Can you take B12 while on a Keto diet?8 Like other diet plans, Keto has its own set of rules regarding consumption of various nutrients.
Fortunately, taking vitamins such as B12 is allowed as vitamins are pure compounds that cannot be converted to simple sugars, which affect ketosis.
However, the keto diet is known to cause nutrient deficiencies, especially when it comes to dietary fiber and some vitamins; and these vitamins are crucial for the proper functioning of the body.
Therefore, doctors and experts alike recommend supplementing B12 and there are a few other vitamins that are needed for keto to be done safely, and properly.
For this reason, this guide will explain in ins and outs of b12 in relation to keto, as well as other vitamins keto dieters should consider to avoid nutrient deficiencies.
Can You Take B12 While on Keto Diet? Will B12 Kick You Out of Ketosis? Is B12 Keto-Friendly?
B12 and other vitamins are inherently pure compounds that the body cannot convert into simple sugars; therefore, they will not interfere with or kick you out of ketosis. However, while dieters are free to take vitamin supplements while on Keto, they should know that these supplements have fillers such as dextrin and maltodextrin, which are essentially carbs.
Additionally, other supplements such as flavored drink supplements, gummies, and protein powders have added sugars that may kick you out of Keto.
Therefore, Keto experts recommend taking these supplements in moderate amounts to avoid getting kicked out of ketosis. The Keto dieter should look at the label of the supplement they are taking, examine the sugar content and adjust their daily diet accordingly.
What Is Ketosis in Relation to B12?
What is Ketosis? Most people believe that ketosis is a general term that describes a list of foods that have low-carb content.
That is not the case; ketosis is a metabolic state achieved by reducing carbohydrate consumption to a certain amount. Then, the body enters this state where fat is burned to produce energy instead of carbohydrates.
This means that as long as carbohydrate consumption is within a certain standard, the body will enter and maintain ketosis. Carbs such as starch, saturated sugars and simple sugars are the primary influence of Ketosis.
Consuming other nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals will not affect this metabolic state, and this partly answers the question; can you take B12 while on Keto?
B12 and Keto: Does Vitamin B12 Affect Ketosis?
Vitamin B12 plays a key role in lipid metabolism and the deficiency is linked to obesity and fat accumulation. This vitamin has an important role in Ketosis in that it helps in the body’s absorption of Ketones and increases the beneficial effects of Ketosis.1
Consequently, vitamin B12 is very helpful for someone following a strict Keto diet and should be taken regularly.
The beneficial effects of B12 on a Keto diet include but are not limited to:
- Increased energy
- Weight loss
- Better mood
- Better Sleep
- Clear skin
How Does Vitamin B12 Benefit the Body
On a regular diet, B12 increases the production of energy from carbohydrates. This vitamin is also essential for the healthy and proper functioning of the body as it maintains DNA and blood cells.
The water-soluble vitamin also aids in nerve functions.
Low vitamin B12 is often associated with the following:
- Autism spectrum disorder
Based on this information, it is safe to infer that vitamin B12 is a crucial nutrient in the body despite whatever plan or weight loss diet you are on. If the body has sufficient B12 vitamins, it will metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins efficiently.
As a result, this vitamin is crucial for Keto because it plays a vital role in the body’s energy production.
Does Keto Allow Food With B12 in It?
Can you take B12 while on Keto diet? The human body does not produce its own vitamin B12.
Therefore, it has to be outsourced from certain foods and supplement vitamins. Luckily, B12 is generally friendly to Keto low carb diet and the body can obtain vitamin B12 from animal products that are great for Keto.
These sources include:
- Dairy products
Besides animal protein, several Keto friendly vegetables are rich in vitamin B12. They include:
What’s the Daily Recommended Amount of B12 To Consume?
Since vitamin B12 is crucial for the proper functioning of the body, you need to consume an adequate amount whether you are on the Keto diet or not. A normal adult who is not on any diet needs a daily amount of 1.5 micrograms of B12.
Anyone on Keto will need a daily amount of 2.4 micrograms of B12 vitamin.2 Noticeably, this is more than the normal daily amount recommended for an adult on a regular diet.
This variation is brought about by the body’s need to absorb more ketones for energy during ketosis.
However, if you are on a Keto diet, you shouldn’t worry about B12 deficiency as it’s often a part of the food you consume on a daily basis, mostly animal protein. To put this into perspective, 100 grams of liver has 18.7mg of B12 vitamin, while one large egg contains 1.1 mg of B12.
Therefore, consuming two eggs daily or eating liver while on Keto is enough to meet the daily requirements.
What Are the Symptoms of B12 Deficiency?
