Ketones: Clearing Up The Confusion
Ketones, ketosis, ketoacidosis, DKA…these are words that you’ve probably heard at one point or another, and you might be wondering what they mean and if you need to worry about them at all, especially if you have diabetes. This week, we’ll explore the mysterious world of ketones, including if and how they may affect you. Ketones — what are they? Ketones are a type of acid that the body can form if there’s not enough carbohydrate to be burned for energy (yes, you do need carbs for fuel). Without enough carb, the body turns to another energy source: fat. Ketones are made in the liver from fat breakdown. This is called ketogenesis. People who don’t have diabetes can form ketones. This might occur if a person does extreme exercise, has an eating disorder, is fasting (not eating), or is following a low-carbohydrate diet. This is called ketosis and it’s a normal response to starvation. In a person who has diabetes, ketones form for the same reason (not enough carb for energy), but this often occurs because there isn’t enough insulin available to help move carb (in the form of glucose) from the bloodstream to the cells to be used for energy. Again, the body scrambles to find an alternate fuel source in the form of fat. You might be thinking that it’s a good thing to burn fat for fuel. However, for someone who has diabetes, ketosis can quickly become dangerous if it occurs due to a continued lack of insulin (the presence of ketones along with “normal” blood sugar levels is not necessarily a cause for concern). In the absence of insulin (which can occur if someone doesn’t take their insulin or perhaps uses an insulin pump and the pump has a malfunction, for example), fat cells continue to release fat into the circulation; the liver then continues to churn Continue reading >>
Why Is My Body Not Using Ketone Bodies All The Time?
There is no scientific evidence that ketones are a better source of energy than glucose for the brain. If that were the case, evolution would have lead to chronic ketosis. Your liver only produces ketones when carbohydrates are in short supply and fat is available. This is a physiologic system designed to deal with fasting or during periods when plant-based foods aren’t available in amounts needed to meet the brain’s needs. Ketones are also elevated in obesity and diabetes. Only certain regions of the brain can use ketones. They can supply up to 70% of the brain’s energy needs. You still need some glucose to fully fuel the brain. High levels of ketones may produce ketoacidosis, a dangerous condition sometimes seen in untreated diabetics. There are some situations where ketones may have a neuroprotective effect following brain damage. Ketones may also be useful for people having epilepsy. There aren’t any studies showing that these benefits extend to brains that haven’t been injured or stressed. You can get a fuller discussion here: Clinical review: Ketones and brain injury and here: The fat-fueled brain: unnatural or advantageous? and here: There don’t seem to be any studies showing that ketones improve mental performance in ordinary people. Judge for yourself. Continue reading >>
What Are Ketone Strips Used For?
This won't make sense unless you understand low-carb diets. Here's how a low-carb diet is supposed to work. A person eats about 30g of carbs per day for a couple days. That's not a lot of carbs. That's like two slices of bread. The body burns through all those carbs. Now that it can't burn carbs, it starts to burn fat. When you burn fat, you lose weight. When the body burns fat, ketones end up in the urine. Low-carb dieters use ketone test strips to test whether their bodies are burning fat. A positive sign of ketones can often predict future weight loss. If this sounds too good to be true, well it might be. The biggest problem with low-carb diets is that most people can't sustain them for long enough to cause permanent weight loss. Cravings for carbs can be surprisingly strong. Depending on the protein source, high cholesterol can be a problem too. Ketosis sounds bad but the symptoms are pretty mild - bad breath, nausea, fatigue. Nobody dies from ketosis. We all should be thinking about carbs to some extent. There's an awfully high sugar content in the typical modern diet. Diabetes is no fun. Even cavities aren't a picnic. Most people could cut some carbs and be healthier. Continue reading >>
What Are The Dangers Of Placing The Body On Constant Ketosis?
As you might know, ketosis is the process of breaking down stored fat for energy when glucose and glycogen are too low. This is a good weight loss process when done occasionally but too much of something is never good. The biochemistry behind it: During ketosis, fatty acid chains are broken down in the liver in to ketone bodies. These ketone bodies are carried through the blood stream in order to reach surrounding tissues in need of energy. Once they reach a cell, they’re converted in to acetyl CoA so that they can go through the citric acid cycle to produce energy in the mitochondria. The problem with too much of it: When someone’s body is under constant ketosis, the concentration of ketone bodies in their blood stream becomes too high. Ketone bodies like acetoacetic acid and R-beta-hydroxybutyric acid are acidic. High concentrations of those in your bloodstream will make your blood acidic, which leads to acidosis. This can lead to a number of symptoms which I invite you to look up, none of them are good and it should be treated as soon as possible. One of those symptoms is a characteristic fruity acetone breath. Constant ketosis happens to people with untreated type 1 diabetes. In their case, it can lead to death if left untreated. Continue reading >>
Why Are Us Type 1 Diabetics So Thin?
TID 51 years: Please note that the following is not to be taken as medical advice or treatment. I think what the other respondents are saving is that if someone starts to develop type 1 diabetes the relative lack leading over ? months to? a year to complete lack of insulin, leads to lose of weight. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body assimilate some body nutrients. Once that person is treated with insulin, and treated at appropriate doses with an appropriate diet their weight will tend to increase towards a normal range. At least that is what happened to me. If someone happens to be overweight when diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, usually that means early diagnosis rather than late, their weight would be maintained and depending on all sorts of other factors may in fact increase and not fall to a more normal of age level. Continue reading >>