Keto Supplements…. Definitely a hot topic in the keto community. Are they necessary though? I’ll just answer that up front. No, they are not necessary. BUT, some are incredibly helpful and I would highly recommend.
So, let’s walk through the common vitamins, minerals and supplements. I will also tell you which ones I take and WHY. I will also tell you which ones I use. I buy most my keto supplements from Perfect Keto. They are not a network marketing company, so anyone can buy directly from them. If you want to buy anything, use coupon code RUNNINGKETO to save 20%.
Exogenous Ketones are probably the one you’ve heard of the most. In fact, I did an entire Podcast episode about exogenous ketones. You can find it HERE.
Let’s start with the basics. There are 2 basic types of ketones:
1) Exogenous ketones – ketones NOT produced by your body (i.e. from an outside source)
2) Endogenous ketones – ketones produced by your liver as a byproduct of breaking down the fat in your body (hint, hint – these are the golden ketones)
I’ve heard claims that:
• Taking exogenous ketones will put you into ketosis.
• Taking exogenous ketones will keep you in ketosis regardless of your diet
• Taking exogenous ketones will help you lose weight
• Taking exogenous ketones will help you burn fat
There are partial truths, but mostly false. I want to talk about WHY.
There are no shortcuts. There are no magic pills. No magic ketones.
If you want the benefits of ketones and ketosis, then you CANNOT skip the ketogenic way of eating. You cannot take a shake or a drink or a <whatever> that has ketones in it, not follow the ketogenic lifestyle, and get the same benefits. Ketosis is not easy to achieve or maintain at first, but unless you put the hard work in, you won’t get the benefits.
So, let’s break down these claims one by one.
Myth #1: Taking exogenous ketones will put you into ketosis
Having ketones in your system from an outside source does not mean you are in ketosis. While it may jumpstart the process, unless you’re eating ketogenic, then that “state” will not be supported. Your body has 2 fuel burning modes. They are sugar burning or fat burning. Your body does not like to do both at the same time and will always prefer sugar burnings since it’s the easiest. IF you have glycogen stores in your body, then your body will go there first to utilize energy generally. What does that mean for the expensive ketones you just ingested? That’s right – expensive pee.
Myth #2: Taking exogenous ketones will keep you in ketosis regardless of your diet
No. No. No. No. No. See the reason above. Let’s say you are legit in ketosis and decide to start eating higher carbs and taking exogenous ketones to “stay in ketosis”… It doesn’t work that way for the reasons above. You *will* get kicked out of ketosis until you change your diet back to a ketogenic style diet. There are no shortcuts here. You simply cannot be in nutritional ketosis without abiding by a ketogenic diet. Period.
Myth #3: Taking exogenous ketones will help you lose weight.
Mostly false. What helps you lose weight (in part) is burning the fat in your body. The creation of [endogenous/internal] ketones does this. Taking exogenous ketones does not. It is simply an energy source. When you are (legit) in ketosis, then your body is burning fat and creating ketones. When you are taking exogenous ketones, you are simply taking exogenous ketones. That’s it. Your fat was not burned in the process. Now the reason I say mostly false instead of outright FALSE is because exogenous ketones will give you an energy boost and promote mental focus – and maybe you’ll use that and go workout
Myth #4: Taking exogenous ketones will help you burn fat (see myth #3)
You might be asking yourself – what is the purpose of taking exogenous ketones then? Not much IF you are not following a ketogenic lifestyle. It all comes down to the fact that you want to create your OWN ketones rather than exogenous ketones. That is where you’ll get the most benefit. You may get some energy and focus benefits from taking exogenous ketones (our brain does love ketones – any ketones) but that is about it.
Unless you are following a ketogenic lifestyle and know what you are doing – don’t spend your money on exogenous ketones. Spend your time and money on proper ketogenic nutrition and produce your own beautiful ketones and reap the benefits of fat loss, weight loss, increased energy, and crazy mental sharpness.
Do I take exogenous ketones?
Actually, yes, a few times a week. Are you shocked? Let me explain why. I do NOT use exogenous ketones to get into or stay in ketosis. I do, however, use them for an energy boost when I need one. They are beautiful brain food when needed. If I’m extra tired in the morning (I get up at 4am) or need a boost in the afternoon, I’ll take a scoop of exogenous ketones with almond milk.
I wrote an entire blog on MCT and why it is AMAZING for you. So I won’t repeat it here. You can check it out HERE.
In short, MCT is awesome. Period. End of Story. I use it every day in my coffee.
MCTs are highly available medium chain triglycerides (the ones we mostly care about are C8 which means they have a chain length of 8).
MCTs are known to:
1) Help maintain a healthy gut (i.e. will keep the bad bacteria in check). Do you know what a nice side effect of a happy gut is? Mental Alertness!!
2) Be a happy fuel for the brain.
3) Help you feel full longer after a meal.
I highly recommend using MCT oil! Many people put it in their coffee or put a splash in sauces and salad dressings. I would ease into it though, as it can often lead to stomach upset at first as your body adjusts.
I LOVE collagen protein. Not all collagen proteins are created equal though. You obviously want one with little to no carbs and one that is made specifically made for keto peeps. General collagen proteins can be high in carbs.
The Keto Collagen I use is a blend of collagen with MCT powder. The MCT helps slow down the absorption of the collagen in the body. This makes it more suitable to be used for recovery.
Collagen is great for a variety of reasons. It essentially is what holds your body together. Cool, right?
It also helps your hair, skin and nails be healthy and vibrant. For me personally, I like it due to the skin and hair factor. Keto is dehydrating and my skin ends up dry at times. Also, some people find that hair loss can be an issue with keto, so I like it due to the extra hair benefits.
I drink it every day. I make a smoothie made from keto collagen, almond butter and almond milk.
Electrolytes (Sodium, Magnesium, Potassium)
It is no secret that keto is dehydrating. We tend to lose electrolytes in the process. This is one reason the keto flu is so hard. Often it has to do with an electrolyte imbalance.
Sodium: I do not take a sodium supplement. Adding extra dashes or Himalayan Pink Salt on your food if needed can do just fine.
Potassium: It is often not recommended to take a potassium supplement unless instructed by your doctor. High levels of potassium can be toxic so it is best to get it through food sources such as nuts and leafy greens.
Magnesium: This is a MUST for me. Keto can be constipating due to the fact that it is dehydrating. I take Magnesium Citrate every night and it keeps my magnesium in check and gets rid of constipation.
Ah, biotin! I love biotin! I suffer from hair loss issues already due to thyroid issues. Adding keto to that makes it a bit worse. Biotin is great for hair loss so this is a MUST!
I don’t know where you live, but I live in the Portland, Oregon and the sun is non-existent for half the year. Many people are already deficient in Vitamin D and then add Keto onto to that that it puts you at a slightly worse position. Vitamin D foods on the keto diet consist of mushrooms and fatty fish. Not much else. Milk is fortified with Vitamin D to combat the known general deficiency, but milk is not consumed on a keto diet.
I would talk with your doctor about dosage, but I take a high potency Vitamin D supplement. I did have a blood test and it was confirmed that my vitamin D is hovering just above non-existent.
Most of us forgo most fruits on the keto diet due to the high carb content. Fruits are still important in terms of their vitamins and minerals. I take a greens supplement that includes 26 different fruits and veggies. It is surprisingly tasty too. I get quite the energy boost as well.
I also take zinc and selenium, but those aren’t keto related!