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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Ketosis – Advantaged Or Misunderstood State? (part I)
As The Eating Academy approaches its first birthday in about a month, I figured it was as good a time as any to put together some thoughts on a subject I get asked about with great frequency. (For those wondering when I’ll get to Part X of The Straight Dope on Cholesterol, the answer is, “hopefully before the end of the year.”) A few months ago I was planning a post along the lines of “the 10 things you need to know about ketosis,” but I’m now thinking that might be putting the proverbial cart before the horse. So, let’s start with a more fundamental set of questions. In part I of this post I will see to it (assuming you read it) that you’ll know more about ketosis than just about anyone, including your doctor or the majority of “experts” out there writing about this topic. Before we begin, a disclaimer in order: If you want to actually understand this topic, you must invest the time and mental energy to do so. You really have to get into the details. Obviously, I love the details and probably read 5 or 6 scientific papers every week on this topic (and others). I don’t expect the casual reader to want to do this, and I view it as my role to synthesize this information and present it to you. But this is not a bumper-sticker issue. I know it’s trendy to make blanket statements – ketosis is “unnatural,” for example, or ketosis is “superior” – but such statements mean nothing if you don’t understand the biochemistry and evolution of our species. So, let’s agree to let the unsubstantiated statements and bumper stickers reside in the world of political debates and opinion-based discussions. For this reason, I’ve deliberately broken this post down and only included this content (i.e., background) for Part I. What is ketosis? Ketosis is 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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
The Side Effects Of A Low Carb Diet
Who should go on a low-carb diet? Low-carbohydrate diets — like the ketogenic diet — are effective for weight loss and improving health. They are also especially helpful for anyone who: Is overweight or obese Is sedentary Has epilepsy Has polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), fibroids or endometriosis Is diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes Has a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Has certain forms of cancer Has cardiovascular disease A typical low-carb diet limits the daily intake of carbohydrates to between 60 and 130 grams, while a ketogenic diet tends to stay below 30 grams of carbohydrates. This is done by excluding or limiting most grains, legumes, fruits, bread, sweets, pasta and starchy vegetables from the diet and replacing them with added fats, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, and seeds. When we eat in this way, our bodies begin to change dramatically — especially for those who habitually eat plenty of carbohydrates with each meal. Not all of these changes, however, are going to be positive. When carbohydrates are restricted, it is stressful for the body because it must find another way to fuel itself. This can cause side effects, like nausea and headaches, that is commonly called the “keto flu”. The lack of carbohydrates will also lead to fluid and mineral loss and hormonal changes that can cause health issues if not addressed. The Most Common Side Effects The most common side effects that are experienced when restricting carbohydrates are: Headache Bad breath Weakness Fatigue Constipation or diarrhea It is important, however, to consider how common these symptoms actually are. In studies that put obese patients on a ketogenic diet for 6 months or longer (up to two years), no side effects or co Continue reading >>
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 >>
Low-carb Eating During Your Period
Eating right at any time of the month is challenging, but many women find it especially difficult in the week before or during their period. Your nutritional needs do not vary significantly during your menstrual cycle, but you need to eat a balanced diet throughout the month to meet your dietary requirements. A low-carb diet restricting breads, pasta and sugars is one of the many different ways of eating to meet your dietary needs that is suitable for some women throughout their fertility cycle. Nutrition During Your Cycle Women tend to eat differently depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle, as reported in a review article published in 1997 in "Human Reproduction." For example, most women eat less during the first part of their cycle and then increase their food intake after ovulation, probably due to a slightly accelerated metabolism during the 10 to 14 days preceding your period. This does not apply if you are taking birth control pills. Authors of this review also found that women tend to consume more carbohydrates and less protein and fat when they are premenstrual. There is no contraindication to consuming a low-carb diet at any time during your menstrual cycle. Roughly 35 to 40 percent of women experience moderate to intense cravings during their period, making it hard to adhere to a low-carb diet during this time. Try to satisfy your cravings with lower carb options, such as berries, plain yogurt, butternut squash or pumpkin to help adhere to a low-carb diet. For most low-carb diets, you must aim to keep your daily carb intake under 100 grams per day. Replenishing Lost Iron Iron lost during menstruation places women at an increased risk for iron-deficiency. You can combat this with a low-carb, high protein diet by including lean, iron-rich meats and Continue reading >>
Ketogenic Diet Side Effects
Although the adverse effects related to the ketogenic diet are generally less serve than those of anticonvulsant medications used to treat epilepsy, individuals following the diet may experience a number of undesirable effects. Short-Term Side Effects There are several short-term side effects that are most evident at the beginning of therapy, particularly when patients commence the diet with an initial fast. Hypoglycemia is a common side effect in this instance, and noticeable signs may include: Excessive thirst Frequent urination Fatigue Hunger Confusion, anxiety and/or irritability Tachycardia Lightheadedness and shakiness Sweating and chills Additionally, patients may also experience some constipation and low-grade acidosis. These effects tend to improve when the diet is continued, as the body adapts to the new diet and adjust the ways in which it sources energy. Alteration in Blood Composition As a result of the changes in dietary consumption and the body’s adaptive mechanisms to cope with the reduced carbohydrate intake, there are several changes in the blood composition of individuals following the ketogenic diet. In particular, the levels of lipids and cholesterol in the blood are commonly higher than what is considered to be normal. More than 60% of patients have raised lipid levels and more than 30% have high levels of cholesterol. If these changes are profound and there is some concern about the health of the child, slight changes to the diet can be made for the individual patient. For example, saturated fat sources can be substituted for polyunsaturated fats. In some cases, it may be necessary to lower the ketogenic ratio and reduce the proportion of fat to carbohydrate and protein in the diet. Long-Term Effects When the ketogenic diet is continued for exte Continue reading >>
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 >>
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 >>
Why I’m Using The Ketogenic Diet To Treat My Pcos + Why I Think You Should Too.
Hello Cysters! I’ve been MIA for a little bit- trying to center myself and walk purposefully and passionately in everything that I do. While I was away, I stumbled upon what might just be the answer to all of my PCOS prayers. Scroll down to find out why I’m using the Ketogenic diet to treat my PCOS and why I think you should too. The best PCOS diet plan So, if you’ve been following my journey or have joined any of the past webinars you know that I am very serious about tackling insulin resistance as a first line of defense against PCOS. Most women with PCOS are insulin resistant- meaning our bodies just don’t recognize insulin. Insulin resistance is usually the culprit behind missed periods, failure to ovulate, hirsutism, acne, and all those other awful PCOS symptoms. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and has a couple different jobs in the female body like controlling blood sugar levels and managing hormonal levels. When your body doesn’t recognize insulin, the pancreas attempts to make more insulin and eventually gets tired which can lead to Type 2 Diabetes. All the excess insulin floating around also results in a bunch of testosterone. Many Cysters take medications like Metformin or supplements like Inositol in order to manage their insulin resistance. I’ve tried both and am currently taking Ovasitol (Click to order and use code 132503 for a $12 discount) in order to increase my insulin sensitivity. CHECK OUT MY KETO UPDATE HERE It is always my goal to treat PCOS as naturally as possible which is why I spend A LOT of time researching and figuring out natural ways to lower my insulin resistance. As I was creating this month’s meal plan for the subscription service, I stumbled upon the Ketogenic (Keto) diet. I’ve been Keto for about 4 days now and I fe Continue reading >>