Supplements

Living a ketogenic lifestyle does not mean a person takes a bunch of supplements or pills to stay healthy but I do have some diet additives I find useful. Do you take any supplements?

Here are my current main go-tos:

Drink of champions

This combo of liquid chlorophyll and electrolytes saves my butt constantly. I don’t take the electrolytes supplement every day but I try to have at least one dose of the green stuff daily. I add both to a bottle of water so stay hydrated at the same time. My nephropathic doctor recommended liquid chlorophyll to help with skin, inflammation, and hormone issues I had this past fall, and I haven’t looked back since. It’s a wonder fix-all and I now recommend it to everyone! This particular electrolyte powder has no sugar or carbs and does the trick when I’m lacking sodium, potassium, and magnesium in my regular diet.

More fat

If you are doing ‘keto’ then you know fat is good for you. I knew oil supplementation was good for me way before I understood the benefits of  fat or keto. I have taken some sort of fish oil on-and-off for at least ten years. Where I’m from, cod liver oil has been a cure-all for centuries and I grew up knowing it to be foul-tasting but effective. Now, you can get oils of many varieties in pill form and many are odourless, and some are flavoured. I tried taking evening primrose oil capsules but didn’t find much benefit. For a while my doctor recommended a high does of perillia seed oil but when that bottle ran dry I went back to fish oil. I’m not loyal to any particular brand or type. There is lots of debate online and in literature about what type of oil is better for you: seeds vs. animal but there is little doubt omega 3 supplementation is beneficial.

Probiotics

Genestra HMF Forte Probiotic Formula

This is a lesson I only recently learned and wish I’d known sooner: Get yourself a good probiotic! These itty bitty guys will help with digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function. Taking a supplement is especially important if you don’t eat much (or any) fermented foods. I keep mine in the fridge and have one per day before eating.

Chill pill

This is another excellent supplement I was turned on to my by naturopathic doctor. She recommended teas of holy basil as well as nettle. While I do like those I have found taking a concentrated pill supplement of holy basil (or tulsi) amazing for my mental health and ability to manage stress. I’ll take all the help I can get in those areas!

Those are the main supplements I take on a mostly daily basis. They are my starting line though there are a few others I sprinkle in when needed or when I remember. A good diet rich with nutrients is the best basis for health but it’s nice to know I can bring in these supplements to help!

Biohacking: what it is and the keto connection

Many of us practice some sort of biohacking or citizen science but don’t necessarily call it that. Feel a cold coming on so take extra vitamins or an herbal tea? Feel tired so up your hydration and/or caffeine? Those small self-directed additions to your routine are biohacking. It’s figuring out unconventional but natural ways to optimize health, energy, nutrition, fitness, and overall life.

On trend

Often biohacking is now talked about on a larger scale as many labs and researchers are working on realizing new limits of human potential. With social media and other internet resources these individuals can easily share their experiments and findings. It’s easier than ever to communicate results and even start a movement or community. Search for biohacking on reddit and you’ll get pages of forums with individuals all over the world sharing resources and their own experiences.

This recent article by Popular Mechanics magazine showcases several types of biohacking including using cryotherapy and sensory deprivation tanks, as well as nutritional “hacks”. The piece specifically mentions the keto diet, and how it’s being studied for positive effects and protection of the brain. Though the author (who experimented biohacks on herself) also talks about having a hard induction period transitioning to ketosis and that she didn’t stay with keto very long. I want to mention that this piece also discusses intermittent fasting which I’ll get into below in this post.

Search the term biohacking online and the top articles will likely include reference to the keto diet. Using ketones for fuel is a type of biohacking to tap into continuous energy and amazing cognitive benefits.

Bulletproof

A champion for biohacking, Dave Asprey created the Bulletproof company which is arguably responsible for the bulletproof or boosted coffee trend. It’s also a staple for many following a ketogenic diet. The practice generally involves consuming coffee blended with fat. The Bulletproof method involves the company’s own coffee beans, their Brain Octane product (a MCT oil based product), and grass-fed butter. There are skeptics online, and not much academic scientific info available, but the first-hand accounts of doing this are astounding. Personally, I have a boosted coffee most weekday mornings. I put MCT oil, butter or heavy cream, and collagen powder in my mixture. It satisfies me for quite a while and I think it does help with my thinking abilities. I notice negative differences on days when I don’t have this mixture, and I look forward to having it.

Intermittent fasting

The other big biohacking link to the ketogenic lifestyle is intermittent fasting or IF. Many keto folks purposely fast during their day and eat only during a certain ‘eating window’. A popular convention is the 16-8 one whereby a person won’t eat for 16hrs (inclusive of sleeping time) and then have an 8hr window for any food they consume for the day. The main argument for IF is to control insulin levels in the body. So many still consume some things (like water, plain tea) while you fast as long they don’t trigger an insulin response. The academic science AND personal accounts of the benefits of IF are abundant. In my opinion, one of the best description led of IF, its recent rise to fame, and benefits is this Harvard Health Blog post from earlier this year. And I recommend searching YouTube for keto-guru Dr. Berg’s IF videos because he presents a wealth of info succinctly in an easy-to-follow manner.

Like most other aspects of a ketogenic lifestyle, intermittent fasting goes against conventional health advice. Aren’t we supposed to eat ‘a balanced diet’ and have three meals with snacks in between? I don’t believe so anymore!

Personally, I try to do IF most days but have mixed results. I find my success depends on what I’m doing (and likely thoughts I’m having), and what I ate before fasting. I’m feeling better and better each day, but am still working through decades of food issues and metabolic damage (separate blog post on that to come!). Getting better or more sustainable at IF is one of my goals this year.

Do you biohack?

So do you do any sort of biohacking to optimize health or performance? I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing at first when starting a ketogenic lifestyle. But I’m fascinated with the topic now!