The ketogenic diet continues to grow exponentially in popularity, as does the interest in optimizing health while following this high-fat, low-carb, ketogenic eating plan. Because the keto diet reduces several food options, it can be a good idea to supplement, as some supplements can help minimize adverse effects of the ketogenic diet, and even enhance its benefits. The following are our recommendations for the 7 best ketogenic diet supplements.
The 7 Best Keto Diet Supplements
Not all keto diet supplements are the same. Some can be purchased in the store, while some can be found in your kitchen. Make sure you take a look at our top 7 best ketogenic diet supplements, we think number 7 may be one of the most overlooked, and most important ones yet!
Some common symptoms associated with the ketogenic diet such as muscle cramps, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety are often adverse effects experienced on a ketogenic diet [1, 2, 3]. It can be challenging to get enough magnesium in the diet, as many magnesium-rich foods such as beans and fruit are also high in carbohydrates.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, and has been recognized as a cofactor for more than 300 enzymatic reactions that are crucial to metabolism. Following a ketogenic diet may cause some individuals to be at a higher risk of developing a magnesium deficiency. For this reason, magnesium supplementation is warranted for keto dieters and imparts other benefits. Magnesium also boosts energy, regulates blood sugar levels, and can help control blood sugar .
Of the most absorbable forms of magnesium are magnesium glycinate, magnesium gluconate, and magnesium citrate. Taking a magnesium supplement or eating more ketogenic, and magnesium-rich foods helps you meet your daily requirements. To increase magnesium intake with ketogenic foods, focus on incorporating magnesium-rich options such as:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Swiss chard
2. MCT Oil
MCT oil (or medium-chain triglycerides) is a favorite type of fat that is rapidly digested in the body that can be used supplementally to help ketogenic dieters stay in ketosis.
Metabolism of Medium-chain triglycerides differs from long-chain triglycerides, the most common type of fat found in food. MCTs are broken down by your liver, entering your bloodstream quickly, used as a fuel source for your brain and muscles. MCT oil in a concentrated form (isolated from coconut or palm oil) provides other metabolic benefits. These include increasing ketone levels and increasing fat intake to help keto dieters stay in ketosis and promoting weight loss and satiety through increased energy expenditure and lipid oxidation [4, 5].
It is best to take small doses of MCT oil before increasing to the suggested dosage that is listed on the MCT oil bottles, as it can cause other digestive symptoms such as diarrhea and nausea.
3. Electrolyte Supplements
At the beginning of transitioning to a ketogenic diet when there is an increased loss in water, and a decrease in sodium, potassium, and magnesium . To avoid common symptoms of headache, muscle cramps, dizziness, and fatigue, supplementation of electrolytes and mineral-rich foods are vital for people following a ketogenic diet.
Supplementation is the best strategy. Electrolyte supplementation can be as simple as adding salt to food, increasing potassium or magnesium-rich foods, or drinking electrolyte-enriched beverages or supplements.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may improve health in many ways. For example, omega-3 supplements from krill oil may reduce inflammation, lower heart disease risk factors, prevent mental decline and help improve the fatty acid balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids .
Diets that are high in omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation and are associated with many inflammatory diseases . For this reason, omega-3 supplementation can be beneficial for individuals on a high-fat ketogenic diet that is rich in omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 supplementation may also offer protection from known adverse effects of the ketogenic diet such as hypertriglyceridemia .
However, it is essential that those on blood-thinning medications consult with their doctor before taking omega-3 supplements.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential to health, as well as many body functions such as facilitating the absorption of calcium, regulating cellular growth, promoting bone health, supporting immune system function, and reducing inflammation [10, 11]. Unfortunately, Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent, even on a ketogenic diet. While vitamin D deficiency is not inherently associated with a ketogenic diet, vitamin D supplementation is a good idea.
While many vitamin D rich foods are a healthy part of a ketogenic diet, supplementation may still be warranted. Your physician can run tests for vitamin D levels to determine if you are deficient in this critical vitamin, and can help prescribe a proper dosage for supplementation. With foods, you can increase your vitamin D intake with fatty fish, and fortified dairy products.
6. Digestive Enzymes
Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea are some of the most common complaints for individuals on a ketogenic diet. Taking a digestive enzyme supplement that contains proteases and lipases to break down fat and protein may help relieve symptoms associated with increased fat and protein intake, and may help make the transition to a ketogenic diet easier.
If you have been continuously experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, bloating, it is crucial that you discuss your diet with your physician as these can be cause for other concerns that may have greater consequences.
Constipation or diarrhea are perhaps the most common digestive issue associated with the ketogenic diet. For this reason, fiber may be the most important ketogenic diet supplements of all.
Getting enough fiber can be difficult with a reduced carbohydrate diet, and many people underestimate fiber’s importance. In the United States, the majority are consuming less than half of the daily recommended amount of fiber. There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Both forms of fiber can be used to treat and prevent constipation, and are essential to keeping your gastrointestinal system working properly. Soluble Fiber helps increase probiotic bacteria, slow down gastric emptying, promote satiety, and support the healthy bacteria in the gut . Insoluble fiber increases fecal bulking which can shorten gastrointestinal transit time, and prevent constipation.
A quick and easy way to boost your soluble and insoluble fiber intake is by adding fiber to your supplement regimen through green leafy vegetables, or by supplementing with prebiotic soluble fibers such as gum arabic, guar gum, and inulin from chicory root .
1. Westman EC, Yancy WS, Mavropoulos JC, Marquart M, McDuffie JR. The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2008;5:36. Published 2008 Dec 19. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-5-36
2. Gröber U, Schmidt J, Kisters K. Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. Nutrients. 2015;7(9):8199-226. Published 2015 Sep 23. doi:10.3390/nu7095388
3. Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(5):429. Published 2017 Apr 26. doi:10.3390/nu9050429
4. Eyres L, Eyres MF, Chisholm A, Brown RC. Coconut oil consumption and cardiovascular risk factors in humans. Nutr Rev. 2016;74(4):267-80.
5. Mumme, K., & Stonehouse, W. (2015). Effects of Medium-Chain Triglycerides on Weight Loss and Body Composition: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 115(2), 249–263.doi:10.1016/j.jand.2014.10.022
6. Gomez-Arbelaez D, Crujeiras AB, Castro AI, et al. Acid-base safety during the course of a very low-calorie-ketogenic diet. Endocrine. 2017;58(1):81-90.
7. Nichols PD, McManus A, Krail K, Sinclair AJ, Miller M. Recent advances in omega-3: Health Benefits, Sources, Products and Bioavailability. Nutrients. 2014;6(9):3727-33. Published 2014 Sep 16. doi:10.3390/nu6093727
8. Patterson E, Wall R, Fitzgerald GF, Ross RP, Stanton C. Health implications of high dietary omega-6 polyunsaturated Fatty acids. J Nutr Metab. 2012;2012:539426.
9. Paoli A, Moro T, Bosco G, et al. Effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3) supplementation on some cardiovascular risk factors with a ketogenic Mediterranean diet. Mar Drugs. 2015;13(2):996-1009. doi:10.3390/md13020996
10. Rogovik AL, Goldman RD. Ketogenic diet for treatment of epilepsy. Can Fam Physician. 2010;56(6):540-2.
11. Nair R, Maseeh A. Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2012;3(2):118-26.
12. Babiker, R., Merghani, T. H., Elmusharaf, K., Badi, R. M., Lang, F., & Saeed, A. M. (2012). Effects of gum Arabic ingestion on body mass index and body fat percentage in healthy adult females: a two-arm randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. Nutrition Journal, 11(1). doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-111