Essential vitamins and minerals question?

(Kathy Swinkels) #1

Can anyone show me some science on what vitamins and minerals we need? My daughter encouraged me to go LCHF but now is constantly “explaining” why I need to eat more fruit and vegetables.
Would love to provide her with evidence. Thanks

Ketogenic Survival Guide for Beginners
Vitamin supplements
(Richard Morris) #2

One of our Listeners Kyle is an MD who works in the arctic on remote Inuit communities, emailed us a some more info on supplements;

First of all, a correction: I believe that the Vitamin B family has been referred to a couple of times as fat soluble. B Vitamins are considered water soluble and there are a whole bunch of them in the family.
Below is a horribly truncated rundown of some keto-friendly vitamin sources. Many vitamins are needed in much less quantity since they are only needed for metabolism of carbohydrates, others are manufactures by our gut flora regardless of dietary sources:

Niacin is available in many foods and for keto’ers is found in liver, poultry, and fish in quantity.
Riboflavin (B2), is found in yogurt, cheeses, and liver.
Thiamin (B1) is a co-enzyme essential for carbohydrate metabolism. When carbohydrate levels are high, thiamin levels need to be high. With keto, thiamin requirements are negligible. The best source of natural thiamin that is keto-friendly: pork. Yum.
Pyridoxine is a coenzyme required for metabolism of amino acids and is available in meat, fish, and poultry. No lack of that on a keto diet.
Cyanocobalamin (B12) and folic acid are available in animal sources as well. If you’re eating meat, deficiency is extremely unlikely.
Pantothenic Acid: needed to produce enzymes needed in multiple hormone and metabolic pathways, it is present in virtually all foods. There are no known deficiency of this one - so no worries on keto.
Biotin: Essential for reactions involving carb and fat metabolism. It is available in foods, but also produced by normal gut flora. No need to worry here either.
Fat Solubles:
Vitamin A (retinol) requirements can be met by eating preformed retinol or by eating foods containing preformed Vit A (ex of one is beta-carotene). You don’t need to eat your carrots for vitamin A. In fact, its bioactive form is only found in animal sources.
Vitamin K occurs in 2 forms naturally: Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 is available in many foods and Vitamin K2 is synthesized by bacteria in the gut so VitK deficiency is very rare.
Vitamin D: Occurs as VD2 (ergocalciferol) and VD3 (cholecalciferol). Both forms produce near identical effects. D3 is the type produced naturally by humans when skin is exposed to sunlight. Dietary sources include shiitake mushrooms and oily fishes such as salmon. Or just spend a short time outdoors with some skin exposure. It’s free.

I usually recommend to my patients to supplement every once in a while with a multi vitamin. If they take one or two a week, that often covers any deficiencies, although true deficiency in today’s diet are quite rare. Here in the Arctic, I usually recommend a VitD3 supplement because of the long dark winters and the very low UV levels in the summer due to solar angle. But even that is usually unnecessary due to the high amount of salmon and other oily fish consumed in the diet here. Anyway, just my take.

We often think of our bodies as these isolated closed systems operating independently of other organisms. We as humans appreciate that autonomy. But we often forget about the helpful travelers living in our gut. They synthesize many of the vitamins and other bioactive chemicals that permit us to continue to KETO ON without deficiencies. Some of them are only needed in quantity to process carbohydrates - so, low carbs, low requirements.

Couple of hard questions from a newbie
(Kathy Swinkels) #3

Thank you that is perfect.


It depends also if you have any other reasons you may need to supplement. I for example have to pay close attention because I have malabsorption problems due to my gastric sleeve and also Hashimotos. I test regularly and supplement accordingly. I would argue that anyone who doesn’t live in a very sunny climate should take vitamin D daily. Whatever you are considering, the easiest thing to do is get a blood test and see where you are at.


I’d include Celiac in that too. My mother had to get B(12?) vitamin shots because her intestinal absorption was near zero. Probably applies to non-Celiac gluten sensitivity too.


Definitely. I suppose you just need to assess what you might be affected by and then test around that. You could test for a million things if you weren’t careful!

(Meeping up the Science!) #7

With Celiac you really need to watch for AEDK and B12 malabsorption because usually it’s the first part of the small intestine that is badly damaged. Calcium, too, if it’s bad enough.

Other than my D dumbness, I’ve been fortunate to not have any vitamin issues post-op. I think with the sleeve the big one is B12 because we no longer make much intrinsic factor. Everything else has been (mostly) good…

(Meeping up the Science!) #8

Since I eliminated dairy for the AIP version of the diet I use I also supplement with calcium, but I have Celiac and post gastrectomy so that also gives me a nudge of higher risk. I am also taking a crapload of D currently, due to bad deficency. I live in a box, so.

I actually think much of the fact that my labs aren’t worse after being so super morbidly obese is due to being low carb for so long.


The good thing is with B12 I have found is it is super easy to get the level up really high really fast. Mine was >2000 last test!

(patkealy) #10

Richard - regarding k2, just concerned about the assumption made here. Not a lot is known about K2 synthesize and which gut bacteria is responsible, and it estimated that a large amount of the population is deficient in k , especially k2 due to diet and antibiotic use. K2 deficiency which is linked to higher levels of bone lose and CVD.

Have a listen to this podcast on the interaction between A D and K … and as a follow up read his K2 resource @

Might be worth re-visiting in a show sometime.


(dawn.hakala) #11

Not sure if this is where I should ask this but here goes… so I’m prolonging the Zornfast & since day 3 I think, my fucking right eye lid is constantly twitching… I’m still taking a multi vitamin & my magnesiums & potassium… But what is causing this twitch?! Drives me crazy!

(Guardian of the bacon) #12

I think that’s a sign of a guilty conscience.

(dawn.hakala) #13

Wish it was that easy…I have nothing to be guilty of :slight_smile:

(Richard Morris) #14

… that would make me guilty :slight_smile:

(Keto Krazy) #15

I believe you may have low stomach acid possibly. Perhaps this video will help you:

(Guardian of the bacon) #16

That explains an awful lot. Back in the day I drank a ton of Diet Pepsi daily and I had: Muscle twitches, eyelid twitches, and leg cramps constantly.

I quit drinking DP, started taking Mag supplements, and drink the juice from 1/2 a lemon daily and ACV on occasion, and I have none of those issues anymore. I never tied them all together before.

(Barb) #17

On this note vitamin D3 supplementation is now part of Canada’s official RDI regardless of where in the country one lives.

(Jacquie) #18

Barb, that’s interesting. I’m in Nova Scotia and was supplementing with D3. I’m outdoors a lot, usually without sunscreen. Had my D3 levels tested. Turned out I was close to toxic levels, so stopped supplementing and I’ll test again in the spring. Who knew? :wink: Lesson learned. No supplementing without testing levels first.

(Barb) #19

Holy crap! Thanks for sharing this… I’m going to ask my Dr for testing at my next appointment.

(dawn.hakala) #20

I funny I see this today…I just got in a calcium supplement… Hope to Christ it helps… thank you for posting that :slight_smile: