What Is Ketosis?
"Ketosis" is a word you'll probably see when you're looking for information on diabetes or weight loss. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? That depends. Ketosis is a normal metabolic process, something your body does to keep working. When it doesn't have enough carbohydrates from food for your cells to burn for energy, it burns fat instead. As part of this process, it makes ketones. If you're healthy and eating a balanced diet, your body controls how much fat it burns, and you don't normally make or use ketones. But when you cut way back on your calories or carbs, your body will switch to ketosis for energy. It can also happen after exercising for a long time and during pregnancy. For people with uncontrolled diabetes, ketosis is a sign of not using enough insulin. Ketosis can become dangerous when ketones build up. High levels lead to dehydration and change the chemical balance of your blood. Ketosis is a popular weight loss strategy. Low-carb eating plans include the first part of the Atkins diet and the Paleo diet, which stress proteins for fueling your body. In addition to helping you burn fat, ketosis can make you feel less hungry. It also helps you maintain muscle. For healthy people who don't have diabetes and aren't pregnant, ketosis usually kicks in after 3 or 4 days of eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. That's about 3 slices of bread, a cup of low-fat fruit yogurt, or two small bananas. You can start ketosis by fasting, too. Doctors may put children who have epilepsy on a ketogenic diet, a special high-fat, very low-carb and protein plan, because it might help prevent seizures. Adults with epilepsy sometimes eat modified Atkins diets. Some research suggests that ketogenic diets might help lower your risk of heart disease. Other studies show sp Continue reading >>
The Fat-fueled Brain: Unnatural Or Advantageous?
Disclaimer: First things first. Please note that I am in no way endorsing nutritional ketosis as a supplement to, or a replacement for medication. As you’ll see below, data exploring the potential neuroprotective effects of ketosis are still scarce, and we don’t yet know the side effects of a long-term ketogenic diet. This post talks about the SCIENCE behind ketosis, and is not meant in any way as medical advice. The ketogenic diet is a nutritionist’s nightmare. High in saturated fat and VERY low in carbohydrates, “keto” is adopted by a growing population to paradoxically promote weight loss and mental well-being. Drinking coffee with butter? Eating a block of cream cheese? Little to no fruit? To the uninitiated, keto defies all common sense, inviting skeptics to wave it off as an unnatural “bacon-and-steak” fad diet. Yet versions of the ketogenic diet have been used to successfully treat drug-resistant epilepsy in children since the 1920s – potentially even back in the biblical ages. Emerging evidence from animal models and clinical trials suggest keto may be therapeutically used in many other neurological disorders, including head ache, neurodegenerative diseases, sleep disorders, bipolar disorder, autism and brain cancer. With no apparent side effects. Sound too good to be true? I feel ya! Where are these neuroprotective effects coming from? What’s going on in the brain on a ketogenic diet? Ketosis in a nutshell In essence, a ketogenic diet mimics starvation, allowing the body to go into a metabolic state called ketosis (key-tow-sis). Normally, human bodies are sugar-driven machines: ingested carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is mainly transported and used as energy or stored as glycogen in liver and muscle tissue. When deprived of d Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis: Evaluation And Treatment
Diabetic ketoacidosis is characterized by a serum glucose level greater than 250 mg per dL, a pH less than 7.3, a serum bicarbonate level less than 18 mEq per L, an elevated serum ketone level, and dehydration. Insulin deficiency is the main precipitating factor. Diabetic ketoacidosis can occur in persons of all ages, with 14 percent of cases occurring in persons older than 70 years, 23 percent in persons 51 to 70 years of age, 27 percent in persons 30 to 50 years of age, and 36 percent in persons younger than 30 years. The case fatality rate is 1 to 5 percent. About one-third of all cases are in persons without a history of diabetes mellitus. Common symptoms include polyuria with polydipsia (98 percent), weight loss (81 percent), fatigue (62 percent), dyspnea (57 percent), vomiting (46 percent), preceding febrile illness (40 percent), abdominal pain (32 percent), and polyphagia (23 percent). Measurement of A1C, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, serum glucose, electrolytes, pH, and serum ketones; complete blood count; urinalysis; electrocardiography; and calculation of anion gap and osmolar gap can differentiate diabetic ketoacidosis from hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state, gastroenteritis, starvation ketosis, and other metabolic syndromes, and can assist in diagnosing comorbid conditions. Appropriate treatment includes administering intravenous fluids and insulin, and monitoring glucose and electrolyte levels. Cerebral edema is a rare but severe complication that occurs predominantly in children. Physicians should recognize the signs of diabetic ketoacidosis for prompt diagnosis, and identify early symptoms to prevent it. Patient education should include information on how to adjust insulin during times of illness and how to monitor glucose and ketone levels, as well as i Continue reading >>
Ketoacidosis: A Complication Of Diabetes
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious condition that can occur as a complication of diabetes. People with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) have high blood sugar levels and a build-up of chemicals called ketones in the body that makes the blood more acidic than usual. Diabetic ketoacidosis can develop when there isn’t enough insulin in the body for it to use sugars for energy, so it starts to use fat as a fuel instead. When fat is broken down to make energy, ketones are made in the body as a by-product. Ketones are harmful to the body, and diabetic ketoacidosis can be life-threatening. Fortunately, treatment is available and is usually successful. Symptoms Ketoacidosis usually develops gradually over hours or days. Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis may include: excessive thirst; increased urination; tiredness or weakness; a flushed appearance, with hot dry skin; nausea and vomiting; dehydration; restlessness, discomfort and agitation; fruity or acetone smelling breath (like nail polish remover); abdominal pain; deep or rapid breathing; low blood pressure (hypotension) due to dehydration; and confusion and coma. See your doctor as soon as possible or seek emergency treatment if you develop symptoms of ketoacidosis. Who is at risk of diabetic ketoacidosis? Diabetic ketoacidosis usually occurs in people with type 1 diabetes. It rarely affects people with type 2 diabetes. DKA may be the first indication that a person has type 1 diabetes. It can also affect people with known diabetes who are not getting enough insulin to meet their needs, either due to insufficient insulin or increased needs. Ketoacidosis most often happens when people with diabetes: do not get enough insulin due to missed or incorrect doses of insulin or problems with their insulin pump; have an infection or illne Continue reading >>
The Facts Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a condition that may occur in people who have diabetes, most often in those who have type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes. It involves the buildup of toxic substances called ketones that make the blood too acidic. High ketone levels can be readily managed, but if they aren't detected and treated in time, a person can eventually slip into a fatal coma. DKA can occur in people who are newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and have had ketones building up in their blood prior to the start of treatment. It can also occur in people already diagnosed with type 1 diabetes that have missed an insulin dose, have an infection, or have suffered a traumatic event or injury. Although much less common, DKA can occasionally occur in people with type 2 diabetes under extreme physiologic stress. Causes With type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to make the hormone insulin, which the body's cells need in order to take in glucose from the blood. In the case of type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to make sufficient amounts of insulin in order to take in glucose from the blood. Glucose, a simple sugar we get from the foods we eat, is necessary for making the energy our cells need to function. People with diabetes can't get glucose into their cells, so their bodies look for alternative energy sources. Meanwhile, glucose builds up in the bloodstream, and by the time DKA occurs, blood glucose levels are often greater than 22 mmol/L (400 mg/dL) while insulin levels are very low. Since glucose isn't available for cells to use, fat from fat cells is broken down for energy instead, releasing ketones. Ketones accumulate in the blood, causing it to become more acidic. As a result, many of the enzymes that control the body's metabolic processes aren't able Continue reading >>
Ketosis Signs & Appetite
Ketosis is a metabolic condition in which the body begins breaking down fats, thus releasing carbon fragments known as ketones from the liver. The liver produces ketones as a byproduct of breaking down fatty acids. When your body is in a state of ketosis, your appetite is typically reduced. For this reason, some diets -- such as a low-carbohydrate diet -- aim to trigger a state of ketosis in your body. If too many ketones are released, however, this can have harmful consequences. Video of the Day Having diabetes, not eating or eating a low carbohydrate diet can induce ketosis. This is because ketosis occurs when your body does not have or is not able to use glycogen, which is the body’s stored form of carbohydrate. Because your body does not have glycogen, it switches to its next option: burning fat. This fat releases ketones in the body, inducing a state of ketosis. Because ketones are sweet by nature, one sign of ketosis is fruity-smelling breath. Nausea, fatigue and water and muscle loss are other symptoms. Another sign is an initial boost in appetite, followed by a loss of appetite. This is because when ketosis is induced, this signals the body that it is in a state of starvation. The liver and stomach send signals to the brain that it is starving, and keeps you from feeling satiated. However, over time the body becomes accustomed to its fat burning mode and adapts. Your hunger is then reduced after about a two- to four-week time period. If you are trying to lose weight, inducing a state of ketosis and reducing your appetite can be beneficial. This is because ketosis does not completely reduce your appetite, but instead helps to reduce your cravings for food that can sometimes lead you to overeat. The heart, brain and other muscle tissues “prefer” to burn keto Continue reading >>
Is Ketosis Dangerous?
Duck Dodgers October 14, 2014 Peter, An article by Per Wikholm was published in this month’s LCHF Magasinet, where Per demonstrates that the Inuit could not have been in ketosis given that the scientific literature is abundantly clear, over and over again, that the Inuit consumed too much protein, and more importantly, Per debunks Stefansson’s claims for high fat with writing from his own books—Stef admitted in the pemmican recipes that Arctic caribou was too lean to make pemmican that supported ketosis. The most popular LCHF bloggers in Sweden, Andreas Eenfeldt/Diet Doctor and Annika Dahlquist have reluctantly agreed with Per’s findings—admitting that the Inuit were likely not ketogenic from their diet. I’ve put together a comprehensive review of the scientific literature regarding the Inuit, encompassing over two dozen studies, spanning 150 years, with references from explorers, including Stefansson. In the comments section of that post, Per gives a brief overview of how he was able to prove Stefansson’s observations on high fat intake were flawed. The post is a review of all the available literature that I could find (over two dozen studies). But, the literature certainly does not in any way support ketosis from the Inuit diet due to such high protein consumption. As Per (and Stefansson) points out, the caribou is too lean and as the many quotes show, the Inuit were saving their blubber and fat for the long dark Winter to power their oil lamps and heat their igloos. Again and again, we see that in the literature, as even Stefansson admits this. As far as glycogen is concerned, their glycogen intake is probably not worth scrutinizing given the well-documented high protein consumption in every published study. It really is besides the point. But, interest Continue reading >>
Alcoholic ketoacidosis is a severe metabolic complication due to long-term alcohol consumption. The disease is the accumulation of ketones in the blood. Ketones are the by-product of the body when it breaks down fat for energy. A person who drinks alcohol every day can often be malnourished. One of the main reasons for getting the disease is the clear effects of alcoholism and starvation. In this condition, starvation means the glucose starvation of metabolism. Ketoacidosis from alcoholism should be a tigger that you need to seek alcohol addiction treatment. What causes Alcoholic Ketoacidosis? Long-term very heavy alcohol consumption will cause the disease. Prolonged alcohol abuse may cause malnutrition; the combination of these two may lead to Alcoholic Ketoacidosis. How does the body metabolize? For the body to function properly, the cells need glucose (sugar) and insulin. The body can produce glucose when it digests the food, and the pancreas produces insulin. However, when a person drinks alcohol, the pancreas may stop producing insulin for a brief period. Without insulin, the cell cannot produce glucose for the energy that the body needs. To replenish itself with the energy it will start to burn fat. Once the body turns fat for energy, it will produce ketones. Once the body stops producing insulin for long period due to alcohol intake, ketones will start to accumulate in the bloodstream. This buildup will eventually lead to a severe condition called ketoacidosis. Here are the important events when a person drinks heavy for a long period of time: Also, people who drink too much alcohol may not eat properly and regularly. Most often they vomit frequently because of the alcohol intake. Not eating properly and vomiting may result in starvation. Whenever this happens, t Continue reading >>
Differential Diagnosis Disease/Condition Differentiating Signs/Symptoms Differentiating Tests Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS) Patients are typically older than patients with DKA and are usually patients with type 2 diabetes. Older nursing home residents with poor fluid intake are at high risk. Symptoms evolve insidiously over days to weeks. Mental obtundation and coma are more frequent. Focal neurologic signs (hemianopia and hemiparesis) and seizures are also seen. Seizures may be the dominant clinical features.  Serum glucose is >600 mg/dL. Serum osmolality is usually >320 mOsm/kg. Urine ketones are normal or only mildly positive. Serum ketones are negative. Anion gap is variable but typically <12 mEq/L. Total chloride deficit is 5 to 15 mEq/kg. ABG: arterial pH is typically >7.30, whereas in DKA it ranges from 7.00 to 7.30. Arterial bicarbonate is >15 mEq/L. Lactic acidosis The presentation is identical to that of DKA. In pure lactic acidosis, the serum glucose and ketones should be normal and the serum lactate concentration should be elevated. Serum lactate >5 mmol/L.  Starvation ketosis Starvation ketosis results from inadequate carbohydrate availability resulting in physiologically appropriate lipolysis and ketone production to provide fuel substrates for muscle. The blood glucose is usually normal. Although the urine can have large amounts of ketones, the blood rarely does. Arterial pH is normal and the anion gap is at most mildly elevated.  Alcoholic ketoacidosis Classically, these patients are long-standing alcoholic people for whom ethanol has been the main caloric source for days to weeks. The ketoacidosis occurs when for some reason alcohol and caloric intake decreases. In isolated alcoholic ketoacidosis, the metabolic acidosis is usually mild Continue reading >>
