What Are Ketones And Their Tests?
A ketone test can warn you of a serious diabetes complication called diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. An elevated level of this substance in your blood can mean you have very high blood sugar. Too many ketones can trigger DKA, which is a medical emergency. Regular tests you take at home can spot when your ketone levels run too high. Then you can take insulin to lower your blood sugar level or get other treatments to prevent complications. What Exactly Are Ketones? Everyone has them, whether you have diabetes or not. Ketones are chemicals made in your liver. You produce them when you don't have enough of the hormone insulin in your body to turn sugar (or “glucose”) into energy. You need another source, so your body uses fat instead. Your liver turns this fat into ketones, a type of acid, and sends them into your bloodstream. Your muscles and other tissues can then use them for fuel. For a person without diabetes, this process doesn’t become an issue. But when you have diabetes, things can run out of control and you build up too many ketones in your blood. If the level goes too high, it can become life-threatening. Who Needs a Ketone Test? You might need one if you have type 1 diabetes. In this type, your immune system attacks and destroys cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Without it, your blood sugar rises. People with type 2 diabetes can also get high ketones, but it isn't as common as it is with type 1. Tests can show you when your level gets high so you can treat it before you get sick. When Should You Test? Your doctor will probably tell you to test your ketones when: Your blood sugar is higher than 250 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dl) for two days in a row You're sick or you've been injured You want to exercise and your blood sugar level is over 250 mg/dl Continue reading >>
If you follow the ebb and flow of the dietary industry, then you have probably heard of the term “ketosis,” “ketones,” or “the ketogenic diet.” You generally hear reference to them when we talk about low-carb, higher fat diets. In a society where low-fat/no-fat is pretty much the accepted standard, this whole low-carb/high-fat concept can seem a little… out there. Especially when there is so much confusion about what ketones are and what they do. THEN, I start talking about the possibility of supplementing with ketones – and people get even more confused. So let’s unpack all of this, learn a little more about ketones, and why taking a supplement might actually be a good thing. Let’s start with the basics. What ARE ketones and what is ketosis? When we think of the body’s natural fuel source, we think of glucose, or sugar. We know that our body needs to use sugar as a fuel, but what many people don’t realize is that fats can be an equally, and even superior, fuel source to the body. The process of ketosis refers to the body’s ability to use fats as its primary source of energy, over glucose. When the body burns fat, it produces three bi-products of fat breakdown, β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), acetoacetate (ACA) and acetone. These bi-products are called Ketones. This is a naturally occurring process and it’s what allows our bodies to survive during times of food restriction. When an individual begins to follow a low carbohydrate diet, the body has to look for another fuel source, and it turns to fatty acids and fat stores to provide that much needed energy. The liver breaks down the fat, and releases ketones into the blood to be used by the brain and other organs to produce energy. The interesting thing about ketones is that BHB may be a more effici Continue reading >>
Do Ketones Matter?
A low-carb diet is, indisputably, one of the most effective ways to lose excess body fat. Over and over again, studies have proven the myriad benefits of carbohydrate restriction. Being fat-adapted brings several advantages, as you will have access to your greatest energy store - body fat. Do More Ketones Enhance Fat Loss? Contrary to what you may have thought, high levels of ketones will not guarantee enhanced fat loss. When you are in ketosis, the level of ketones in your bloodstream won't tell you how much fat you are burning. It will only tell you how much energy you currently have in your "fuel tank". Your body continuously produces and consumes ketones and over time, it will adapt and optimise the level of ketones in your body. Let's look at the evidence. This review of studies found a correlation between fat loss and the level of acetone, one of the ketone bodies that can be measured with a breath ketone meter. However, studies that are listed in the review compare the effects of a standard low-fat, high-carb diet to a high-fat, low-carb diet. As we know from several studies, low-carb diets over-perform high-carb diets. However, if we want to see how ketone levels affect fat loss, it would be necessary to compare low-carb diets and effects of different levels of carbohydrate restriction. High ketone levels over 3 mM (also known as starvation ketosis) may, in fact, slow down fat loss. High ketone levels will likely elevate your insulin levels and as a result block the release of free fatty acids from your cells. Ketosis is Not Just a Tool for Weight Loss It's simple: if you want to lose body fat, you need to stay in calorie deficit and use your body fat for energy. A low-carb diet is a great tool that will help you achieve that. With stabilised glucose levels and Continue reading >>
