You can’t build a house without the basic foundations in place. Food supplements are the essential “building blocks” for your LCHF diet or any diet for that matter.
Why supplement at all?
If you have a perfectly balanced diet you should not need to supplement at all, right? Correct, but hands up who can honestly say that they have a COMPLETELY balanced diet, LCHF or otherwise? I can’t, and that’s why I supplement. The beauty of modern living is that we can “optimally” supplement our diets without having to “finesse” or “fine tune” the amounts/types of food that we eat, a potentially laborious undertaking. As Phinney & Volek correctly state, “if you are interested in optimizing your ability to function, ignore (supplements) at your peril”!
Below is a list of the daily supplements I take, together with amounts and reasons why:
Of all the supplements I take I consider this to be the most important. Low levels of Vitamin D are associated with a whole host of conditions such as cancers, depression, bone health, CVD, etc., etc. and the sad fact is that in modern, western societies we don’t get anywhere near enough of it! There are 2 ways you can get Vitamin D into your system: diet and skin synthesis from direct sunlight exposure. In both cases, western lifestyles ensure that both are lacking, hence the need to supplement.
Unfortunately, official guidelines regarding Vitamin D RDA’s are pitifully low in my opinion. I say this because serum levels of Vitamin D in people living in sunny climates such as the Caribbean are generally higher than those living in northern climes as you would expect, with associated improvements in overall health. There is a strange paradox here; most would agree that we in the west are not getting enough Vitamin D, yet the RDA’s appear to be way too low to correct this!?!
Through trial and error, based on recommendations from my doctor friend (also LCHF), I have successfully tweaked my daily Vitamin D intake to maintain serum levels in the recommended 75-250 mmol/L range, see latest bloods. In general I have found that variations in Vitamin D intake have had the greatest effect on my overall mood and health i.e. lower intakes are associated with depressed moods, lethargy & tiredness whereas elevated intake is associated with feelings of energy and alertness. The higher my Vitamin D intake is, the better I feel and perform during exercise. Yes, it’s true that you can have too much Vitamin D and this isn’t good for you but you really have to be taking in A LOT to get anywhere near these levels and for a protracted period of time.
My daily intake: min 200ug, rising to 300-400ug during the winter, depending on mood and energy.
Mainly for defense against infection: 15mg/day
For bones and teeth: 800mg/day
For muscle health and to avoid cramps: 375mg/day
Note: as of going to press, I am currently looking into and researching potassium supplements. If anyone has experience of these I’d like to hear from you!