Keto Micronutrients: How to Avoid Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies On – Konscious Keto

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Keto Micronutrients: How to Avoid Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies On a Ketogenic Diet

When you begin your Konscious Keto diet, you’ll notice how many foods you are eliminating from your plate to cut down on carbohydrates. 

With that, you’re eliminating a lot of nutrients your body has been accustomed.

The good news is that on the keto diet, there are many other nutrient-dense foods you can eat to replace the nutrients you lost from eliminating a high level of carbs.

In this guide, you will learn about macronutrients and micronutrients, how they are crucial to a healthy life, what foods you can eat, and how to supplement your diet.

The Difference Between Macronutrients And Micronutrients

All the food you consume contains macronutrients and micronutrients. You may be more familiar with macronutrients, which are commonly referred to as “macros” in diet terms.

However, both macros and micros are essential to the health of you and everyone else. Macronutrients consist of three components: carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

Each of these macros groups provides you with a specific amount of calories per gram - 4 calories per gram of carbs or protein and 9 calories per gram of fat.

Micronutrients is a much broader group that consists of a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, fatty acids, phytochemicals, and trace elements.

While you don’t need to monitor any calories here, you do need to monitor your intake of major micronutrients, because they’re required for healthy body functions.

These can be a little tougher to track since many of them are not labeled on food.

Not All Foods Contain Micronutrients

As mentioned, micronutrients do not contain calories. All food is composed of macronutrients, but micronutrients are not in all food.

Funny enough, it’s easy to notice that foods that do not contain micronutrients are considered to be unhealthy!

Processed foods are composed almost entirely of carbohydrates and have little to no nutritional value.

You will, however, find micronutrients in many nutritional foods like leafy greens, grass-fed beef, organ meats, eggs, and dairy products.

There are a lot of benefits when it comes to fulfilling a full micronutrient profile, on a daily basis.

Studies show that including all the essential vitamins in your diet can lead to better cognitive function, bone density, and also decrease your risk of disease.

Monitoring Micronutrients On the Keto Diet

If many micronutrients are not labeled on food products, and they can’t be counted in calories, how can you monitor your micro intake during your ketogenic diet?

Everyone, whether they are on a diet or not, should be monitoring their micronutrients. They are vital to your health.

Particularly on the keto diet, though, not logging your micronutrients can lead to symptoms of keto flu.

Find a helpful tool, like an online nutrition log or a keto calculator. These tools hold a library of nutritional information of all the food you will eat.

Simply check your log to see if you've met or surpassed your micronutrient limits for the day.

Another helpful way to ensure you’re consuming micronutrients is to choose nutrient-dense foods.

These are foods that are dense in vitamin and minerals without providing an abundance of calories, such as spinach, leafy greens, seeds, some nuts, and lean meats.

The Top 3 Mineral Deficiencies on a Keto Diet

There are a lot of micronutrients in the food we eat. Listed below are the three major micronutrients you should keep track of during your keto diet.

You may experience a lack of these minerals during your initial stage of ketosis, so it’s important to know how you can replenish them.

Sodium

Sodium is a crucial element in your regular diet. It also happens to be the most common mineral to become deficient at the beginning of a keto diet.

Your body needs sodium to maintain normal blood pressure, regulate the fluid balance in the body, and support your muscle system.

Supporting your muscle system is an especially important factor to consider after starting your keto diet.

Exercising can drain the energy in your muscles and their ability to repair themselves. If you are deficient in sodium, you may experience some severe muscle pain.

Even if you don’t exercise with weights or for prolonged periods of time, your body still needs regular sodium intake. Remember, even a daily walk is exercise!

When you begin the keto diet, your body starts to excrete excess water and all the extra minerals and electrolytes with it.

You may experience a dip in sodium, which causes “keto flu.” Keto flu symptoms may include nausea or vomiting, exhaustion, headache, confusion, and muscle weakness.

The average person should ingest 3,000-5,000 mg of sodium every day while on the keto diet. There’s a very simple way to add more sodium to your diet: include more salt in your cooking!

Sodium can also be found in bone broths and electrolyte drinks. If you choose to consume an electrolyte drink, make sure you check the nutritional label for the carbohydrate and sugar content.

Potassium

Similar to sodium, your body will lose potassium in the early stages of ketosis, as your body sheds extra water and minerals.