Excess ketones are dangerous for someone with diabetes... Low insulin, combined with relatively normal glucagon and epinephrine levels, causes fat to be released from fat cells, which then turns into ketones. Excess formation of ketones is dangerous and is a medical emergency In a person without diabetes, ketone production is the body’s normal adaptation to starvation. Blood sugar levels never get too high, because the production is regulated by just the right balance of insulin, glucagon and other hormones. However, in an individual with diabetes, dangerous and life-threatening levels of ketones can develop. What are ketones and why do I need to know about them? Ketones and ketoacids are alternative fuels for the body that are made when glucose is in short supply. They are made in the liver from the breakdown of fats. Ketones are formed when there is not enough sugar or glucose to supply the body’s fuel needs. This occurs overnight, and during dieting or fasting. During these periods, insulin levels are low, but glucagon and epinephrine levels are relatively normal. This combination of low insulin, and relatively normal glucagon and epinephrine levels causes fat to be released from the fat cells. The fats travel through the blood circulation to reach the liver where they are processed into ketone units. The ketone units then circulate back into the blood stream and are picked up by the muscle and other tissues to fuel your body’s metabolism. In a person without diabetes, ketone production is the body’s normal adaptation to starvation. Blood sugar levels never get too high, because the production is regulated by just the right balance of insulin, glucagon and other hormones. However, in an individual with diabetes, dangerous and life-threatening levels of ketone Continue reading >>
6 Health Benefits Of Ketogenesis And Ketone Bodies
With heavy coverage in the media, ketogenic diets are all the rage right now. And for a good reason; for some people, they truly work. But what do all these different terms like ketogenesis and ketone bodies actually mean? Firstly, this article takes a look at what the ketogenesis pathway is and what ketone bodies do. Following this, it will examine six potential health benefits of ketones and nutritional ketosis. What is Ketogenesis? Ketogenesis is a biochemical process through which the body breaks down fatty acids into ketone bodies (we’ll come to those in a minute). Synthesis of ketone bodies through ketogenesis kicks in during times of carbohydrate restriction or periods of fasting. When carbohydrate is in short supply, ketones become the default energy source for our body. As a result, a diet to induce ketogenesis should ideally restrict carb intake to a maximum of around 50 grams per day (1, 2). Ketogenesis may also occur at slightly higher levels of carbohydrate intake, but for the full benefits, it is better to aim lower. When ketogenesis takes place, the body produces ketone bodies as an alternative fuel to glucose. This physiological state is known as ‘nutritional ketosis’ – the primary objective of ketogenic diets. There are various methods you can use to test if you are “in ketosis”. Key Point: Ketogenesis is a biological pathway that breaks fats down into a form of energy called ketone bodies. What Are Ketone Bodies? Ketone bodies are water-soluble compounds that act as a form of energy in the body. There are three major types of ketone body; Acetoacetate Beta-hydroxybutyrate Acetone (a compound created through the breakdown of acetoacetate) The first thing to remember is that these ketones satisfy our body’s energy requirements in the same w Continue reading >>
What Are Ketones And Are They Healthy?
What Are Ketones and Are They Healthy? If you are up on your health news or follow anyone in the health field, you have likely heard the term ketogenic diet. The goal of the ketogenic diet is to adapt the body to utilize fat as its primary fuel source instead of sugar. The body does this by first converting fat into what are called ketones that the cells can then burn as fuel. It is at this point that I typically get asked, what are ketones? In this article, I am going to clear up any gaps, explain exactly how ketogenisis works, and why it can be so beneficial for the human body. Biological Role of Ketones For our ancestors, eating three meals a day just wasn’t a thing. Instead they would hunt and forage for the foods they could find. When there wasn’t food, they wouldn’t eat. What this means is that sometimes they would go for days at a time with no food. To sustain life during times of scarcity, the body is thought to have developed the ability to utilize fat as an alternative fuel source. In a traditional nutrition course, you would learn that sugar is the body’s primary fuel source while fat is a secondary fuel source. When sugar stores are burned up, the cells then convert to burning fat as an energy source. What we are finding out now is that fat can actually be a healthier and more sustainable source of energy. Our Society Is Full of Sugar Burners Modern day, we have an abundance of food that is available to us at all times. Most of us regularly eat three meals a day with intermittent snacking in between. This kind of frequent eating, along with an overemphasis on carb-rich and sugary foods, causes a reduced ability to burn fat. As these foods damage our bodies on a metabolic level, we actually lose the ability to produce ketones. This type of reliance on Continue reading >>
What Are Ketone Bodies And Why Are They In The Body?
