One of the first things that come to mind when starting a new diet is do I need supplements? the answer is not the same for everyone since our lifestyles are very different. Many will benefit from using supplements and others like me just don’t’ care about them. But before we start let’s define the word supplements.
What Are Supplements?
Dietary supplements are substances that you should consider taking to cover all your nutrient needs. Especially if you’re following a restricted diet such as a vegan diet (in which you remove all animal products).
People also take supplements to boost their health and prevent or relieve health problems.
You can take dietary supplements in different forms like pills, powders, drops, capsules, extracts or even liquids. Additionally, these supplements can also add vitamins, minerals, fiber, amino acids, enzymes and antioxidants to any diet.
Likewise, food and drinks are often fortified with supplements like cereal which has iron and other vitamins added to it.
Do I really need supplements when I start the keto diet?
If you do the keto diet correctly, you should be getting all your nutrition needs. However, it’s known that the keto diet eliminates important food groups such as fruit and root vegetables which are a source of many nutrients. By removing these foods from your diet you may have some nutritional deficiencies.
There are different interpretations of the keto diet and this can lead to different health results.
If you’re interested in starting or maintaining the keto diet it’s a good idea for you to look into some supplements.
What do keto supplements do?
Supplements that contain medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and omega-3 fatty acids are known to improve the performance of the keto diet.
This means that if you’re doing the keto diet, you would benefit from certain supplements that can help restore magnesium and electrolyte levels in your body.
Likewise, some people need to get an extra dose of extra fiber during the keto diet as well so you should also check if that’s your situation.
Keto supplements can also help to relieve the symptoms of the “keto flu” which is the result of the body’s adjustment to burning fat for fuel and not carbohydrates.
Best Keto Supplements
If you are familiar with the keto diet you probably know that it includes many foods high in calcium like milk, yogurt, and cheese. Although milk is high in calcium many keto dieters often avoided due to the lactose content which can affect blood sugar levels.
Something similar happens with beans. Although they’re not excluded on a keto diet, you have to restrict your bean intake since they are high in carbs.
You can take dietary supplements in different forms like pills, powders, drops, capsules, extracts or even liquids.
The combination of these factors create a higher risk of magnesium deficiency for keto followers
Magnesium is an essential nutrient for optimal health.
In fact, your body needs Magnesium for more than 300 biochemical reactions. It helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heartbeat steady, and helps bones remain strong.
In addition, it also helps adjust blood glucose levels. It aids in the production of energy and protein.
A deficiency in magnesium is characterized by muscle cramps, sleeping problems, and irritability. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it might be a good idea to invest in a magnesium supplement.
Make sure to take one that has been proven to be easily absorbed. A few options are magnesium glycinate or magnesium gluconate.
Food sources of magnesium
Oysters, almonds, spinach, avocado, Swiss chard, pumpkin seeds, and mackerel are all sources of magnesium.
Many keto followers take medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs as a supplement.
Your liver breaks down these fats which can then be used as fuel for your muscles and brain. It naturally occurs with coconut oil.
Medium-chain triglyceride oil, or MCT oil, is derived from coconut oil which a good source of MCTs. MCT oil contains medium-length chains of triglycerides. Because these chains are shorter, they are digested faster. This increases ketone levels, which help keto followers to stay in ketosis and lose weight.
To add MCTs to your diet, you can simply take a teaspoon of coconut oil. Of course, you can also add it to food and drinks.
Because some people have had issues with nausea and diarrhea it’s a good idea to start with just one teaspoon at the beginning.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega−3 fatty acids, also called Omega-3 oils are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). The three types of omega−3 fatty acids are α-linolenic acid (ALA), found in plant oils, and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both commonly found in fish oils.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements usually come in the form of fish or krill oil. Omega-3 fatty acids have many health benefits including, helping to reduce inflammation, lower heart disease risk and prevent mental decline.
These supplements can help those on a keto diet to keep their ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 ratio correct.
Food sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, oysters, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and anchovies.
Vitamin D deficiency is not particular to people following ketogenic diets; it’s common for the population at large. Health practitioners recommend that everyone supplement their diets with vitamin D since there are relatively few good food sources of the vitamin.
You should keep in mind that Vitamin D comes in two forms. You get vitamin D2 from vegetable sources and vitamin D3 exposure to the sun as well as foods like oily fish and fortified foods like cereals and margarine.
This particular vitamin promotes bone health and protects against cancer, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. It’s also known that vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium, an important micronutrient. It works as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory in the body and supports the immune system.
