Keto supplements are not necessary on a keto diet, but they do make things much, much easier. Some keto supplements treat the keto flu symptoms by increasing ketone levels while others prevent nutrient deficiencies. Keto supplements can also boost your workout results and improve health and well-being.
When added to a well-balanced keto diet, keto supplements increase your chances of getting and staying in ketosis. But not all keto supplements are important for keto. You only need a handful of the hundreds of supplements on the market to make your diet work.
To help you make the best supplement choices, we've gathered 6 keto supplements you may need on a keto diet. Our top 6 keto picks are easy to find and incorporate into your diet. They are also safe, natural, and scientifically proven to work.
The keto diet is like no other because it goes quite a bit against conventional wisdom. On a keto diet, you are supposed to eat more of what every other diet says you should avoid – fat! It also requires that you cut down on carbs to a meager 30 grams per day. The goal of this diet is to put you into ketosis – a metabolic state of enhanced fat burning.
Being such an extreme diet, keto can be tough on most people since everyone is used to burning sugar and eating carbs. To help keto dieters adjust, experts have developed a range of nutritional supplements to go with keto. But keto dieters also benefit from non-keto supplements. Most of these supplements address common problems that can happen on a keto diet such as:
- The Keto Flu– happens to almost everyone in the first week or two of a keto diet. The keto flu refers to a range of symptoms that you experience as your body adjusts from sugar burning to fat burning. You can read more about the keto flu here.
- Low Energy– be it mental or physical, the keto diet can leave you feeling drained if you don't watch your macros. Keto supplements help with common keto mishaps and even give your performance the upgrading it needs.
- Micronutrient Deficiencies – while not necessarily a consequence of a keto diet, nutrient deficiencies can happen to anyone. They're common even on standard diets so expect them on a poorly planned keto diet as well.
Keto supplements also help you build muscle, improve digestion, and protect your overall health. Think of them as a form of complementary medicine that you use along with your keto diet to improve your outcomes.
Here are the top 6 list keto supplements we think you need to consider. We talk about why they matter, why they're the best, and we'll tell you about the different ways to take them.
Exogenous ketones are ketones in supplement form. They have the same molecular structure as the ketones that your body makes. You can find them in liquid, powder, and pill form. Research has already shown that they truly do put the body into ketosis [1, 2], so these keto supplements are definitely no gimmick.
Exogenous ketones help keto dieters in more than one way. Here are some examples of what these keto supplements can do for you:
How to take exogenous ketones
- Ease Ketosis – It takes at least 3 days to get into ketosis and even longer for your body to become keto-adapted. When added to a keto diet, researchers believe that exogenous ketones can speed up keto-adaptation and ease the transition to nutritional ketosis .
- Correct Mistakes – If you accidentally took too many carbs or protein, taking exogenous ketones can help prevent you from being kicked out of ketosis. They do so by immediately boosting ketone levels, lowering blood glucose, and controlling insulin release.
- Keto Flu – The keto flu is a popular way of referring to carb withdrawal symptoms. These include fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, and nausea among other things. The keto flu goes away as soon as your body starts making ketones. Exogenous ketones help by speeding up this process.
- Appetite Control– If your goal is to lose weight, exogenous ketones can help by suppressing your appetite. A very recent study shows that drinking exogenous ketones following an overnight fast suppresses appetite for at least 4 hours [3
- Brain Boost– Ketone bodies are your body's natural nootropics . But taking them in supplement form can have the same effect. One study even found that ketone supplements help reduce anxiety, likely by improving brain functioning .
- Make sure to stay within the recommended daily limit when taking all keto supplements, including exogenous ketones. You'll find the daily limit printed on the back of the product packaging.
- Take smaller doses of exogenous ketones to fight the keto flu or speed up ketosis for 5-7 days.
- If you want to boost your brain power, however, take one serving of exogenous ketones early in the morning and another one in the afternoon.
- Exogenous ketones for better workout are best when taken right before you start exercising.
MCT Oil is a unique type of clear and tasteless oil containing pure Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are fats that your body uses more easily than other fats. Manufacturers extract MCTs from either coconut or palm kernel oil and doctors prescribe them to treat digestive system disorders, seizures, and many other illnesses.
In the keto world, however, MCT oils are sold as supplements with the following benefits:
- Greater Ketone Production
- Greater Weight Loss
- Quick Supply of Energy
- Appetite Control
These benefits come from the fact that your body prefers using MCTs for energy and ketone production rather than fat storage. MCTs don't require digestive enzymes or bile. Instead, they go directly to the liver from your small intestine where they're used to provide immediate energy in the form of either free fatty acids or ketones.
Studies on MCTs show that they're a powerful weight loss tool . They reduce body fat by down-regulating genes that control fat storage as well as hormone receptors that influence fat metabolism . When taken moderately, MCTs also reduce blood glucose and LDL cholesterol. They also improve insulin sensitivity.
How to take MCTs
Being flavorless and odorless, MCTs are easy to incorporate in a wide range of dishes.
You can add it to your morning coffee or blend it with your smoothie. Use it for making salad dressings, add it to keto muffins, and mix it with yogurt.