If you eat a calorie-restricted diet for several days, you will increase the breakdown of your fat stores. However, many of your tissues cannot convert these fatty acid products directly into ATP, or cellular energy. In addition, glucose is in limited supply and must be reserved for red blood cells -- which can only use glucose for energy -- and brain tissues, which prefer to use glucose. Therefore, your liver converts many of these fatty acids into ketone bodies, which circulate in the blood and provide a fuel source for your muscles, kidneys and brain. Video of the Day Low fuel levels in your body, such as during an overnight fast or while you are dieting, cause hormones to increase the breakdown of fatty acids from your stored fat tissue. These fatty acids travel to the liver, where enzymes break the fatty acids into ketone bodies. The ketone bodies are released into the bloodstream, where they travel to tissues that have the enzymes to metabolize ketone bodies, such as your muscle, brain, kidney and intestinal cells. The breakdown product of ketone bodies goes through a series of steps to form ATP. Conditions of Ketone Body Utilization Your liver will synthesize more ketone bodies for fuel whenever your blood fatty acid levels are elevated. This will happen in response to situations that promote low blood glucose, such as an overnight fast, prolonged calorie deficit, a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet, or during prolonged low-intensity exercise. If you eat regular meals and do not typically engage in extremely long exercise sessions, the level of ketone bodies in your blood will be highest after an overnight fast. This level will drop when you eat breakfast and will remain low as long as you eat regular meals with moderate to high carbohydrate content. Ketone Bodi Continue reading >>
Does Fasting Help Creativity? I Heard After Three Days Of Fasting Your Body Produces Ketones Which Can Help With Creativity. Is This True And Safe?
Does fasting help creativity? I heard after three days of fasting your body produces ketones which can help with creativity. Is this true and safe? Creativity is an undefined and broad concept, so it's impossible to say that anything helps creativity unless you better define creativity so as to be an observably definable and measurably improvable state. Yes, it's true, after three days [of fasting] the [average] body will produce ketones. The inherited wisdom is that it takes the average woman 48 hours and the average man 72 hours to mobilize ketones and up-cycle into ketosis. And these are more generalized rules of thumb than actual immutable facts of direct experience, e.g. individuals that deep fast seasonally can mobilize full ketosis in less than 24 hours. Yes, it's more than safe – fasting is one of the longest retained evolutionary processes universally distributed to most all humans* for self-regulation of health, hygiene and improved well-being required for human survival. Fasting also still serves many cultural, religious and spiritual intents across the world. Fasting is only contraindicated in exceedingly few circumstances across those of the general population: people in a state of starvation pregnant, diabetic women; nursing women those with anemia people with porphyria And, so far as can be surmised, fasting is contraindicated for only one type of genetic mutation that is exceedingly rare across the general population people with a rare genetic, fatty-acid deficiency of acetyl CoA (preventing ketosis from occurring) Try comparing these above contraindications and lack of side-effects from fasting to any major pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drug and your fears for safety will enjoy a new perspective. *above notes on contraindications as originally a Continue reading >>
Ketone Testing: What You Need To Know
What are ketones? Ketones are produced when the body burns fat for energy or fuel. They are also produced when you lose weight or if there is not enough insulin to help your body use sugar for energy. Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in the blood. Since the body is unable to use glucose for energy, it breaks down fat instead. When this occurs, ketones form in the blood and spill into the urine. These ketones can make you very sick. How can I test for ketones? You can test to see if your body is making any ketones by doing a simple urine test. There are several products available for ketone testing and they can be purchased, without a prescription, at your pharmacy. The test result can be negative, or show small, moderate, or large quantities of ketones. When should I test for ketones? Anytime your blood glucose is over 250 mg/dl for two tests in a row. When you are ill. Often illness, infections, or injuries will cause sudden high blood glucose and this is an especially important time to check for ketones. When you are planning to exercise and the blood glucose is over 250 mg/dl. If you are pregnant, you should test for ketones each morning before breakfast and any time the blood glucose is over 250 mg/dl. If ketones are positive, what does this mean? There are situations when you might have ketones without the blood glucose being too high. Positive ketones are not a problem when blood glucose levels are within range and you are trying to lose weight. It is a problem if blood glucose levels are high and left untreated. Untreated high blood glucose with positive ketones can lead to a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). What should I do if the ketone test is positive? Call your diabetes educator or physician, as you may need additional Continue reading >>
