Keto Electrolytes: 3 Ways to Avoid Dehydration & Imbalances

Keto & Electrolytes
How to Avoid Dehydration in Ketosis

Keto Electrolytes: How to Avoid Dehydration and the “Keto Flu”

During the early stages of a keto diet, your body will be going through some significant changes.

Switching from glucose to ketone is not all sunshine and lollipops, and the dreaded “keto flu” is something that causes many people to fail.

Constant tiredness, headaches, cramping, and brain fog are just some of the symptoms that you might encounter, and they aren’t any fun.

But don’t freak out — it’s a natural side effect of the electrolyte imbalance and dehydration caused by the low-carb nature of the diet. Your body is just going through an adjustment phase.

You’re probably frantically searching for a solution. You might even be wondering why anyone would subject themselves to this “torture.”

Don’t worry; some great keto electrolyte supplements can help you get to a lifestyle free of headaches, cramps, and fatigue but with all the benefits of weight loss .

On this page, we'll help you understand:

  • ​What electrolytes are
  • ​How a ketogenic diet affects your electrolyte levels (and drives you crazy)
  • Why these side effects are 100% normal and that you shouldn’t quit
  • ​The best ways for staying balanced and avoiding the dreaded keto flu

Can Keto Cause Electrolyte Imbalance?

Yes, starting a keto diet can cause electrolyte imbalances that increase “keto flu” symptoms.

This is one of the most important things you need to be aware of, as the resulting dehydration can bring about some unpleasant reactions, to say the least.

For the most part, these reactions won’t be too serious, but some can become a health and safety concern.

In situations of severe electrolyte imbalances, you can become very fatigued. This can cause you faint, something that you don’t want to happen if you're behind the wheel of a car or if you're working out at the gym.

lady drinking water

Before we dive deeper into what happens to electrolytes on a low-carb diet, let’s take a look at why they are important.

Electrolytes and Keto: What You Need to Know

Saying that electrolytes [1] are important for our bodies is an understatement. Without them, our cells would either shrivel up and die or burst from being too full.

These electrical signalling molecules are vital for regulating a ton of internal body processes.

working out girl with drip of water

You may have heard of some of these functions of electrolytes:

  • Heartbeat
  • ​Breathing
  • ​Muscle movement
  • ​Energy production
  • ​Thinking

Without proper levels of these vital minerals, it becomes harder to think, move, or do just about anything.

Remember when you just started keto? You cut back on carbs and lost a ton of water weight, right?

That’s why it’s such a popular diet—it helps you look GOOD FAST. 

The downside is that with all of that water weight gone, you’ve excreted a lot of electrolytes too.

If you want to figure out the secret to soldiering through the keto flu and keeping your sanity intact, you’ve got to understand how the diet affects your kidneys.

What Happens to Your Kidneys on Keto?

kidney body part sample

On a keto diet, your kidneys will change the way they function from retaining water and sodium [2] to getting rid of it.

The reason this happens is to support homeostasis, and as a result, the water content of your blood will go down to try and compensate for the reduced levels of sodium.

This is the process that leads to a lot of keto/electrolyte imbalance symptoms:

  • ​Dizziness
  • ​Racing heart
  • ​Feeling weak or shaky
  • ​Headaches
  • ​Bloating
  • ​Cramps

Your kidneys will also start getting rid of potassium for the same reason (maintaining an adequate balance).

It’s important to remember that this is just an adjustment phase though. Things will get better with time and a few supplements.

So, Does That Mean You Need Electrolyte Supplementation On The Keto Diet?

Yes, when you’re on the keto diet the most sensible thing to do is add electrolyte supplements to your diet.

While you can correct some of the imbalances through your food and water intake, you can get more accurate amounts of the minerals you lack through supplements.

This is also where a food diary will be very important, as it will help you keep track of your mineral intake.

Before we recommend some supplements, we will provide some natural sources to help you rebalance things.

man about to supplement with electrolytes

How Do You Replenish Electrolytes on Keto?

To replenish lost electrolytes on keto, you can make adjustments to your food intake, add supplements to your diet, or do a combination of both.

Essentially, you have to add sodium, potassium, and magnesium back into your system.

