table salt for chloride. Beware of cheap table salt; this often has maltodextrin (sugar) added to stabilize it
Most salt-containing condiments are also good sources of chloride. Salt is 40% sodium, but the remaining 60% is chloride. Although most chloride is taken in combination with sodium, chloride itself should not be mistaken for sodium.
Deficiencies in sodium while on a keto diet can lead to fatigue, weakness, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. Sodium controls the amount of water retention in your body, supports muscle and nerve function, and is essential for people on a keto diet.
With any high-carb diet, it is always recommended that you cut back on sodium, as this may lead to high blood pressure and other related health issues. However, the need for sodium actually increased for people following a keto diet. This is because when carb intake is dramatically reduced, blood insulin levels decrease, which causes an increase in the amount of sodium the body loses.
Research suggests that 3-5 g of sodium per day can actually improve heart health, but anything over 5 g per day can be problematic. Meeting your required sodium levels with quality sources is crucial for hydration, electrolyte balance, and energy production. Himalayan or Celtic rock salt are excellent, high-quality sources of sodium. Bone broth is also a great way to replenish sodium on keto.
Potassium Supplements for the Keto Diet
Many people on the keto diet experience low levels of potassium, which can lead to tiredness, muscle weakness, and constipation. Potassium helps regulate the fluid balance in your body and the electrical activity of important organs in your body, such as your heart and muscles. There are a number of keto-friendly foods that are high in potassium. Foods with 400-1000 mg of potassium per serving include avocado, swiss chard (cooked), spinach, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, salmon, meat, and flounder.
Although getting potassium from your diet is always preferable, you may also take potassium supplements to make up for the lack of potassium in your food diet.
Some potassium supplements can be misleading in that they list 500+ mg as the dosage on the front of the bottle. If you turn to the back and read the supplement facts, you can confirm that each tablet is typically only 99 mg. This is because your blood potassium levels need to remain within a narrow range, and taking too much in a concentrated form can be dangerous especially for those who are taking a combination of supplements or prescription medication.
Fiber Supplements for the Keto Diet
The keto diet is typically low in fiber, which helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, and also keeps hunger and blood sugar in check. A lack of fiber in your diet can leave you bloated and constipated. Because a higher fat intake can initially be harsh on your digestive system, it is important to take keto supplements that contain fiber.
Here are some keto-friendly fiber options:
Psyllium is a form of soluble fiber derived from the husk of the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds. It functions as a bulk-forming and gentle laxative to make bowel movements much smoother making it one of the best keto supplements for constipation. Psyllium husk also benefits gut flora. You can find psyllium at any pharmacy or supplement store.
Acacia fiber, also known as acacia gum and gum Arabic, is a soluble fiber derived from the sap of the Acacia Senegal tree, which grows all over Africa and in parts of India. Every 100 grams of acacia fiber contains around 90 grams of fiber. It’s excellent for treating diarrhea, constipation, and can also be used to help manage IBS and high cholesterol.
Acacia fiber can also be effective in aiding weight loss. A research study found that consuming 30 grams of acacia fiber powder for six weeks led to a lowered body weight and an average body fat reduction of 2% in participants.
Ground flaxseed is an excellent option to get enough fiber on the ketogenic diet. Flaxseed is a food and fiber crop with a high content of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, thiamin, and folate. Every 100 grams of flaxseed delivers roughly 27 grams of fiber while providing just 1.5 grams of digestible carbs. Flaxseed contains both soluble and insoluble fibers, which makes it easier for you to pass stool.
Chia seeds are the richest forms of omega-3 fatty acids and consist of mainly insoluble fiber. They’re high in healthy fats, low in carbs, and supply plenty of calcium. Chia seeds improve bowel movements and gut health in general. Research suggests that the powerful antioxidants in chia seeds also aid heart health, liver health, and can prevent cancer and premature aging.
Keto Weight Loss Supplements
Most of the supplements previously mentioned are considered keto supplements that aid in weight loss. However, there is one particular keto supplement we have not discussed yet: greens powder.
Because the variety of vegetables you can consume with a keto diet is limited, greens powders make excellent keto supplements. Including greens powder in your supplement regimen is a convenient and effective way to boost your intake of nutrient-dense vegetable.
Most greens powders come with a mixture of powdered plant-based nutrients from spinach, spirulina, chlorella, broccoli, wheatgrass and more that are all beneficial for people on keto (or any dietary plan for weight loss). You can add greens powder to your drinks, shakes, and smoothies. This supplement is great for optimizing nutrition, promoting fat loss, and prevent deficiencies on a keto diet.
Keto Vitamin Supplements
Exogenous ketones, magnesium, MCT oils, omega-3 fatty acids, and a few other vitamins have all been discussed in detail and come in keto vitamin supplement form.
Here are two additional keto vitamin supplements that should also be incorporated into your ketogenic dietary plan:
An optimal level of vitamin D is important for everyone’s health, not just people following a ketogenic diet. A vitamin D deficiency is common in general, so supplementing with a vitamin is always a good idea. Vitamin D is responsible for supporting your immune system, regulating cellular growth, promoting bone health and lowering inflammation in the body.
Many people transitioning to a ketogenic diet experience digestive issues like nausea, diarrhea and bloating. Eating a high-fat content can be rough on your digestive system, and since the keto diet consists of 75% fat intake, digestive enzymes vitamin supplements are highly encouraged. A digestive enzyme blend that contains enzymes that break down fats (lipases) and proteins (proteases) may help optimize digestion.
Keto Protein Supplements
It is best to get your daily protein intake from lean protein foods due to their nutrient density and their low carb content. But if you’re the type of person who is always on the go, then we recommend looking into some of the keto supplements and products available on the Perfect Keto website. They have a good variety of vitamins, minerals, protein powders, and keto condiments to meet your dietary needs and ensure your success!
About Perfect Keto: Perfect Keto is a well-known keto supplements company that prides itself on formulating keto-friendly products that help you enjoy and succeed at keto so you can reach your health goals and become your healthiest, happiest self.
There are a variety of supplements that can help you optimize your ketogenic diet results. When keto is done right, nutritional ketosis can be achieved (both short and long term). Try incorporating some of these keto supplements to reduce keto flu symptoms, induce ketosis, and prevent dietary deficiencies.