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 – arguably one of the most essential minerals in the body, involved with fluid balance and water retention; plays an important role in nerve and muscle function. Sodium is in table salt or himalayan salt, otherwise known as sodium chloride. 
  • Potassium – works with sodium to maintain water balance, acid/base (pH) balance, electrical activity of nerve and muscle cells via sodium-potassium pump
  • Chloride – also assists in fluid balance, ph regulation
  • Magnesium – supports high-quality sleep and promotes cell function, enzyme activity, muscle function and nerve function signaling.
  • Calcium – plays a critical role in blood clotting, neurotransmission, hormone secretion, muscle contraction and of course, helps to build strong bones.
  • Phosphate – Essential component of bones, teeth and cell membranes, needed to synthesize ATP, maintains acid-base balance by acting as a buffer. 

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 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.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.

4.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. 

5.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!

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 to help you feel and operate at your best.