Electrolytes and Supplements Guide for Keto Diet
In order to get the best results from the keto diet, you might consider adding some supplements to your regimen.
Electrolytes are essential, as the ketogenic diet has a diuretic effect on your body. This means that you need to increase your electrolyte intake in order to maintain your electrolyte balance and minimize the side effects of keto.
In addition to that, there are a few more supplements that you might want to check out.
Basic Electrolytes Required on Keto
Sodium & Potassium
As your insulin levels become lower and more stable, your kidneys will not hold onto sodium as much as before. In fact, one of the major reasons why people experience the keto flu is insufficient sodium intake.
Sodium can be found in plain table salt. One gram of salt, however, does not equal one gram of sodium – the exact sodium content should be stated on the package.
You can also include bouillon cubes and homemade bone broth to your diet (provided that you add enough salt to the broth when making it).
Some people are afraid to supplement sodium due to concerns regarding blood pressure. Keep in mind, however, that eliminating processed sugar from your diet and limiting carbs is associated with significantly lowering blood pressure and that the keto diet might be exactly what you need in order to manage it better (1).
Sodium and potassium exist in tight correlation and your body generally does a very good job at maintaining the balance between them, but you still need to get enough of both.
In order to make sure that you’re meeting your potassium needs, it is advisable to eat potassium-rich foods, such as broccoli, avocado, salmon and chicken breast.
You can also use a complete or partial salt substitute, such as Nu Salt or Lo Salt, which contain potassium instead of sodium.
It is generally not advisable to take potassium in a pill form, as taking too much can lead to heart rhythm problems and even cardiac arrest, so it’s best to stick to the tasty alternatives outlined above (2).
In order to add sufficient sodium to your diet, you might need to take between 2g- 4g (or 2,000mg – 4,000mg) per day either from your foods or adding extra salt to your meal (such as Himalayan salt) or taking sodium supplement.
The optimum amount of potassium that you should try to reach daily is approximately 4,700 mg via food (3).
Magnesium is another essential electrolyte, and it contributes to the regulation of muscle and nerve function, blood pressure, and blood glucose (4).
A lot of people do not meet their daily magnesium needs, regardless of whether they are doing a ketogenic /low-carb diet or not.
Good dietary sources of magnesium include almonds, spinach, avocado, and salmon. However, you might need to supplement it in order to make sure you do not become deficient.
The absorption from the different types of magnesium varies a lot, and the one that is most commonly sold, magnesium oxide, has a very low bioavailability, meaning that it is generally not very well absorbed.
In comparison, magnesium citrate has a better absorption rate and is a preferable option (5).
Magnesium plays a role in sleep regulation, as it has a general calming effect, so it might be a good idea to take it before bedtime. If you are taking a few lower doses of magnesium, you can spread them throughout the day and take the last one before going to bed.
It is advisable to aim for between 300 to 400 mg of magnesium from diet and supplements combined.
Other Supplements and Vitamins
MCT is short for medium chain triglycerides, and they are metabolized differently than other oils – it is quickly broken down and transported to the liver, where it is used for energy. For that reason, the calories from it are not readily stored as fat, unlike other oils, but are predominantly used for energy.
MCT oil is a manmade product, where MCTs are extracted from coconut oil or palm kernel oil.
A lot of people in the keto community use MCT oil before a workout in order to fuel their bodies in a quick and efficient way. For some, it can cause an upset stomach. If this is your case, you might want to try it in powder form of MCT Oil.
You can try Perfect Keto MCT Oil Powder because they are completely clean and have ZERO additives or fillers.
Fish oil has been around for a while and its benefits are very well-documented – a large number of studies have assessed its effects on the human body and have demonstrated very positive results.
It can greatly help improve your lipid profile through a reduction of triglycerides in the blood, as well as an increase of HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels and a decrease of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.
It can also have a positive impact on your blood pressure and on your general cardiovascular health.
A good starting dose would be between 1 and 3 grams daily, which is what is considered as safe by the American Heart Association (8).
Vitamin D + Vitamin K
Vitamin D is essential for improving your body’s ability to fight disease and can also help reduce depression. It participates in calcium absorption, which is why insufficient vitamin D levels can result in brittle bones, and ultimately in osteoporosis at an older age (9).
Unfortunately, a lot of people have a vitamin D insufficiency in the US and most likely worldwide (especially in countries with a colder climate and harsh winters with no enough sunlight) (10).
The upper daily limit established by the US National Institute for Health is of 4000 IU; a good starting dose would be from 500 to 1000 IU.
Vitamin D is essential in controlling the calcium equilibrium in your body. However, it is actually vitamin K that directs the calcium to where it is needed, which is why these two vitamins are best taken together.
When you take vitamin K together with it, this is no longer an issue, as vitamin K helps the body properly use the calcium. An adequate daily intake of vitamin K is 120 micrograms for adult men and 90 micrograms for adult women (16, 17, 18, 19)
All of these supplements can help you make your keto journey more pleasant and beneficial for your health. While potassium, sodium, and magnesium are a necessity, deciding to add the others to your everyday regimen will depend on your goals and current health status.
They are generally safe to use in the recommended doses and might help you boost your performance and weight loss. If you have any specific health concerns and conditions, make sure to discuss taking supplements with your doctor first.