What Vitamin Supplements Should You Take On A Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet, also known as a ‘’keto diet’’ is a powerful method to burn fat, optimise brain power and curb food cravings.
But unlike most diets, following keto requires you to focus on high-fat foods and include few to no carbohydrates. As a rule of thumb, it typically consists of 70-75% fat 20% protein and 5-10% carbs.
While switching to Keto has proven health benefits, it can be a rocky ride. The Keto flu is a well-known side effect when starting the diet, causing headaches, nausea and constipation due to the sudden change in diet. Over the long term, the food eliminated from your previous diet could be removing important nutrients, putting you at risk of deficiency.
Before you start cutting out the carbs, we recommend looking at these key supplements that could make your keto journey much easier.
Please note: The keto diet is not for everyone - before attempting this diet, please consult your GP to ensure it’s safe for you.
8 Supplements to support a keto diet
Magnesium is a mineral and electrolyte that’s abundant in the body. Our bodies rely on getting enough magnesium for many purposes, such as food metabolism, the transmission of nerve signs, balance of fluids and maintaining bone and muscle health.
Some keto-friendly foods are rich in magnesium, such as nuts and spinach. Everything else, though, is pretty low, making it pretty to slip up on this important mineral which will develop into a deficiency.
Recommended magnesium intake
100-200mg is a healthy dose of magnesium when on the keto diet. Make sure you don't go overboard, as high doses of magnesium can cause diarrhoea, so if in doubt, start with the lowest dosage first and then increase the amount slowly.
The best time to take magnesium supplements
Magnesium supplements can be taken at any time of the day as long as you can take them consistently. Some people prefer the morning, and others prefer to pair the supplement with dinner or before bed.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 supplements are shown to benefit those on a keto diet, as they support a healthy ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 when following a high-fat diet.
A study also found that omega -3 can improve insulin, triglyceride and inflammation levels when on the keto diet, which evidently shows that this fatty acid shouldn’t be ignored.
Recommended omega-3 intake
If you choose to purchase an omega-3 supplement, go for a product with lower levels of vitamin A (less than 1mg per day).
Aim to get 500mg of EPA and DHA combined daily, which is about the same as eating 140g of oily fish.
The best time to take omega-3
It’s most beneficial to take your omega-3 supplement alongside a meal to maximise its absorption in the body.
MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) are one of the most popular supplements consumed by keto dieters.
Supplementing with MCT oil can help raise your overall fat intake, increasing ketone levels and keeping you in ketosis. This will be especially important in the early stages of the keto diet, as you’re probably still learning about the different food groups and the nutrition your body needs.
MCT oil has also been shown to assist with weight loss and increase feelings of fullness, making it beneficial if your goal is to lose weight.
Recommended MCT oil intake
It’s always best to start with a small amount, such as one or two teaspoons daily. This will give your body enough time to adjust to the higher MCT intake. Then over time, gradually up your daily amount depending on how well your body responds to it and whether your nutritional goals make it necessary to consume a higher dosage.
The best time to take MCT oil
The time you take MCT oil depends on your goals. If it’s to lose weight, taking it with breakfast can reduce your food intake for the day, then your second dose should be later in the early afternoon, roughly an hour before your 2nd meal. Be careful taking it too late in the day, as they can cause trouble with sleep.
Your body stores sugar as glycogen when you’re on a high-carb diet, which is your energy reserve. So if you decide not to eat for a few hours and do some exercise, your glycogen will be used as fuel to keep your body going.
But this is not the same case for the keto diet. You’re not regularly eating carbs or sugar, meaning that your glycogen tends to be pretty low, resulting in your body burning fat for fuel instead.
Our bodies require a lot of water to store glycogen, so losing several pounds of water weight is normal when you first jump on the keto diet. As you lose this water, your kidneys excrete electrolytes, which can lead to deficiencies in sodium, potassium and magnesium. There’s also a good chance you’ll experience headaches and muscle cramps when your body continues to excrete these electrolytes.
So it’s important to ensure you’re getting enough from food or a supplement to prevent these side effects and maintain a healthy balance.