You can use it at any time of the day. However, taking them in the morning and before a workout is the best strategy. Make sure to keep your intake within the limits recommended by the manufacturer. Also, start gradually with MCTs as everyone needs time to adjust to them.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, making up to 30% of your body's total protein content. It builds your skin, bones, cartilage, tendons, and all other connective tissues. Your body has many types of collagen, but the most abundant ones are types I, II and III.
While your body can make all types of collagen on its own from protein foods, you can also take it in the form of collagen peptides. These peptides are the hydrolyzed form of collagen. The process of hydrolysis breaks down collagen into small molecules which your body can then digest and use.
Benefits of collagen peptides include:
- Youthful skin
- Stronger and bigger muscles
- Healthy joints
- Stronger bones
- Lower levels of inflammation
- Easier post-workout recovery
However, the main reason why you should add collagen peptides to your keto diet is that it can make your diet easier. Collagen peptides are easily-digestible types of protein that are the least likely to kick you out of ketosis. It is also a highly satiating type of protein, so you won't need to take too much of it .
How to take collagen peptides
First, make sure you are getting collagen peptides from a reliable source. Look for clean products without fillers or artificial ingredients. And, of course, make sure they don't contain caloric sweeteners. Also take note that the best sources of collagen peptides are grass-fed cows, pig, and fish.
With all that out of the way, use collagen peptides like you would any other protein supplement: add it to your smoothies, tea, coffee, cakes, muffins, pancakes, etc. Or you can simply add a scoop or two to a glass of water and drink as is. Collagen peptides have a fairly mild taste, so you won't even notice it's there.
As for when you should take it, you can take it freely as you will. Take it half an hour before a workout or even shortly after a workout. Add it to your morning coffee for increased energy and appetite control. You can also add it to your lunch to stay full. Just don't go over the recommended limit as should be the case with any other supplement.
In the first week of a keto diet, you will likely be losing lots of fluids through frequent urination. And with that fluid, you'll lose electrolytes. In fact, electrolyte loss is the main reason why we get the infamous keto flu. This is why supplementing your diet with electrolytes is important on keto, especially in the first week – it eases keto flu symptoms.
As far as the definition of electrolytes goes: electrolytes are simply another way of referring to essential minerals. There are many types of electrolytes but the most important on keto include the following 5:
You get most of your sodium in the form of sodium chloride (table salt.) Sodium controls the amount of water in your body and supports muscle and nerve function. Not enough sodium leads to headaches, fatigue, muscle spasms, and confusion.
Where to get it:
Table salt, bouillon cube, soy sauce, and other salty condiments can all replenish your sodium levels. Studies show that your body absorbs sodium better when taken with a bit of bicarbonate and a tiny amount of carbohydrates . You can also replenish sodium levels with bone broth.
This mineral is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body where it controls over 300 biochemical reactions. It controls heart rate, blood sugar, and muscle and nerve functioning. Deficiencies lead to fatigue, muscle spasms, and numbness.
Where to get it:
Leafy greens, nuts, and some brands of mineral water contain magnesium. If taking it in supplement form, look for magnesium citrate instead of oxide as your body better absorbs the former .
Together with sodium, potassium regulates fluid balance. It also regulates the electrical activity of your heart and muscles. It is found mainly inside your cells (whereas sodium is found outside the cells) and is important for communication between nerves. Low levels cause tiredness, muscle weakness, and constipation.
Where to get it:
Keto foods that are high in potassium include avocados, fish, and spinach. To boost potassium absorption and use, it's best to take it together with magnesium-rich foods or supplements.
Chloride is the second most abundant mineral in your body's fluids, the first one being sodium. It serves the same roles as sodium, but it also balances out your body's acidity. Deficiencies lead to appetite loss, weakness, lethargy, and dehydration.
Where to get it:
You can get chloride together with sodium from plain old table salt and salt-containing condiments. Make sure to keep your intake of both at the recommended daily levels. That's 2.3 grams per day of chloride and 1.5 grams per day of sodium.
The most abundant mineral in your body is calcium. Your body uses calcium to maintain and grow bones and teeth. It's also important for muscle and nerve functioning, cell communication, and normal blood clotting. A sudden drop in calcium levels can lead to numbness, muscle spasms, and seizures. However, this is rare as your body is able to borrow calcium from bones.
Where to get it:
Over time, low levels of calcium can cause frail bones, so it is important to get enough calcium while on a keto diet. Good sources are dairy products, eggs, and leafy greens. Many mineral supplements also contain calcium.
While getting electrolytes from food and drink is the best way to keep imbalances at bay, electrolyte supplements are more effective and convenient. Our Exogenous Ketones With Electrolytes – Lemon Lime, for example, offers a two-in-one solution to help you combat the keto flu and ease your way into ketosis.
Being an extremely low-carb diet, keto is also low in this indigestible form of carb that you need to maintain health. A lack of fiber in your diet can leave you feeling bloated and constipated. The higher fat intake can also be tough on your digestive system early in your keto journey when you may experience fat malabsorption. To counteract all of this, it's important to take fiber supplements.
