Supplements on Keto and Carnivore Diets

The ketogenic and carnivore diets have gained popularity in recent years as effective ways to lose weight, improve health, and reduce inflammation. Many people believe that following these diets requires taking a host of supplements to get enough nutrients. However, this is a myth. Most people following well-formulated ketogenic or carnivore diets can get all the nutrients they need from real, whole foods without relying on synthetic supplements. Here are 10 supplements you can likely skip on keto or carnivore.


Calcium supplements used to be considered essential for bone health. However, research shows you don’t need large doses of calcium if you eat plenty of leafy greens, bone broth, and other calcium-rich foods.

Leafy greens like kale, collards, spinach, and turnip greens are loaded with bioavailable calcium. Just one cup of cooked kale provides over 100 mg. On keto or carnivore, make leafy greens a staple.

Homemade bone broth provides collagen and calcium from animal bones. Sip broth daily or use it in recipes.

Meats like sardines with bones, yogurt, and cheese also supply calcium. Getting enough vitamin D and K2 further helps with calcium absorption and bone building.

With real food sources, you can easily meet calcium needs without supplements.


Probiotics may be helpful in specific cases, like after taking antibiotics. However, for most people, taking probiotics daily provides little benefit.

Your gut microbiome tends to stabilize around your long-term diet. Eating keto or carnivore provides the environment your gut flora needs. Adding more strains often won’t permanently change your microbiome.

Instead of probiotics, focus on getting prebiotic fiber from low-carb vegetables, supporting gut lining health, and avoiding foods that inflame your gut, like sugar and grains. This creates an optimal environment for your unique microbiome to thrive.

Vitamin C

On standard diets, vitamin C supplements help make up for low intake from fresh fruits and vegetables. But on keto and carnivore, you likely don’t need extra C.

Animal foods contain vitamin C, especially fresh meat, liver, fish roe, and bone broth. As you cut carbs and eat more animal foods, your vitamin C needs may drop dramatically.

Ketoers eating non-starchy vegetables also get vitamin C from peppers, leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower.

With food sources of C, cases of deficiency like scurvy are extremely rare. Supplements are likely unnecessary.


MCT oil – made of medium chain triglycerides – used to be considered a must-have for keto. However, it’s far from essential. MCT oil also tends to be expensive compared to food sources.

On keto, you can get MCTs from coconut oil, palm oil, dairy foods, and fatty cuts of meat. Your body efficiently converts these MCTs into ketones.

Start relying on real foods for MCTs rather than buying MCT oil supplements, which aren’t necessary for keto.

Greens Powders

Many people take greens powders and juices believing they need the phytonutrients. However, their benefits are unclear, especially on low-carb diets.

Focus instead on getting a diversity of low-carb vegetables like leafy greens, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, and artichokes. These provide antioxidants, polyphenols, and nitrates.

At most, consider making your own green juice from fresh low-carb vegetables rather than buying expensive, shelf-stable powders. But even juices likely aren’t necessary.


Many people take magnesium supplements to help with muscle cramps, sleep issues, anxiety, and constipation. However, well-formulated ketogenic diets tend to provide adequate magnesium.

Dark leafy greens, avocados, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, yogurt, beans, and chocolate are all great sources of this important mineral.

Focus on getting at least 300mg of magnesium per day from whole foods. This will provide the magnesium you need without supplementation.


It’s a common myth that you need fiber supplements on keto or carnivore to stay regular. In fact, the opposite is often true.

As you remove inflammatory foods like grains and refined carbs from your diet, digestive issues like constipation often disappear. Fiber supplements become unnecessary.

Some people find removing dairy, nuts, and seeds further improves regularity on low-carb diets by eliminating common allergens.

Rather than taking fiber supplements, work on removing gut-disrupting foods to restore natural regularity.

Fish Oil

Fish oil provides anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. However, on keto and carnivore diets including fatty fish, you likely don’t need supplements.

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, and herring are loaded with bioavailable omega-3s. Aim for two or more servings per week.

Pasture-raised meat and eggs also contain omega-3s, though less than fish. Cod liver oil provides vitamins A and D along with omega-3s.

With real food sources of omega-3 fats, fish oil capsules are generally unnecessary on these diets.

Collagen Supplements

Collagen powders and peptides have become popular for improving skin, hair, nails and joints. However, you can get ample collagen from meat-heavy keto and carnivore diets.

Animal foods like bone broth, chicken skin, beef, pork, chicken wings, and egg shells provide the amino acids needed to build your own collagen.

Consider making homemade bone broth, keeping chicken skin on meat, and eating nose-to-tail to get collagen building blocks. Supplements aren’t needed.


It’s common advice to take a daily multivitamin as “insurance” for filling nutrient gaps. However, this likely isn’t needed on well-planned keto and carnivore diets.

Multivitamins often contain cheap, synthetic vitamins and minerals your body doesn’t properly absorb. Real food sources work better.

Focus instead on organ meats like liver for bioavailable nutrients. Liver is nature’s true multivitamin, loaded with vitamins A, B12, B6, folic acid, copper, iron and more.

With sufficient organ meats and a ketogenic or carnivore diet of real foods, you can skip the multivitamin.

Formulated ketogenic and carnivore diets

  • Well-formulated ketogenic and carnivore diets provide more nutrients than most people expect, making many popular supplements unnecessary.
  • Focus on getting nutrients from whole, real foods as much as possible rather than pills and powders. This includes organ meats like liver.
  • Save your money on supplements and put those funds towards higher quality groceries instead.
  • Work on optimizing your diet before adding supplements, which should be temporary and targeted.

Supplements Worth Considering

While most supplements are likely unnecessary on well-formulated keto and carnivore diets, a few specific supplements can be beneficial for some people in certain situations:

Electrolytes: Getting sufficient sodium, potassium, and magnesium from mineral-rich foods or supplements may help alleviate keto flu symptoms, muscle cramps, headaches, and fatigue when first transitioning to very low carb diets.

Vitamin D: Those with low sun exposure may need supplemental vitamin D3 to reach optimal blood levels of 40-60 ng/mL for immune and brain health. Cod liver oil can also provide vitamin D.

Digestive enzymes: People with gut issues like IBS, bloating, or reflux may benefit from taking plant-based enzymes like bromelain, papain, amylase, lipase, and proteases with meals to improve digestion.

Bone broth protein: As an alternative to expensive collagen supplements, bone broth protein powders provide amino acids that support gut healing and collagen formation.

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