A poorly planned Keto diet can cause a deficiency in B12 vitamin and this is especially common for those who follow vegan Keto diets.3
A few factors can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency; they include:
Vegan diet: The B12 vitamin is mainly found in milk, eggs, and meat. Therefore people who don’t consume these foods will need to take supplements or eat vegetarian alternatives rich in B12, such as Alfalfa and spinach.
Low stomach acid and Intestinal Problems: Celiac and Crohn’s disease and low stomach acid can interfere with B-12 absorption.
Gastric surgeries: If you surgically remove a portion of your intestines or stomach, you will reduce the space or surface area needed for B12 absorption.
Age: Older people have more difficulty absorbing B12 in their bodies than younger people.
Sedentary lifestyle: Studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the leading causes of B12 deficiency, especially among young women.
Common signs that indicate a lack of B12 vitamin include:
- Pale skin
- Yellow eyes
- Heart palpitations
- Issues with balance
- Swollen tongue
- Disturbed vision
- Shortness of breath
- Neuropathy (sensitive nerves)
- Tingling of legs and hands
In this case, the concerned party should look for vitamin supplements from their local pharmacy or get B12 injections from their healthcare provider.
Symptoms of Excessive B12 in the Body
Too much of something is dangerous, and this cannot be more true for the B12 vitamin as an excessive amount of this vitamin can lead to a few health complications.4 A person with a higher-than-average amount of B12 can suffer from hypercobalaminemia (high serum vitamin B12 levels) which may result in several symptoms such as:
Should You Take Vitamins on Keto? (Why Keto May Lead to Vitamins Deficiencies)
Those asking can you take B12 while on Keto diet may also wonder whether they should also consume other vitamins on Keto. The truth of the matter is that vitamins, as long as they’re 0 carb (most are), do not affect Keto other than helping the body absorb ketones.
First and foremost, dieters pick Keto and other low-carb diets such as Atkins because they want to lose weight. However, these diets may cause vitamin deficiencies for the dieters rather than improve them.
Some of these dieters may be overweight, and studies have shown that nutritional deficiency is highly correlated to being overweight more than 80% of the time. For that reason, an overweight person jumping into these diets might worsen their deficiencies, leading to serious consequences.
Second, while vitamins are great for low-fat vs. low-carb diet plans, keto dieters are at risk of acquiring vitamin deficiencies. They exacerbate this risk by shunning vitamin-rich foods like fruits and vegetables that also contain a high amount of carbohydrates (carrots, beets, sweet potatoes etc.)5
The most common nutrient deficiencies in these low-carb diets such as Keto include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B7
- Vitamin B9
Consequently, it’s important to strategize the types of food you should include in the diet and get additional supplements to correct or reduce any underlying issues. Vitamins will not affect how much weight you can lose on the Keto diet so, taking vitamins while on Keto will allow a dieter to lose weight safely while at the same time maintaining a micronutrient balance.
Symptoms of Vitamin Deficiency
Vitamins serve diverse and important roles in the body. As such, lacking this nutrition may lead to a myriad of unpleasant symptoms.
The body uses these symptoms to communicate potential deficiencies; thus, recognizing them will help dieters adjust their diets accordingly. They include:
1. Brittle Hair and Nails and Hair Loss
Lack of biotin or B7 vitamin can lead to brittle nails and hair. B7, like B12, helps in the conversion of nutrients into energy.
This deficiency is very rare, but when it occurs, some noticeable symptoms include:
- Splitting, thinning, and brittle hair
- Brittle nails
- Chronic fatigue
- Muscle pain
- Tingling in the feet and hands
The risk of getting this deficiency is higher in
- Pregnant women
- People with digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease
2. Cracks on the Mouth Corners or Mouth Ulcers
Insufficient vitamins and minerals can partly cause lesions around and in the mouth. For example, canker sores, often called mouth ulcers, result from B vitamins and iron deficiencies.
Insufficient riboflavin (B2 vitamin) can also cause Angular cheilitis. This condition causes mouth corners to split, crack and bleed.
3. Bleeding Gums
Vitamin C helps to boost immunity and wound healing and it acts as an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage. Lack of vitamin C in the body may result in bleeding gums and slow healing of wounds in the body.
Symptoms of lack of vitamin C include bleeding gums or even loss of teeth. Additionally, continuous vitamin C deficiency will cause scurvy, and weaken bones, muscles, and the immune system, making the body susceptible to diseases and infections.
Some other early subtle signs of C vitamin deficiency include:
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Scaly dry skin
- Slow wound healing
- Easy bruising
4. White Growth on the Eyes and Poor Night Vision
Vitamin A deficiency is often linked to night blindness, a condition where one cannot see in darkness or low light. This vitamin is a necessary compound in the production of rhodopsin, a pigment in the eye’s retina that helps people see at night.
