Skip to content

Electrolytes And Keto Diet

Free Water Mineral Water photo and picture

Insufficient intake of electrolytes on the Keto diet can have noticeable effects on your health. These include decreased energy levels, muscle cramps, confusion, headaches, debility, trouble sleeping, and various other symptoms associated with the widely known Keto flu.

The Keto flu is frequently attributed to a difficult shift to fat-burning, and that is not necessarily incorrect. However, in numerous instances, the Keto flu is actually caused by a lack of electrolytes. Electrolytes, which are essential minerals for everyone, hold even more significance for individuals following the Keto diet. This is due to the fact that low-carb dieters face various factors that increase their risk of deficiencies.


A mineral capable of transmitting electrical charges within our bodies is known as an electrolyte. This transmission of charges is the means by which nerve cells communicate, enabling essential functions such as thinking, movement, and the beating of our hearts.

Fluid balance, which is synonymous with proper hydration, is maintained by electrolytes, as they regulate the distribution of water both inside and outside of your cells. This ensures that your skin remains moisturized and supple, your blood flows smoothly through your veins, and your brain is properly supported by cerebrospinal fluid.

Soon we will discuss the most important electrolytes, which are sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and bicarbonate.

Your body obtains electrolytes from the food you consume and eliminates them through urine, sweat, and feces. Throughout this process, various hormones such as insulin, aldosterone, renin, angiotensin, and antidiuretic hormone, as well as the kidneys, endeavor to uphold balanced electrolyte levels in your body.

Although this system usually operates effectively, failing to regularly replenish lost electrolytes over time may result in a nutritional deficiency.

Electrolytes on Keto

There are two main reasons why individuals on a low-carb diet may require more electrolytes than the general population.

  1. A clean, whole-food Keto diet tends to be lower in certain electrolytes.
  2. When you restrict carbs on Keto, you lose more sodium and potassium through urine.

We will address these matters separately. Initially, whole foods have minimal sodium content. (Avoid consuming packaged foods that are high in salt). You are responsible for obtaining sufficient sodium by using the salt shaker. Similarly, potassium can pose a challenge. Several potassium-rich foods such as fruits, potatoes, and starchy root vegetables have excessive carbohydrates for a Ketogenic diet.

If you include green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, and dairy in your Keto diet, you can ensure an adequate intake of magnesium and calcium. However, if these food groups are not included, there is a possibility of experiencing deficiency. Another issue to consider on Keto is the increased loss of electrolytes, particularly number two. Further explanation will provide better understanding.

When you limit carbohydrates in your Keto diet, the hormone insulin remains at a low level. As a result, your kidneys are prompted to enter a “diuretic mode”, causing an increase in the excretion of water, sodium, and potassium through urine. Although many individuals replenish the lost water, there is an abundance of excessively enthusiastic recommendations regarding hydration in society.

However, if you are excessively forceful in replacing fluids, it can exacerbate the electrolyte issue. This can lead to a reduction in blood sodium levels, causing symptoms such as mental confusion, migraines, and muscle contractions.

How the keto diet works

When following a conventional diet, carbohydrates are converted into basic sugars. Once they are taken up by the bloodstream, these sugars (known as glucose) migrate into the cells to be used as energy. By doing this, the body avoids relying on proteins (muscle mass) as its fuel source.

The keto diet switches the nutritional focus from relying on carbohydrates for constant energy to a new source of fuel. In simple terms, keto is a diet that is high in fat and low in carbs.

The body must adapt to burning fat for energy when carbohydrate intake is replaced with fat, which is known as the phase called “ketosis.” Nonetheless, it is important to note that this energy must originate from a source.

Ketosis prompts the body to convert fat into “ketones” which exit the liver to nourish the brain. As unprocessed fat does not provide energy or advantages to the brain, it longs for ketones when glucose is unavailable. These ketones aid in the development and reinforcement of neural pathways while enhancing GABA levels in the brain.

