Electrolytes And The Keto Diet

Electrolytes And The Keto Diet

Electrolytes and the keto diet

When you are starting a ketogenic diet you need to be prepared for a complete lifestyle change.

Fully committing to this diet means that you need to be as prepared as possible when you’re starting. Your body is going to go through a lot of changes in a short amount of time.

One big change that is going to occur is that fact that you’ll be losing a lot of fluids. Through those fluids, you’ll be losing a lot of electrolytes, something that your body needs to have to function properly.

What Are Electrolytes

Electrolytes are minerals found in the body that allow it to maintain specific functions such as muscle contraction and regulating your heartbeat.

The main electrolytes found in the body are chlorine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. However, the main electrolytes that need to be focused on are potassium, magnesium, and sodium.

These are all electrolytes that are lost in your fluids on an everyday basis. This is magnified when you’re on a ketogenic diet.

Your body starts to get rid of more fluids because there is less insulin in your body. So, instead of retaining fluids, your body is told to release more of it. Losing fluids at a faster rate means losing electrolytes at a faster rate as well.

Top 3 Keto Electrolytes

  1. Sodium. Sodium is possibly the most important keto electrolyte. It’s also the one you're most likely to lose when following the keto diet.Sodium imbalances are common and include too high or too low levels. Having high levels of sodium is called hypernatremia, while a low level is called hyponatremia. Both can cause your cells to malfunction leading to:

    • lethargy

    • confusion

    • weakness

    • fluid retention

    • seizures

  2. Potassium. Just like with sodium, potassium is excreted at a higher rate with very low carbohydrate intake. It works alongside Sodium to maintain the same functions.

  3. Magnesium. Magnesium is important for cellular energy metabolism, protein synthesis, cardiovascular health, blood glucose control, and nervous system functioning. It inhibits the activity of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that excites neurons. Magnesium also relaxes blood vessels, resulting in greater blood flow to the brain and protecting the heart.

Ways To Replenish

  • Replenishing Sodium. You can get this amount from simple table salt, bouillon cubes, and sugar-free sports drinks.  Talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional before adding sodium to your diet if you have kidney disease, high blood pressure, or heart problems.

  • Replenishing  Potassium. Good sources of potassium are avocado, green beans, fish, spinach, cabbage, mushrooms, and asparagus.

  • Replenishing Magnesium. You can get your magnesium through some easy alternatives. Adding more leafy greens to your meals or even having a side salad is going to boost your magnesium intake. Consuming more fish, such as salmon, is going to help as well.

The Electrolyte Takeaway

Electrolyte imbalances are a common side effect of going low-carb. Luckily, they're only a temporary problem and get better as soon as you become keto-adapted. Still, knowing which keto electrolytes, you're likely to lose when first going keto can help you get through this time.

While you will need to make it a priority to maintain your electrolyte intake escalated, it's also important to boost your water intake too. We all need electrolytes in our lives. They just become more important when you’re starting a new lifestyle like the ketogenic diet.

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