Thursday 1 November 2018

Ketosis Versus Ketoacidosis ... What is The Difference?

Ketosis Versus Ketoacidosis ... What is The Difference?

Whenever I am in the initial stage of helping a friend ease into the keto diet or just plainly getting to know more about it, I am almost always certain that this question on ketoacidosis will crop up, so I thought it might be useful to include this section to clear the air on this.

Ketoacidosis is primarily a situation when the body has little or no insulin to ferry the glucose present in the bloodstream back into cells for use or storage. The body then gets the impression it is starving and in need of energy, hence ketone production is activated in the liver to correct this issue. However, the body does not get the signal to slow or stop ketone production because there is insufficient insulin in the system to do this. Ketones then build up in the blood, together with glucose, and the elevated levels cause ketoacidosis.

Some of the symptoms of ketoacidosis would sound awfully familiar with nutritional ketosis.

• Many trips to the toilet for urination
• Feeling really thirsty all the time
• Experiencing constant vomiting
• Stomach pains as well as constant nausea
• Feeling tired and mentally confused
• Feeling of insufficient air or shortness of breath

Frequent urination as well as being tired and in a state of mental fatigue are also common occurrences when someone is going through the initial stages of ketosis. This is where the body is getting used to the low carb lifestyle and making its metabolic adjustments. Those symptoms may be annoying but are harmless, and more importantly, they will pass after the first few weeks of ketosis.

To be definitive in identifying ketoacidosis, the trick here is not to just zoom in on one particular symptom and become overly worried. Ketoacidosis symptoms usually present themselves together, and if you were to be forced to pick one particular symptom to pay attention to, that would be the constant vomiting. When that is present together with stomach pains and a shortness of breath, immediate medical treatment is needed as ketoacidosis can be a life-threatening issue.

The key here is the insufficient supply or lack of insulin. This is a situation where most type 1 diabetic patients would find themselves, as well as, to a lesser extent, some type 2 diabetics. When the pancreas cannot produce the level of insulin needed to signal the halt of ketone production, that is when ketone levels can go into overdrive and induce overly acidic conditions in the blood.

This does not mean type 1 diabetics or folks who rely on external insulin sources cannot be following the ketogenic diet. They still can, on the condition that they monitor and maintain adequate insulin levels in the body. In cases where the pancreas is still in relatively good shape and able to supply adequate amounts of insulin, the keto diet will be able to effectively correct the insulin desensitivity of the body’s cells and improve or even reverse type 2 diabetic conditions.

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