SUPPLEMENTS FOR A KETOGENIC DIET

SUPPLEMENTS FOR A KETOGENIC DIET

WHICH SUPPLEMENTS SHOULD YOU USE ON KETOGENIC DIET?

This is quite a long post on all the different supplements I believe can benefit your ketogenic diet. If you don’t feel like reading everything and just want the nuts and bolts, skip through to the bottom. In closing, I sum up the three bare minimum supplements that you can benefit from.

Supplements should supplement your ketogenic diet, meaning it should be supplemental to a well-formulated diet. But, we all know that our diets lack nutrients, and it isn’t easy to eat the amount of food required for the daily recommended nutrient intake needed for the average human.

Aspects such as our soil being nutrient-void, eating incomplete meals, and genetically modified food contributes to a lack of optimal nutrient intake.

Because of these shortcomings, nutritional supplements can be highly beneficial. Even more so today with the current pandemic. We need to supplement to support our immune systems. Some essential nutrients MUST be consumed, whether by food or through supplementation, as our bodies cannot produce them.

keto supplements

There are 13 vitamins and 18 dietary minerals our bodies need. But, that’s not all; we also need phytonutrients, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, polyphenols, and essential fatty acidsVitamins are divided into water-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, biotin, folate, and vitamin B3. Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamin A, D, E, and vitamin K. 

As mentioned earlier, there are a few essential nutrients that the body cannot make, and we need to take them exogenously. These are vitamin C and the two fatty acids called EPA and DHA derived from fish oil. Unless you eat a lot of good quality organic food such as salmon, you will have to supplement. Below, I will highlight the essential nutrients to ensure healthy cells and healthy cell regeneration that might require additional supplementation.

VITAMIN C

Recommended Supplements on Keto

Vitamin C has powerful antioxidant properties that prevent cell damage by neutralising free radicals. It is one of those vitamins that we cannot do without and that we must consume daily. Vitamin C is especially useful in protecting us against a host of disorders caused by high blood sugar, directly blocking the harmful effects of elevated glucose and insulin. 

Most people eating a high carb diet has a Vitamin C deficiency because sugar depletes Vitamin C

One way to know if you have a Vitamin C deficiency is that you will bruise easily due to the blood vessel walls being too low in collagen, which then causes blood oozing out into surrounding tissue.

It is unlikely that we get the correct amount of Vitamin C in our food because our food is nutrient deficient, genetically modified and the there is an overuse of pesticides. 

Food sources rich in Vitamin C include :

Strawberries, Brussel sprouts, bell peppers, broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, tomatoes, and many herbs such as coriander, chives basil, thyme, and parsley. Red muscle and organ meat also contain traces of vitamin C. 

VITAMIN D

Studies show that almost 90% of people living in cities are deficient in Vitamin D. 

People with the highest risk include:

people who are mostly indoors, 

  • people with darker skin, 
  • people that live in the northern regions of the world, and
  • people who are obese. 

Our body produces Vitamin D when we are exposed to the sun. However, even for us, who live in Sunny South Africa, we don’t get enough exposure to direct sunlight. 

With the current pandemic and children doing online schooling, not getting outside as frequently as before or playing outside, they are also at risk. None of us gets hardly any sun because we leave our homes early, before sunrise, we sit in offices under fluorescent lights and work long hours way after the sun has set.

To top it off, with the poor quality of the food we eat, it is not difficult to understand why so many people are deficient in this nutrient. 

Vitamin D deficiency is quite severe as it may result in several health risks, including cancer, hypertension and various infectious diseases. Vitamin D has profoundly beneficial effects on our bones, blood pressure, immune system, mood and brain function. There is even evidence that it helps prevent cancer. 

Supplements on keto2

VITAMIN D3+K2

Mandatory Supplements on Keto

Compared to regular Vitamin D, Vitamin D3 is better absorbed and is the type of Vitamin D you get from animal products and the sun. Vitamin D2 is synthetically produced by irradiating yeast and moulds and is not as easily absorbed as Vitamin D3.

