Can keto cause shortness of breath?


(Troy John) #84

Hi Karen, It was good to read you have found a solution that you are content with i.e. eating more carbs. Are you running at all? So, back in 2020, I experienced the shortness of breath for almost the entire year. To note, I was running outdoors during the good weather. Then when I stopped running in Nov, the shortness of breath gradually subsided. I thought nothing of it. It was until last month when it all came back. And once again, I had run outdoors during the summer months and finished off sometime in October. I am concluding, even though the shortness did not come during my running period, it could very well be connected? So I am curious if you have started running or exercising and if not, that maybe the reason you are doing better and upping your carb just helps along the way? What are your thoughts?


(Karen) #85

Hi Troy,
Interesting question. Yes, I am a runner. However, at the time I first developed the breathing issue, I was not running. I have been running for a few years now, and in the warmer months, I run outside, and in the cold weather, I run at the gym. I haven’t noticed a connection between my breathing improving and pauses in running, though. I live in Denver, and last year we had really bad air quality due to wildfires, and that might have caused some effect. I sometimes do have to stop while exercising to focus on getting a full breath, which is annoying. I can imagine an air quality issue or airborne allergy issue for running outside that could cause breathing troubles that would then improve when not running outside anymore. I just don’t really see the connection in my case.


(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #86

Don’t forget the altitude, as well. I start needing hits from my asthma inhaler at five or six thousand feet (1.6-1.9 km).


(Troy John) #87

Thank you, Karen for letting me know. I will need to reanalyze my situation and see what I need to work on.


(Troy John) #88

Paul, You are correct, altitude does make breathing difficult if that is the reason.


(Troy John) #89

Hi Paul, Which antihistamine works for you?


(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #90

I use loratidine (brand name Claritin in the U.S.).


(Troy John) #91

Thank you, Paul. I have always used Zyrtec but find it makes me very tired. I will try Claritin.


(Troy John) #92

Hi Karen, Out of curiosity, what carbs do you eat to keep between 100-200 gms? I missed your question whether I am on the thin side - yes I am although I do have pockets of fat. LOL.


(Karen) #93

What carbs I eat is constantly changing because I also have IBS and upper digestive issues, so I’m always trying to figure out the right combo of things that won’t irritate that and will also allow me to gain some weight and not feel lethargic, etc. It is a constant balancing act. Whatever helps one thing causes a problem somewhere else. I’ve found that I need to avoid all wheat and sugar. Those irritate EVERYTHING for me and make me feel depressed. I’ve also found that I can have potatoes and corn in moderation without digestive issues and without becoming lethargic (but too much will make me very sleepy, so I have to be careful about amounts and times of day). I eat berries because they are full of good nutrients and are lower carb for fruits. Once in a while, I’ll have half a banana. I also eat a little bit of yogurt every day but keep other dairies quite low on average. Anyway, it changes from day to day, and what I’m willing to eat at any given time is based on how I’m feeling, what I’ve already eaten, and how likely it is to cause me an issue at that point. It also depends on the time of day. For breakfast I keep it very low carb because carbs in the morning make me super tired and I can’t get going in my day. I try to save the more carby stuff for late afternoon and evening. I just handle it better then. It seems that my breathing is better since gaining a few pounds and eating more carbs than when I was on keto. But it is still definitely an issue, so who knows? My breathing exercises help some. Have you found anything that is helping you?


(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #94

Many people on these forums find that their IBS is better if they eat no fibre whatsoever. And the β-hydroxybutyrate secreted by the liver when we are in ketosis also has a beneficial effect on the intestinal lining.

What kind of weight are you trying to gain? If you want to add muscle and strengthen your bones, more protein is called for. If you want to add fat, then eating more carbohydrate will do that.

The sleepiness when you eat too much potatoes and corn (maize) is the result of insulin’s driving your blood sugar too low after your glucose rises too high. Many people find that too much carbohydrate of any sort first gives them a sugar high and then makes them sleepy. One of the benefits of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet is that it eliminates this sort of “boom and bust” cycle, since the energy from fat takes the place of energy from glucose, and it does so without stimulating insulin secretion, so there is no high and therefore no crash.


