Although a keto diet is a truly healthy way to lose weight especially if you do it the right way, you must also be aware that this diet can lead to vitamins and minerals deficiencies. It’s important that you know what these are and what’s the best way to supplement them.
The three minerals that you will most likely hear about in a low carb diet are magnesium, potassium, and sodium. These three are electrolytes which the body needs in order to manage blood pressure and keep the muscles and nerves working properly.
On your first week of the keto diet, you can expect to lose plenty of water weight. The reason for this is because a low carb, high-fat diet can make you release water and electrolytes. It’s important that you replenish the electrolytes not only to stay healthy but to also prevent keto flu.
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies in a Keto Diet
In the US alone, almost 57% are said to be clinically deficient in magnesium. Some say it’s closer to 75%. This is such a major concern since we need magnesium to keep the energy systems of our body cells functioning properly. Magnesium is also responsible for controlling hundreds of cell processes in our body.
You can take a good magnesium supplement at a dose of about 500 mg each day with a meal. Good absorbable forms are glycinate and malate. Magnesium citrate is good it you suffer with constipation. Also, include nuts and leafy greens, food sources of magnesium, in your keto diet.
Just like magnesium, potassium is also important in our body and it’s something that we need to watch out for when we’re on a keto diet. When you first start a low carb diet the body loses water and with that you can lose potassium and sodium. The ideal intake of potassium per day is 2,000 mg. But if you’re on keto, you may need more. Meat and poultry do not contain carbohydrates, but they do provide potassium. Low carb foods that are also high in potassium are dark leafy greens, avocados and low carb nuts. You should only take potassium supplements under the direction of a doctor or nutritionist since too much potassium can interfere with normal heart rhythm.
In a normal diet, it’s often recommended to avoid or reduce sodium intake. However, if you’re on a low carb diet, it’s important that you take extra sodium because the lack of it could lead to fatigue, headache, constipation and heart palpitations. Unless you’re suffering from a condition that requires you to limit your intake of sodium, it’s generally a good idea to consume more salt when you’re on keto.
Ideally, you should include about 3,000 to 5,000 mg of sodium in your diet each day. You can get sodium from home-made bone broth and by adding sea vegetables to your diet, such as kelp and nori. It’s also a good idea to add a good quality sea salt or Himalayan salt to your food or drinks. Much of the sea salt on the market these days contains plastic fibers so avoid those.
Although a ketogenic diet should not lead to a vitamin D deficiency it’s a fact that vitamin D deficiency is prevalent among the general population due to the fact that people tend to avoid the sun or use sunscreen when they are out in it. Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins that our bodies need. It’s responsible for regulating immunity, inflammation, sex hormones and many others.
If you are not sure how much Vitamin D your body is getting, the best way to find out is through a blood test for Vitamin D3, the active vitamin. Taking Vitamin D3 supplements is essential if your body lacks this vitamin. Be guided by your doctor or nutritionist for your ideal dose and make sure to take a supplement that includes vitamin K2. This is because Vitamin D enhances calcium absorption and K2 helps to prevent calcium build up in the arteries. Good food sources of Vitamin D when following a keto diet are sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, eggs and mushrooms
People who are on a keto diet tend to wonder if it may be best to cover all these deficiencies at once by taking multi vitamin and mineral supplements. While this might seem like a more convenient option, the truth is that many multivitamins include synthetic nutrients that do not really mimic the actual nutrients that you will get from eating whole foods. So when it comes to supplementing your vitamins and mineral deficiencies, it is always a good idea to get them from whole foods where possible.