Is Ketosis Dangerous?
You may have heard from your doctor that ketosis is a life-threatening condition. If so, your doctor is confusing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) with nutritional ketosis, or keto-adaptation. First, some semantics. Our body can produce, from fat and some amino acids, three ketone bodies (a “ketone” refers to the chemical structure where oxygen is double-bonded to carbon sandwiched between at least 2 other carbons). These ketone bodies we produce are: acetone, acetoacetone, and beta-hydroxybutyrate (B-OHB). [For anyone who is interested, they are the 3 most right structures on the figure, below.] Why do we make ketones? For starters, it’s a vital evolutionary advantage. Our brain can only function with glucose and ketones. Since we can’t store more than about 24 hours’ worth of glucose, we would all die of hypoglycemia if ever forced to fast for more than a day. Fortunately, our liver can take fat and select amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and turn them into ketones, first and foremost to feed our brains. Hence, our body’s ability to produce ketones is required for basic survival. What is diabetic ketoacidosis? When diabetics (usually Type I diabetics, but some Continue reading >>