Great options to consider include:
- Psyllium Husk – You can find psyllium at any pharmacy or supplements store. It's a popular soluble dietary fiber used to treat both constipation and diarrhea. Studies also show that it lowers blood cholesterol and glucose [11, 12].
- Acacia Fiber– Acacia is a form of soluble fiber, meaning that it dissolves in water. It's great for both diarrhea and constipation and works well in treating IBS and high cholesterol. Bacteria in the gut are able to ferment acacia fibers which produces short-chain fatty acids.
- Ground Flaxseed – Flaxseed contains both soluble and insoluble fibers. Insoluble fibers give stool bulk and make it easier for you to pass stool. However, you need to grind them first to get the benefit of both fibers. Flaxseed is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, thiamin, and folate.
- Chia Seeds– Chia seeds contain mostly insoluble fiber and a little bit of soluble fiber. They're the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids and also provide plenty of calcium. They're low in net carbs but high in fat, making them the perfect keto source of dietary fiber.
Other good keto sources of fiber are nut flours, especially coconut flour, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens. However, for best results and convenience, getting fiber in supplement form is probably your best bet.
Fish oil is the best source of omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, which means that your body can't make them on its own but needs to get them from food. Your body needs omega-3s to make cell membranes and signaling molecules and to produce energy. Omega-3s also keep inflammation at bay and protect the brain.
Epidemiological studies show that people in Western countries don't eat enough omega-3s . This isn't surprising given that the typical Western diet is poor in these important fatty acids. In fact, a lack of omega-3s is thought to be a major cause of the rise in chronic disease in the Western world.
The best way to boost your omega-3s intake is by eating:
- Fatty fish and Other Seafood
- Omega-3 Eggs
- Flaxseed and Chia Seeds
However, to keep things simple and foolproof, consider adding omega-3 supplements, also known as fish oil supplements, to your keto diet.
Not only will fish oil supplements protect your health, but they also help you get into and stay in ketosis. It will also improve your health on a high-fat diet. The reason? Most foods are higher in omega-6 fatty acids. Although these fatty acids are also essential, studies show that they cause inflammation . Omega-3s help counteract this effect.
What Else Should You Consider
Besides all the above-listed supplements, you may also benefit from taking the following keto supplements to enhance your workout or to support overall health and well-being.
BCAAs is short for bran branched-chain amino acids. These amino acids include leucine, isoleucine, and valine which account for 35% of proteins in muscle tissue . Supplementing with BCAAs while on a keto diet helps boost muscle growth during workouts and it also prevents fatigue.
Another reason they're great during workouts is that the amino acids in these supplements work in synergy to maximize performance. Leucine promotes muscle growth while isoleucine enhances glucose uptake for greater energy. Valine also provides energy and mental vigor .
Besides that, when you exercise, blood levels of BCAAs drop and this increases serotonin production which leads to fatigue. Taking BCAAs prevents a sharp drop in blood BCAA levels for greater workout energy.
Creatine is another amino acid found abundantly in the muscles and brain. You can get creatine naturally from fish and red meat, but it is also available as a supplement. Your body converts creatine to phosphocreatine which it stores in muscle tissue to use as energy.
Creatine supplements are naturally and popular among keto dieters who want to boost their workout. Studies on creatine show that supplementing with it increases phosphocreatine storage and promotes faster energy recovery between high-intensity workouts .
Regarding the safety of creatine, the International Society of Sports Nutrition clearly states that creatine is completely safe as most research evidence points toward this . Not only is it safe, but it's also beneficial for athletes and highly active people.
Health & Wellness Supplements
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae considered one of the oldest forms of life on Earth. Spirulina is up to 70% protein by dry weight and contains 8 out of 9 essential amino acids . It's also a great source of vitamin B12, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, iron, calcium, and phosphorus. For all these and many other reasons, spirulina is classified as a superfood that can contribute to your keto diet.
We're not talking about bone broth supplements here but actual bone broth you use to make soups. Having some stock available at all times is a great way to replenish your electrolytes and stay hydrated. Bone broth from chicken reduces inflammation by inhibiting neutrophils – white cells that trigger inflammation . Bone broths made with a bit of fatty meat also boosts your fat intake which you need on a keto diet.
Herbs like cinnamon, oregano, parsley, basil, green tea, and turmeric are low in carbs which makes them a suitable addition to your keto diet. These herbs and spices are scientifically-proven to be one of the most powerful sources of antioxidant. Add them to your meals to stay healthy on a keto diet.
Taking keto supplements can ease your way into ketosis, help you stay there, and boost your workouts on a keto diet. Some of these supplements were exclusively designed to complement or replace the ketogenic diet while others make a perfect addition to the keto lifestyle.
From exogenous ketones and collagen peptides to fish oil and antioxidant-rich herbs, there are many healthful ways to upgrade your keto diet. These keto supplements are all natural, safe, and scientifically-proven to be effective.
Make sure to read our list of the top 6 keto supplements and consider our reasons for including them. Keep in mind that not all keto supplements are created equal, though. You need to consider quality and reputation when making purchases.