If left untreated, night blindness progresses to xerophthalmia, which damages the cornea, eventually leading to blindness. One early symptom of this condition is Bitot’s spots.
These spots are the foamy, white, slightly elevated growths found in the white parts of the eyes (conjunctiva).
It’s important to note that vitamin A deficiency is very rare in developed countries. If you notice a deficiency, try adding dairy, organ meats, fish, eggs, yellow-colored vegetables, and dark leafy greens to your diet.
Consumers should avoid vitamin A supplements as this vitamin is a fat-soluble substance that, when taken in excess, will gather up in the body’s fat stores and become toxic.
5. Dandruff and Scaly Patches
Vitamin deficiency will lead to scaly patches and dandruff in the ears, eyelids, eyebrows, chest, and scalp. Scaly patches and dandruff result from a lack of B6, B2, and B3 vitamins, as well as zinc and niacin.
Adding these nutrients to your diet will help with the symptoms.
What Vitamins Should You Take When Doing Keto? What Supplements Should I Take On a Ketogenic Diet?
Doctors and other experts recommend getting your nutrients from food rather than supplements as vitamins and minerals in the food will not affect ketosis. On the other hand, supplements such as protein shakes, supplement flavored drinks and gummies have added sugars that might kick you out of ketosis.
Moreover, supplement fillers such as dextrin, dextrose, and maltodextrin are not suitable for Keto because they are carb-based.
Below is a table that lists which Keto friendly food to consume to obtain specific vitamins and other nutrients.
|Nutrient||Keto-Friendly Food Source|
|Chromium||Green beans, poultry, beef, broccoli|
|Choline||Spinach, shellfish, meat, liver, eggs|
|Selenium||Seeds, mushrooms, brazil nuts|
|Phosphorus||Seafood, pork, turkey, chicken, seeds|
|Sodium||Shellfish, sea salt|
|Molybdenum||Leafy green vegetables, eggs, cashews, almonds|
|Manganese||Tea, nuts, leafy vegetables|
|Potassium||Spinach and other leafy vegetables|
|Iodine||Eggs, iodized salt, seaweed, seafood|
|Iron||Liver, organ meat, shellfish, spinach|
|Copper||Nuts, liver, oysters, organ meat|
|Calcium||Sardines, almonds, chia seeds|
|Vitamin K||Cauliflower, chard, kale, spinach|
|Vitamin E||Spinach, almonds, vegetable oils|
|Vitamin D||Eggs, sardines, salmon, cod liver oil|
|Vitamin C||Lemons, broccoli, Brussels sprouts|
|Vitamin B12||Eggs, fish, chicken, liver, beef|
|Folate (Vitamin B9)||Kale, Brussels sprouts, spinach, liver|
|Biotin (Vitamin B7)||Avocado, egg yolks, liver, nuts, seeds|
|Vitamin B6||Eggs, fish, pork|
|Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)||Fish, poultry, beef, broccoli, avocado|
|Niacin (Vitamin B3)||Tuna, turkey, salmon, avocado, liver|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||Eggs, poultry, lean meats, nuts|
|Vitamin A||Oranges, vegetables, Cod liver oil|
If a dieter must take vitamin supplements, or they are advised to do so by a doctor, they should be wary of the added sugars. It’s important to examine the carb content in your supplement and adjust your diet accordingly.
To summarize, even though Keto might cause some vitamin deficiencies, the B12 vitamin is not among them. In fact, most food items that contain this vitamin, such as fish, dairy products, and meat, are very Keto friendly.
Moreover, B12 helps in the absorption of ketones and therefore, the answer to the question, ” Can you take B12 while on Keto diet” is yes.
Frequently Asked Questions About Can You Take B12 While on Keto Diet?
Will Vitamins Kick You Out of Ketosis?
No, vitamins and minerals generally do not influence ketosis because they have other functions in the body.
When Can You Take B12 While on Keto Diet?
On the keto diet or not, you can take B12 at anytime of the day but the best time is in the morning and along with a meal that contains healthy fats.
Can Keto Diet Cause B12 Deficiency?
Generally, a Keto diet does not cause B12 deficiency because these nutrients are obtained from Keto-friendly food such as meat and dairy products. However, a vegan Keto diet might cause the deficiency; therefore, a dieter is encouraged to take supplements or consult a physician.
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2Popa, Bogdan. (2020). Thrive on the Keto Diet By Avoiding These (Common) Nutrient Deficiencies. Core Med Science. Retrieved on February 6, 2023 From <https://coremedscience.com/blogs/wellness/thrive-on-the-keto-diet-by-avoiding-these-common-nutrient-deficiencies>
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