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Can Ketosis Stop Your Period?

Do Very Low-carb Diets Mess Up Some Women's Hormones?

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 >>

What Your Period Might Reveal About Your Health

What Your Period Might Reveal About Your Health

When it comes to the human body, hormones affect everything. From sleep cycles, moods, and sex drive, to appetite and even mental health, hormones are involved in virtually all of our physical and mental activities. Yet hormones are hardly a primary component of the national conversation about health. Alisa Vitti, a women's health specialist, founder of FloLiving, and author of WomanCode, seeks to change that. We connected with Vitti to talk about hormones, health, and how you can change your health with food. Paying Attention to Periods "For so long women have brushed aside and failed to take seriously the symptoms that we attribute to our hormones, such as PMS, cramps, and acne,” Vitti says. Yet strong evidence points to the fact that hormones areimportant—for both men and women—at every stage of our lives. Some of the most convincing evidence comes from a 2009 study that was funded by the NIH. The study yielded two primary findings: One, that women who experienced untreated hormonal issues—such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and infertility—prior to menopause were more likely to develop diseases of inflammation (such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer) later in life. And two, that women can improve their hormonal balance with diet and lifestyle changes. Armed with this knowledge, Vitti is on a mission to “turn women on to how powerful their bodies are.” Instead of joking about crankiness and chocolate cravings at a certain time of the month, Vitti wants women to get in touch with their menstrual cycles—to figure out what's out of balance and how to make changes to improve overall health. Getting Into the Flow To that end, Vitti created the WomanCode System—an online platform designed to help women permanently balance their hormones via education Continue reading >>

7 Reasons Your Period Goes Mia Sometimes

7 Reasons Your Period Goes Mia Sometimes

Got two X chromosomes? Then you probably know your period can be more like your flaky friend who always shows up late to drinks (and sometimes not at all) than that super-organized friend who's early to every group dinner. First of all, don't freak out. Irregularities in menstrual cycles aren’t all that rare. Many women experience a missed period every once in a while, and three to four percent of all women will skip at least three cycles at some point in their lives (a condition technically known as oligomennorrhea). While your initial—and very valid—reaction to skipping a cycle might be that you're pregnant, a number of lifestyle and health factors can also prompt our menses to take a mini-vacay. (Still, never wait to take an OTC pregnancy test or visit your doc for a blood or urine test to rule out a potential pregnancy.) But if you’ve skipped three or more periods, and you’re sure you aren’t pregnant, paying a visit to your OB/GYN, GP, or an endocrinologist is non-negotiable. In the meantime, here are seven common reasons your periods could be AWOL—and what you can do to get things back on track. From feeling like we have no control over our job to being abused or living in an unsafe environment, chronic stress takes a serious bite out of our bodies' well-being. Too many stress hormones coursing through our bloodstreams signal our brains to slow down or temporarily stop ovulation until our environments become safer for bringing a new baby into the world. What and how much you eat play a big role in how regular your cycle is. Not noshing on enough healthy food deprives the body of key nutrients like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc—all of which are required to make sex hormones (among other internal upkeep). Low nutrient and calorie availability str Continue reading >>

The Ketogenic Diet And Weight Loss Plateaus

The Ketogenic Diet And Weight Loss Plateaus

I keep hearing people talk about their weight loss plateaus, and how they can get around them. Some go the extreme route of doing liquid fasting, others will ignore it and keep on keeping on. I wanted to put together a short list of common things that may be wreaking havok on the average ketogenic dieter, and go over some solutions that might help out. Keep in mind, this does not cover everything and it also covers a wide range of topics. As you read this, please read to the end. Don’t form ideas about your own body and apply the things that I am saying with no thought behind it. This is strictly for people that are hitting weight loss plateau’s and need some help. If you have only lost 1 or 2 pounds in a week, that is still weight loss and does not require action against it. Hidden Carbohydrates People on ketogenic diets eat more carbohydrates than they think. They’re hidden in vegetables, nuts, and certain meat products. Yes, that peanut butter you’re chomping on could be causing a problem! Especially if it’s store bought – that stuff is loaded with extra sugar. Some vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and squash are common culprits that find their way into our lives on a frequent basis. You might think that they’re low carb, but in large consumption, those carbs really do add up. You can look at the list of the best low carb vegetables we’ve put together, so that you can be more aware of the vegetables you eat. Meat is the center of most of our lives, and there’s sugar everywhere you look. Some bacon is honey smoked, adding unnecessary carbs to an already delicious product. Why the madness? Look for bacon with no sugar added. When you start to look into Italian sausages, chorizo, and canned meats, there’s more carbs than most think. Some b Continue reading >>

Will This Kick Me Out Of Ketosis?

Will This Kick Me Out Of Ketosis?

