Probiotics and the Keto diet

by Katie Stone, ND October 30, 2019 5 min read

Probiotics and the Keto diet

The Keto Diet may be controversial, but those who have ‘gone Keto’ report a range of health benefits – weight loss, more energy, reduced cholesterol, clearer thinking, and better sleep.

The Keto Diet involves eating higher proportion of fats than carbohydrates. Some proteins are included as well. The composition is generally around 75% fats, 20% proteins, and 5% carbs.

These proportions have been shown switch your body’s energy-fueling mechanisms into a state of ketosis, in which you’re burning fat as energy instead of glucose. This means you’re burring through more body fat and losing weight faster.

Fat is also more satisfying because it takes longer to process, which means you’re less likely to suffer from hunger cravings that make you snack!

One of the biggest downsides of keto is that it can play havoc with your digestion.

If your gut isn’t breaking down fats properly, you could be experiencing diarrhea, bloating, and other unpleasant digestive symptoms.

Why Your Gut Needs To Absorb Fats

Your body needs fat to survive. And because it’s one of the main sources of energy while on the Keto Diet, your digestive system needs to be able to absorb it.  Your body also needs the short-chain fatty acids that probiotic bacteria provide in order to function properly.

There are certain species of gut bacteria that help in the digestion and absorption of dietary fats.

Some of these species are required for the production of certain enzymes, while others work to allow your intestines to absorb fats for use in the body.

A study involving mice found that, without the right elements in your microbiome, it’s almost impossible to absorb any fat at all. In fact, most of it will be passed through the body.

With the right intestinal bacteria, the breakdown of fats is much more efficient. Fat is also essential for helping us to absorb certain vitamins such as Vitamin D. (1).

Gut Bacteria For Healthy Nutrient Absorption

The Keto Diet is quite restrictive, which can mean some people find it difficult to get adequate nutrition each day. It’s important to do some research beforehand and know exactly what you should and shouldn’t eat.

Unfortunately, not getting enough nutrition can cause even more problems if your gut microbiome is already out of shape.

You need those helpful bacteria to aid the absorption of nutrients in your gut. An imbalanced microbiome can reduce the amount of nutrients that your body can extract from food.

Some strains of bacteria even create the vitamins that your body needs to carry out its many functions. Some B vitamins and Vitamin K are in fact made in the gut! (2)

Gut Bacteria Support Metabolism

A healthy gut is essential for sustained weight loss. Research has shown that those who are overweight or obese tend to have fewer species of gut bacteria. (3)

In fact, it appears that poor gut bacteria or dysbiosis can negatively affect your basal metabolic rate, which is the speed at which you burn calories while resting.  

Unsurprisingly, a sluggish metabolic rate can lead to weight gain, while a faster rate can help you burn calories faster!

A healthy gut microbiome is key to optimal energy-burning. If you’re following the keto diet to lose weight, keeping your gut in a healthy balance is a very important part of achieving that.

3 Ways To Keep Your Gut Healthy While On Keto

Eating plenty of fresh, high-quality foods is essential for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. It’s very easy to slip into a habit of eating poor-quality fats or carb-free foods that contain no benefit for your body whatsoever. These can actually do more harm to your gut bacteria than good!

1. Keto-Friendly Prebiotics

Prebiotics are the ‘food’ that your beneficial gut bacteria eat in order to thrive. Supporting your gut bacteria with plenty of prebiotics is vital for a healthy gut!

Prebiotic fiber will help to keep your bowels regular as well – very important when on a keto diet! Good sources of prebiotics include onions, asparagus, and Jerusalem artichokes.

Also try to include high-fiber fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut in your diet. The sugars in these foods have already been broken down in the fermentation process, so they shouldn’t affect your ketosis. It’s this fermentation that will support your gut bacteria and feed those beneficial strains.

2. Magnesium and Potassium

You probably don’t think about these two minerals very often, but they’re essential for the correct functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. Magnesium helps with muscle relaxation, which plays a part in peristalsis (the movement of smooth muscle in the gut). Potassium is needed to balance the environment of the gut so that harmful bacteria can’t survive.

Maintain your magnesium and potassium levels with plenty of keto-friendly fresh foods. The best options include dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale, as well as pumpkin seeds, nuts, avocados, and oily fish such as salmon.

3. Pop A Probiotic Supplement

The easiest and most effective way to support gut bacteria while on the Keto Diet is to take a quality probiotic supplement. A good supplement will not contain any sugars or unhelpful ingredients, so it won’t affect your ketosis. Look for a product that contains multiple strains of bacteria and a high count of colony-forming units (CFU). These are the ‘live’ bacteria that will go to work as soon as they’re ingested.

Also remember that probiotics are best taken with or just before with a meal. This is when your stomach contains the least amount of acidic gastric juices, which can destroy those probiotic bacteria before they even have a chance to get established!

If you take a time-release probiotic, the exact timing of your probiotic matters less. For example, our probiotic supplement releases its bacteria slowly over 8-10 hours and is very well protected against stomach acid.

Keto and Probiotics Go Hand-In-Hand

If you’re considering the Keto Diet, don’t forget to take the extra step to optimize your gut microbiome!

With a healthy, balanced gut, you’ll be more likely to benefit from the keto diet and your digestive system will be able to get the most out of the food you eat. Long term, this will help you to stay happy and healthy inside and out.

Probiotics are essential for maintaining the health of your entire body: your weight, your immune system, your mood, and of course your digestion.

With a thriving microbiome, you’ll be well on your way to better health and sustained weight loss!

Our time-release probiotic is 15 times more effective at surviving stomach acid. It contains 15 billion CFUs of probiotic bacteria and 12 carefully-chosen strains. You can read more about it here!

Katie Stone, ND
Katie Stone, ND


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