There are quite a few food sources that will help you rebalance your electrolytes, but before we come to some of your options, let’s take a look first at how much of these minerals you actually need.

Here are the 3 things you need A LOT more of:

  • ​Sodium: AT LEAST 5,000mg daily.
  • ​Potassium: 1000-3500mg daily.
  • ​Magnesium: About 500mg daily.

Bonus: You can never go wrong with a healthy dose of calcium in your diet either. It’s vital for healthy bones, blood flow, and muscle and nerve function.

Sodium Replacement

There are 2 main ways to get enough sodium back in your body to maintain a healthy level of electrolytes:

  • Salt: You might look crazy at first, but straight salt is the best way to get pure sodium back into your system. Mix it into a glass of water [3], salt up you food, or do whatever else you can stomach.
  • Soup Broth: Bouillon cubes are compressed stock that are basically the same as soup broth. Boil it up and drink it or make a nice vegetable soup. Kettle and Fire right now is one of the best in the business, and you can get the best price for it here.
broth soup for sodium replacement

Warning: You need a lot of sodium, so don’t skimp on the salt. About 3 teaspoons or more per day should do it.

If you think you can’t stomach it, you can opt for keto electrolyte replacement supplements which we will go through in just a little bit.

Potassium Replacement

Potassium is another vital nutrient your body needs more of when starting the lifestyle. Thankfully, delicious and healthy sources of it are everywhere.

  • ​Veggies: Spinach, avocados, and mushrooms are packed with vitamin K. You’ll start feeling better the more of these bad boys you eat.
  • ​​​​​Meat: Pork packs a ton of potassium as do most other meats. Add in a little extra here and there to decrease your symptoms.

Warning: Potassium overdose is deadly. DO NOT OVERDO IT.

Magnesium Replacement

Magnesium is best at preventing cramps and regulates over 300 processes in our bodies.

It’s readily available in nuts and greens, but the best way to get it is by supplementing. Stick to the glycinate and malate forms for the best results.

Our favorite brand right now is the one from Life Extension. It's reliable, can get the job done for you, and best of all, it can be easily bought from Amazon.

Keto Electrolyte Replacement: Diet or Supplement?

Eating the right foods is a great way to reduce the symptoms of keto flu, but you’ll quickly notice a few things: it’s hard to keep track, and it gets expensive. All of the magnesium supps, extra meat, and potassium-packed meals add up quickly.

Keto electrolyte replacement supplements aren’t necessary, but they make life a lot easier. They’re a great way to live a healthier life and feel better when on a low-carb diet.

man degydrating after an exercise

If we had to choose, the best option is a keto electrolyte drink. These power-packed drinks contain everything you need to avoid in the diet and fight off your flu symptoms.

There are even some recipes for delicious homemade electrolyte replacement drinks you can make before you go to work.

But with so many options, how can you be sure you get the perfect fit?

We found a lot of sufferers wasted a lot of money on supplements they didn’t need or ones that didn’t work.

Don’t worry — we’ve got your back. We did a lot of digging (we even scoured Reddit) and found the absolute best:

What's the Best Keto Electrolyte Drink?

The best electrolyte drink to supplement your keto diet is Perfect Keto Electrolytes.

It contains the perfect balance of all the electrolytes that you need plus other support minerals. It offers hydration with no sugar or carbs made from 100% clean ingredients.

The best part is the natural sweetener that makes it delicious to drink, unlike other drinks out there.

If you want to fight off the dreaded symptoms, look better, and feel your best, then this is the most reliable keto electrolyte drink out there in our opinion.

A Summary on Electrolyte Imbalances

  • ​Electrolyte imbalance is totally normal in the beginning. Don’t freak out. It gets better.
  • ​As you lose carbs, you also lose water and other helpful minerals.
  • ​Replace sodium, potassium, and magnesium to reduce symptoms.
  • ​An electrolyte supplement is the fastest, most effective way to replenish what’s lost in the beginning.

About the Author

Ryan is a personal trainer, athlete, health enthusiast, and entrepreneur. He is researching and expanding his knowledge about the ketogenic diet. He spends most of his time writing content about his new learnings of the ketogenic diet and shares it on Ketogenic Supplement Reviews. You can find me on: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.