3 Supplements to Jumpstart Ketosis

What supplements are useful for a keto diet?

Like many other diets, there is no one, single ketogenic diet. For those embarking on a ketogenic diet trial, determining an individual diet plan will allow for the best results. Working with a healthcare provider is always a good bet.

The goal is to find the optimal ratio of fats, protein, and non-starchy carbohydrate for inidividual needs. Depending on other health factors, these ratios could vary widely. Utilizing home measurement tools such as Ketostix's and blood ketone/glucose monitors is absolutely necessary to arrive on the right plan for you.

For some, adding supplements may make the ketogenic transition easier, or may even improve tolerance to certain foods. Here are 3 supplements that can help you kick start ketosis, improve blood sugar control, and fat digestion.


Supplemental medium-chain triglycerides oil is the ketotic dieters’ best kept secret. The short and medium length fats can directly enter the mitochondria sparing precious cellular energy transport (ATP). Supplementation with MCT oil allows for a very biochemically efficient means to produce ketones. Longer chain fats, such as those found in omega-3’s, require multi-step enzymatic conversion and are less efficiently converted to ketones despite having other health promoting properties.

How to Use:

MCT oil is neutrally flavored, or available in a coconut flavor which can easily be added to a high fat smoothie. Dr. C sneaks plain MCT oil into butter coffee and drizzled over vegetables.

Coconut oil is a source of MCT’s but is not as well absorbed as the emulsified, highly concentrated supplemental forms. MCT oil can be cooked with due to its high smoke point. Use it liberally to boost your total fat content and stimulate nutritional ketosis on your very low carbohydrate diet.

Extra Metabolic Help

Reaching metabolic ketosis may be harder for some individuals than others. This is primarily due to the fact that “carbohydrate tolerance” is individualized. For some, even the smallest amount of carbohydrate intake can cause surges in blood sugar. Careful monitoring of this using blood glucose/ketone monitors will help you discover how sensitive you are to carbohydrate intake. Still others may have comorbid metabolic issues such as metabolic syndrome or PCOS, which will make them especially sensitive to carbohydrate due to the early stages of insulin resistance. Not sure? Work with a doctor who can handle your unique metabolic challenges.

For those most sensitive, a blood sugar regulating supplement may be indicated.

How to Use:

Taken before meals, a product like Metabolic-Xtra (Pure Encapsulations) contains ingredients that curb the insulin response and promote normal glucose balance. This is primarily achieved through chromium dinicocysteinate (Zychrome), which has been shown to support regular insulin responses in placebo-controlled RCTs.

Digestive Enzymes

Switching to a high fat diet may be a complete shock to the digestive system of those accustomed to low fat diets. During the transition period, supplemental digestive enzymes may be beneficial to avoid gastrointestinal upset. A comprehensive enzyme formula is ideal in that it will contain special protease DPP IV (dipeptidyl peptidase IV), which aids in the breakdown of casomorphin (from casein) and gluteomorphin (from gluten), and lactase to aid in dairy digestion. Additionally, digestive enzymes containing lipases will aid in fat metabolism and bile emulsification.

No gall bladder? No problem. Those who have undergone gall bladder removal can still trial a ketogenic diet, but will likely require supplemental enzymes before every meal. Be sure to choose an enzyme such as digestive enzymes which contains supplemental bile.

How to Use:

Taken before meals, digestive enzymes may be helpful when patients experience gas and bloating after eating, constipation, or a feeling of fullness after eating only a small quantity of food.