Your body needs potassium for carrying electrical signals to cells in the body, especially the heart muscles.

Some causes of a potassium deficiency are:

  • Vomiting
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Folic Acid deficiency

Before you experience any of these potential causes, check your body for symptoms of potassium deficiencies such as fatigue, muscle cramps, or constipation.

The average person should consume 4,500 mg of potassium per day while on the ketogenic diet. If you want to boost your potassium levels, you can eat avocados, spinach, kale, or mushrooms. While other foods are high in potassium (like bananas), they are not ketogenic.

Magnesium

The third most crucial mineral to monitor on your keto diet is magnesium.

Magnesium is integral for hundreds of functions in the body. Most importantly, magnesium helps regulate muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, blood pressure regulation, and production of protein, bone, and even DNA.

The average adult needs anywhere from 310-420 mg of magnesium per day. Men typically require more magnesium than women to stay healthy.

Symptoms of being deficient in magnesium are nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, and muscle weakness.

Many keto-friendly foods have magnesium. Some of them are:

  • Spinach
  • Other leafy greens
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Oysters
  • Nuts
  • Dairy products

Other Mineral Deficiencies You Should Know

These micronutrients are more difficult to become deficient in, but you should still know how much of each vitamin and mineral you are consuming, on a daily basis.

Calcium

Although it’s not in the top three minerals of this guide, calcium is another essential mineral you should maintain in your diet.

Calcium is probably most recognized for its aid in healthy, strong bones, but it’s also necessary for blood clotting, muscle contraction, and a healthy heartbeat.

Calcium is excreted from our bodies on a daily basis, but our bodies can’t reproduce it.

When we become deficient in calcium, the body uses the calcium that’s stored in your bones. You should get about 1,000 mg of calcium per day.

Calcium can be found in full-fat dairy milk, cheese, and yogurt. You can also find it in green vegetables and almonds.

B Vitamins

B Vitamins are composed of multiple minerals, such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin.

Folic acid is another essential component of the B vitamin group. B vitamins are believed to be especially helpful in women for healthy pregnancies and reducing the risk of congenital disabilities.

B vitamins are critical vitamins for men and women in fighting diseases, producing energy, and maintaining a healthy immune system and fat-burning metabolism.

Many B vitamins are typically easy to find in wheat products and grains. On the keto diet, you’ll have to look elsewhere for your nutrition.

Since there is a variety of B vitamins, here is where they can be found:

  • Thiamin - pork, green peas
  • Riboflavin - full-fat dairy, lean meat, eggs, leafy greens
  • Niacin - peanut butter, beef, poultry, fish, avocado
  • B6 - beef, pork, chicken, fish, nuts
  • B12 - salmon, full-fat dairy, meat, eggs
  • Folate - leafy greens, broccoli, peanuts, avocado

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

This group of three fatty acids is especially important for heart health and a robust vascular system. It’s made of ALA, EPA, and DHA.

Omega-3s have been proven to improve bad cholesterol. While deficiencies are rare, they can appear in the form of swollen skin and itchy rashes.

Omega-3 fatty acids, aside from fighting bad cholesterol, are integral to a well-functioning heart, blood vessels, lungs, immune system, and hormone glands.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in high amounts in oily fish and seafood, but a fish oil supplement can provide you with all you need as well. The daily amount of ALA needed for adult women and men ranges from 1.1g-1.6g.

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines, nuts, seeds, and plant oils.

Iodine

Iodine is crucial to maintaining thyroid levels. Your thyroid glands moderate your metabolism. An overactive thyroid means you’re not metabolizing enough nutrition from the food you consume.

An iodine deficiency can appear in the form of an enlarged thyroid gland or an inability to think clearly.

The average adult needs 150 mcg of iodine per day for a healthy thyroid and brain function. The most popular way to get iodine in your system is through iodized salt.

Other ways to include iodine in your diet is through seafood and seaweed, milk, yogurt, cheese, and eggs.

Iron

Iron is another mineral that’s crucial to a healthy vascular system. The iron our bodies absorb is used for red blood cell production and hemoglobin production (hemoglobin is used to carry oxygen to other cells in the body). Iron is also needed for liver and spleen functions.