Several versions of the ketogenic diet have been designed to cater to an individual’s nutritional requirements or performance goals. These encompass:

  • Standard ketogenic diet (SKD) – Traditional low carb (10%), moderate protein (20%) and high fat (70%) diet
  • Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) – Cycles in periods of high carb days 
  • Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD)- Adds carbs around workouts during training days 
  • High protein ketogenic diet- low carb (5%), higher protein (35%), and high fat (60%) 

In order to maintain ketosis, it is important to avoid excess protein consumption, as the body will resort to converting protein into glucose when carbohydrates are not available. Success in the diet heavily relies on carefully monitoring one’s macronutrient intake.

The keto diet is widely recognized as a successful and well-liked method for losing fat since the body’s tissues utilize fat as a source of energy. Furthermore, countless individuals discover that they consume fewer amounts of food on the keto diet due to increased satisfaction from the foods they eat.

The role of electrolytes 

Regulating water distribution to the cells, electrolytes are vital minerals that play a key role in keeping the body hydrated. Additionally, they are responsible for:

  • Regulating muscle contractions
  • Balancing pH levels
  • Controlling nervous system function 
  • Balancing blood pressure
  • Rebuilding damaged tissue
  • Carrying messages to cells

Electrolytes are essential in the human body as they enable the conduction of electricity when combined with water at the cellular level. This is crucial for the proper functioning of muscles and neurons, which rely on the movement of electrolytes within fluids.

  • Sodium – important for blood pressure and muscle contractions 
  • Potassium – flushes out excess sodium and prevents muscle cramps
  • Calcium – plays a direct role in vascular contraction and bone health 
  • Bicarbonate – an alkali in the pH buffering system 
  • Magnesium – involved in nerve function, energy production, protein synthesis, blood pressure regulation, and blood sugar control 
  • Chloride – balances fluid inside and outside of your cells
  • Phosphate/Phosphorus – required for the formation of bones, teeth 

The body may go through an electrolyte imbalance when it sweats or digests food with low electrolyte content. It is a normal process for electrolytes to be excreted through waste, and this is consistently regulated by hormones such as insulin, aldosterone, renin, angiotensin, and antidiuretic hormone. The levels of electrolytes constantly fluctuate.

Signs of keto electrolyte deficiencies 

Athletes or individuals on a keto diet often experience electrolyte deficiencies. The “Keto flu,” which consists of flu-like symptoms resulting from dehydration and lack of electrolytes, is a typical occurrence during the adjustment phase of a keto diet, as the body adapts to alternative energy sources.

Some typical symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramping
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Brain fog and dizziness
  • Diarrhea and digestive discomfort
  • Change in blood pressure 
  • Constipation
  • Skin rash and sensitivities

If you are transitioning into the keto lifestyle, it is probable that an electrolyte deficiency is the reason behind these symptoms. Nonetheless, it is important not to overlook these symptoms and consult your physician for a second opinion in order to eliminate other potential causes of distress.

Electrolytes on keto

It is important for individuals following a low-carb or ketogenic diet to recognize that the reduction in carbohydrates will have an effect on the intake of electrolytes in their body.

Fruits and vegetables, which are rich in electrolytes, are not recommended on a keto diet as it restricts the availability of these vital minerals. Moreover, processed packaged foods, typically prohibited on the keto plan, might unintentionally provide electrolytes for many individuals.

In addition, when the body is in ketosis, the processing of electrolytes undergoes changes due to reduced insulin production. The low insulin levels result in a diuretic effect, causing the body to expel a greater amount of vitamins and minerals as waste.

People often try to correct dehydration by drinking large amounts of water, but unless the water has electrolytes added to it, this only leads to the dilution and removal of vital electrolytes.

Furthermore, if the body’s insulin production decreases, it will send stronger signals to the kidneys to eliminate sodium and potassium. This rapid loss of sodium and potassium can disrupt the functioning of your hormonal, muscular, and neural systems.

If electrolyte deficiencies persist over a prolonged period, the potential consequences can include coma, seizures, and cardiac arrest. It is crucial to promptly and effectively treat any electrolyte imbalance while your body still retains the capacity to heal itself.