Abdominal obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, Insulin Resistance, and hypertension all increase a person’s risk of being Vitamin D deficient. 

Being deficient in Vitamin D can put you at higher risk for:

  • Cardiovascular disease, 
  • Metabolic Syndrome, 
  • various cancers, 
  • immune disorders, 
  • adverse pregnancy outcomes, 
  • Osteoporosis, 
  • Depression, 
  • Insomnia, 
  • Arthritis, 
  • Asthma, 
  • Multiple Sclerosis, 
  • chronic pain, 
  • Fibromyalgia, 
  • Inflammation, and
  • broken bones,  

It is highly recommended to have your Vitamin D levels tested to make sure your levels are optimal.

  • If your Vitamin D levels are over 50-60, you are doing well and need to keep doing what you are doing
  • If your Vitamin D levels are between 30 and 50, you need to supplement with vitamin D3.
  • If Vitamin D levels are below 30, it is critical, and you need to take action immediately.

If your blood work shows you are deficient, you should take approximately 5000 iu a day for up to 4-6 months.

Keep in mind that all Vitamin D supplements are not equal, and buying a good quality Vitamin D is worth it. I use Coyne Health’s supplements as it is high, pharmaceutical-grade quality. Our Vitamin D brand is also an award-winning Vitamin D Supplement that comes in an oral spray. Oral spray supplementation has much greater absorption than tablet form Vitamin D Supplements.

Food sources high in Vitamin D include mackerel, fatty fish, salmon, trout, cod liver oil, sardines, tuna, eggs and raw milk. 

VITAMIN B12

Recommended Supplements on Keto

Deficiency in Vitamin B12 usually occurs in older people and people who follow a vegan diet. People with diabetes who take Glucophage are generally deficient, as Glucophage tends to deplete Vitamin B12 levels. People who travel should also supplement with Vitamin B12. The brain and nervous system are adversely affected by this deficiency. Dementia-like symptoms also correlate with a deficiency of Vitamin B12. 

Vitamin B12 is responsible for the formation of healthy blood cells, energy levels, and healthy digestion.  

I supplement with this Vitamin B12, which is another award-winning supplement from BetterYou. This Vitamin B12 is clinically proven to have 40 x greater absorption than regular oral supplementation. Another fantastic thing about this supplement is it’s sweetened with Xylitol, making it keto-friendly.

Vitamin B12 is mainly derived from animal protein and is not found in plants. 

SODIUM, POTASSIUM, AND MAGNESIUM

Mandatory Supplements on Keto

In my online course, I have an entire video dedicated to this part. I cannot emphasise enough that you need to get enough potassium, salt, and magnesium on keto, especially when you start out. 

Following a keto diet tends to deplete electrolytes. This diuretic effect is due to the body “getting rid of” intra-muscular and cellular fluid as we reduce our carbohydrate intake. 

When you are electrolyte deficient, you may experience keto-flu symptoms. You can read more about how to avoid keto flu here.

Supplementing magnesium glycinate or citrate 300– 500 milligrams per day and taking in about five to seven grams of mineral-rich salt, like pink salt, Celtic sea salt, or Hawaiian salt, can help replenish your electrolytes. Supplementing with potassium is not as tricky, and you can get sufficient amounts of potassium through the foods you eat on a well-formulated Keto diet.

Keto flu2
Keto flu2

MAGNESIUM

Magnesium is one of the most overlooked of all the minerals, and yet they are probably one of the most crucial as it is responsible for:

  • Energy production
  • Heart rhythm and heart health
  • Facilitating the absorption of Vitamin D
  • Bringing about relaxation, stress reduction, and a restful sleep
  • Maintaining normal hormonal function
  • It is vital in the regeneration of cells
  • Magnesium has more than 300 biochemical functions in the body

 

Most people are deficient in magnesium, and most people should supplement with magnesium. Things like caffeine, fizzy drinks, sugar, processed foods, and alcohol deplete magnesium levels in our body. If we don’t have enough magnesium, our body cannot function optimally. When you start taking additional magnesium, you will soon notice easier adaption to stress, better energy levels, improvements in muscle and joint pain, a reduction in cramps, increased brain function and better sleep.

 

Look for magnesium citrate or glycinate for best results. And supplement with between 250mg – 600mg per day. I have a fantastic Magnesium brand available here.

 

 

OMEGA 3 FISH OIL – DHA & EPA

Mandatory Supplements on Keto

Omega-3 fish oil is made up of bioavailable fats called DHA and EPA and has enormous benefits to our health due to its massive anti-inflammatory properties

Various studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition show that fish oils: 

  • Lowers LDL cholesterol
  • Lowers triglycerides
  • Lowers blood pressure 
  • And prevents and reduces painful inflammatory diseases like arthritis, asthma and colitis

Omega-3 oils also significantly lower the risk of:

  •  Stroke
  •  Diabetes
  •  Depression
  •  Heart disease
  •  Certain cancers
  •  And sudden cardiac death

Salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, and anchovies are the best natural sources of Omega-3. Unfortunately, too many people take flaxseed oil under the misguided notion that the body converts it into DHA and EPA, which is not the case. 

Fish oil from fish and supplements is not only incredibly valuable against protecting us against a host of chronic diseases but are also highly beneficial in the treatment of eczema and dry skin. 

There are many benefits to supplementing with Omega-3 fish oil. The most significant benefits are preventing diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis. Other benefits include thicker hair, healthier skin, flexible joints, and a dramatic reduction in depression. 

Then there’s the added benefit of using fish oil for weight loss as it mobilises stored fat that can enhance weight loss.

People with a severe deficiency in Omega-3 make sure symptoms like

  • Dyslexia
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Eczema
  • Allergies
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes 

A Note On Omega 6

It is not necessary to consume Omega-6 oils and even Omega-6 flaxseed oil. Omega-6 oil is highly inflammatory to the body and can cause an imbalance in your Omega-3. Unfortunately, too much Omega-6 (especially from seed oils) throws out the equilibrium between Omega-3 and Omega-6, creating health problems associated with inflammation in your body.

 It is vital to increase Omega-3 levels and maintain or even lower Omega-6 by doing the following:

  • Take a high-quality fish oil supplement daily; you are looking for about 1800 to 2400 mg of EPA within your daily Omega-3 supplement dose. I used to recommend The Real Thing, and personally take the Omega-3 from Coyne Health.
  • Do not supplement with any supplement containing Omega-6 or Omega-9. You are probably already getting too much in without even trying.
  • Avoid fizzy and sugary drinks as it causes a spike in insulin which causes weight gain and inflammation.
  • STOP cooking with grain or seed oils that high in Omega-6. Instead, cook with coconut oil, butter and natural animal fat.
  • Avoid all grains.

 

BERBERINE

Recommended Supplements on Keto

Berberine is one of my top supplements. This particular brand I take is from Coyne Healthcare. 

Even though Berberine has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, few people are familiar with it. With over 4500 published studies, Berberine is fast becoming one of the most researched phytochemicals. Berberine has many benefits, including being anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antimicrobialBerberine is a potent, natural antimicrobial that fights off viruses, fungus and bacteria. It is even effective in treating leaky gut syndrome and candida. However, for me, what is most exciting about Berberine is its use in treating metabolic disease, Diabetes and improving human health. 

berberine

Metabolic Disease & Diabetes

Diabetes is a global problem, and specifically here in South Africa. About 6% of the South African population suffer from Diabetes; that’s about 3.5 million people. Tuberculoses and Diabetes are the two leading causes of death in South Africa.

In a study published in the journal Metabolism, researchers compared Berberine with Metformin or Glucophage, the common diabetic drug prescribed for diabetics, 500mg, three times per day for three months. They found that Berberine had similar results in regulating glucose metabolism and fasting blood glucose. Berberine also reduced the amount of insulin needed to turn glucose into energy by 45%. In addition to these findings, the researchers also found that the people taking Berberine had lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than those taking Metformin.
So, Berberine works to improve blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and is an excellent alternative to pharmaceutical medication for Diabetes.

BENEFITS OF BERBERINE FOR HUMAN HEALTH

One of the reasons I follow a Ketogenic Diet is to optimise my health. I want to live in optimal health and live optimally for longer. And, one of the mechanisms to achieve this and increase lifespan is by fasting. There are two processes I’ll explain below.

The Ketogenic Diet and fasting activates the AMPK Pathway [activated protein kinase].

AMPK Pathway

Many researchers are studying the AMPK pathway for anti-ageing. Even the pharmaceutical drugs, Metformin and Glucophage, mostly used to treat metabolic diseases such as Type II Diabetes, Insulin Resistance, are being studied for their anti-ageing effects through activating this AMPK Pathway.  

What is the AMPK pathway? Think of it as a metabolic sensor and master regulatory switch to manage cellular energy balance, growth, survival functions and inflammation. 

Where does Berberine fit into this? Well, one of the multiple features of Berberine is the activation of the AMPK pathway. Following a ketogenic or low-carb diet and taking Berberine can be more beneficial than only following the ketogenic diet.  

Apoptosis

The last point I want to touch on briefly is a process called Apoptosis. It’s a super interesting topic. Apoptosis is a complicated signalling process that happens in your body every day. You can think of Apoptosis as the body’s way to save itself. This is where cells in our body have negative triggers from things like viruses or gene mutations; as a defence mechanism, these cells will simply self-destruct. It is also called programmed cell death. 

Apoptosis is a normal process where about 60 billion cells go through this process daily. It is a key defence mechanism for our bodies. Interesting enough, Berberine even supports this process.

I use Coyne Health’s Bio-Berberine product as it has an effective dose of 500mg, plus it contains an additional 125mg of green tea extract. 

POWDERED GREENS

Recommended Supplements on Keto

Powdered greens are the best way to supplement if you don’t eat enough vegetables. A good powdered greens supplement is great to cover all your bases and, as an insurance policy, to ensure your body is getting all the nutrition and micronutrients it needs. 

Choose a product without added sugar; if it has sweetener, make sure it’s sweetened with a natural sweetener like stevia, monk fruit, etc. Look at the carb content, too, so you can include it when counting your macros. The Real Thing Green Power is a great product that I highly recommend.

BONE BROTH

Recommended Supplements on Keto

Bone broth is very nutrient-dense and the ideal supplement on Keto. Bone Broth, if it comes from grass-fed cows or free-range chickens, is incredibly nutrient-dense. It’s full of immune system boosting and healing nutrients like collagen that is great for your skin. 

You can have Bone Broth with meals or anytime you feel you need a boost throughout the day. Drinking bone broth can also help with electrolyte intake. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, there are some wonderful Keto-friendly recipes for veg “bone” broth that are just as nutrient-dense. It is so easy to make your own bone broth. Check out my recipe here.

PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENTS AND FERMENTED FOODS

Recommended Supplements on Keto

Fermented foods are great for gut health and healing. Pretty much every day, there’s a new study about the importance of gut health and good bacteria in the gut for everything from autoimmune diseases, food sensitivities, and digestive issues to hormones and mental health. 

Keto is great for gut health, and making sure you get probiotics daily supersizes that healing. Take a probiotic supplement, or if you don’t like to take pills, make sure to eat fermented foods like Kombuchakimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles—just make sure they contain no added sugar.

I make my own Kombucha, and you can make it too. It is super easy. Take a look at Kief Kulture to get your own Kombucha or Kefir starter kit.

EXOGENOUS KETONES

Mandatory for people starting Keto to lose weight 

Exogenous Ketones are Ketones in supplement form! 

Exogenous means external. The Ketones your body makes are endogenous Ketones. Endogenous meaning inside or from inside your body. Most Exogenous Ketones are in the form of Beta-Hydroxybutyrate, which is identical to the Ketones in your blood. Beta-Hydroxybutyrate is bonded with sodium, potassium, or magnesium or a combination of the three, usually in large amounts—some have 910 milligrams of sodium in one serving—making it bioavailable, so your body absorbs it. Usually, 30 to 45 minutes after you supplement, you’ll see a bump in blood Ketones if you test. 

