The ketogenic diet (“keto diet” for short) has seen a surge of popularity through recent years with Hollywood stars and athletes like Halle Berry, Adriana Lima, and Tim Tebow hopping on board the bandwagon with the goal of turning their bodies into fat-burning machines. As the popularity of the keto diet grows, so does the demand for high-quality vitamins to take while on the keto diet.
Since the keto diet cuts out a number of food options, ultimately reducing people’s ability to get the right amount of some important nutrients, many have recognized that it is a good idea to supplement this diet with a regimen of key vitamins. In this article, we will catch people up on the ins and outs of this dieting that is taking the weight loss world by storm. After that, we will provide you everything you need to know when it comes to what keto vitamins you should be taking to optimize your energy and health on your weight-loss mission.
What is the Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high fat diet that shares many similarities with other low-carb eating plans, such as the Atkins diet. The idea is for you to get most of your calories from protein and fat and less from carbohydrates. The goal is to change the way that your body converts food into energy.
Normally, the human body turns carbohydrates into glucose for energy. However, when you eat a lot of fat while holding back significantly on carbs, this puts your body into ketosis, a metabolic state where your body burns fat instead of carbs to produce energy. Our bodies cannot do without energy, so when it cannot get the energy it needs from glucose from your diet, your liver turns body fat and dietary fat into molecules called ketones. Our bodies are very resourceful! These ketones are an alternative source of energy to glucose. In ketosis, our bodies are literally eating up the fat in our bodies and turning it into energy, which has been shown to be a great method for weight loss.
What are the Purported Benefits of the Keto Diet?
Keto seems to turn the age-old belief that eating fatty foods makes people gain weight on its head by revealing that our bodies are actually programmed to burn fat as an alternative energy source. In addition to the great potential for substantial weight loss, proponents of the keto diet point to a wide array of benefits that come from dieting on the keto plan.
1. Reduces Appetite
Not only does the keto diet supposedly send our bodies into the fat-burning mode of ketosis, but it can also benefit weight loss efforts by suppressing people’s appetites. Ketones suppress the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and increases the body’s production of cholecystokinin, a chemical that makes you feel full. Reduced appetite means that it is easier for people to go for longer periods of time without eating, further encouraging the body to break down the body’s fat stores for energy.
2. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury and infection. However, too much inflammation, such as chronic inflammation, can put you at risk for a number of serious health conditions ranging from arthritis to heart disease. Some studies suggest that the keto diet could help decrease the inflammation in your body, with one study finding that a low-carb diet significantly decreased inflammatory markers compared to low-fat diets.
3. Supports Brain Health
Some studies have linked the ketogenic diet to improved brain health and functioning since ketones are a more efficient energy source than glucose and high-fat diets are actually thought to be better for a brain that is made up of more than 60 percent fat.
4. Increases Energy
We might think that taking out our body’s main source of energy would lead to at least some sacrifice in energy levels, but proponents of the keto diet say that the effects are actually the opposite. When your brain uses ketones for energy, you do not experience the same energy slumps that you do when your body uses glucose. Moreover, when your body is in ketosis, your brain creates more mitochondria, the power generators in your cells.
5. Lower Cholesterol and Blood Sugar
Numerous studies have pointed to the keto-diets ability to lower bad cholesterol levels and well as blood sugar which has a range of benefits, especially for those suffering from diabetes and obesity. It should be noted that the consensus on this is shakey. Many health experts actually contend that the keto-diet that is high-in fat can actually raise cholesterol. This is why it is important to not view the diet as an excuse to eat lots of butter and cream. Making sure that you are eating healthy, lean fats is the way to do this diet right.
6. Reduce Risk Factors and Symptoms for Diseases
The ketogenic diet was actually developed as a tool for treating neurological diseases like epilepsy, and since then, many studies have shown that the diet has many benefits when it comes to reducing the symptoms for a number of other diseases, such as Heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Keto-Friendly Foods vs. Keto Unfriendly Foods
Luckily for those on the keto diet, many of the keto-friendly foods are perfectly in accord with what we would normally think of as a healthy diet, such as fatty fish (i.e. sardines, salmon, mackerel), poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds, healthy oils, avocados, and low-carb veggies like leafy greens, tomatoes, onions, and peppers. On top of that dieters are encouraged to eat high-fat foods like red meats, butter and cream, cheese, and other dairy products.
