What Are Best Supplements to Take with the Keto Diet.
The ketogenic diet, or ‘keto diet’, is a popular diet for weight-loss and other health benefits (1,2). This low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet causes your body to shift to a different type of metabolism, where ketones from fat are used as the body’s fuel, rather than carbohydrates(1). This diet can produce significant and sustainable weight loss, but the restrictions it puts on your food can make it difficult to get enough vitamins, minerals and other nutrients(2,3). Deficiencies of these nutrients can have serious health consequences, so not only is it important to eat a wide range of all the foods allowed on the diet, but nutritional supplements might also be needed(3,4).
Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D are essential for strong bones, but it can be difficult to get enough on the keto diet (5). Eating plenty of calcium-rich foods (dairy products and leafy green vegetables) helps your natural calcium intake, but calcium absorption is dependent on vitamin D, so taking a calcium and vitamin D3 supplement can be helpful.
Electrolytes: sodium, potassium and magnesium
The changes to your metabolism caused by the keto diet can mean you lose more essential electrolytes such as sodium and potassium(6). Magnesium requirements aren’t increased in the same way, but it’s difficult to get enough from food while following the keto diet (6). Adding salt to your food and eating plenty of potassium-rich foods such as spinach, avocado and kale should be enough, but sometimes supplements are needed(6).
Micronutrients and vitamins
Micronutrients such as zinc, selenium and copper are deficient from a strict keto diet. Micronutrient deficiency is associated with a higher risk of being overweight/obese, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and serious infections (3,7). Specific vitamin deficiencies associated with the keto diet, such as B-vitamins, can have significant health consequences (4). These micronutrients and vitamins often need to be replaced with tablet supplements, as it can be difficult to get enough from diet alone.
Recent research shows that the bacteria that live in your gut are very important in how the body absorbs the vitamins and minerals needed for healthy bones and your overall health (8–10). The keto diet can have a detrimental effect on these healthy bacteria (11). Probiotics contain these health-promoting bacteria and help maintain a healthy balance in the gut (12). The addition of probiotics to your keto diet can therefore be very helpful. Probiotics are found in yogurts, kefir, kombucha and fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi, many of which are acceptable on keto diet plans.
Overall it will be most sensible to take a daily multivitamin while following the keto diet(2,4). This will ensure adequate daily intake of all the important vitamins and minerals, and if combined a well-balanced, varied diet, will make sure you get all the nutrients you need.
If you have concerns about your nutrition or you have any symptoms related to nutrient deficiency you should seek advice from a qualified dietician or your doctor.
- Harvey CJ d C, Schofield GM, Williden M. The use of nutritional supplements to induce ketosis and reduce symptoms associated with keto-induction: a narrative review. PeerJ. 2018;
- Health HT. CS of P. Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss [Internet]. www.hsph.harvard.edu. 2018 [cited 2019 Jan 7]. Available from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/ketogenic-diet/
- Calton JB. Prevalence of micronutrient deficiency in popular diet plans. J Int Soc Sports Nutr [Internet]. BioMed Central; 2010 Jun 10;7:24. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20537171
- Hartman AL, Vining EPG. Clinical aspects of the ketogenic diet. Epilepsia. 2007.
- Zupec-Kania B, Zupanc ML. Long-term management of the ketogenic diet: Seizure monitoring, nutrition, and supplementation. In: Epilepsia. 2008.
- DietDoctor. Do you need electrolyte supplements with the keto diet? [Internet]. dietdoctor.com. 2018 [cited 2019 Jan 7]. Available from: https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto/supplements#magnesium
- Asfaw A. Micronutrient deficiency and the prevalence of mothers’ overweight/obesity in Egypt. Econ Hum Biol [Internet]. 2007;5(3):471–83. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1570677X07000263
- Collins FL, Rios-Arce ND, Schepper JD, Parameswaran N, McCabe LR. The Potential of Probiotics as a Therapy for Osteoporosis. Microbiol Spectr [Internet]. 2017 Aug;5(4):10.1128/microbiolspec.BAD-0015-2016. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28840819
- Parvaneh K, Jamaluddin R, Karimi G, Erfani R. Effect of probiotics supplementation on bone mineral content and bone mass density. The Scientific World Journal. 2014.
- Beyer M. Osteoporosis: Could probiotics protect bone health? Medical News Today [Internet]. 2018 Nov 18; Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323675.php
- Xie G, Zhou Q, Qiu C-Z, Dai W-K, Wang H-P, Li Y-H, et al. Ketogenic diet poses a significant effect on imbalanced gut microbiota in infants with refractory epilepsy. World J Gastroenterol [Internet]. 2017/09/07. Baishideng Publishing Group Inc; 2017 Sep 7;23(33):6164–71. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28970732
- Obstetrics IF of G and. Probiotics reduce osteoporosis levels in older women. www.figo.org. 2018.