(Troy John) #95

Thanks for your quick response, Karen. I was doing a bit better before the holidays adding more vegetable carbs but keeping to about 50 grams. However, during the holidays I did splurge somewhat and as a result going through some issues with breathing and also post nasal drip both mostly during the early morning hours. I just want to maintain the weight I lost going on keto and the other benefits that go with it. Have you tried kefir (read homemade) for your IBS?


(Karen) #96

Yes, being on Keto did help my IBS for all those reasons (I was keto for 5 years and know all the benefits), and the blood sugar ups and downs are exactly why I avoid too much potatoes and corn. I’m trying to gain both muscle and fat, and I do focus on protein to make sure I get enough. I’m not one of the people for whom no fiber helps IBS, but quite the opposite for me. Anyway, thanks for the response.


(Karen) #97

Hey! Yes, I’ve tried many, many different fermented things, including kefir, with limited help. The biggest help has been a low FODMAP diet (which is almost impossible to stick to), high fiber, and Activa yogurt. I was very hesitant to try the yogurt because #1: dairy and #2: sugar. But, to my surprise, it has helped a lot. So, I have a small amount in the morning and a small amount in the evening. That, plus the fiber and other supplements I take, seems to be managing things pretty well, as long as I stay away from the worst triggers for me.


(Marion) #98

Hi Karen, don’t know if you have tried plain coconut yoghurt, that works well for me.]
For FODMAPs I use a phone app if I am shopping.


(N B) #99

Hello! Wow! I have been in and out of ketosis for a few years now. I find if i ‘sin’ for even one meal, my body craves all the old foods and i crumble.
I’m starting again (yesterday) and I’m reminded how easy i find it once I’m in the zone.
BUT… The ‘anxious breathing’ is here again. It drives me insane. I thought it was anxiety, but it has crept around my mind that it goes away when i go back to carbs.
I just found this thread and ALL the lightbulbs!
I’ve been sitting reading this inhaling with pursed lips and exhaling with a hiss - the relief!!
Just wanted to say hello, thank you and happy breathing! X


(Karen) #100

Hey! It is so great to hear that this helped you! That breathing technique can be great. Happy breathing to you too!


(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #101

I don’t remember how this thread worked out, so I am reading through it again.

This idea is, I believe, erroneous, since ketones require less oxygen to metabolise than glucose or fatty acids. It is for this reason that the heart muscle does much better on ketones than on glucose or fatty acids. Also, skeletal muscle, once fat adapted, actually passed up ketones and glucose in favour of fatty acids, so if ketones actually did require more oxygen than fatty acids, any oxgygen problem would go away after fat adaptation was complete.

As mentioned, however, ketones require less oxygen to metabolise, for the reason that they are fatty acids that have already been partially metabolised. Fatty acids and glucose require about the same amount of oxygen and yield about the same amount of ATP. The main difference is that fats (and ketones) are metabolised without glycation or oxidative damage. Furthermore, the reaction is a bit slower, which is why the muscles need glucose to fuel explosive power.

A simple way to test this would be to drink vinegar or lemon juice, since acid reflux is caused by a lack of stomach acid. Extra acid should help close the oesophogeal sphincter and thus eliminate the laryngeal stress. If acid reflux is not the problem, then drinking vinegar or lemon juice would not help.

That is indeed tricky, because one of the ketone bodies, β-hydroxybutyrate, is very good for the intestinal lining and helps close the gaps between lining cells that are part of the problem.


(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #102

I would venture to guess that this occurred while the poster was still in the middle of fat-adaptation.

I thought so! For the record, keto-adaptation takes most people somewhere between six and eight weeks.


(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #103

Much of my experience with asthma took place in the decade and a half before I went keto. I can testify that, as my doctor said there would be, there have been periods when I needed minimal medication, and periods when I needed to return to the full doses of everything. In my case, it had nothing to do with diet, and everything to do with air quality. And it got a lot better once I started keto, though my breathing problems and allergies still persist. Right now (January 2023) seems to be a period of higher atmospheric allergens.