(Original post date: September 18, 2019)
From my personal experience I can speak to three supplements:
1. Magnesium! Not really a keto specific supplement but helpful on a keto diet. I found myself getting leg cramps which is unusual for me. I did some internet research and found that on a keto diet, it may be difficult to meet your magnesium needs. Many of the magnesium-rich foods are high in carbs and therefore avoided (like beans and fruits). Supplementing with magnesium can help reduce muscle cramps, a statement I found to be TRUE.
This website contains a listing of how much magnesium is in your food. Surprisingly, pumpkin seeds and spinach are near the top of the best available sources. Avocados, the wonder food, and tofu are good sources. Sadly, bananas, legumes, whole grains, whole wheat flour and dark chocolate are good sources of magnesium but are not keto friendly.
2. MCT oil is a confusing supplement only because I can’t decide if it’s more natural or synthetic. MCT oil doesn’t occur in nature but makes up about 50-60% of coconut oil. Coconut oil is processed through multiple steps to create a colorless, flavorless and odorless liquid. The way our body uses MCT oil is fascinating and if you want to know the science, it makes for interesting reading.
But here’s what can happen if you take MCT oil. You can experience significant gastrointestinal distress, such as diarrhea, nausea, bloating and cramping. Personally, I didn’t have any trouble putting 1 tablespoon in my morning coffee. It was actually nice, more texture than taste and a little bit of a lip moisturizer. However, as soon as I tried 2 tbsp in a larger cup (20 oz) there were problems!! The possible distress is for real believe me! However, if you start slow, I think most of us can avoid problems.
The reason I’m totally on board with MCT oil is that I would not stand a chance in Hades of meeting my daily fat requirements without it. I still struggle to eat enough fat – which is why I disastrously tried 2 tablespoons at one sitting.
There is a popular morning product called Bulletproof coffee. Some folks have this for breakfast because it’s around 400 calories. I haven’t tried it yet, although I did buy a necessary ingredient, the “Brain Octane Oil”. This was an internet purchasing mistake when I first started researching MCT oil. Bulletproof Coffee has the oil, 1-2 tablespoons of unsalted butter or a substitute of 1-2 teaspoons of grass-fed ghee. Ghee is a form of highly-clarified butter that may be used in cooking (think dunking your lobster). Ghee is made by melting regular butter. The butter separates into liquid fats and milk solids which are subsequently removed. This coffee is probably very filling but personally I like some texture/food to start my day! I digressed because in keto dieting, most folks are familiar with this coffee. I included the following link about "10 Morning Habits That Help You Lose Weight" because I’m a breakfast lover and believe that your body really needs fuel to start in the morning!
3. Exogenous ketone supplements are considered a safe and effective way to increase ketone body concentrations. People take ketone supplements along with a ketogenic diet to help reduce the time it takes to reach ketosis. However, supplements alone are not enough to put your body into ketosis. You still need to follow a keto diet to sustain the round the clock presence of ketones in your body.