Making the switch to the ketogenic diet can seem like a gargantuan task at first. The first four weeks are generally the toughest, as your body gradually copes with hunger and cravings for carbohydrates. After the first four weeks it should be smooth sailing, right?
Not exactly. While it is true that it gets easier the longer you are committed to it, new issues can arise. For instance, specific nutrient deficiencies. But don’t worry too much, we are here to help you with that.
Take it in stride, and with the help of these supplements, your transition can be as seamless as possible.
Super Greens Supplement
There are many reasons why you should take a super greens supplement, regardless of if you are on a keto diet or not. If you are practicing keto, however, you need to take this much more seriously since there is a high likelihood that you have severely restricted your intake of fruits.
Super greens not only contain greens, as the name may suggest, but oftentimes also included superfruits, and other superfoods, along with supporting vitamins and minerals. The range of vitamins and minerals can also help reduce symptoms of keto flu[i], often occurring as a result of the electrolyte depletion that occurs as water is flushed from the body.
This way, apart from helping you meet your daily recommendation of fruits and vegetables, you can also take advantage of all the bioactive nutrients you would get from eating them as solid food.
Keto Collagen Protein
There is a reason keto collagen protein is often emphasized on the keto diets over other types of protein such as whey or casein, and that is owing to the rates of absorption. To be precise, we are referring to keto collagen, which is a blend of being chain triglycerides (MCT) and collagen, which acts as a buffer to slow down the speed of absorption of the amino acids.
This slow, staggered release of amino acids is beneficial for allowing them to be used for recovery and healing, as opposed to conversion into glucose when a large surplus enters the blood at once. If you can’t get your hands on keto collagen, simply combine collagen protein powder and MCT oil or powder.
Keep in mind- whey and other protein types are not explicitly off-limits on keto, but you need to use them much more strategically to not counter the benefits of dietary ketosis. Collagen protein is also not a complete protein, so you will need to ensure you are consuming other high quality sources of protein.
A staple of ketogenic diets everywhere, MCT Oil (either purified C8 or from coconut oil) offers one of the most valuable fat sources available on the keto diet, as they can travel to the liver rapidly via hepatic circulation where they are converted into ketone bodies[ii].
These ketone bodies are the body’s alternative energy source in the absence of glucose, and help to promote weight loss and balance energy needs.
MCT Oil can also help you deal with feelings of hunger by suppressing your appetite[iii], and supporting mental clarity when you need it most.
Dandelion is regarded as a weed by many, but on a keto diet it can help you cope with one of the most embarrassing side effects – that of the digestive disturbances and diarrhoea that may occur.
Dandelion acts to increase the secretion of bile acids by the gallbladder, which is critical for the digestion and absorption of fats. This can help reduce the incidence of gastric adverse effects, especially if using a C6 heavy oil.
However, keep in mind that dandelion also possesses mild diuretic properties that can worsen electrolyte imbalances and dehydration if you’re not careful. This can easily be addressed with daily superfood powder consumption or a balanced multivitamin/multimineral supplement.
Creatine should be considered the every man’s supplement. Whether you’re on keto or not, creatine has ergogenic effects on exercise performance, and can help alleviate some fatigue in the gym.
Initially, creatine can help to buffer the drop in performance experienced when transitioning from carbohydrates to fat for fuel, but in the longer term, the body becomes more efficient at gluconeogenesis and creatine’s effects become more predictable and look like those on a standard higher carb diet.
There are other supplements that you can take as well which can help to enhance the ketogenic diet experience, such as exogenous ketones, Omega-3 fatty acids, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), glutamine, and even an electrolyte powder if your greens supplement does not contain enough of the necessary minerals.
[i] DeFronzo RA, Goldberg M, Agus ZS. The effects of glucose and insulin on renal electrolyte transport. J Clin Invest. 1976;58(1):83-90. doi:10.1172/JCI108463
[ii] St-Pierre V, Vandenberghe C, Lowry CM, et al. Plasma Ketone and Medium Chain Fatty Acid Response in Humans Consuming Different Medium Chain Triglycerides During a Metabolic Study Day. Front Nutr. 2019;6:46. Published 2019 Apr 16. doi:10.3389/fnut.2019.00046
[iii] St-Onge MP, Mayrsohn B, O'Keeffe M, Kissileff HR, Choudhury AR, Laferrère B. Impact of medium and long chain triglycerides consumption on appetite and food intake in overweight men. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014;68(10):1134-1140. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2014.145
[iv] Cooper R, Naclerio F, Allgrove J, Jimenez A. Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012;9(1):33. Published 2012 Jul 20. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-33