Acetonemia or ketogenesis

Acetonemia or ketogenesis are symptoms that occur with high fat burning or diabetes. There is too much acetone in the blood, which means that the acetone is excreted through the urine, but also through the breath. The breath then smells clearly of acetone. Dieters want to know if their body is in ketogenesis. But how do you check this and when is ketogenesis unhealthy?

Acetonomy or another name?

If we search for acetonomy on the internet, we will only find it in articles about animals. While acetonomy certainly also occurs in humans. In animals, acetonomy is also called lingering milk fever. There is an energy shortage as a result of an infectious disease or exhaustion. This occurs in mother animals that do not receive enough nutrients for the production of mother’s milk.
In humans we also know acetonomy. However, in humans it is often not called acetonomy but ketogenesis. Both concepts are the same. Ketoacidosis is also sometimes referred to: an accumulation of acetone in the blood and urine. Another name is ketosis. All those different names sometimes make it difficult to discover what something means. In ketoacidosis, the blood sugar level is much too high and the pH of the blood is below 7.35, something that is not the case with ketosis. Ketoacidosis mainly occurs in diabetes.

Cause of acetonomy or ketogenesis

As in animals, ketogenesis can occur during lactation. However, this rarely occurs in humans because experts (midwife, maternity assistant) ensure that the mother receives sufficient and correct nutrition. In developing countries, breastfeeding is often a cause of ketogenesis.
More often, ketogenesis is the result of diabetes. But ketogenesis also occurs just as often on a starvation diet or a low-carbohydrate diet.

What causes an acetone smell?

The reason for the acetone smell from the mouth is an explanation that could take many pages, but is explained here very concisely and simply. The body needs energy to keep everything running. The body obtains this energy in the form of fuel from sugars or carbohydrates. We find carbohydrates in food. For example, the following foods are rich in carbohydrates:

  • Grain products (bread, rice, white flour or wheat flour)
  • Pasta (spaghetti, macaroni)
  • Potatoes
  • Legumes (green beans, brown beans, soy, bean sprouts)

There are useful carbohydrates such as whole wheat pasta, potatoes and brown rice, but also completely useless carbohydrates that provide quick energy but can slowly poison the body. Bad carbohydrates (simple) are mainly refined white sugar and white flour. Think of sweets, cookies and pastries. But also soft drinks with a lot of sugar.
Carbohydrates are converted into glucose by the body through a number of steps. Glucose is a substance that can be absorbed by the body cells. Glucose is very important for certain body cells. For example, the muscle cells are nourished by glucose, but other tissues also need glucose. Certain cells cannot even survive without glucose, such as the brain. An excess of glucose is first stored to a limited extent in the form of glycogen. The rest is stored in the form of fat.
During exercise, glucose is used up first. When glucose is no longer available, the body switches to glycogen. There is a supply of glycogen available for approximately 1 to 1.5 hours of intensive exercise. Then the body will switch to fat burning.

Fat burning is ketogenesis

Now we have arrived at fat burning. The body no longer has glucose or glycogen in stock and will have to get its energy from somewhere. We mainly see this phenomenon occur in people who starve themselves or suddenly consume very few carbohydrates. Nothing changes in the body for the first time. The body still has sufficient glucose and glycogen in stores, especially when there is no strenuous physical exertion. After about 48 hours the body is forced to switch to fat burning. Fatty acid chains are broken down into usable glucose. Breaking down the fatty acid chains releases ketones. Ketones cause acidification of the body. This causes an increase in acetone in the blood. A small amount of acetone in the blood is normal.

Insulin and fat burning

Insulin is a hormone that ensures that the body’s cells can absorb glucose. Eating a lot of carbohydrates increases insulin: the cells can then quickly absorb glucose. With low insulin levels, the body is more likely to switch to fat burning. With high insulin levels, the production of ketones is stopped. This explains the fact that people who eat very little sometimes do not have elevated levels of acetone in their blood. These people eat fast carbohydrates, which cause high insulin levels.

Measure acetone and ketones

An increased acetone level in the blood is often noticeable in the exhaled air: it smells like acetone. Ketones can be measured using ketone stix. These are strips that measure the ketones in the urine. Peeing over it is enough. Some companies charge a lot of money for these comics. Maintain an average price of 10 to 15 euros per 50 pieces. You can order online but also available at the pharmacy.

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  • Recognizing diabetes
  • Breath smells like acetone
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