Best Keto Supplements: The Ones You Want (and Ones You Can Skip)
By: Spencer Brooks
January 15, 2020
- When you’re on a ketogenic diet, your body has different needs. Certain keto supplements can help fill in the gaps in your diet.
- Electrolytes, ketone supplements, specific vitamins and mitochondrial enhancers can all help you feel even better when you’re in ketosis.
- However, some keto supplements don’t really deliver on their promises.
- Find out which keto supplements work — and which you can skip.
The ketogenic diet is a powerful tool burn fat, optimize brain power and curb cravings. You get these benefits because your body runs differently on keto. Because you’re burning fat instead of carbs for energy, you may have different nutritional needs. Supplements can help fill in the gaps in your diet. Here are the best keto supplements to try, plus two you can skip.
The best keto supplements
These four supplements are particularly valuable when you’re on any type of keto diet, whether it’s standard keto, cyclical keto (also called carb cycling) or targeted keto. Talk to your doctor before you add any new supplements to your routine.
MCT oil for keto
“MCT” stands for “medium-chain triglyceride.” MCT oil is a quality fat made from coconuts. And as far as keto supplements go, MCT oil is one of the best ways to get even deeper into ketosis.
It only takes a few steps for your body to turn MCTs into ketone energy for your cells. On the keto diet, you want to maintain ketone levels to stay in a fat-burning state and reap all those keto benefits, like fewer cravings and amplified brain power.   And if you want better results at the gym, research shows that MCT oil may even give you a boost before an intense workout.
You want to start with just 1 teaspoon when you begin using MCT oil — it’s powerful! Once you get used to it, you can add it to foods throughout the day. Try it in Bulletproof Coffee in the morning, salad dressing at lunch and drizzled over steak for dinner.
Look for an MCT oil that is 100% pure caprylic acid (C8), like Brain Octane MCT oil, for the all-around best MCT for ketogenic energy. Or try a blend of pure C8 and C10 (capric acid), like Bulletproof XCT oil. It takes a little longer to convert to ketones, but it’s more budget-friendly.
The graph below shows how much more Brain Octane oil increases ketone levels, compared to generic MCT oil and coconut oil:
Not all MCT oils are the same. Some products contain oils and additives that won’t give you the same ketone boost, or they mostly consist of coconut oil, which your body doesn’t even treat like an MCT. Get the details on different types of MCTs here.
The bottom line: MCT oil is great for keto, but not all MCTs are the same. Look for pure C8 (caprylic acid) MCT oil like Brain Octane oil. It’s the all-around best MCT oil for ketogenic energy because your body quickly converts it into ketones.
Electrolytes: sodium, magnesium, and potassium
When you’re on a high-carb diet, your body stores sugar in the form of glycogen. Your glycogen stores are energy reserves. When you do something particularly taxing or go a few hours without eating, you’ll start to burn your glycogen stores for fuel.
Things are different when you’re on a keto diet. You aren’t eating carbs or sugar, which means you get really low on glycogen stores. So when you need extra energy, you burn through body fat.
Your body needs a lot of water to store glycogen, which is why you lose several pounds of water weight in your first few days on keto. You’re emptying your glycogen stores and getting rid of the water that goes with them. As you lose water, your kidneys excrete electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, and potassium) to keep your system in balance. Once you’re in ketosis, you continue to excrete electrolytes. That can lead to deficiencies down the line, as well as muscle cramps and headaches.
To prevent these keto side effects, make sure you get plenty of electrolytes when you’re in ketosis. While it’s best to get your nutrition from whole foods, electrolyte supplements can also help you hit daily recommended ranges.
Magnesium: 400 mg/day, taken in the morning or before bed
Best form: Magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate
Potassium: 2000 mg/day, dissolved in water and taken throughout the day. Don’t drink it all at once or it’ll upset your stomach.
Best form: Potassium chloride powder
Sodium: 1,500-2,300 mg/day, dissolved in water or on food
Best form: Sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
The bottom line: To help maintain your electrolyte balance on the keto diet, get enough sodium, magnesium and potassium in your diet.
Folate for keto
Folate is an essential building block for your brain and for DNA synthesis. Low folate levels correlate with cognitive dysfunction, depression and fatigue, as well as higher risk of dementia, stroke and heart disease. Vegetables and complex starches are the best sources of folate, but it can be tough to eat enough of them when you’re limiting your carbs on a keto diet.
Vitamin B6 works alongside folate as a cofactor. The two deplete each other, so you want to make sure you have plenty of both. Fortunately, pork, beef and eggs are all high in vitamin B6, so as long as you’re eating meat on keto, you probably have enough B6.
Folate: 400 mcg/day
Best form: Methyl folate
The bottom line: You need folate, but may not be getting enough of it on the keto diet. To keep your brain function and DNA synthesis functioning correctly, take methyl folate daily. Pair it with vitamin B6 if you’re not eating meat.
KetoPrime contains oxaloacetate, the last product of the Krebs Cycle (remember this from high school health?). The Krebs Cycle is the sequence of reactions that generate energy within every cell of your body.
When your cells are fed oxaloacetate, this molecule causes the cell to mimic a calorie-restricted state that supercharges mitochondrial energy production.  Supercharged mitochondria have more energy so you feel better throughout the day. Learn more about how KetoPrime powers up your mitochondria.
The bottom line: Take one KetoPrime lozenge up to five times a day to supercharge the cycle of energy production in every cell of your body.
Keto supplements you can skip
There are a few keto supplements that aren’t particularly useful. Some have slick marketing without the science to back them up. You’re better off passing on these two keto supplements:
Ketone salts (exogenous ketones)
Ketone salts like sodium beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) seem impressive on the surface, especially if you measure your blood ketone levels. Ketone salts boost your blood ketones in a short amount of time, making them appear to put you in deep ketosis.
However, just because you have ketones in your blood doesn’t mean you’re actually using them. The issue with ketone salts is that they’re a racemic mixture. That means they’re a 50-50 mix of molecules (called the D form and the L form) that are mirror images of each other. Humans only absorb the D form of ketone salts. The L form shows up in the blood as a ketone, but you don’t actually use it.
In an episode of the Bulletproof Radio podcast, Dr. Richard Veech, one of the leading ketosis biochemists in the world, explains the issue with ketone salts. “The only ketone that’s effective is the D-form,” Veech says. “The L-form is completely different. It’s metabolized in beta-oxidation, which actually makes it harmful. It’s dumb, convenience manufacturing. It’s cheaper to use the racemic salt, but the effects are not only inaccurate, but could be harmful.”
You’re best off avoiding ketone salts. Take Brain Octane oil instead — your body breaks it down into ketones that you can actually use.
Emulsified MCT oil
Emulsified MCT oil is weaker than normal MCT oil. It’s also a good example of clever marketing without any substance behind it. As the graph above showed, most MCT oils (except C8 and C10) won’t increase your ketones by a meaningful amount, especially if the MCT oil contains lauric acid.
Sometimes called keto coffee creamers, emulsified MCT oil contains an emulsifier that allows it to mix easily into liquids. While that’s convenient, it means you aren’t getting as many MCTs per serving. You also have to double-check the ingredients list to see what else is in your bottle. What type of MCT is it made with? Are there any other additives, like syrups or flavorings, that might kick you out of ketosis?
If you want the biggest keto benefits, pass on emulsified MCT oil and get Brain Octane oil instead.
Keto is a great way to enhance your performance, and these keto supplements can help you feel your absolute best. If you’re new to keto, check out this complete beginner’s guide to the ketogenic diet for everything you want to know about ketosis.
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