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Archive for the ‘supplement advice’ Tag

To Supplement or Not to Supplement   Leave a comment

I get the question every now and again about what supplements I take on the ketogenic diet.  Which of course overlaps with the question of do you need to supplement on the ketogenic diet?  So I thought I’d take a moment to answer both for today’s blog.

The first one to answer is whether or not you need to supplement.  And the answer is no.   You don’t need to supplement.  The ketogenic diet will work without supplementing so you can’t really say it’s necessary.  Much like your car will continue to drive even if you don’t add a fuel cleaning additive to your tank when you fill up.  But your car can drive better if you do.  Similarly, you can operate better if you supplement.

So what should you supplement with if you’re going to supplement?  My list is pretty short, which isn’t surprising since I’ve already mentioned you can do without them.

First, a daily multivitamin is a good choice.   Your body requires a certain amount of vitamins and minerals to function properly.  While eating a proper ketogenic meal plan can include lots of dark leafy or cruciferous vegetables that will meet a lot of those needs, the reality is for many that we don’t get as much as we should.  And this can lead to deficiencies.  Taking a multivitamin every day helps ensure you are getting the proper amount.  While it’s always best to get these from whole food sources, it’s better to get them in a pill than not at all.

Second, while your body is turning itself into a fat burning machine it can struggle a little at first.  Energy demands can exceed your body’s ability to produce ketones. During that time it can be beneficial to supplement with exogenous ketones.  But I’d limit using them to the time while you’re adapting.  After all if you’re adding extra ketones into the system you lower the amount you need for your body to create.  And if the point of going on a ketogenic diet is to lose weight you should be encouraging your body to use its internal fat stores first, not exogenous one.  Having said that, from time to time when you need a little extra boost, exogenous ketones can offer that for you.  I just wouldn’t make a habit of using them.

Once you get the fatty acids flowing you need to get them into your cells to produce energy.  This is where L-Carnitine can be handy.  Your body produces a small amount of this transporter, but you can add more via supplementation.  As L-Carnitine helps shuttle fatty acid into the cells to create energy, supplementing with it can help you along on that goal.  As a reminder though you’ll burn fat either way so it isn’t a necessary supplement.  So if it isn’t in the budget I wouldn’t worry about it.

The last one I take and recommend is a vitamin D supplement.  Especially if you live in areas like the Pacific Northwest or Alaska where your sun exposure won’t be as great as if you lived in Florida or Hawaii.  Even if you live in those states, our lives are spent primarily indoors or behind protective glass like in your car.  As such you are likely deficient in this vitamin.  So I take a vitamin D supplement every other day to try to make up for that.  With a variety of health benefits, like bone density, sleep aid, and helps in weight loss it just doesn’t make sense to be deficient in it.

That’s it for whether to supplement or not.  This isn’t a list of all the supplements you could take, it’s just the list of the ones I do.  As a final word on the subject, keep in mind what the name implies.  A supplement shouldn’t be taken to handle all of a certain need.  A supplement should be an addition to a healthy diet and exercise plan.  If you’re relying totally on the supplements you should go back and fix your diet and exercise first.  I hope this helps and I hope you have a great day.  Peace.

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