Supplements to Support the Ketogenic Diet
Over the past decade, the ketogenic diet has become more popular among patients and practitioners. As research increases, so does the clinical interest. Because the diet promotes the formation of ketones that cause the body to use fat rather than carbohydrates for energy, it can contribute to weight loss. The ketogenic diet has also been shown to support cardiovascular health and overall wellness. In 2018, a clinical trial began to evaluate the short-term effects of the ketogenic diet on sleep, healthy inflammatory balance, cardiovascular health, thyroid function and basal metabolic rate.
The ketogenic diet is characterized by high amounts of fat, moderate amounts of protein, and very limited amounts of carbohydrates. For many patients, significantly limiting carbs can cause issues such as fatigue, headache, and gastrointestinal disturbances. These temporary ramifications may cause some patients to reduce compliance, or stop the diet completely.
Patients on the ketogenic diet are at risk for developing many nutrient deficiencies, which makes multivitamin and mineral supplementation extremely important. Patients also need counseling on the risk for dehydration and how to stay well hydrated. In addition to staying hydrated while on the diet, some patients may benefit from supplementing with electrolytes.
Often when patients start eating more high-fat foods and simultaneously cut back on carbs, they can develop digestive issues because they are not digesting and absorbing the fat. For these patients, high quality enzymes including betaine hydrochloride and lipase may help.
Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil may also benefit some patients who are on the ketogenic diet. MCT oil has been shown to support weigh loss along with a healthy diet and exercise. MCTs do not require bile to break them down so they can be absorbed more rapidly and efficiently than long-chain triglycerides. Because of this, MCTs can be immediately used for energy production and they can also be converted into ketones in the liver.
Another substance that can enhance the weight loss effects of the ketogenic diet, is 7-keto, an oxygenated metabolite of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). 7-keto has been shown to support health on many levels including lean body mass, thyroid and immune function, and brain function.
Patients on a ketogenic diet may need additional support to help energy production, digestion and other body functions. Practitioners may consider recommending a dietary supplement or supplements to help their patients with compliance and give patients the best opportunity for success while on the diet.
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