How to measure your ketone levels
So, how do you know if you’re in ketosis? Once you become fat adapted, and are regularly in ketosis, you often feel a surge of energy, mental clarity, a nootropic effect or sense of balance. However, these are feelings and to get an accurate and scientific reading you will need to test your ketone levels. We produce three different ketone bodies: acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate and you can measure them using one of the methods below.
Test Your Urine
When you first go into ketosis your liver will produce excess ketones (more than your caloric requirements) and these will be excreted through the urine. All you have to do is wee on the end of Ketostix, wait 15 seconds–like a pregnancy test–and then match the colour with the chart on the packaging.
A reading of 0.5mmol of ketones indicates mild ketosis. Therapeutic ketosis occurs between 2mmol to 5mmol of ketone levels; this is when you really experience the anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and healing effect of ketosis and is the point at which bad cells are starved of glucose and recycled back into the system (apoptosis). Above 5mmol denotes that you are in even deeper ketosis but studies have shown that there is no added metabolic benefit and this could be an issue if you have diabetes.
Once you become fat adapted, your liver will become more efficient at creating ketones and therefore fewer ketones will be flushed out in the urine. So Ketostix are a great way to quickly measure ketone levels, particularly in the first few months of transitioning to the ketogenic diet. It’s also important to be aware that your hydration levels can impact the reading–the more hydrated you are, the more diluted your urine and thus it will appear as though you are releasing fewer ketones.
Test Your Breath
A Ketonix Breath Analyser will measure the acetone ketone in your breath (sometimes linked with bad breath during ketosis and fasting). Ketonix measures the degree to which your body is burning fat for fuel, rather than the amount of Beta-Hydroxybutyate in your blood or urine.
The Ketonix Breath Analyser is a reusable, reliable, efficient and the ‘cleanest’ way to get an accurate ketone reading. You can buy one here.
Test Your blood
Blood ketone testing is another great way for indicating your ketone levels. It can also be used for testing blood sugar levels too so that you can measure the sugar impact of the foods that you consume.
If you measure your ketones after exercising, then you may have a lower reading as you will have burned many of those ketones to fuel your body.
How often should you measure your ketone levels?
At the beginning of a ketogenic diet, we can become obsessed with measuring our ketone levels!
It is good to experiment and measure at different times of the day, before and after exercise as well as before and after eating certain foods. This will indicate which foods kick you out of ketosis and which ones help you stay in ketosis. After a while, you are able to connect certain states of being: from your energy levels and cognitive focus to whether or not you are in ketosis; I am know that I am in ketosis when I feel ‘on fire’! It really does make you feel that great!
Have you noticed any other factors that impact your ketone readings? What ketone range makes you feel on fire? Have you tried any of the methods above and which ones do you find more reliable? Have a great ketotic day!
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Sara & Francisco