Keto Levels with Virus/Flu


I have been undergoing a metabolic reset to begin the year. I have been low carb/keto on and off for the last 4.5 years and hop in and out of ketosis for short periods of time when it benefits me or when my body is telling me I need to. Right now, I decided to spend the first 6 weeks of 2018 in ketosis. I check my numbers every morning and have consistently been between 1.2 and 2.2 mmol/L. I contracted a virus two days ago (it was not influenza but I caught something) and my ketone levels shot through the roof. Yesterday morning I was at 5.2 (first morning of being sick) and this morning I was at 5.8 (although now I am in a fasted state as I have decided to fast through this virus.) I tried to google and look up being sick while in ketosis but everything led to topics about diabetes or the Ketone Flu - neither of which I have.

Is it common for your ketone levels to shoot up like this while you are ill? My GKI index is well under 1 at this point.

(Annie) #2

It might just be your body burning more fat for energy since the stress of fighting sickness demands so much more.


That is what I was kind of thinking. However, I just took another reading and now I am at 7.0 mmol/L which is starting to concern me. I am not sure if there is a level that becomes too high and that I should eat something carby to kick myself out of this.

(Candy Lind) #4

Fasting puts you into a deeper state of ketosis; it’s as simple as that. I doubt you have anything to worry about, but drink some bone broth if you feel like you want to do something about it. You could probably use some electrolytes, anyway.

(Annie) #5

From what I can remember, I think that’s at the high range of therapeutic levels for, say, epilepsy patients. Pay attention to your body and see if anything feels off and hydrate yourself, as you’re probably burning up water, too, and getting dehydrated. If you start feeling a different kind of sick or off or different, might as well try a bit of carb and/or hit an urgent care or advice line.

(Michele) #6

My understanding is that ketoacidosis occurs when both ketones and blood sugar levels are high. If your blood sugar levels are low/normal then you would be fine. The last info I read said that at 15 and above was an issue.

When I did my first EF after being in ketosis for about 10 days my ketones went up to 10 on the third day. My blood sugar was at reasonable/low/normal levels. However I still decided to break my fast. The next time I fasted (3 months later) I peaked at 5.8 I think and glucose went down to 2.8. I felt fine but the hunger never went away entirely and I started to feel tired (I continued with exercise).

(Rob) #7

IIRC ketoacidosis is a very high level of ketones but the mechanism for why they are there is entirely different to nutritional ketosis. As you say it is rampant uncontrolled blood sugar breaking down your tissues in the absence of Insulin. This creates the crazy high ketones. At that point your metabolism is broken, maybe beyond repair.
I am not aware of a nutritional ketosis being able to damage you as long as you have insulin to manage the BG. The high levels of ketones in KA are a symptom of your body’s collapse rather than the cause, I think.

(Michele) #8

Indeed KA is an issue for T1D and possibly T2D and unlikely for nutritional ketosis, although I guess we should never say never in case there are the rare event “perfect storm” scenario for non diabetic individuals. Hence the question about BG.