Ketosis: What Is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a normal metabolic process. When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body. Some people encourage ketosis by following a diet called the ketogenic or low-carb diet. The aim of the diet is to try and burn unwanted fat by forcing the body to rely on fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates. Ketosis is also commonly observed in patients with diabetes, as the process can occur if the body does not have enough insulin or is not using insulin correctly. Problems associated with extreme levels of ketosis are more likely to develop in patients with type 1 diabetes compared with type 2 diabetes patients. Ketosis occurs when the body does not have sufficient access to its primary fuel source, glucose. Ketosis describes a condition where fat stores are broken down to produce energy, which also produces ketones, a type of acid. As ketone levels rise, the acidity of the blood also increases, leading to ketoacidosis, a serious condition that can prove fatal. People with type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop ketoacidosis, for which emergency medical treatment is required to avoid or treat diabetic coma. Some people follow a ketogenic (low-carb) diet to try to lose weight by forcing the body to burn fat stores. What is ketosis? In normal circumstances, the body's cells use glucose as their primary form of energy. Glucose is typically derived from dietary carbohydrates, including: sugar - such as fruits and milk or yogurt starchy foods - such as bread and pasta The body breaks these down into simple sugars. Glucose can either be used to fuel the body or be stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. If there is not enough glucose available to meet energy demands, th Continue reading >>
Ketosis, Ketones, And How It All Works
Ketosis is a process that the body does on an everyday basis, regardless of the number of carbs you eat. Your body adapts to what is put in it, processing different types of nutrients into the fuels that it needs. Proteins, fats, and carbs can all be processed for use. Eating a low carb, high fat diet just ramps up this process, which is a normal and safe chemical reaction. When you eat carbohydrate based foods or excess amounts of protein, your body will break this down into sugar – known as glucose. Why? Glucose is needed in the creation of ATP (an energy molecule), which is a fuel that is needed for the daily activities and maintenance inside our bodies. If you’ve ever used our keto calculator to determine your caloric needs, you will see that your body uses up quite a lot of calories. It’s true, our bodies use up much of the nutrients we intake just to maintain itself on a daily basis. If you eat enough food, there will likely be an excess of glucose that your body doesn’t need. There are two main things that happen to excess glucose if your body doesn’t need it: Glycogenesis. Excess glucose will be converted to glycogen and stored in your liver and muscles. Estimates show that only about half of your daily energy can be stored as glycogen. Lipogenesis. If there’s already enough glycogen in your muscles and liver, any extra glucose will be converted into fats and stored. So, what happens to you once your body has no more glucose or glycogen? Ketosis happens. When your body has no access to food, like when you are sleeping or when you are on a ketogenic diet, the body will burn fat and create molecules called ketones. We can thank our body’s ability to switch metabolic pathways for that. These ketones are created when the body breaks down fats, creating Continue reading >>
Ketone bodies Acetone Acetoacetic acid (R)-beta-Hydroxybutyric acid Ketone bodies are three water-soluble molecules (acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and their spontaneous breakdown product, acetone) that are produced by the liver from fatty acids during periods of low food intake (fasting), carbohydrate restrictive diets, starvation, prolonged intense exercise,, alcoholism or in untreated (or inadequately treated) type 1 diabetes mellitus. These ketone bodies are readily picked up by the extra-hepatic tissues, and converted into acetyl-CoA which then enters the citric acid cycle and is oxidized in the mitochondria for energy. In the brain, ketone bodies are also used to make acetyl-CoA into long-chain fatty acids. Ketone bodies are produced by the liver under the circumstances listed above (i.e. fasting, starving, low carbohydrate diets, prolonged exercise and untreated type 1 diabetes mellitus) as a result of intense gluconeogenesis, which is the production of glucose from non-carbohydrate sources (not including fatty acids). They are therefore always released into the blood by the liver together with newly produced glucose, after the liver glycogen stores have been depleted (these glycogen stores are depleted after only 24 hours of fasting). When two acetyl-CoA molecules lose their -CoAs, (or Co-enzyme A groups) they can form a (covalent) dimer called acetoacetate. Beta-hydroxybutyrate is a reduced form of acetoacetate, in which the ketone group is converted into an alcohol (or hydroxyl) group (see illustration on the right). Both are 4-carbon molecules, that can readily be converted back into acetyl-CoA by most tissues of the body, with the notable exception of the liver. Acetone is the decarboxylated form of acetoacetate which cannot be converted Continue reading >>
Your Brain On Ketones
The modern prescription of high carbohydrate, low fat diets and eating snacks between meals has coincided with an increase in obesity, diabetes, and and increase in the incidence of many mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. In addition, many of these disorders are striking the population at younger ages. While most people would agree that diet has a lot to do with the development of obesity and diabetes, many would disagree that what we eat has much to do with our mental health and outlook. I believe that what we eat has a lot to do with the health of our brains, though of course mental illness (like physical illness) has multifactorial causes, and by no means should we diminish the importance of addressing all the causes in each individual. But let's examine the opposite of the modern high carbohydrate, low fat, constant snacking lifestyle and how that might affect the brain. The opposite of a low fat, snacking lifestyle would be the lifestyle our ancestors lived for tens of thousands of generations, the lifestyle for which our brains are primarily evolved. It seems reasonable that we would have had extended periods without food, either because there was none available, or we were busy doing something else. Then we would follow that period with a filling meal of gathered plant and animal products, preferentially selecting the fat. During the day we might have eaten a piece of fruit, or greens, or a grub we dug up, but anything filling or high in calories (such as a starchy tuber) would have to be killed, butchered, and/or carefully prepared before eating. Fortunately, we have a terrific system of fuel for periods of fasting or low carbohydrate eating, our body (and brain) can readily shift from burning glucose to burning what ar Continue reading >>
How Ketones Affect The Human Body
What Are Ketones? Ketones are waste products which are produced when the human body burns stored fat for energy. If your body has trouble obtaining glucose, it looks towards fat deposits to create energy. People with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus can experience problems with ketones for five reasons: High glucose means your blood insulin level is low and you have excess glucose. Thus, your body will burn fat. As people exercise, they need to burn energy. Lack of insulin or glucose means fat will be burned. Stress can create problems in many facets of our lives. Physical, emotional, and various kinds of stress requires energy to handle the situations. Not enough glucose from this will result in fat being burned. When we become ill, our bodies require increasing amounts of energy to fight the illness. Once again, lack of glucose means fat will be burned. When a woman becomes pregnant, her body needs energy to provide for two. If the diet is not appropriate, the body will turn to fat for energy. What is Ketoacidosis? This is a condition where you become dehydrated and your ketones become elevated. High ketone levels make your blood become acidic, which can cause various chemical imbalances within the body. The end result can manifest in ketones being released into your urine. As your blodd glucose rises, it makes the urine thick. Your body must pull fluids from other portions of your body to thin this urine out, thus you can become dehydrated. What are the signs of Ketoacidosis? Drymouth Thirst Fruity Breath Loss of Appetite Stomach Pain Nausea Vomiting Dry, Flushed Skin Fever Fatigue Drowsiness Frequent Urination Labored Breathing How to test for ketones. Urine tests for ketons come in three forms: Tapes Tablets Test Strips Most local pharmacies can also provide a ketone test Continue reading >>
Tweet Ketosis is a state the body may find itself in either as a result of raised blood glucose levels or as a part of low carb dieting. Low levels of ketosis is perfectly normal. However, high levels of ketosis in the short term can be serious and the long term effects of regular moderate ketosis are only partially known at the moment. What is ketosis? Ketosis is a state the body goes into if it needs to break down body fat for energy. The state is marked by raised levels of ketones in the blood which can be used by the body as fuel. Ketones which are not used for fuel are excreted out of the body via the kidneys and the urine. Is ketosis the same as ketoacidosis? There is often confusion as to the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis. Ketosis is the state whereby the body is producing ketones. In ketosis, the level of ketones in the blood can be anything between normal to very high. Diabetic ketoacidosis, also known as DKA, only describes the state in which the level of ketones is either high or very high. In ketoacidosis, the amount of ketones in the blood is sufficient to turn the blood acidic, which is a dangerous medical state. When does ketosis occur? Ketosis will take place when the body needs energy and there is not sufficient glucose available for the body. This can typically happen when the body is lacking insulin and blood glucose levels become high. Other causes can be the result of being on a low carb diet. A low level of carbohydrate will lead to low levels of insulin, and therefore the body will produce ketones which do not rely on insulin to get into and fuel the body’s cells. A further cause of ketosis, less relevant to people with diabetes, is a result of excessive alcohol consumption. Is ketosis dangerous? The NHS describes ketosis as a pote Continue reading >>