How to Measure Ketone Levels

What are ketones?

There are three major types of ketones in the body. They include;

  • Acetone
  • Acetoacetate and
  • Beta-hydroxybutryate.

Most of our body functions run on glucose. Glucose is a substance which is deposited into our body’s tissues to store carbohydrates. In the event that your glucose levels are low, or in the case that you have diabetes or apparently have low insulin levels to assist the body cells absorb glucose, the body automatically starts breaking down fat as a source of energy.

Ketones, also known as ketone bodies are the byproducts of the process of breaking down fatty acids. This process of breaking down fatty acids and creating ketones is a​ other normal function in the body. Many people also supplement with exogenous ketones when on the lifestyle to reap the many benefits coming from them.

Atkins vs Keto Diet

Those people that have diabetes depend on their insulin levels to stay in a specific range. The glucose levels in the body in diabetics can get high due to defects in the insulin production or regulation. The insulin hormone in conjunction with other involved hormones monitors and controls ketone levels in the blood. These hormones ensure the levels don’t go high or too low.

On the other hand people with diabetes are at a high risk if ketones build up in the blood which may be hazardous. Immediate attention should be drawn to curb the effects of untreated ketone levels. If left unattended people having diabetes type 1 may further develop a condition referred to as ketoacidosis (DKA).Though it’s very rare for people with diabetes type 2 to experience ketoacidosis.

What are the symptoms that show ketone is building up?

People having diabetes or that adhere to the keto lifestyle should be ​keep an eye out to notice various symptoms that ​your body ​endures. Some of the symptoms include:

  • A very strong thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • Increase in blood sugar which may be greater than 240 mg/dl.

Lack of treatment, the condition may progress to other symptoms like:

  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Stomach cramps
  • Flushed skin
  • Bad breath which is fruity.

Seeking immediate medical attention will be of great assistance because the ketone levels will be levelled giving you much relief.

What methods are used to measure ketone levels?

There are different ways and techniques of testing ketone levels. The most common methods that are well known include;

  • Urine sticks
  • Blood ketone meter and
  • Breath meter ketone meters.

The following is a highlight of how all the three methods function.

Use of urine sticks to measure ketone levels.

Use of urine sticks is considered the cheapest method to use in test of ketone levels. It’s beginner friendly and doesn’t enquire much tutoring. The method is very efficient as it covers all that you need. There is no need to go for complex methods like use of blood strips, whereas you are only introducing yourself to the keto diet.

How to use the stick

The stick is easy to use, you only hold it in line with your urine stream for a short period of about 10-15 seconds. Within those seconds if you observe keenly you will notice a change in color on the strip that is if you are on keto diet.

The strips color is well calibrated with red; light pink for low ketone levels with dark purple signaling high ketone levels. This method may not accurately answer if you are in ketosis. At times it’s not quite precise with the outcomes.

The urine strip measures ketone acetoacetate that is released in the urine because it’s not used by the body. The longer you expose your body to a ketone diet the more it will be versatile with creation of ketone.

If you are new to the keto diet it’s normal if you notice a dark purple color. To all those are advance in the diet, they will undoubtedly notice a much diluted color. The reason behind a lighter color is because the body is already used to produce ketones that it uses as a source of energy. If you are a strict dieter for ketone it’s also normal to get negative results.

What are the pros and cons for urine strips?

Pros
  • They are cheap.
  • They are easy to use.
Cons
  • They are at times inaccurate.
  • They may at times give varying results especially if you are on an intense hydration.

Use of blood meters to measure ketone levels.

Blood meters are considered the most accurate method to measure the level of ketosis. They clearly display the actual amount of ketosis in your blood. One major challenge with blood strips is that they become expensive over time and most of the insurance firms don’t cover them. One strip costs about $1.

Another challenge with this device is that they may differ in accuracy and at times have failed readings. This means that readings on the blood meters may vary depending on the brand in use. If a reading fails then the strip is wasted as it cannot be reused.

Blood used for testing has to be from the body which means that one way or the other you will have to prick your finger. This may be a challenge for all those people that fear withdrawing blood or sensitive to pain.

You can also consider using the precision Xtra meter, its more accurate and safe.

How to use such a blood meter like the Xtra meter

  • Before withdrawing blood cleanse the area you’re testing using a swab dipped in alcohol in order to disinfect the area.
  • Ensure you apply a clean lancet (needle) then,
  • Use the spring load mechanism to prick the skin to draw blood,
  • Then place the drop of blood on the meter and wait for a period of 10 seconds before reading.

BHB blood levels are measured in millimolar. Most optimal BHB levels range between 1.5-3.0 mmol. However this measurements vary per person.

What are the pros and cons of blood meters?

Pros
  • They are precise and accurate.
  • They are more effective compared to urine strips.
  • They are reliable.
Cons
  • They are expensive
  • Some people fear drawing blood.

Use of breath meters to measure ketone levels.

Breath meters are the most familiar method used by most of the people. The method is simple and easy to use. The breath meter is connected to a computer device via a USB. Once you blow, the computer measures the amount of acetate in your breath and displays the figures on the screen.

The device costs around $150-200 making it very expensive for some people to afford. Those that are still new in the keto diet should not be in a hurry to purchase this device until they reach an advanced level. Breath meters are cheaper considering the regular purchase of blood strips.

The breath analyzer is more economical because it’s reusable. For more accurate readings it’s recommendable to try the ketonix. It’s more reliable and gives the exact results. Ketonix is measured in parts per million. Measurement is conducted from 1 parts per meter to over 1250 parts per meter. Some ketonix devices blink in frequencies depending on the levels of BrAce ppm in the blood.

What are the pros and cons of a breathe meter?

Pros
  • It’s reusable
  • It’s accurate
  • It’s one time purchase.
Cons
  • It’s expensive.
  • It requires a computer in addition to the breath meter.

What are the best ketosis levels and readings?

Ketone levels differ depending on the number of ketones produced and released in the blood. Weight is quickly lost if the levels of ketone are high in the blood. Since blood meters are more accurate we will use the readings that are obtained from it.

  • Light ketosis readings range between: 0.5 mmol/L-0.8mmol/L.
  • Medium ketosis readings range from: 0.9 mmol/L-1.4mmol/L
  • Deep ketosis readings range between:1.5mmo/Ll-3.0 mmolL

Deep ketosis is the best for weight loss. The best keto readings are in between 2.5 to 3.0 mark. At 3.0 mark it means you are in deep ketosis which is highly recommendable.

If the range reaches 6.0 mmol/L and over then this can really be dangerous, it may cause a condition known as ketoacidosis. This condition is alarming and requires immediate medical attention.

Overall, blood meters are the best because they give out the exact results. They are reliable and initially way cheaper compared to breath meters.

Those people that have diabetes should opt for this method because it will give them the real measurements quickly informing them about their levels of ketosis.