What is keto-adaptation?

By Dr. Stephen Phinney and the Virta Team

When maintained for several consecutive weeks, nutritional ketosis fundamentally changes the way cells work. This includes switching the mix of fuels they use, as well as awakening genes that are silenced by high-carb diets. Over time the body refines its metabolism to run on fat and ketones, ultimately manifested by two-fold higher rates of whole body fatty acid oxidation. Meanwhile glycolysis, insulin concentrations, constituitive inflammation, and oxidative stress are all decreased. As a result, keto-adaptation can have prompt and potent therapeutic effects; most notable reversal of clinical signs of metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes. Many other disorders/diseases may be amenable to keto-adaptation. This is an early-stage but burgeoning area of scientific investigation.

Read more in our deep dive on ketone basics here: https://blog.virtahealth.com/ketone-ketosis-basics/

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    Would you please add some info to the site about how to plan for a hospitalization if you are keto adapted. Is it ok to ask your doctor to not use an IV that is sugar based? How should this be handled (I’m thinking of any unplanned hospitalization or ER visit)


    1. Virta Health

      There isn’t a standard plan of care for individuals that are keto-adapted. In patients with epilepsy or other neurological/metabolic conditions, it is typical to notify medical staff that the patient is on a ketogenic diet and should only receive non-carbohydrate containing fluids and medications. You may want to start by having that conversation with your medical provider prior to an emergency in order to gain their input and develop a plan.


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