Types of electrolytes you should supplement 

Sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium are the electrolytes of utmost importance to remember. The concern for phosphate deficiencies is minimal for the majority of individuals, and chloride goes hand in hand with sodium. Bicarbonate synthesis is automatically regulated by the body.

It is advisable to incorporate electrolyte consumption into your meal planning if you follow a typical keto diet. This is usually accomplished by either using powdered electrolyte supplements or consuming keto-friendly snacks such as pickle juice, soup, salt, salmon, spinach, and pumpkin seeds.

If the changes in food are not satisfactory or effective in treating your electrolyte deficiency, it is necessary to consider alternative options for keto electrolyte supplements. An ideal keto electrolyte supplement should be convenient, readily absorbed, reasonably priced, and enjoyable to consume.

Genius Gourmet presents a Keto Electrolyte Blend that consists of a powerful mixture comprising:

  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin B6
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Chloride
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • L-leucine

The electrolytes that are essential to monitor on a keto diet are the most important ones.

1. Sodium

Sodium, which is present in extracellular fluid (the fluid surrounding cells), serves as the primary electrolyte. Its role is crucial in preserving blood volume, ensuring proper circulation to essential organs such as the brain.

The most frequent shortage among individuals following low-carb diets is usually a lack of sodium. This vital nutrient is lost via sweat and urine, and can only be replenished through the consumption of salt and specific foods, particularly those that have undergone packaging and preparation (which are not necessarily the best for maximizing nutritional benefits). Increasing sodium intake is likely to resolve many instances of Keto flu.

Possible symptoms of a deficiency can encompass:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Brain fog
  • Irritability

Aim to consume approximately 2 teaspoons of salt (equivalent to around 5 grams of sodium) in your diet by adding salt to food, drinking Keto Bone Broth, incorporating other sodium-rich products, and considering supplements if needed.

2. Potassium

Potassium, which can be found in meat, fruit, and vegetables, is responsible for balancing intracellular fluid in your body. Consuming more potassium has been associated with reduced blood pressure in different groups of people. Signs of a deficiency can include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle twitching
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hypertension

The recommended potassium intake is a minimum of 3.4 grams per day for men and 2.6 grams for non-pregnant women, obtained from both dietary sources and supplements according to the evidence-based Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA).

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine suggests a daily intake of 4.7 grams due to its potential to lower blood pressure for individuals with high blood pressure and reduce the likelihood of kidney stones. Increased potassium consumption has been linked to a decreased risk of stroke.

Fortunately, there is a wide range of potassium-rich foods that are compatible with the Keto diet, such as avocado, fish, beef, eggplant, and leafy greens.

3. Magnesium

While magnesium is not typically used as an electrolyte for conducting electricity, it plays numerous important roles in the human body. One of these roles is supporting approximately 300 enzymatic reactions, such as those involved in DNA replication, repair, and the generation of ATP, which serves as the cellular energy source.

Signs of an insufficiency could involve:

  • Muscle cramps (particularly in the legs)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion

A magnesium target is recommended, with the daily requirement being 420 mg for men and 320 mg for women. However, based on anthropological studies, it is believed that our ancestors used to consume around 600 mg per day. As long as you stay within this range, it should be sufficient. Some keto-friendly foods that are rich in magnesium include dark chocolate, avocado, low-carb nuts, fish, and leafy greens.

4. Calcium

Having sufficient calcium in your body is essential not only for bone development but also for the regulation of muscle contraction, nerve impulses, and hormone functions, with 99% of the calcium being present in your skeleton.

Signs of a shortage might consist of:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle twitching
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Sensations of pins and needles

Aim for a calcium goal of 1 gram per day (the recommended daily allowance) by consuming calcium-rich foods such as dairy, bones, and cruciferous vegetables. It is wise to refrain from using supplements unless your healthcare professional advises it, as additional calcium intake can have a negative impact on heart health.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *