Monday, 14 April 2014

Keto-Acidosis - not good!

Keto Acidosis is a bad thing

I am by no means an expert, or medically qualified in any way. This is just my take on the reading I've done around the difference between nutritional ketosis and keto acidosis. 

As a T1 diabetic, my body does not produce insulin. Without insulin, glucose in my blood stream cannot be utilised by my body. Therefore, I need to inject insulin to bring down my blood glucose levels.

In the short term, without being able to draw energy from glucose, by body will switch to an alternative fuel source by breaking down fat. This breakdown produces ketones in my blood as a by-product.

Now, having elevated levels of ketones present in the blood stream is only good if it indicates that my body has switched from burning carbohydrate to burning fat as its means of accessing stored energy. BUT, having significanlly high levels of ketones could indicate a total absence of insulin in my blood-stream. 

Ketones are acidic and at extreme levels, I can develop what is called diabetic ketoacidosis, which can lead to serious complications, including severe dehydrationcoma and swelling of the brain. Clearly this is a state to avoid! 


What this means, in the paradigm of a T1 diabetic, is that it is crucial to monitor blood glucose throughout the process of accessing nutritional ketosis. To sacrifice blood glucose control in favour of higher ketone levels is foolhardy. As T1's, we all have know people who have horror stories of the side effects of elevated glucose and ketone levels. The key is to play it safe and stay in control.

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