Keto Electrolytes: Do You Need Electrolytes on the Keto Diet and Why?

Chances are you are either following a keto lifestyle yourself or you have a friend, family member, or co-worker following perfect keto, as it is quickly becoming one of the most popular diets around the world! We personally don’t like to refer to the keto way as a “diet”, but rather a healthy lifestyle change due to the outstanding list of health benefits it has to offer. Keto is a high-fat, low-carb diet that forces your body to burn fat for fuel instead of glucose. This incredible metabolic state is called ketosis and can help to turn your body into a fat-torching machine! Some of the advantages of a ketogenic lifestyle include:

It goes without saying that keto can greatly improve the lives of many. Meat, fish, dairy, nuts, eggs, and vegetables are staples within the ketogenic diet. Although these foods are among the richest in vitamins and minerals, supplementing with electrolytes is a necessary component of the keto journey.  Read along with us to find out why! 

Electrolytes and Keto

Electrolytes are important minerals found in the body that are crucial for just about every function, such as heart health, brain function, bladder regulation, muscle contraction, nerve transmission, energy, and much more. The primary electrolytes that make up your body, include:

sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

Sodium. Most people tend to think of sodium as simple table salt, but the truth is that sodium is far from being simple. It has widespread functions and plays a vital role in overall health. In fact, many people will argue that it’s the most important electrolyte in the body. 

The sodium ion is needed to help your body to function at its very best by playing a role in the activation of muscle concentration machinery. Most of the sodium in your body is found in the blood and fluid around the cells. 

Your body loses this important mineral through urination, tears, and sweat, which makes excessive sodium loss a particular risk for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Why? Because they sweat during exercise and water and electrolyte intake is often insufficient to replace the lost fluids. 

Supplementing sodium in your diet will help to protect the function of a myriad of essential physiological processes, including:

  • Regulation of blood pressure and blood volume
  • Nerve function
  • Control of water retention
  • Control of nerve impulses

When your sodium levels are running low, you may experience some unfavorable symptoms. Here are some of the signs to watch for:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Brain fog

It’s imperative that your sodium intake remain relatively constant over time as drastic fluctuations may lead to some negative side effects. The CDC recommends consuming 2,300mg of sodium per day but an athletic individual following the ketogenic lifestyle may need to increase their sodium intake as a way of maintaining electrolyte balance in their low carb state.

Potassium. This super mineral is what we usually associate with cramps. In fact, you’ve probably been told by your mother to always keep a banana on hand as an anti-cramping superfood. Like sodium, potassium is an essential electrolyte that is key for your body to run properly, and it’s not just there to keep us cramp free!

Supplementing with potassium helps to protect various processes within the body, including:

  • Maintenance of body fluid
  • Blood pressure control
  • Decreased risk of hypertension
  • Cellular function

Many people don’t get the daily recommended amount of this powerful mineral in their diets - but just how much is actually needed?

According to The World Health Organization, 3,500mg of potassium is recommended per day, but most individuals are not meeting this. The result? Possibly some of these common side effects of a potassium deficiency:

  • Kidney damage or failure
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hypertension
  • Adverse cardiovascular effects
  • Muscle cramps

When following a keto diet, potassium tends to be one of the most difficult electrolytes to replace, because many potassium-rich foods are high in carbs. Take bananas for an example: one medium sized banana has 27g of carbohydrates. Sure, they might be rich in potassium, but eating bananas is a surefire way to kick yourself out of ketosis! Rather than consuming one-to-many carbs causing a set-back in your keto journey, try a great electrolyte supplement to support your low-carb lifestyle, like Adapted Nutritions Keto K1000.https://adapted-nutrition.com/products/keto-k1000-unflavored

Magnesium. Magnesium is another abundant mineral in the body. It has numerous functions within the body that make it important for maintaining proper electrolyte balance. 

Magnesium is responsible for some of the most critical life processes:

  • Protein synthesis
  • DNA and RNA synthesis
  • Controlling blood pressure
  • Nerve transmission
  • Muscular contraction
  • Brain biochemistry

 

Chances are spotting a magnesium deficiency may be a bit more challenging compared to other important electrolytes, but still, large numbers of the world’s population are deficient. Having improper balance of magnesium may result in many things, such as:

  • Cardiac disorders
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Leg cramps

In addition, magnesium deficiency has shown to have other negative effects on personality changes too, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Delirium

The good news is that many keto-friendly foods are rich in magnesium like pumpkin seeds and spinach so it’s not too difficult to replenish your body with this super mineral. However, if you’re feeling like you could use a little bit of a boost, Adapted Nutritions Hi-Mag can help!

Calcium. Calcium is another powerful mineral that plays many different roles in the body, including:

  • Blood clotting
  • Building strong bones
  • Ensuring proper muscle contraction
  • Regulating nerve function
  • Enzyme activity

The majority of calcium in the body is contained in the bones and teeth. In fact, this super electrolyte is largely what makes bones hard and serves as a mineral reserve for the rest of the body. Being deficient in this mineral can greatly increase your risk of developing diseases like osteopenia and osteoporosis. Some of the signs that your calcium levels are running low include:

  • Weak or brittle fingernails
  • Fainting or lethargy
  • Weak bones
  • Muscle cramps
  • Poor appetite
  • Tingling fingers

Adequate calcium is necessary for good health. According to the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults, 1,000mg of this essential electrolyte is sufficient to support a healthy ketogenic lifestyle. 

