Ingredients
Servings
4
Recipe by
Paola Cornu, RDN
, photo by
, nutritional review by
Test Kitchen
Nutrition
Kick off a lifetime of healthy habits through keto
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Article by
Paola Cornu, RDN
, photo by
Kick off a lifetime of healthy habits through keto
Personalized Keto meal plans
+1000 delicious, fast & easy-to-follow recipes
LearnEat: A complete Keto diet guide for beginners
Grocery list builder
Go ahead, move one step to your goals
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A nutritious diet is undoubtedly the greatest method to receive all of the necessary vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but it's easier said than done, and it's not always possible to get everything you need in.

Should you take a supplement 💊 to compensate for this deficiency? The answer is tricky…

Of course, before adding any supplements to your routine, you should consult with your doctor or a nutritionist. However, there are a few telltale indicators that you may be deficient 📉 in one or more nutrients.

Before we get into the physical indicators, it's important to note that depending on your diet (vegan, vegetarian, etc.), you may need to take supplements to make up for the nutrients you're missing out on from food.

If a blood test 🩸 reveals that you are lacking in a particular nutrient (for example, iron, vitamin B12, or vitamin D), you will need to take a supplement to restore your body's levels☝🏻.

Physical signs that indicate that you might need a supplement

Your hair and nails are weak 👩🏻

You could be deficient in: Biotin

Biotin, often known as vitamin B8, is a nutrient that aids in the conversion of food into energy. Biotin deficiency is uncommon, but when it does develop, the most apparent symptoms are brittle, thinning, or splitting hair and nails.

📍It’s found in: eggs, dairy, nuts, and proteins like salmon and chicken.

Your bruise easily 🟣

You could be deficient in: Vitamin C

Because Vitamin C isn't produced naturally in the body, it's surprising how frequent vitamin C shortage is. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that protects cells from damage caused by free radicals in the environment, such as those found in air pollution, cigarette smoke, and UV light from the sun. 

You may notice increased bruising or inexplicable red or purple marks if you're running low on oxygen. This is most likely due to broken and leaking red blood cells from compromised blood arteries at the skin's surface.

📍It’s found in: bell peppers, kale, and strawberries.

Your eyes are bloodshot 👁️

You could be deficient in: Vitamin B2

Those who are deficient in Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, exhibit a variety of symptoms (like bloodshot eyes). This form of shortage is more common in persons who are underweight and on extreme diets, as well as those who have digestive issues, like celiac disease. 

Riboflavin is required by the body for growth and overall health, as well as the breakdown of carbs, proteins, and fats.

📍It’s found in: milk, meat, eggs, nuts, fish, green, and leafy vegetables.

You get leg cramps 🦵🏼💥

You could be deficient in: Vitamin E

One of the most important vitamins our bodies require is Vitamin E, which helps to slow down the aging process. While Vitamin E insufficiency is uncommon, it can happen in patients who have underlying fat absorption issues, such as Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, malnutrition, very low-fat diets, or hereditary disorders that influence fat absorption. 

📍It’s found in: nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, and eggs

You have mouth ulcers or cracks in the corners of the mouth 👄

You could be deficient in: Iron 

Excess salivation or dehydration can induce angular cheilitis, a disorder that causes the corners of the mouth to crack, break, or bleed. Inadequate iron intake, on the other hand, could be the culprit. People who suffer from mouth ulcers, or cracks at the corners of their mouths, may benefit from eating more iron-rich meals.

📍It’s found in: poultry, meat, fish, dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds.

You have bleeding gums 😬

You could be deficient in: Vitamin C 

Vitamin C plays an important role in wound healing and immunity, and it even acts as an antioxidant, helping prevent cell damage.

Because your body does not produce Vitamin C on its own, the only way to ensure proper amounts is to consume it. Vitamin C deficiency is uncommon in those who eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables

Long-term deficiency symptoms, such as bleeding gums and tooth loss, can be caused by consuming very little Vitamin C through the food.

📍It’s found in: bell peppers, kale, and strawberries.

You have poor night vision and white growths on the eyes 🤓

You could be deficient in: Vitamin A

Low Vitamin A levels are frequently connected to night blindness, a disorder that impairs people's ability to see in low light or darkness.

Vitamin A is required for the production of rhodopsin, a pigment found in the retinas of the eyes that aids night vision.

Vitamin A deficiency is, thankfully, uncommon in modern countries. Those who believe their Vitamin A consumption is inadequate might increase their Vitamin A intake by consuming more Vitamin A-rich foods.

📍It’s found in: meats, dairy, eggs, fish, dark leafy greens, and yellow-orange colored vegetables.

Even if you don't suffer from any of the symptoms listed above, we think it's important to mention that supplements don't just help improve symptoms of all of the above issues.

Some supplements can help ketogenic dieters reduce the adverse effects ❌ of the keto flu and even improve athletic performance when training on a low-carb diet.

How do I know if I need supplements while on keto? 🤔

The short answer is: it depends...

It depends on how you are doing with your diet. If you are struggling to reach ketosis, if it's hard for you to follow the diet, or if you have any medical condition that can make the diet not suitable for you, then you may want to consider supplements.

Although we recommend getting most of your nutrients from a healthy whole-food keto diet 🥦, there are some specific supplements 💊 that are helpful (and a couple that may even be necessary). In fact, we have a keto shop where you can find some supplements that we recommend for people on keto! You can give it a look by clicking this link: https://bit.ly/3IHsUz5 📍

 Here are our supplement suggestions when following a keto diet and why you might need them:

MCT Oil

Medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, are a popular supplement among keto dieters.

The "medium-chain triglyceride oil" or in short, MCT oil, is a supplement that, thanks to its ability to improve weight loss and increase energy levels🔋, has positioned itself as one of the favorites among people on the keto diet.

This supplement, composed of a shorter chain, MCTs go from the intestine to the liver quickly. Once it reaches the liver, the organ breaks it down to use it as an immediate source of energy.

So, MCT Oil makes it so much easier to stay in ketosis by generating rapid production of ketones ⚡, which increases energy expenditure and leads to fewer calories being stored as fat.

Exogenous ketones

The thing is, there is a specific ketone body that is the most abundant, efficient, and fastest, that your body can use to generate energy. This is beta-hydroxybutyrate, AKA BHB

Exogenous ketone supplements are commonly used by those following a ketogenic diet to increase blood ketone levels 📈.

Aside from potentially helping you reach ketosis quicker, exogenous ketone supplements have been linked to other benefits as well.

Taking these supplements can help optimize nutrition and allow you to thrive while on a ketogenic diet, as well as other diets. As always, if you have questions about supplementation, we recommend reaching out to a health professional.