However, there are many foods packed with nutrients that we need that are not keto-friendly, and here we will see why it is so necessary that people supplement this eating plan with a range of dietary supplements.
In addition to the unhealthy foods that are cut out of the diet, such as foods high in sugar (i.e. soda, fruit juice, candy, etc), unhealthy fats found in mayonnaise and processed vegetable oils, and alcohol, keto dieters are supposed to nix just about all fruits, beans and legumes, whole grains, root veggies, and tubers. These are foods that give us many of the nutrients that our body needs, and thus, can lead to some problems if not addressed through supplementation.
Downsides of the Keto Diet and How Keto Vitamins Can Help
The major downside of the keto diet is that it puts one at risk for a number of nutrient deficiencies. As we will see, the correct selection of high-quality dietary supplements should be able to fix this problem.
Another common occurrence is “keto-flu.” When people start ketosis, many feel sick and experience a significant amount of fatigue and lethargy. These symptoms are very common. In fact, 25% of keto-dieters have this complaint. Luckily, this usually passes after a few days, but as we will see there are also a number of vitamins that can help reduce these symptoms.
Finally, another common issue among keto-dieters is diarrhea. When people cut back significantly on high-carb foods, they are also usually cutting out foods that are high in fiber. A lack of fiber in a diet can often lead to diarrhea. Moreover, high-fat diets are known to be tough on the digestive system, further increasing the likelihood of gastrointestinal issues. Sound unpleasant? Luckily, there are some dietary supplements that can help!
Best Vitamins for Keto Diet
Now that we know a little more about the benefits and risks of the keto diet, we can move on to some of the best vitamins to take on keto to optimize the health benefits of this weight loss program.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that boosts energy, regulates blood sugar levels, and supports the immune system. People need magnesium to maintain proper energy levels, and people with magnesium deficiencies may experience symptoms of loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Sounds a lot like the keto flu right?
Research suggests that a large portion of the U.S. population is already at risk of magnesium deficiency, but it is a risk that is especially present in people who are on the keto diet since many magnesium-rich foods like beans and fruits are also high in carbs.
Supplementing with magnesium can help avoid the symptoms of the keto flu, as well as help reduce other symptoms commonly experienced by keto dieters, such as muscle cramps, difficulty sleeping, and irritability.
Magnesium-rich keto-friendly foods include spinach, avocado, pumpkin seeds, and mackerel. However, people on the keto-diet may find it very beneficial to take 200 to 400 mg of magnesium per day through dietary supplements. For top of the line quality ingredients and optimal absorption rates, Tropical Oasis’ Calcium Magnesium Liquid Supplement is one of the best options around for keto-dieters and non-keto-dieters alike!
2. MCT Oil
Medium-chan triglycerides, or MCTs, are one of the most popular supplements among keto-dieters looking to quickly up their fat intake and keep their body in an energized ketosis.
Unlike long-chain triglycerides (the most common fat in food), MCTs are quickly broken down by the liver, allowing them to quickly enter the bloodstream where these fats can be used as an energy source for your brain and muscles. Supplementing with MCT oil is a quick way to get energy-efficient fat into the system to increase ketone levels and help the body stay in ketosis.
In addition to the effects that MCT oil has on energy production, they have also been shown to promote weight loss and increase the feeling of fullness, a useful element for those trying to cut down on the number of calories they intake.
One of the best natural sources of MCTs is coconut oil since approximately 17% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are MCTs. Alternatively, many people opt to take MCT oil, which is made by isolating MCTs from MCT rich sources like coconut oil, for a more concentrated dose of these energy-rich fats.
Calcium, a mineral that helps maintain bone health and support muscle and nerve communication, is not strictly lacking in the ketogenic diet. Many dairy products, high in calcium, are considered to be keto-friendly due to their high content and relatively low amount of carbs.
However, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, some 30 million to 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant. For these people, it may be difficult to get the proper amount of calcium. Moreover, the ketogenic diet can flush the body of electrolytes, causing cramping and malaise, both of which can be helped by increasing one’s calcium intake.
For these reasons, people on the keto-diet may want to consider calcium dietary supplements along with vitamin D which greatly improves the body’s ability to utilize this mineral.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, often found in fish oil or krill oil supplements, have a wide range of benefits for just about anyone. The three fatty acids, DHA, EPA, and ALA, have been linked to health benefits ranging from reducing the risk of mental health disorders like anxiety and depression to reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of heart disease.
Many high-fat foods contain a higher amount of omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, and this imbalance has been shown to promote inflammation in the body and has been linked to a number of inflammatory diseases. Supplementing with omega-3s, then, can be highly beneficial to keto-dieters by maintaining a healthy balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Moreover, studies have shown that supplementing with omega-3s can help to maximize the overall health benefits of the ketogenic diet with one study showing that keto-dieters who supplemented with omega-3s saw a higher decline in triglycerides, insulin, and inflammatory markers than those who did not.
There are benefits for everyone when it comes to omega-3s, so it is no surprise that health-conscious keto-dieters have taken to supplementing with fish oil and krill oil to optimize their health benefits.
5. Exogenous Ketones
The whole method of the keto diet is to get your body to switch its energy source from glucose to ketones. To get to this point, people often have to deal with “keto-flu.” But what if you were able to provide your body with ketones immediately and at will? That’s exactly what exogenous ketones allow you to do.
Endogenous ketones are the ketones that your body produces naturally through ketogenesis, but exogenous ketones are ketones that are supplied through an external source. There are a number of reasons why exogenous ketones are one of the most popular supplements among keto-dieters.
The primary reason for the popularity of exogenous ketones is that they can provide keto-dieters with a quick boost of energy and potentially induce ketosis faster. This can be beneficial during all points of your keto-dieting but it can be especially helpful to reduce the symptoms of “keto-flu” by providing your body with the energy it needs before it has fully switched over to ketosis.
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, studies have shown that exogenous ketones boost athletic performance and speed muscle recovery. Since people are often combining their keto-dieting with a regular workout routine, these benefits are more than welcome.
6. Digestive Enzymes
As we noted earlier, one of the most common complaints from keto-dieters is that the diet is tough on their digestive systems. For those used to consuming normal amounts of fat in their diet, the keto diet which consists of up to 75% fat can lead to unpleasant symptoms like nausea and diarrhea. Similarly, the high levels of protein in the diet may also lead to digestive side effects.
If you are on the keto diet and are experiencing some of these symptoms, a digestive enzyme blend that contains enzymes that help break down fats (lipases) and proteins (proteases) can be a huge relief on digestive systems and in many cases can eradicate the unfortunate symptoms altogether.
Reaching Weight Loss and Optimal Health Goals
For many people, the keto diet is just what they are looking for. Right now, there is hardly any other diet that has received such widespread recognition and popularity for its ability to burn fat and improve the overall health of its participants. Of course, like most good things, the keto diet is not perfect. From the “keto-flu” to the fact that many of the foods the diet prohibits contain many of the essential vitamins and minerals that people need to live their full healthy lives, the keto diet is not without its downsides. Luckily, these shortcomings are easily addressed through an informed supplementation regimen.
People who want to get the most health benefits and address some of the side effects of this low carb, high-fat diet will do well to integrate many of vitamins to take while on the keto diet that we have discussed above into their everyday routine. For some, simply taking a high-quality multivitamin will be the best way to efficiently take care of all of their nutrient needs. For others, picking and choosing individual dietary supplements that most accurately fit their specific needs will be the way to go. However you go about it, one thing you will want to make sure of is that you are getting high-quality supplements from a dependable brand. That’s why Tropical Oasis’ wide range of highly absorbable liquid vitamins is the first place keto-dieters should look for all of their keto vitamin needs!