Are you missing out on these micronutrients? Here’s how these crucial nutrients play a role in your low-carb diet!

  • 3 Minutes Read
Sue Heikkinen
Sue Heikkinen, MS, RDN, CDCES, BC-ADM, ACE-PT - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

Is your low-carb diet lacking in micronutrients? Make sure you are getting these important vitamins and minerals if you are following a low-carb diet.

Low-carb diet micronutrients

While helpful for weight loss and blood sugar control, low-carb diets can be low in certain micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) needed for essential body functions and overall health. This can be due to the lack of grains, fruits, beans, and certain vegetables on a low-carb diet, as well as reduced overall food intake on a weight loss plan.

Let’s take a look at some of these essential micronutrients, and how to make sure you get enough on a low-carb diet.

Vitamins: Important low-carb diet micronutrients

Vitamin C

Why is it important?
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin needed for healing and protein synthesis. Vitamin C also has antioxidant properties.

How much do I need per day?*
Men 19 years and older: 90 mg
Women 19 years and older: 60 mg

Typically found in:
Fruits (especially citrus fruits) and vegetables (especially bell peppers and tomatoes).

Low-carb sources:

Vitamin C can be destroyed by heat, making raw foods a more reliable source.


Why is it important?
A water-soluble "b-vitamin", folate is needed for DNA production, red blood cell formation and for prevention of neural tube defects.

How much do I need per day?*
Men and women 19 years and older: 400 mcg

Typically found in:
Many foods, including vegetables (especially dark green leafy vegetables), fruits, nuts, beans, peas, seafood, eggs, dairy products, meat, poultry and grains (including fortified grains).

Low-carb sources:

Vitamin D

Why is it important?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin needed for calcium absorption, bone formation, and immune function. Meeting vitamin D needs can be challenging, whether on a low-carb diet or not.

How much do I need per day?*
Men and women 19-70 years: 15 mcg
Men and woman 70 years and older: 20 mcg

there is debate about optimal vitamin D intake and blood levels. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions about your specific needs.

Typically found in:
Fatty fish, fish oils, and fortified milk/milk substitutes. Our body also produces vitamin D from sun exposure, though this is not a consistent and reliable source for many people.

Low-carb sources:

*See a full listing of vitamin recommendations here.

Minerals: Important low-carb diet micronutrients


Why is it important?
Magnesium plays a role in blood pressure control, muscle contraction, nerve function, energy production, and bone development. Magnesium can also help with insulin sensitivity, making it a valuable low-carb micronutrient for anyone with prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.

How much do I need per day?*
Men 19-30 years: 400 mg; 31 years and older: 420 mg
Women 19-30 years: 310 mg; 31 years and older: 320 mg

Typically found in:
Beans, whole grains, green leafy veggies, nuts, seeds, milk, yogurt, and some fish. High fiber foods are often high in magnesium.

Low-carb sources:


Why is it important?
Potassium plays a critical role in nerve and muscle function, cell function, fluid balance and blood pressure control. Potassium is an especially important low-carb micronutrient, as potassium can be lost in the urine during the first phase of a low-carb diet.

How much do I need per day?**
Men 19 years and older: 3400 mg
Women 19 years and older: 2600 mg

Typically found in:
Fruits, vegetables, milk, yogurt, beans, meat, poultry and fish.

Low-carb sources:

The 2020 changes to the Nutrition Facts label require potassium to be listed in mg on the label, making it easier to track intake.


Why is it important?
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body and is important for bone health and blood vessel, nerve, and muscle function.

How much do I need per day?*
Men 19-70 years: 1000 mg; 71 years and older: 1200 mg
Women 19-50 years: 1000 mg; 51 years and older: 1200 mg

Typically found in:
Milk, cheese, yogurt, fortified dairy substitutes, tofu made with calcium, sardines with bones, leafy green vegetables.

Low-carb sources:

**See a full listing of mineral recommendations here

Do I need to take a multivitamin or other supplements on a low-carb diet?

In most cases, we recommend a multivitamin while you are on a low-carb diet, or any other restrictive diet. While multivitamins cannot replace all nutrients found in foods, they can fill in some important low-carb micronutrient gaps. Men and postmenopausal women typically do not need multivitamins with iron.

As far as other supplements, caution is warranted. For example, high doses of magnesium supplements can have digestive side effects and cause blood pressure lowering.

High doses of calcium supplements can increase the risk of kidney stones and are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Calcium from food sources is preferred.

Over-the-counter potassium supplements are minimal in potassium, therefore food sources tend to be the best option. If you take a medication that can alter your potassium levels (including some diuretics and blood pressure medications) or if you have kidney disease, it is important to talk with your healthcare provider before taking a potassium supplement.

Read more about potential risks of high doses of supplements here.

Tracking low-carb micronutrients with MyNetDiary

MyNetDiary Premium will allow you to customize your reports for over 100 nutrients, including potassium, magnesium and calcium. You can also include contributions from vitamins and supplements.

Bottom line

Low-carb diets can make it harder to get important micronutrients. The quality of your diet will make a difference—spend your carb allotment wisely on veggies, nuts and seeds, and moderate portions of beans, fruits and whole grains. With careful planning, monitoring, and supplementing when appropriate, you can make sure you aren’t lacking micronutrients on a low-carb diet.

Still new to MyNetDiary? Learn more today by downloading the app for FREE.

Weight Loss->Diets
Jan 5, 2024
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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