A common question people have when starting keto is “will this kick me out of ketosis?” I’m going to address as many items as I can think of and explain why it will or will not kick you out of keto. This is going to be as comprehensive as possible so either use ctrl + f to find what you’re looking for or buckle up and read on. How do humans enter ketosis in the first place? Things will become much more clear if we explain how humans enter ketosis. Mainly, liver glycogen is what determines if ketones will be produced. Specifically, glycogen in the liver signals malonyl-coa to be formed by carboxylating acetyl-coa. Acetyl-coa is used in many processes and it’s the main substrate used to be turned into ketones. The wiki on regulation of ketogenesis which applies to this scenario says “When the body has no free carbohydrates available, fat must be broken down into acetyl-CoA in order to get energy. Acetyl-CoA is not being recycled through the citric acid cycle because the citric acid cycle intermediates (mainly oxaloacetate) have been depleted to feed the gluconeogenesis pathway, and the resulting accumulation of acetyl-CoA activates ketogenesis.” Basically, when there is more acetyl-CoA than oxaloacetate, the acetyl-CoA becomes acetoacetate, a ketone body. In plain English, carbs provide oxaloacetate, so if it doesn’t have carbs, it likely isn’t going to kick you out of ketosis. I’ll state the exceptions later. Why do humans enter ketosis so readily? Humans enter ketosis faster than any animal on the planet. It usually takes 24-36 hours before we enter ketosis.This is because we have huge brains and tiny bodies. Our brains need ~400 calories/day, which for most people that equates to 20% of our total energy demands. To put this in perspective, most anim Continue reading >>

Ketosis & Late Menstrual Cycle

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 >>

The Keto Diet Podcast Ep. #042: Optimizing Your Menstrual Cycle On Keto

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 >>

Symptoms Of Ketosis:

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 >>

When Not To Be On A Ketogenic Diet

When Not To Be On A Ketogenic Diet

When Not To Be on a Ketogenic Diet A ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat based nutrition plan. A ketogenic diet trains the individual’s metabolism to run off of fatty acids or ketone bodies. This is called fat adapted or keto adapted, when the body has adapted to run off of fatty acids/ketones at rest. This nutrition plan has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. It also improves cellular healing and mitochondrial biogenesis which supports stronger and healthier cells. All of this leads to reduced risk of chronic disease as well as improved muscle development and fat metabolism (1, 2). Where Ketosis Can Be Extremely Beneficial There are certain cases, where I typically recommend a ketogenic diet as the research appears to support that ketosis significantly improves the functionality of these individuals. Overweight or Obese Neurodegenerative Conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Most Cancers but especially those of the brain, nervous system and blood (leukemia) Chronic Pain Seizure Disorders Non-Elite athletes or individuals looking for higher mental & physical performance The final one is the area that I and many others who have pursued a state of ketosis fall into. At this point in my life, I have no chronic diseases, I feel great 99% of the time, but I am always looking to improve my productivity and performance. I have found being in mild-ketosis to be one of the best ways to improve my energy, mental acuity, creativity, physical strength and overall life performance. There is no one diet that works perfectly for everyone. Ketosis has the potential to benefit everyone, but under unique circumstances it would not be warranted. Here are a list of special cases where long-term st Continue reading >>

Why You Need To Stop Worrying About The Color Of Your Ketostix

Why You Need To Stop Worrying About The Color Of Your Ketostix

Yeah, I know you like to use them, but there are so many misconceptions about what they are telling you, that I need to intervene and make sure you get it. But before I go there, let me urge you to just buy The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, and read pages 164-165. Phinney and Volek have the best description of this that has probably ever been written, and you should really just read it from them. If I could copy these pages verbatim and paste it here, I would. Seriously, it’s only a few bucks and it’s quite literally the book you want to own if you’re interested in low carb ketogenic diets. OK, while you wait for your book to arrive, let’s dig in… What ketostix measure First off, we need to understand what ketostix actually measure, and more importantly, what they don’t. Generally speaking, ketostix measure excess ketones in your urine. They are considered excess, because they are removed from your serum and shunted to your urine by your kidneys. Their caloric content is thereby wasted. Of the three types of ketones (acetate, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate) produced by your body, ketostix only measure acetoacetate. This is extremely important to understand, because it turns out that your body produces different quantities of these different types of ketones depending on how long you’ve been in ketosis. If you’ve been in ketosis for a while, you’re going to see a reduction in the “intensity” of what you register on your ketostix for two reasons: A change in the relative volume of the ketones produced/present in your body A reduction in the volume of ketones in your urine as your kidneys reduce the amount they secrete Both of these are covered below. Changes in the types of ketones you produce When you first start your ketogenic Continue reading >>

