Ketosis & Late Menstrual Cycle
Ketosis occurs when a person is deprived of dietary carbohydrates, causing the body to burn glycogen and fat stores for energy. This can lead to rapid weight loss, which may cause late or missed periods in some women. If you are experiencing ketosis and your period is much later than usual, consult your doctor. Video of the Day Your body burns dietary carbohydrates for energy. If you do not provide it with carbohydrates, it burns its fat stores instead. This process releases small carbon fragments called ketones into the blood, which causes the state known as ketosis. A common sign of ketosis is unpleasant fruity-smelling breath that results when your body tries to expel excess ketones by breathing them out. Although it is often marketed and promoted as a safe weight-loss and detox solution, ketosis can cause long-term liver and kidney damage. Ketogenic diets are extremely strict, high-fat, low-protein and low-carbohydrate diets that intentionally cause a state of ketosis, usually for quick weight loss. These diets may produce the desired results, but the weight loss is rarely sustainable since it returns quickly once you return to a normal diet. More importantly, they are not safe. Ketogenic diets can cause a host of problems, including kidney stones, constipation, cognitive problems, osteoporosis, high cholesterol and disruptions in the menstrual cycle. There are many reasons your period may be late. Some fluctuations in your menstrual cycle are normal, or may occur due to stress, your contraceptive method or even pregnancy. More serious causes include hormonal imbalances, thyroid problems or menopause. Extreme weight loss such as that caused by ketosis can cause your menstrual periods to diminish or stop altogether. If you are following a ketogenic diet and your peri Continue reading >>
Symptoms Of Ketosis:
If you are considering the ketogenic diet or have already started down this carb-free road, you may wonder what you can expect. Here’s the thing. Ketosis looks different for everyone, but I will share many of the most common symptoms with you today. If something other than what’s listed here is happening to you, just do a quick Google search for that symptom and keto. You should be able to find what you’re looking for! The Early Signs: The early signs of ketosis vary from person to person. The biggest impact on how quickly you notice the symptoms of ketosis will have a lot to do with how you ate before you started the diet. If your diet was very high carb, you might get hit pretty quickly and furiously with what we like to call the “Keto Flu.” This can last anywhere from 3 days to a week or more. Once your body has adapted to burning ketones for energy instead of glucose, you’ll be golden so don’t give up! Here’s what you can expect within the first 2-3 days of starting the Ketogenic Diet: Fatigue & Weakness (lack of concentration) Headaches Metallic taste or sweet taste in your mouth (I experienced this, and it tasted like blood in my mouth) Lightheaded / Dizzy upon standing Heightened Thirst Hunger / Sweet or Carb Cravings Dry Mouth possibly paired with “Keto Breath.” Stomach Discomfort / Mild Nausea / Cramping Trouble Sleeping or Staying Asleep (early waking) Water weight loss (perhaps an excessive loss of weight within the first two weeks) Frequent Urination Allergies or cold like symptoms may flair up For the ladies: Period issues: You may experience a longer, shorter, earlier, later period because of Keto. Seriously it causes all of that. Each woman is different, and I have experienced every one of those issues with my period since starting ket Continue reading >>
16 Ways Keto For Women Is Different + Doesn’t Need To Suck
As a female, we have to tinker the keto diet a little more than our male keto-ers do. For example, during shark week I can’t eat meat or I’ll end up on the couch in agony, with a heating pad, wanting to tear my ovaries out. So, I have to opt for things that are more easily digestible to my puffy, unhappy insides. Keto for women is just different. For one week every month we have brain-consuming cravings, we weigh more, have a hard time digesting, we get headaches and cramps and dammit we just want a blanket, some chocolate and a tub of icecream. end OK, but you get it. We also have other things to think about, like vaginas and boobies. For these two special things, we need to make some alterations too. You can’t just cut out some things. How to make keto for women easier and less grouchy Here are some tips I’ve cooked up over the past year that I’ve been told have been really helpful, enjoy! Eat yogurt. The diet says no, but I SAY YES. Men don’t need to care about the Lactobacillus acidophilus in yogurt, but a good healthy vagina does! Dannon makes a Light & Fit “Diabetic Friendly” vanilla yogurt that’s only 3 carbs per cup. Take cranberry supplements. Additionally, we need cranberry to ward away pesky urinary tract infections if we ever plan on forgetting to pee after sex again. So, take a cranberry supplement every day, and accept the carbs that come with it. Prepare for the lady in red. When the red devil is in town and you “need” sweets, opt for a handful of dark chocolate chocolate chips. The gourmet ones, real dark chocolate ones have the least carbs. The Milk Chocolate Almond Bars from Meleleuca only have 7 carbs for the entire bar, 9 for the DHA-enhanced dark chocolate ones which is also awesome. Remember that meats take more Continue reading >>
Do Very Low-carb Diets Mess Up Some Women's Hormones?
