Its been a month of Keto for me .. Yay me!
The first month though was insane. It literally took the wind out of my sails and left me in two minds about the whole thing. Despite the trials and tribulations, I’ve lost 4 and a half kilos, roughly 9.92 lbs.
For me, the Keto Induction included a whirlwind of symptoms such as headaches, severely upset tummy, exhaustion, extreme dehydration, mental fog, muscle cramps, crackling joints and extreme fatigue. On the plus side though, my ability to handle stress has been far greater and I’ve had a sense of accomplishment. My gut just tells me, that this (however extreme) is good for me. All this while my body acclimatizes and I become Keto-Adapted.
Chances are if you’re new to the Ketogenic concept and are intrigued by the Lifestyle, upon searching the internet you will find a trillion recipes on how to turn a cauliflower into the crispiest pizza dough, but in comparison, there is very little being said about the supplements we must take to fix the defeciencies caused by this diet.
What would have helped ease my journey would be a basic list of precautions and supplements, what they are and why they are needed.
Whenever I would come down with something and reach out for help, I got vague responses from people such as ‘eat more fat’. What do you even mean? Are you asking me to drink 500 grams of melted butter?
With time and a tiny droplet of experience, I realize that there are some symptoms that are easy to spot and fix.
Let’s talk Electrolytes and Hydration
In a ketogenic state, we are constantly losing water leading to the loss of electrolytes. This one’s easy to spot since symptoms include headaches, mental fogginess, chapped lips, dry mouth and sometimes cramps.
I used (and still do) two variations of water. One of them literally tastes like some exotic garden in a bottle, while the other is more practical and savoury.
I mix two spoonfuls of (watermelon) with a litre and half of and half a cup of rose water. ROSEWATER? yes, and before you jump the gun, the benefits of drinking rose water are that they help with stress relief, digestive functioning, moodiness, and inflammation. The drink is seriously yummy and has zero carbs.
The other alternative is mixing a tablespoon of , with a teaspoon of and half a large lemon to a litre and a half of water.
On to Supplements
The first month saw me fatigued and exhausted. My friends commented that I looked haggard, despite the 5 layers of makeup on my face. I kept wondering what was wrong until I stumbled upon the video linked below.
The culprit was Vitmain B deficiency.
MCT oil or medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) are unique fatty acids that are found naturally in coconut and palm oils. They have a remarkable ability to stabilize blood sugar and enhance ketone body production. This process makes MCT’s a powerful tool to reduce inflammation, improve metabolism and enhance cognitive function.
The term “medium” is in reference to the length of the chain of fatty acids.
How MCTs Work
The mitochondria are small organs within your cells that are responsible for producing all the energy needed by your tissues. Fatty acids produce energy in the mitochondria but are dependent upon the L-carnitine compound in order for entry. MCT’s provide immediate energy because they are able to cross the double mitochondrial membrane very rapidly and do not require the presence of carnitine.
This results in the production of excess acetyl-CoA which breaks down into ketones. The rapid formation of ketone bodies gives immediate energy and enhances brain function and athletic performance.
Many experts say that MCTs act like carbohydrates because they provide an immediate energy source. However, MCTs do differ from carbohydrates in that they do not raise blood sugar or increase insulin levels as carbohydrates do.
What they do for us is that they Lower Blood Sugar, Control appetite and enable Weight Loss, increase Nutrient Absorption, slowing the ageing process, lower body inflammation, increasing metabolism and enhance cognitive function.
The one I use is the MCT Oil – 32oz BPA free bottle | Ketogenic and Paleo diet approved by Sports Research.
Many food products are fortified with vitamin D because it’s hard to get enough from food alone. The sun is a great source and I don’t see my neighbours in Dubai complaining much, but too much exposure may lead to skin cancer.
Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium, magnesium, and other minerals. It’s also necessary for maintaining strength and muscle growth, bone density, healthy testosterone levels, and for supporting cardiovascular and immune system health.