Females, Carbohydrates, And Hormones

Females, Carbohydrates, And Hormones

Oh, carbohydrates. Just like politics and religion, discussion on this macronutrient is not dinner table material. There are many strong opinions on just how many carbohydrates are “safe” to consume. Some advocate “high” carb, others prescribe a “moderate” amount, others “low” or even “very low”. And to mystify things further, what’s considered a low amount of carbohydrates to some, may be considered too high for others. Even the scientific literature doesn’t seem to agree on a common definition. See how it can get confusing? The purpose of this post isn’t to tell you which way is better. In fact, that is a decision you may never make. What works for some people, won’t work for others. What works for you now, may not work for you next week. If something is working for you, great! Right now, I want to explore one piece on the topic of carbohydrates that isn’t discussed often in this community. I bring up this topic because I personally struggled with finding the “right” amount of carbohydrates for my body. I want to make sure others don’t have to go through what I did. In the past, I’ve done damage to myself by going too low (almost on accident) and I want to stop you before it’s too late. If you’re in the same boat as I was, I’m hoping this will be an aha! moment for you. When I first started with my Paleo lifestyle, I realized just how amazing I felt going lower carb (probably in the range of 100 grams a day). The problem was, I was also doing high intensity workouts (kickboxing, interval training) multiple times per week. At first, I felt great. I was recovering like a champ, my sleep was perfect, I had a very stable, positive mood, and even though I knew I would probably benefit from more carbohydrates, I stubbornly went on Continue reading >>

Keep Yourself In Ketosis

Keep Yourself In Ketosis

When talking about a Grain Brain lifestyle, and the very similar ketogenic diet, it’s frequently mentioned that we are aiming to keep our bodies in ketosis. However, if you’re new to my work, it may be that you’re not exactly sure what ketosis is, or why we should be worrying about getting our body into this state. Allow me to explain. Ketones are a special type of fat that can stimulate the pathways that enhance the growth of new neural networks in the brain. A ketogenic diet is one that is high in fats, and this diet has been a tool of researchers for years, used notably in a 2005 study on Parkinson’s patients finding an improvement in symptoms after just 28 days. The improvements were on par with those made possible via medication and brain surgery. Other research has shown the ketogenic diet to be remarkably effective in treating some forms of epilepsy, and even brain tumors. Ketones do more than just that though. They increase glutathione, a powerful, brain-protective antioxidant. Ketones facilitate the production of mitochondria, one of the most important actors in the coordinated production that is the human body. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Our bodies are said to enter ketosis at the point when blood sugar levels are low and liver glycogen are no longer available to produce glucose as a fuel for cellular energy production. At this point, not only is the body doing the natural thing, and burning off fat, it’s also powering up the brain with a super efficient fuel. We can jump start ourselves into ketosis with a brief fast, allowing our body to quickly burn through the carbs that are in our system, and turn to fat for fuel. A ketogenic diet is one that derives around 80% or more of of its calories from fat, and the rest from carbs and prote Continue reading >>

16 Ways Keto For Women Is Different + Doesn’t Need To Suck

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 >>

Ketosis & Amenorrhea

Ketosis & Amenorrhea

-I've had amenorrhea for about... 3 1/2 years. -I did in fact have a ED for a couple of those years. (eh...) -I'm at a recovered weight (5.1" ... maybe 5.2" - 113lbs - muscular build/medium build - 17 years old). -Started eating "my paleo" (includes greek yogurt, organic fruits, organic potatoes, a little organic basmati white rice, raw macadamias, occasional almond/coconut flour baked good), but otherwise, have stuck to the meat (mostly grass fed), organic veggies, organic greens, organic Japanese sweet potatoes, omega-3 sources of fat, salmon, tuna, sardines, chicken, coconut milk/unsweetened-flakes/butter... what have you. etc etc. -I exercise about 3ish times a week, sometimes less. Not much cardio, more "muscle training". -I think I may be in Ketosis (regardless of my carb intake... even though those "odd" starches I listed are in my diet, I do not "over consume" them). -I never started my period in between now and... well 3 1/2 years ago, and am afraid Ketosis might be hindering it further. -Is there a certain amount of calories that also induces Amenorrhea, or is it fat/carb percentages? Plain and simple: I want my period, what the heck do I have to do to get it back. Continue reading >>

Ketosis And Hormone Changes

Ketosis And Hormone Changes

While working as a nurse with Dr. Robert Atkins, I adopted a low carb diet. My goal was to avoid my genetic tendency for developing obesity and type 2 diabetes. I had the tools at hand to monitor urinary and breath ketones frequently. After months I noticed that a few days before my period, ketones would drop or even disappear. This coincided with mild PMS symptoms including weight gain and the re-emergence of hunger and cravings. Ketones would return by the 2nd day or so of my menses. I began to mention this to my patients who wanted to monitor urinary ketones. I didn’t want them getting discouraged if they experienced the same. Many would return and tell me they noticed the drop in ketones as well. They appreciated having advanced warning. We also observed that with low-carb regimen, PMS symptoms over time would decrease, sometimes to the point that a woman would be surprised when she began her flow. At the start of the plan others would mention that the first period would in some way be worse before getting better. To my knowledge this has not been studied. What I learned is that any hormone changes in women can increase insulin resistance, which makes the body produce more insulin to get the same insulin benefit. At puberty and menarche when girls need to gain body fat they become more insulin resistant. I have been a carb addict but my cravings increased significantly at this time as did my weight. Hormones also fluctuate during the menstrual cycle. During pregnancy, peri-menopause, and menopause there are significant hormone changes accompanied by increased insulin resistance. This change of life stage (peri-menopause) for me was difficult. I lost ketones but still gained weight on my maintenance plan (my strategy was to adopt a 20 gram carbohydrate level and st Continue reading >>

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