It’s relatively hard to have an iron deficiency in developed nations, but the most common deficiency is anemia. Anemia can occur after drawing blood or heavy periods.

Women typically need more iron than men, at about 18 mg per day. Men need about 8 mg per day. 

Iron can be consumed through seaweed, oysters, pumpkin seeds, beef, and ground turkey.

Phosphorus

Your phosphorus level is related to your calcium intake. It’s important to have enough phosphorus in your diet for healthy, strong bones and a healthy kidney function.

However, too much phosphorus can lead to health problems. This causes your body to absorb calcium from the bones and deposit it in dangerous places like blood vessels, lungs, eyes, and heart.

It’s challenging to be deficient in phosphorus. Instead, your focus should be on not over-consuming this mineral.

Foods to avoid or enjoy in moderation to maintain a healthy level of phosphorus are beer, chocolate, and excess dairy products or organ meats.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is critical in immune function, cell growth, and vision.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) in adult men is no more than 900 mcg per day and no more than 700 mcg in adult women.

Some ketogenic foods that are rich in vitamin A are beef liver, spinach, carrots, red peppers, broccoli, and full-fat dairy.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a very common nutrient that is helpful in protecting the cells from free radicals.

Free radicals are formed from the food our bodies break down into energy, but we can also be exposed to them from cigarette smoke, air pollution, and ultraviolet sun rays.

Vitamin C also is needed to build collagen, which helps repair skin tissue. It improves the absorption of iron and enhances the immune system as well.

The average amount of vitamin C needed on a daily basis for women and men is 75 mg and 90 mg, respectively.

Some ketogenic foods with vitamin C Brussels sprouts, red and green peppers, broccoli, strawberries, and tomatoes.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is essential for and blood clotting and to ensure the immune system functions correctly.

It’s challenging to be deficient in vitamin K; however, those with celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, are those who have had weight loss surgery may need more help with getting enough.

Bacteria in the colon can make some vitamin K, but most of this vitamin is absorbed from the food we eat.

The average adult female needs 90 mcg per day, and the average adult male needs 120 mcg per day.

Ketogenic foods with vitamin K are leafy green vegetables, olive or avocado oils, blueberries, meat, cheese, and eggs.

Food vs. Supplements: What’s Better for You?

To put it quite simply, it’s better to get all your nutrients from food before supplements.

This is because a single food item can provide you with a variety of nutrients your body needs, instead of a single supplement providing you with one nutrient.

Consuming whole foods that are dense in nutrients are the best way to get all the micronutrients you need.

By choosing the densest foods, you can more easily monitor your macronutrients as well.

When Should You Take Supplements?

After you have selected a diet rich in micronutrients, then you can resort to supplements for any nutrients you may be lacking in.

Other instances for needing supplements in your diet include:

  • Women who may become pregnant or are pregnant
  • Adults over 50 years old
  • Being a vegan or vegetarian with limited food choices
  • Having lactose intolerance or not eating enough dairy
  • Not consuming enough calories
  • Having a condition that limits the body’s ability to absorb nutrients

You may want to consult your doctor before choosing to include a supplement in your diet.

Is a Multivitamin Allowed on Keto?

It may seem like taking a multivitamin would solve a lot of nutritional concerns, right?

Here are a few reasons why taking a multivitamin could be detrimental to your health:

  • Not enough is known about synthetic nutrients or their possible harmful effects
  • Taking some vitamins without others can produce ineffective results
  • Taking a multivitamin with nutrient-dense foods can be dangerous and can lead to an overdose

Summary

Remember, micronutrients are essential to your health, just like macronutrients.

Tracking your micros during the first few weeks of your ketogenic diet can help reduce the risk of keto flu.

Doing so will also help you maintain your allover health and energy level as you transition into ketosis.

If you're struggling to get your micronutrients, you can take a keto supplement to do the work for you - add one scoop of Keto Activate to water or coffee to enjoy a triple-blend of essential keto minerals.

References

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/healthy-diet-key-getting-iron-need-201502127710
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyponatremia/symptoms-causes/syc-20373711
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/supplements/art-20044894
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/low-potassium/basics/when-to-see-doctor/sym-20050632
  5. https://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/how-many-calories-are-one-gram-fat-carbohydrate-or-protein
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2585731/
  7. https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/calciumvitamin-d/

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