Ketoacidosis is a high anion gap metabolic acidosis due to an excessive blood concentration of ketone bodies (keto-anions). Ketone bodies (acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetone) are released into the blood from the liver when hepatic lipid metabolism has changed to a state of increased ketogenesis. A relative or absolute insulin deficiency is present in all cases. The three major types of ketosis are: * Starvation ketosis * Alcoholic ketoacidosis * Diabetic ketoacidosis ==== When hepatic glycogen stores are exhausted (eg after 12-24 hours of total fasting), the liver produces ketones to provide an energy substrate for peripheral tissues. Ketoacidosis can appear after an overnight fast but it typically requires 3 to 14 days of starvation to reach maximal severity. Typical ketoanion levels are only 1 to 2 mmol/l and this will not much alter the anion gap. The acidosis even with quite prolonged fasting is only ever of mild to moderate severity with ketoanion levels up to a maximum of 3 to 5 mmol/l and plasma pH down to 7.3. This is probably due to the insulin level, which though lower, is still enough to keep the FFA levels less than 1mM. This limits substrate delivery to the liver restraining hepatic ketogenesis. Ketone bodies also stimulate some insulin release from the islets. The anion gap will usually not be much elevated. ==== Alcoholic ketoacidosis Typical Presentation This typical situation leading to alcoholic ketoacidosis is a chronic alcoholic who has a binge, then stops drinking and has little or no oral food intake. Food intake may be limited because of vomiting. The two key factors are the combination of ethanol and fasting. Presentation is typically a couple of days after the drinking binge has ceased. Pathophysiology The poor oral intake results in de Continue reading >>
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 >>
There is a lot of confusion about the term ketosis among medical professionals as well as laypeople. It is important to understand when and why nutritional ketosis occurs, and why it should not be confused with the metabolic disorder we call ketoacidosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state where the liver produces small organic molecules called ketone bodies. Most cells in the body can use ketone bodies as a source of energy. When there is a limited supply of external energy sources, such as during prolonged fasting or carbohydrate restriction, ketone bodies can provide energy for most organs. In this situation, ketosis can be regarded as a reasonable, adaptive physiologic response that is essential for life, enabling us to survive periods of famine. Nutritional ketosis should not be confused with ketoacidosis, a metabolic condition where the blood becomes acidic as a result of the accumulation of ketone bodies. Ketoacidosis can have serious consequences and may need urgent medical treatment. The most common forms are diabetic ketoacidosis and alcoholic ketoacidosis. What Is Ketosis? The human body can be regarded as a biologic machine. Machines need energy to operate. Some use gasoline, others use electricity, and some use other power resources. Glucose is the primary fuel for most cells and organs in the body. To obtain energy, cells must take up glucose from the blood. Once glucose enters the cells, a series of metabolic reactions break it down into carbon dioxide and water, releasing energy in the process. The body has an ability to store excess glucose in the form of glycogen. In this way, energy can be stored for later use. Glycogen consists of long chains of glucose molecules and is primarily found in the liver and skeletal muscle. Liver glycogen stores are used to mai Continue reading >>
A Rare Cause Of Metabolic Acidosis: Ketoacidosis In A Non-diabetic Lactating Woman