Benefits of Exogenous Ketones

Exogenous Ketones (BHB) has many benefits, from increased energy, appetite suppression, improved physical and mental energy to therapeutic benefits (read more on the benefits of Exogenous Ketones here). 

Many people believe that weight loss will be inhibited when you drink BHB. This is incorrect, and you can read why I say so in this post

This post highlights four distinct and beneficial areas why BHB must form part of your weight loss journey. Especially if you have to start over again after falling off the wagon.

BHB helps your body become better at burning fat BHB could eliminate glucose-withdrawal BHB suppresses appetite and reduces cravings BHB could assist in deleting the psychological, emotional connection we have with food

MCT OIL POWDER OR MCT OIL

Recommended Supplements on Keto

MCT stands for medium-chain triglyceride. It’s not like other fats from butter or olive oil. It is a short-chain fatty acid that is a very fast-burning fat and converts to Ketones when ingested. MCT is like a precurse for ketones; hence people starting out on keto will drink Bulletproof Coffee.

MCTs are great, but they don’t increase Ketones as high much as exogenous Ketones do. MCT oil is also available in an MCT Oil Powder form and can be mixed into coffee, water, food, or smoothies. Supplementing with MCT oil and MCT oil powder will give you a brain boost and help keep your appetite under control.

MCT oil is derived from coconut oil; however, coconut oil is roughly 60% MCT oil. MCT oil is the concentrated part that has been extracted. So, you can even add coconut oil to your food, coffee and smoothies. Your brain will love you for it. 

A word of caution. MCT oil can have a laxative effect if you have too much and your digestive system isn’t used to it yet. It is best to start with a teaspoon of MCT oil and slowly work your way up to taking more. 

supplements

WHAT IS MY SUPPLEMENT STACK?

To sum up this incredibly lengthy post on supplements that are beneficial for your keto diet, here is a summary of the supplements I take.

  1. Omega-3 Oil from Coyne Health made from concentrated Wild Alaskan Pollock Oil with high potency concentrations of EPA & DHA. I take two soft gels twice a day (800mg of EPA and 600mg of DHA). Read more about Omega-3 Oil from Coyne Health here.
  2. Vitamin D3+K2 from Coyne Health. This is a convenient, highly bio-available oral spray that contains 1000 IU of Vitamin D3 per spray. 
  3. Magnesium from Coyne Health. I LOVE this Magnesium. Magnesium Citrate is by far the most bio-available form of magnesium (better than both glycinate and chelate). This particular brand also contains a powerful pre-biotic and neurotropic Choline. Choline is also found in eggs. Your brain and nervous system need Choline to regulate memory, mood, muscle control, and other functions. I take it in the evening.
  4. Exogenous Ketones. I drink Keto Halo BHB first thing in the morning. 
  5. MCT Powder. I have looked at all the MCT oil powders available in South Africa and love MOJO ME’s MCT. I don’t drink Bulletproof Coffee often as I would rather eat my food than consume a significant portion of my calories from the fat that is in the Bulletproof Coffee.
  6. Bio-Berberine. Berberine should be at the top of my list. I take one capsule with my meals. I have two meals a day, and so I have one capsule with every meal.
  7. Vitamin B12 Boost Oral Spray. First thing in the morning with my Vitamin D3. This Vitamin B12 is a highly bio-available oral spray, with four sprays delivering an impressive 1,200μg of Vitamin B12. 

We go through a lot of supplements a month as my kids also drink most of the supplements we take. And, I know it can be a considerable expense. 

In Closing

If I had to say the bare minimum, it would be an Omega 3, Magnesium and Vitamin D3+K2. If you have diabetes or have metabolic conditions, e.g. Insulin Resistance, then taking Berberine can be highly beneficial in helping you with blood sugar control and restoring insulin sensitivity.

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