KB BLOG: THE KETO LIFE
Do you need to supplement electrolytes on keto?
You have probably heard of electrolytes before but, do you know what their purpose is and why they are important to our bodies? Before we dive into the big questions, lets find out more. 👇
What are electrolytes and why are they important?
Electrolytes are minerals that are found in our bodies. They aid in a number of different cellular and organ functions, making them a necessity for survival. The most important functions of electrolytes are to maintain hydration and acidity levels in the body as well as helping to maintain muscle and nerve function.
Some of the most common electrolytes found in the body are: Calcium, Chloride, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, and Sodium.
How does a keto diet affect our electrolytes?
As we know, a ketogenic diet requires us to drastically reduce our carb intake in order to use fat as our primary source of fuel.
In order for our bodies to perform at their best, each electrolyte must be kept in a healthy range. Staying in this range can become difficult when you start to reduce your carb intake. On keto, less insulin is released which causes the kidneys to excrete more Sodium, flushing it out of the body. This loss in Sodium can cause other key electrolytes to be affected as well.
The symptoms of this electrolyte imbalance are often referred to as the “keto flu”. These symptoms can be triggered by many different electrolytes but the ones that are most often affected are Sodium, Potassium, and Magnesium.
How can I keep my electrolytes balanced on keto?
As we just learned, the main electrolytes that are affected on the keto diet are Sodium, Potassium, and Magnesium. If you're dealing with the keto flu and feel that you may be deficient in one or all of these electrolytes, there are simple dietary adjustments that you can make to to increase your intake.
Sodium Deficiency: Look out for symptoms of weakness, fatigue, headaches, and irritability. In order to get more Sodium into your diet, add more table salt to your meals and drink 1-2 cups of bone broth per day, especially for the first week of starting keto.
Potassium Deficiency: Look out for symptoms of muscle cramps, muscle twitching, and heart palpitations. In order to get more Potassium into your diet, try eating an extra avocado or portion of leafy greens or mushrooms.
Magnesium Deficiency: Look out for symptoms of muscle cramping or muscle twitching, especially at night or after exercise. In order to get more Magnesium into your diet, try adding foods like pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, and dark chocolate into your meals.
If makings some of these dietary changes does not help you deal with your symptoms, then you may want to consider adding an electrolyte supplement into your daily routine.
So, do I really need to supplement electrolytes?
That really depends on how YOU are feeling. Some people can start the keto diet and feel great from the beginning while others deal with intense symptoms of the "keto flu", which we now know is due to the loss of key electrolytes. You may have a completely different experience than one of your keto friends.
The best thing to do is listen to your body and find out what works best for you! If you find that you are feeling great with a few dietary adjustments, then you may not need to use supplements at all. However, if you're still not feeling the greatest with dietary adjustments alone, supplementing may be the best option for you!
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