There are two main reasons why people on a keto diet may experience digestive problems that requiring digestive enzymes to aid digestion.
The first reason is the high-fat content of the keto diet. The keto diet can consist of up to 75% fat which is hard on the average digestive system resulting in nausea and diarrhea.
The second reason why these side effects may occur it’s that the protein content of the keto diet is higher than regular diets so when you switch to keto, your body can’t handle so much protein until it gets used to it.
If you’re experiencing digestive issues when you’re on the keto diet, you should take a digestive enzyme. This will help your body break down fats and digest protein better.
The first thing to know about ketones is that own body doesn’t produce them on a regular diet. But if you’re on the keto diet your body will produce these exogeneous ketones naturally through a process called ketogenesis. That’s the reason why ketones your own body creates are called endogenous ketones.
People who are on a keto diet take exogenous ketone supplements to increase their blood ketone levels.
It’s interesting to note that exogenous ketones have not been researched extensively and it is not sure whether these supplements are useful or necessary. However, there is research that indicates that exogenous ketone supplements can decrease appetite.
Nonetheless, right now there’s still a general consensus that it needs to be more research to be sure about how effective and safe exogenous ketones are.
Greens powders are dietary supplements that contain varying amounts of leafy greens like spinach, kale, collards, parsley; foods like spirulina and kelp; vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, carrots and tomatoes, green cabbage; some sort of grass-like wheatgrass; high -antioxidant berries and other ingredients.
People, not only those on keto diets, have resorted to these exotic mixtures to increase their intake of vegetables, something which most people don’t eat enough of.
Vegetables are important sources of vitamins, minerals and other compounds that are essential for good health. If you find that you are not getting enough vegetables in on the keto diet, you can rectify that by adding greens powder to your diet.
Electrolyte Supplements or Mineral-Rich Foods
When you first change to keto, your body might lose more fluids. This is a problem because in the process the body might lose important electrolytes like salt, magnesium, potassium, chloride, and phosphorus. The loss of fluids can lead to the so-called keto flu which can leave you with headaches, muscle cramps, and severe tiredness.
People who exercise stand to lose even more fluids through sweating.
Simply adding salt to food can solve the problem to a great extent. You can also get an electrolyte supplement to rebalance the levels of minerals in your body. Alternatively, you can make sure that you add extra salt to your food and eat enough foods that are high in magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Supplements to Boost Athletic Performance
Creatine is recognized as the number one supplement for improving athletic performance. Research has found that it increases muscle mass and strengthens them.
Creatine is a substance produced in the body. Creatine is also present in some foods, mostly in meat and fish. It helps the muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise.
The supplement creatine monohydrate has been researched extensively and so far it’s the best one it comes to safety record. It has been compared with other forms of creatine and according to scientists, it’s best for improving health and exercise performance.
This is an often-used supplement among athletes. Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid produced naturally in the body. It helps your body with the production of carnosine, which has shown to boost muscle endurance in high-intensity exercise.
People take it to enhance their athletic performance and endurance. There’s scientific evidence supporting the benefits of beta-alanine, but the effects are shown to be minor.
It’s important to take into consideration that this supplement is not proven to safe for children.
In any case, it’s advised to speak to your doctor if you are considering taking the supplement.
You can get beta-alanine from eating poultry, meat, and fish.
Most of us drink coffee often but did you know caffeine has shown to improve physical and mental performance?
Caffeine is a legal supplement not yet banned by any sports bodies, but it can significantly improve performance in just about any sport!
From cycling and running to volleyball and rowing.
It’s also known for helping to boost endurance performance and high-intensity exercise like bike sprints.
But it’s important to know how much caffeine to take as taking too much is bad for your health. So, the keynote here is that you drinking coffee is not the problem, but taking caffeine pills or taking pure powdered caffeine can be very risky if you’re not careful.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs are also known as essential amino acids because they cannot be made by the body.
Athletes take BCAA supplements to boost muscle growth and enhance performance. These supplements may help with weight loss and may help you to overcome tiredness during exercise.
BCAA supplements can also help to build muscles, but not on their own – you need all the amino acids to build muscle.
People also take BCAAs to experience less muscle soreness after exercise.
If you are planning to try out the keto diet, the first point is to remember is that you must eat whole, fresh foods and as long as you keep this as your core goal and you do it conscientiously, you won’t need any supplements.
Having said that, many people experience discomfort when they switch from a high-carb, high-protein diet to keto which is a high-fat, low-protein and low-carb diet.
Supplements can help you with this and ensure that you get in all the nutrients you need while your body is adjusting.