Recommended intake of electrolytes
- Sodium: 500mg
- Potassium: 2,000mg
- Calcium: 2,000mg
- Chloride: 750mg
The best time to take electrolytes
If you’re planning on doing a workout or physical activity, it’s recommended that electrolytes are consumed during or after in order to replace the electrolytes that your body has lost through sweating.
Many keto dieters rely on meat, seafood, eggs and dairy, which causes them to miss out on the fibre their bodies need. While it’s best to include some keto-friendly foods such as nuts, seeds and avocado, taking a supplement will be the easiest way to get around that hurdle. This will help prevent constipation while on the keto diet.
When it comes to getting enough - we have you covered! Our Peach & Apricot Fibre Drink contains 6g per 500ml serving, helping you get the extra boost you might need.
Recommended intake of fibre
Adults should aim to get 30g of fibre per day. Most adults (keto or not) are only averaging 20g daily, which shows us that we need to find ways to increase our intake.
The best time to take fibre
Fibre supplements are generally best before meals and with plenty of water. Taking fibre supplements without enough water could worsen your constipation, as it’s needed to keep your digestion running smoothly.
Your gut relies on enzymes to break down the different parts of food during digestion. If you switch to a keto diet and go from a large number of carbs to almost none, your body might show a few side effects, such as bloating, nausea, fatigue and constipation.
To relieve some of these symptoms, digestive enzymes could do the trick. Many supplements on the market contain different enzymes, but you should pick one that contains lipase (the enzyme that breaks down fat).
Recommended intake of digestive enzymes
The recommended intake varies based on the type of supplement you take. So read the label carefully before you consume it.
The best time to take digestive enzymes
It’s best to take digestive enzymes around 10 minutes before eating, which is enough time for them to reach your stomach and mix with the gastric juices. Taking them after you eat will not do you any favours, as your food has already started digesting and passing through your stomach.
Getting plenty of vegetables is something that everyone should be getting plenty of. Vegetables contain a number of vitamins and minerals that help combat inflammation, reduce the risk of diseases and keep your body functioning at an optimal level.
When it comes to the keto diet, many people are not getting nearly enough greens and instead focusing on eating lots of meat, poultry, fish and eggs.
While this might seem fine at first, skipping the veg long term is not going to do any favours.
While it’s always best to eat whole, fresh veg, a quick and easy way to boost your intake is through a greens supplement, which can be consumed in powder or tablet form.
Recommended intake of greens powder
This depends on the type of greens supplement you take, as the strength and ingredients of the products vary. So always check the label carefully and follow the instructions.
The best time to greens powder
Drinking your greens first thing in the morning is a good idea as it can rehydrate your liver, balance your blood sugar and energise you for the day.
If you’d rather not drink your greens powder, you can add it to your scrambled eggs or an omelette, sprinkle it over veg, mix it into salads or add it to soup.
When you first transition to the keto diet, you might experience brain fog or have trouble concentrating.
To overcome these side effects, L-theanine (an amino acid) could come in handy as it’s known to improve mental cognition, making it popular amongst the keto community.
While you probably won’t need L-theanine long-term, it will give you a helping hand at the start of your keto journey.
You can get L-theanine from green or black teas or supplements that come in a pill or powder form.
Recommended intake of L-theanine
The majority of products will recommend between 100-400mg of L-theanine daily.
The best time to take L-theanine
For improving cognitive function, it’s best to take L-theanine around 30 minutes before your morning coffee, or you can add it to your coffee if it’s in powder form.
The ketogenic diet definitely has its fair share of health benefits. But you need to maintain the diet in a healthy, balanced way, otherwise, the side effects will probably give you second thoughts about your decision to switch to keto.
You also need to give your body a chance to adapt to the new diet, as going from high carbs to no carbs changes how your body operates. So don’t be discouraged if you experience keto flu, as this is perfectly normal at first.
These 8 supplements could make your keto journey easier and reduce the risk of deficiencies:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- MCT oil
- Digestive enzymes
- Greens powder
Ready to gain some more health knowledge? Check out our other post, where we break down which vitamins can help you speed up your metabolism.