What is The Keto Flu?

When you don’t have enough of these body-nourishing electrolytes, you may become a victim of the infamous symptoms known as keto-flu. But don’t worry – it’s not the actual flu by any means, and you are not going to be contagious. The name was given to the set of symptoms that are “flu-like” which tend to occur when beginners start their keto journey and enter into the state of ketosis. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Poor sleep
  • Brain fog
  • Sugar cravings

The keto lifestyle causes major metabolic changes within the body. The shift from burning carbs to burning fat for fuel is the hallmark of ketosis, and the reason why many people experience a great boost in energy level along with weight loss. However, these changes also cause a fluctuation in fluid and electrolytes, which is generally the culprit behind the dreaded keto-flu. 

These changes tend to happen due to a reduction of circulating and stored carbohydrates. As your carb intake drops, your body will naturally start depleting glycogen, the storage form of sugar. Glycogen is kept in the liver and muscles, stored alongside water.  As your body drains these glycogen stores, you will also notice significant loss in water weight.  Since electrolytes and water move hand in hand, increasing amounts of minerals are also ushered out of the body, along with water. The loss of these important minerals can leave your bodily functions completely out of sync! 

Increasing your electrolyte intake will go a LONG way to ameliorate symptoms and help you maintain hydration.  Below is a round-up of the top keto-friendly, electrolyte boosting options that should be included in your diet: 

1.Nuts

Nuts are an excellent source of several minerals, especially high in magnesium and potassium. Almonds and cashews have the highest content, however, be careful to ration out your portion.  Too many nuts can kick you out of ketosis due to the carbohydrate content. Pumpkin seeds are also a great option for keto dieters! 

2.Fatty Fish

In addition to providing a great source of healthy fats and proteins, fish also offers a source of electrolytes. You can find potassium, sodium, and magnesium in this nutrient-dense option, making it an excellent and easy way to boost your electrolyte intake. 

3.Pink Himalayan Salt

Looking to boost your electrolyte intake? Pink Himalayan salt can help. Himalayan salt, as the name suggests, comes from salt mines in the Punjab region of Pakistan, deep within the Himalayas. It’s a favorite choice among keto-dieters because it is not refined like table salt and is packed full of healthy minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium - just to name a few. To reap the benefits that this super salt has to offer, simply take a pinch and mix it into your water for an easy electrolyte-packed drink. Or, if you prefer, sprinkle it onto your keto-friendly food throughout the day.

4.Dark Leafy Green Vegetables

We couldn’t have a list of nutrient-rich foods without the dark leafy veggies! Spinach, swiss chard, and kale are loaded with magnesium, potassium, and calcium making veggies a no-brainer when it comes to boosting your electrolytes.  Although not a dark leafy green veggie, don’t forget avocado as a popular staple and excellent source of potassium.

5.Eggs

If eggs didn’t exist, keto probably wouldn’t be nearly as popular as it is today. Why? Because eating eggs on keto is essentially the spinach to Popeye’s strength or the shield to Captain America. In other words, eggs are a keto-dieters secret weapon. They are a very good source of high-quality protein, healthy fat, and are loaded with essential minerals and vitamins like B12, zinc, iron, and copper, to keep your body functioning at its best.

6.Bone Broth

If you are one to keep up with the latest and greatest in the health and wellness industry, then you have surely heard the buzz surrounding bone broth. This powerful healing liquid dates back to Ancient Chinese medicine and provides a powerful punch of electrolytes to bring balance back to your body. Sodium, magnesium, potassium, chloride, and calcium can all be found in this superfood. 

7.Electrolyte Supplement

Did you know that over 90% of Americans do not get the proper nutrients they need through diet alone?  Combined with the increased mineral depletion of a keto diet, you can see how getting sufficient electrolytes can be a day to day challenge. This is where supplementation shines! To fuel your body with the vitamins and minerals it craves, reach for a potent and fast absorbing electrolyte supplement like Adapted Nutrition’s Keto K1000. Rich in minerals, this super supplement is designed for powerful hydration to keep the keto flu at bay!  Since many electrolyte products contain hidden sugars, it is important to choose wisely, and Adapted Nutrition has formulated specifically for your keto needs!

Conclusion:

So, do you need electrolytes on the keto diet? The answer is: YES! 

Whether you are just starting your keto journey, or you are a keto-pro, electrolytes are of the utmost importance and should be a staple to your ketogenic lifestyle. 

Why?

Because electrolytes play many different roles within the body to keep it healthy and functioning properly. When your electrolyte levels are running low as your body transitions into ketosis, you may experience some unfavorable symptoms like nausea, headaches, constipation, and fatigue. 

The good news is that you can easily boost your electrolyte levels to combat these pesky symptoms by simply consuming keto-friendly, mineral-rich foods like nuts, fatty fish, Himalyan salt, dark green veggies, eggs and bone broth. Another quick and easy way to increase your mineral intake is by taking a potent electrolyte supplement, like Adapted Nutritions Keto K1000. 

Adapted Nutrition is an exceptional company with an undeniably true passion for providing top-quality and clean supplementation to support you on your keto journey!

Sources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27910808/