Studies show that low-carb diets can cause weight loss and improve metabolic health (1). However, even though low-carb diets are great for some people, they may cause problems for others. For example, following a very low-carb diet for a long time may disrupt hormones in some women. This article explores how low-carb diets may affect women's hormones. Your hormones are regulated by three major glands: Hypothalamus: located in the brain Pituitary: located in the brain Adrenals: located at the top of the kidneys All three glands interact in complex ways to keep your hormones in balance. This is known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis is responsible for regulating your stress levels, mood, emotions, digestion, immune system, sex drive, metabolism, energy levels and more. The glands are sensitive to things like calorie intake, stress and exercise levels. Long-term stress can cause you to overproduce the hormones cortisol and norepinephrine, creating an imbalance that increases pressure on the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands (2). This ongoing pressure may eventually lead to HPA axis dysfunction, sometimes controversially referred to as "adrenal fatigue" (3). Symptoms include fatigue, a weakened immune system and greater risk of long-term health problems such as hypothyroidism, inflammation, diabetes and mood disorders. Many sources suggest that a diet too low in calories or carbs can also act as a stressor, causing HPA dysfunction. In addition, some evidence suggests that low-carb diets can cause increased production of cortisol ("the stress hormone"), making the problem worse (4). One study found that, regardless of weight loss, a low-carb diet increased cortisol levels compared to a moderate-fat, moderate-carb diet (5). Eating too fe Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diet And Menopause
Menopause can be very difficult on a number of levels. Although each woman's experience is different, many find that they gain fat, lose muscle tone, and struggle with hot flashes, insomnia, and mood swings during this time. In this article, I'll discuss how a low-carb or keto diet combined with other lifestyle strategies may help you manage some of the physical, mental, and emotional symptoms of menopause. What is the Menopause Transition? Although a woman technically reaches menopause when she has gone 12 months without a menstrual period, symptoms related to perimenopause – the time where hormonal changes begin - can start much earlier. In addition, they may last for several years after this point, and new symptoms may develop within the first few years after menopause. The average age of onset for perimenopause is 46, and it typically lasts about 7 years. However, a woman may start perimenopause anytime between her mid-30s and mid-50s, and the transition can last from 4 to 14 years (1). The day after a woman has gone 12 months without a menstrual period, she is considered postmenopausal. During and after the menopause transition, as many as 34 symptoms may occur. The most common ones include: Hot flashes and night sweats Weight gain, especially around the middle Insomnia Vaginal dryness Mood swings Fatigue Poor memory, ie, “brain fog” Interestingly, while some women find that their symptoms are more severe during perimenopause, others report that their symptoms intensify after they are postmenopausal. Hormone Fluctuations and Insulin Resistance During Menopause During a woman's reproductive years, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) causes the release of an egg from one of her ovaries approximately every 28 days and stimulates ovarian production of estrogen. Af Continue reading >>
The Keto Diet Podcast Ep. #042: Optimizing Your Menstrual Cycle On Keto
Interview with Alisa Vitti, a functional nutritionist, women’s hormone expert, best-selling author and founder of floliving.com, chatting about how to adjust the ketogenic diet to compliment your menstrual cycle, heal your hormones, and boost energy and vitality… every day. For podcast transcript, scroll down. SHOW NOTES + LINKS TIMESTAMPS Fats that cause PMS (14:34) FREE hormone testing from the comfort of your home (33:43) Eating to support your cycle (50:56) PARTNERS OF THE KETO DIET PODCAST 100% grass-fed & finished FERMENTED beef sticks with 1 billion naturally-occurring, gut-healing probiotics! Go to Paleovalley.com for 20% off. The podcast is partnered with Wolfe Clinic Royal Flora, my choice in soil-based probiotics. Get 20% off your soil-based probiotics with the coupon code GUT at checkout. Use the coupon code HEALTHFUL all in caps, no spaces, for 15% off your first Perfect Keto order at perfectketo.com/hp. Once you’ve loaded up your cart, use HEALTHFUL for 15% off your first order. Again that’s HEALTHFUL at perfectketo.com/hp for 15% off your first order. TRANSCRIPT FOR THIS EPISODE Leanne Vogel: You’re listening to Episode Number 42 of the Keto Diet Podcast. Today, we’re chatting about fats that cause PMS, free hormone testing from the comfort of your own home, and eating to support your cycle. So, stayed tuned. Hey, I’m Leanne from HealthfulPursuit.com, and this is the Keto Diet Podcast, where we’re busting through the restrictive mentality of a traditional ketogenic diet to uncover the life you crave. What’s keto? Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet where we’re switching from a sugar-burning state to becoming fat-burning machines. All listeners of the podcast receive a free seven-day keto meal plan complete with a shopping list and everyt Continue reading >>
Much Ado About Ketosis: Are The Adverse Effects Really That Adverse?
I recently read a blog post decrying anyone that would recommend a low carbohydrate / ketogenic diet to their patients. What?! In fact, this particular blog outlined a number of “adverse reactions” to a ketogenic diet, and based upon these perceived reactions, the writer advised severe caution with its use in just about anyone. It is important to note at the outset that most of the data this blogger quotes are from older studies completed in children for the treatment of epilepsy with specific liquid ketogenic dietary meal replacements. (Not what you’d expect in a low-carb / ketogenic diet for the average obese adult today.) Thanks to recent misinformation by a number of medical professionals, including the person writing the blog referenced above, a poor understanding of fatty acid metabolism by the general community, and a distinct lack of understanding of human adaptability recorded over the last 5,000-6,000 years, there is still significant confusion about ketogenic diets. It is important to recognize the crucial fact that the human body is designed to function quite well when supplied any of three macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins or fats. It does so through an amazing series of enzymatic reactions referred to as the Krebs (tricarboxylic acid) cycle, producing needed ATP (adenosine triphosphate) required for our muscles to contract, our heart to beat and our diaphragm to expand our lungs. What’s even more amazing that that the body was designed to recognize the season we are in based up on the food we eat. That is, until we invented refrigerators in 1913. (Now our bodies think it’s year round summer time . . . wait . . . I live in Arizona where it is year round summer time.) No, this is not a post about unplugging your refrigerator, living on solar, Continue reading >>
Possibly Worth Studying: Women And Low-carbing
Trigger Warning for Eating Disorders/Body Image/Diet Talk In two weeks, I will report my low-carb findings. Right now, I can’t stop being surprised by how little of the information on low-carbing available online is relevant to most women. After two decades of trying to lose weight, I thought I knew what to expect with low-carbing. What I’d never considered was the fact that while most weight loss plans are dominated by and at least somewhat geared towards women, low-carbing is one of the few where men seem to make up a majority, at least online. Exact numbers vary according to personal experience, and I have no hard data, but in my research on the matter (i.e. hours spent searching and bookmarking specific keto concerns), I’ve discovered that many of the answers I’d found are only relevant to most men, i.e. not so for most women. Medical studies often ignore how drugs can affect women differently; similar issues can be found with exercise studies. The phenomena below have yet to be studied, but many ladies on keto report having experienced them (I apologize for the problematic name of that sub-Reddit). Proper scientific studies on diet and exercise are difficult to conduct and therefore rare, and even rarer are ones that take such differences into account. Again, to clarify: This list does not represent peer-reviewed scientific studies because such research has yet to be conducted. I do think that any item would make an excellent hypothesis to be tested. It would be interesting to find out whether or not the following phenomena occur at all, and, if so, are due to women low-carbing. 5. Does keto trigger early periods? Not only does the infamous “Atkins flu” cause PMS-like symptoms (irritability, incessant hunger, nausea, weakness, fatigue, and so on), but i Continue reading >>
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Ketosis And Menstrual Function: A Canary In The Mine?
In the 1920’s, researchers at the Mayo Clinic used a ketogenic diet to treat adults with ideopathic epilepsy. In 1930, Dr. Clifford Barborka published a paper detailing their findings with their first 100 patients. Among other findings, Barborka notes that 20% of the women involved in the study experienced complete cessation of menstruation during treatment, which didn’t return until a normal diet was resumed. He only reported on menstrual cessation, but given more contemporary research on the subject we can reasonably speculate that many more women experienced menstrual irregularities that stopped short of complete cessation. Subjects were eating appropriate calories to maintain their weight, so weight loss was not a confounder here. He speculates that it may have been related to a vitamin B or E deficiency, but has no clear explanation. (Note that this was many decades before the discovery of Leptin and it’s role in hormonal regulation.) In 2003, researchers published their retrospective study of 45 adolescents aged 12-19 treated for epilpsy with a ketogenic diet over 8 years. They noted that 45% of the girls involved in the study reported menstrual irregularities, most (2/3) of whom experienced complete cessation of menstruation (the other 1/3 were reported as experiencing delayed puberty or menstrual irregularity). Most resumed menstruation after ending the diet. 2 were treated with hormone therapy to induce and regulate menstruation. A majority of the girls did not lose weight on the diet, so again, weight loss was not a confounder in most cases. Researchers speculated that: “The diet may mimic the menstrual side effects seen in starvation and certain female athletes.” In 1999, a group of researchers published a review of a small group (9 women, 2 men) of Continue reading >>
Adverse Reactions To Ketogenic Diets: Caution Advised
As the ketogenic diet gains popularity, it’s important to have a balanced discussion regarding the merits of this diet. Let me emphasize right out of the gate that this is not a diet without merits (excuse the double negative); in fact, it has significant therapeutic potential for some clinical pathologies. However, it is also a diet with inherent risk, as evidenced by the extensive list of adverse reactions reported in the scientific literature—and this has not yet been a thorough enough part of the public discussion on ketogenic diets. The AIP Lecture Series is a 6-week video-based, self-directed online course that will teach you the scientific foundation for the diet and lifestyle tenets of the Autoimmune Protocol. This is the first of a series of articles discussing various facets of a ketogenic diet with an inclination toward balancing the discussion of the pros and cons of this high-fat, low-carb, low/moderate-protein diet. My interest in this topic stems from concerns I have over its general applicability and safety, simultaneous with its growing popularity. I feel a moral and social obligation to share what I understand of these diets, from my perspective as a medical researcher. The dangers of a ketogenic diet was, in fact, the topic of my keynote presentation at Paleo F(x) this year (links to video will be provided once available). This series of articles will share the extensive research that I did in preparation for this presentation, including all of the topics covered during my talk as well as several topics that I didn’t have time to discuss (also see the free PDF Literature Review at the bottom of this post). For every anecdotal story of someone who has regained their health with a ketogenic diet, there’s a counterpoint story of someone who derai Continue reading >>
Ladies: Extra Mini-periods?