Gordon Sloan1, Amjad Ali1 and Jonathan Webster1 Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Sheffield Teaching Hospital, Sheffield, UK Summary Ketoacidosis occurring during lactation has been described infrequently. The condition is incompletely understood, but it appears to be associated with a combination of increased metabolic demands during lactation, reduction in carbohydrate intake and acute illness. We present a case of a 27-year-old woman, 8 weeks post-partum, who was exclusively breastfeeding her child whilst following a low carbohydrate diet. She developed gastroenteritis and was unable to tolerate an oral diet for several days. She presented with severe metabolic acidosis on admission with a blood 3-hydroxybutyrate of 5.4 mmol/L. She was treated with intravenous dextrose and intravenous sodium bicarbonate, and given dietary advice to increase her carbohydrate intake. She made a rapid and full recovery. We provide a summary of the common causes of ketoacidosis and compare our case with other presentations of lactation ketoacidosis. Learning points: Ketoacidosis in the lactating woman is a rare cause of raised anion gap metabolic acidosis. Low carbohydrate intake, starvation, intercurrent illness or a combination of these factors could put breastfeeding women at risk of ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis in the lactating woman has been shown to resolve rapidly with sufficient carbohydrate intake and intravenous dextrose. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential because the condition is reported to be reversible with a low chance of recurrence with appropriate dietary advice. Background Ketoacidosis is a common cause of raised anion gap metabolic acidosis. It most frequently occurs in individuals with type 1 diabetes. Starvation commonly causes ketosis but ra Continue reading >>
GENERAL ketoacidosis is a high anion gap metabolic acidosis due to an excessive blood concentration of ketone bodies (keto-anions). ketone bodies (acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetone) are released into the blood from the liver when hepatic lipid metabolism has changed to a state of increased ketogenesis. a relative or absolute insulin deficiency is present in all cases. CAUSES The three major types of ketosis are: (i) Starvation ketosis (ii) Alcoholic ketoacidosis (iii) Diabetic ketoacidosis STARVATION KETOSIS when hepatic glycogen stores are exhausted (eg after 12-24 hours of total fasting), the liver produces ketones to provide an energy substrate for peripheral tissues. ketoacidosis can appear after an overnight fast but it typically requires 3 to 14 days of starvation to reach maximal severity. typical keto-anion levels are only 1 to 2 mmol/l and this will usually not alter the anion gap. the acidosis even with quite prolonged fasting is only ever of mild to moderate severity with keto-anion levels up to a maximum of 3 to 5 mmol/l and plasma pH down to 7.3. ketone bodies also stimulate some insulin release from the islets. patients are usually not diabetic. ALCOHOLIC KETOSIS Presentation a chronic alcoholic who has a binge, then stops drinking and has little or no oral food intake for a few days (ethanol and fasting) volume depletion is common and this can result in increased levels of counter regulatory hormones (eg glucagon) levels of free fatty acids (FFA) can be high (eg up to 3.5mM) providing plenty of substrate for the altered hepatic lipid metabolism to produce plenty of ketoanions GI symptoms are common (eg nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, haematemesis, melaena) acidaemia may be severe (eg pH down to 7.0) plasma glucose may be depressed or normal or Continue reading >>
Ketosis: Symptoms, Signs & More
Every cell in your body needs energy to survive. Most of the time, you create energy from the sugar (glucose) in your bloodstream. Insulin helps regulate glucose levels in the blood and stimulate the absorption of glucose by the cells in your body. If you don’t have enough glucose or insufficient insulin to get the job done, your body will break down fat instead for energy. This supply of fat is an alternative energy source that keeps you from starvation. When you break down fat, you produce a compound called a ketone body. This process is called ketosis. Insulin is required by your cells in order to use the glucose in your blood, but ketones do not require insulin. The ketones that don’t get used for energy pass through your kidneys and out through your urine. Ketosis is most likely to occur in people who have diabetes, a condition in which the body produces little or no insulin. Ketosis and Ketoacidosis: What You Need To Know Ketosis simply means that your body is producing ketone bodies. You’re burning fat instead of glucose. Ketosis isn’t necessarily harmful to your health. If you don’t have diabetes and you maintain a healthy diet, it’s unlikely to be a problem. While ketosis itself isn’t particularly dangerous, it’s definitely something to keep an eye on, especially if you have diabetes. Ketosis can be a precursor to ketoacidosis, also known as diabetic ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a condition in which you have both high glucose and high ketone levels. Having ketoacidosis results in your blood becoming too acidic. It’s more common for those with type 1 diabetes rather than type 2. Once symptoms of ketoacidosis begin, they can escalate very quickly. Symptoms include: breath that smells fruity or like nail polish or nail polish remover rapid breat Continue reading >>