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include getting Sick or Infected Often; fatigue and tiredness; bone and Back Pain; depression, Hair Loss and Muscle Pains.
You can get vitamin D from some types of mushrooms and fatty fish, but that’s about it on the keto diet unless you also eat fortified dairy products.
You should be consuming at least a tab each day of this supplement, the one I use is
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is needed for several important functions including:
- Maintaining normal muscle and nerve function
- Keeping a healthy immune system
- Maintaining normal heart rhythm
- Building strong bones
It is involved in over 300 different biochemical reactions in the body and is also needed to help generate and use ATP, the main unit of energy in the body’s cells. An adult body contains around 25 g of magnesium, with around 50% to 60% being present in bones and the rest in soft tissue, red blood cells and serum.
Symptoms of deficiency include:
- Muscle spasms
- Heart palpitations
- Low Blood pressure
- Sleep problems
- Muscle cramps
Here’s a link to the one I use
The primary function of zinc is to regulate the immune system. If we do not have adequate amounts of zinc, then our immune system will be compromised and unable to adequately defend our body.
If our immune system is not functioning at its optimal level, then we are more likely to get sick, feel tired, and suffer from burn-out in our daily lives.
Zinc plays a critical role in several other important biological functions, and it is essential for hormone production, protein synthesis, cell growth, and DNA repair.
Deficiency of this micro-nutrient may lead to:
- Skin, nails and hair. Zinc deficiency may manifest as acne, eczema, xerosis (dry, scaling skin), seborrheic dermatitis, or alopecia (thin and sparse hair). …
- Damaged Immune system
- Loss of Appetite
- Loss of Cognitive function and a hedonic tone
- Psychological disorders
Oysters, lamb, spinach and cashews are the best known sources of zinc.
As for supplementing it, I use this one
Omega 3 + Omega 6 Fatty Acids
It really isn’t news that Omega 3s and 6s are necessary for optimum brain health. But, what do they do exactly?
There are plenty of processes in the body that EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) are responsible for, including:
- Transporting oxygen in our bloodstream
- Promoting cardiovascular health
- Promoting development in the brain
- Keeping saturated fats mobile
- Anti-inflammatory (Be careful, as too many Omega-6’s can cause inflammation)
- Reducing blood pressure
- Maintaining fluidity in cell membranes
- Maintaining proper kidney functions
- Preventing blood cells from clotting
The typical diet that we have is overpopulated by Omega-6’s, which come from certain oils, nuts, and seeds, so we don’t really need to worry about getting these as much.
It balances out our meat intake, It improves sleep quality and one of my go-to-sleep hacks is a big mug of about an hour before bed. It always knocks me out (in a good, non-narcotic way). And according to research, I’m not making this up or suffering from placebo.
Human studies show that 3 grams of glycine taken before bed increases the quality of your sleep and reduces daytime sleepiness following sleep restriction.
That apart Collagen Peptides are seriously good for our joints. I recently discovered this since I could hear the crackling of my joints while walking especially after being on Keto.
Collagen is everywhere through the human body, but it concentrates where joints meet and in the connective tissue binding us together. One recent study found that a glycine-rich diet made the Achilles’ tendon stronger and more resistant to rupture in rats, increasing tendon remodelling in response to injury faster than rats on a low-glycine diet.
Your face is made of collagen and your wounds heald due to collagen. Your underarms are made of collagen. All the problematic swathes of skin liable to descend into wrinkly parchment are made of collagen. Collagen provides body and bounce. Just like it keeps the integrity in a bowl of jello, collagen keeps skin buoyant. And when collagen levels in the skin drop, the skin droops.
And since the apparent age of your face is actually a good barometer of your longevity, increasing collagen consumption to maintain skin appearance may be way more than just a cosmetic intervention.
What I share in these posts are things which have helped me along the way. I am in no way a certified nutritionist or a doctor. My sole aim is to educate those, that may be experiencing some of the things which I did and to help you by my little contribution via this blog.