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If you’re looking to begin your journey with the ketogenic diet or take your current keto diet to the next level, it may be time to explore nutrient supplementation. Finding the right supplements for your keto diet can help you get through the fat adaptation phase without keto flu symptoms, and even improve your physical and cognitive results. Find out which supplements to experiment with and how in this article.
In this article you’ll learn which supplements to consider and when, including:
- Electrolytes and other micronutrients
- MCT Oil
- Adaptogenic herbs
- Clean protein
- Exogenous ketones
Sodium and other electrolyte levels tend to drop on the ketogenic diet, especially during the first few weeks. Supplementing with minerals like sodium (3-5 grams), calcium (1,000 mg), potassium (2-3 grams), and magnesium (~200-400 mg) will do wonders for your energy as well as any aches and pains you notice during the beginning of the diet.
Frequency: Daily, with or without food
Many people find it difficult to get enough fat on the ketogenic diet. Most experts recommend getting anywhere from 70-90% of your calories from fat, which may feel strange for most people coming from a conventional diet.
MCT oil is a great, clean source of healthy fat that is easily converted into ketones in your liver. One gram of MCTs per kilogram of body weight has been established as safe. However, MCTs can cause digestive distress, so it’s best to start out slowly and work your way up.
Start with 1 teaspoon per day, working your way up to 1-2 tablespoons per day. If you experience loose stools or nausea, take few days off or until things go back to normal. For more info on MCT dosage, check out this article.
Frequency: Daily, with or without food
It’s common for fiber intake to drop dramatically on a ketogenic diet because fiber is technically considered a carbohydrate. However, because fiber will not spike blood sugar or insulin levels like other carbs, it’s not “counted” by most people in their total net carb intake.
Make sure to get plenty of low-sugar, high-fiber vegetables into your diet. For more guidance, check out this post on what to eat when you go keto. If you’re still finding it hard to get enough fiber, try adding a natural fiber supplement like psyllium husk.
Frequency: 35-40 grams of fiber as food or supplemented with your meal
Adaptogenic herbs are natural substances, usually herbs or fungi, that help your body adapt to physical and mental stress. They’ve been used for thousands of years by a number of cultures to help calm the body and mind, balance hormones, and even improve your workouts. Adaptogens work with your body, helping to balance and regulate hormones and support your immune system, making them a great addition to your keto diet.
In the first weeks of your keto diet, you may feel the physical repercussions as your body adapts to using fat as fuel instead of carbs. Regular use of adaptogenic herbs can help your body adapt to this stress, plus help with energy levels, cognitive function, and sleep.
Frequency: Daily, usually away from food
The keto diet is a “moderate” protein diet, but getting anywhere from 1-1.6 grams of clean protein per kilogram of bodyweight will help you to maintain and even build muscle, even if you’re in a caloric deficit! Clean protein sources include pastured chicken, grass-fed beef, lamb, and wild-caught fish to name a few. But eating enough protein can be a challenge.
Exogenous ketones are supplemental ketones that usually come in liquid or powdered form and are commonly used as a meal replacement. Many people on the keto diet swear by exogenous ketones, but it’s important to keep in mind that, while they will raise your blood ketone levels, they are not meant to directly cause weight loss. Although they are used to suppress appetite, they should be considered an energy supplement or meal replacement.
Frequency: Optional, as a meal replacement
As with any nutrient supplementation, it’s best to consult with your doctor or other qualified practitioner before you begin.
We’re curious – have you used supplements while experimenting with the keto diet? Share what’s worked for you in the comments below!