Ketones steadily increasing


(Robert Corlet) #1

Hi. I am a newbie. LCHF. I floundered around for a couple of months but seem to getting the hang of it. Getting a Freestyle Optium Neo has help so that i can see what works best. All is going well now. Slowly losing weight. I am extremely happy overall. Just one little doubt… Over the last couple of weeks my ketone readings have slowly increased from 0.5 to 2.8 today. My limited understanding is that 0.5 to 1.0 is the optimal range. Could someone advise if this is getting too high?


(Allie) #2

It’s fine, there are masses of similar posts here discussing it.


(Robert Corlet) #3

Many thanks. I’ll look them up.


(Carnivore for the win) #4

Use the search function for your question as well. It gets asked several times per week


(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #5

There is no optimal range, really. The researchers who coined the term “nutritional ketosis,” Dr. Stephen Phinney and Prof. Jeff Volek, defined it as a serum β-hydroxybutyrate level of 0.5 mmol/L or higher, but then, a lot of the elite athletes they’ve studied had levels around 0.2, even though they were clearly in ketosis.

About all that can be said is that, while the benefits of nutritional ketosis generally start to appear around 0.5, those benefits might be a bit greater at 1.0. However, levels above 1.0 don’t appear to confer any greater benefits. Our experience on these forums is that ketone measurements tend to be higher in the early weeks of a ketogenic diet, but that as the body becomes fat-adapted, levels tend to drop. We speculate that the body probably becomes better at matching production to demand.

If dietary carbohydrate is not supplying glucose to the body, the liver will make the small amount of glucose that various organs (principally the red blood cells) actually need. This process is called “gluconeogenesis” and is why there is no minimum required intake for carbohydrate. In the absence of dietary carbohydrate, muscles are perfectly happy to metabolise fatty acids (once they have readapted to doing so), and other organs (particularly the brain and heart) thrive on ketone bodies. So if you are not eating carbohydrate and are still breathing in and out, your body is obviously making enough ketones to keep you going, regardless of the amount measured in your blood serum.

If your pancreas is producing insulin, diabetic ketoacidosis is not really a concern. Doctors do start to worry if ketones rise above 10.0, and symptoms tend to become manifest around 20.0. (In diabetic ketoacidosis, the rise in ketone levels is accompanied by a rise in serum glucose.) But with the pancreas producing insulin, ketogenesis and gluconeogenesis in the liver are going to be halted long before that point. And my understanding is that the ketones themselves are not damaging, it’s the pH getting out of whack that is the real problem. The high level of ketones is simply the indicator that something has gone wrong.


(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #6

Best wishes. If you’ve got detectable ketones you’re fine. Unless you’re diabetic or have some other medical condition that requires a certain concentration of β-hydroxybutyrate don’t worry about numbers. It’s a very dynamic system and the numbers are all over the place all day every day. You can easily demonstrate this to yourself by measuring your ketones hourly for a full day. If you don’t want to donate that much blood to the cause, then you can take my word for it. :wink:


(Robert Corlet) #7

Thank very much. Your detailed replies much appreciated!