Whoo! Sit down with a nice hot cup of tea. I've got a big answer. Pardon me, while I dust off my soapbox. ;) DISCLAIMER #1: If you want to have children some day, then you should seek specific professional guidance (ie someone who deals specifically with reproductive health) when dealing with reproductive hormones. What you do today could have serious consequences years from now. That said, most women can correct years of hormonal imbalance in just a few cycles and still conceive. DISCLAIMER #2: It's hard to say what's "normal" for someone doing paleo while on the pill, because I don't think being on the pill can be considered paleo. As people following a paleo diet, we're basically trying to regulate our hormones by eating quality food and getting quality sleep. Unless we have a real medical condition that requires prescribed hormones (the use of which usually tends to follow natural rhythms); we should not be messing with our body's natural monthly hormonal rhythms by using the pill. So here's another situation where it's important to understand how the hormones are working and how they affect your body. Every cycle, under the influence of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), about two dozen eggs start to mature. Each egg is encased in a follicle. The follicles produce Estrogen. Estrogen is the hormone necessary for ovulation to occur. Eventually, when Estrogen reaches a threshold that is high enough, one eggs bursts out (ovulation!). This usually takes about two weeks from the beginning of menses but can take anywhere from 8 days to several months! Following the release of the egg, the follicle that held the egg begins to release progesterone (typically for only 12 to 16 days). This is known as the Luteal Phase. Progesterone prevents the release of all other eggs and Continue reading >>
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Have You Lost Your Period To A Low Carb Diet?
A few weeks ago, I tweeted my concern about a low carb diet for young women. Apparently, my tweet was offensive to some people (men). They explained to me that it’s purely “anecdotal.” There is no known mechanism, they said, so it must not really be happening. Except it is really happening. Ask anyone who works with young menstruating women. Or not menstruating, as the case may be. True, we don’t know the exact mechanism. That’s because no researcher has yet asked the question: What does a very low carb diet do to periods? Until we have the answer, we can only surmise. I surmise that for some women inadequate starch signals the hypothalamus that there’s not enough food to reproduce. It may be via the hormone leptin. It may be via the microbiome. It is an adaptive starvation response, and may also be why a low carb diet can cause hair loss. [For an update and a possible mechanism, please see my 2016 post Are You Eating Enough to Get a Period?] In contrast, some women do well on a low-carb diet. They may even regain the periods they’d lost on a high-carb diet (see insulin-resistant PCOS discussion below). It comes down to this: There are different individuals in the world, with different glycemic responses. There are also different carbohydrates. For example, there is sugar and there is wheat, and they are two worst carbohydrates. Sugar is the worst carb Sugar is bad for health and for period health. High-dose fructose causes insulin resistance and inflammation and is more inflammatory than the long glucose chains of starch. That’s why some researchers have called for a ‘fructose index‘. I discuss fructose in my insulin resistance post, my PCOS post, and Chapter 6 of my book. Whole fruit is okay, but none of us should be eating desserts, sweet drinks, Continue reading >>
For Ladies Only: A Keto Guide
Shark week. Checking into the Red Roof Inn. Surfing the Crimson Wave. Getting a visit from Aunt Flo. The Red Badge of Courage. That time of the month. Whatever euphemism you use for it, women inevitably have to deal with menstruation and all the weird junk that goes along with it. We here at Ketovangelist get a lot of questions about keto and periods. A. Lot. So, at the behest of our coaches- and after much whining on my part- I’ve put together this little “what to expect” guide for women to help a sister out when it gets down to the issue of menstruating. You’re welcome. One thing to keep in mind: Your period is still your period. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a zillion times: keto is not magic. and it isn’t the cause of everything that will happen to you after you start eating this way. For the most part, your period is going to be your normal period while you’re keto. You might have cravings, you might cramp, you might be light or heavy, or early or late. All the same stuff you dealt with during menstruation pre-keto you will probably continue to deal with now that you’ve changed your food lifestyle. That being said, there are a few issues we do see pop up from time to time and I will address them, in no particular order: If you’re hungry, eat A direct quote, if I may, from our lovely coach, Mary Roberts: “Hormone hunger is real hunger.” And she’s right. Right after ovulation the body ramps up production of estrogen and progesterone, both of which can cause your body to feel hunger. The bottom line is that, as we all should know, our menstrual time is a stretch of a few days where hormones are screwy. We might be tired, we might be cranky, and we will probably be hungry. All of that is perfectly normal and you are not expected to sit an Continue reading >>
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Absence Of Periods On Low Carb With If
Can a low-carb diet combined with intermittent fasting result in an abscence of periods? And if so, what do you do? Get the answer to this and other questions – could dairy be a problem in PCOS? – in this week’s Q&A with the fertility specialist Dr. Fox: Loss of period Almost five months ago I started LCHF due to insulin resistance and PCOS. I lost about 40 pounds (18 kg), and feeling great. But, after two months of regular periods (31-35 days), I simply lost them. The last was on March 26th. This is now my third missed period. When I look back, it seems to me that perhaps I shouldn’t have done IF, (i didn’t fast first two months, and then I had my periods). Now my doctor has put me on progesterone to induce periods, and gave me cyclo-progynova to restore hormonal balance. What has happened doctor Fox? The last ultrasound showed that my endometrium is very thin (before was great). Though, my right ovary had no cysts. Can these hormonal pills harm my health? I am also taking glucophage xr 1000mg a day. I’ve also noticed increased hair loss… Thanks in advance, P.S Keep up the good work!!! Thanks for every advice, lecture, interview! Ivana Dr. Fox: That overall is a hard question. My best guess and it is a guess, is that you may have an underlying hypothalamic dysfunction, maybe due to prior exercise, or eating disorders, hypoglycemia, sleep apnea etc, that has predisposed you to be very sensitive to physiologic stress. The IF if not done during a time of absolute ketoadaptation, could produce such a stress signal that then could have shut off the signals from the hypothalamus to the pituitary and hence decreased the FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) signal to the ovary. This could explain your scenario and would be the most likely thing we would see. Evalua Continue reading >>
Does A Ketogenic Diet Affect Women’s Hormones?
Does a ketogenic diet affect women’s hormones? Yes—you can count on your nutrition to affect your hormones. Does it ruin or destroy your hormones? No. The unfortunate part is that if women rely on hearsay and don’t source better information about ketosis and their hormones, they lose out on the benefits of ketosis, especially those who suffer from PCOS, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. Women with these conditions can benefit significantly from the ketogenic diet.  In this post we’ll discuss the ketogenic diet’s impact on your thyroid and the HPA axis, then look at ways to evaluate your hormones, how you feel, and what adjustments to make. The Ketogenic Diet and Your Thyroid Is ketosis bad for your thyroid? No. Let’s break it down: It’s true that low-carb diets (like the ketogenic diet) and calorie restriction lowers T3, the thyroid marker hormone.   T3 make your cells use more energy. Because of its function, scientists have hypothesized that “a reduction in T3 hormone may increase lifespan by conserving energy and reducing free-radical production.”  Together with T4, these hormones regulate your metabolism, heart rate and body temperature. Most of T3 binds to protein and some free T3 circulates in your blood. But a lowered T3 doesn’t mean you get thyroid dysfunction or hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is often a case of high levels of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and low levels of free T4. The pituitary gland tries to get your thyroid gland to produce T4: high levels of TSH. But the thyroid isn’t responding: low levels of T4. When T3 is reduced, the thyroid is called “euthyroid.” A normal thyroid. For a more in-depth look at what a low-carb diet does to T3, T4 and TSH levels, read Dr. Anthony’s article on ketosis and women Continue reading >>