Electrolytes are as essential for survival as water. They are important for muscle and nerve function, blood pressure regulation and many more cellular processes. On a ketogenic diet, insulin levels are low, which leads to a depletion of glycogen stores. Glycogen is stored together with water and electrolytes. As we switch to a ketogenic diet, we lose a lot of electrolytes along with water. For this reason, a sufficient daily intake of electrolytes is especially important on a ketogenic diet. A lack of electrolytes causes muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, headache… all symptoms of the well-known keto flu!
We discuss here the most relevant electrolytes and which ones you should consider supplementing.
Don’t be afraid of too much salt. You have an increased need on a ketogenic diet, and too less is much worse and a little too much. There is no need to supplement sodium, just liberally salt your dishes. It also helps to eat salted nuts and cheese. Also, broth and bouillon are an excellent source of sodium!
Special tip: some extra salt before exercise boosts your performance!
Herbs, avocados, green vegetables, and mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium. Be careful when supplementing potassium, as too much of it is toxic and very dangerous. 99 mg tablets are recommended to prevent overdosing.
Most people don’t get enough magnesium from their diet, even though it is found in a wide variety of foods. Nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate contain a lot of magnesium, but you have to eat quite a bit of each to meet your daily magnesium requirement. Supplementing magnesium is recommended, at least 400 mg per day.
As long as you eat milk products you don’t need to worry about calcium. A few slices of cheese help you cover your daily calcium needs. In case you live on a paleo diet without milk products, you should consider supplementing it. For a better uptake, take it together with vitamin D.
When you exercise regularly, your electrolytes need is even higher. Make sure to cover your needs for optimal performance!