Ketosis (Reprogramming the Bodies Operating System)
You See, our marvelous human body has the capability to harness energy from nearly anything we eat. However, it does have preferences, favoring glucose over other energy sources. But an individual can consciously initiate a shift from glucose utilization to fat utilization, and that is what the ketogenic diet takes advantage of.
The body can adapt and refocus fat metabolism to provide energy needed by the body, particularly the brain. It just seems like when the operating system of a mobile device is changed from the default (the one made by the manufacturer). And to think that we are living in a world of ‘Alternative Energy Supply’, the brain is simply forced to go ….Alternative too.
After a normal carbohydrate meal, the body breaks the carbs down into glucose, which is then used for energy by the body cells. Excess glucose is stored away in the muscles and liver as glycogen and as fat. Conversely, fat is a concentrated source of energy, and after a fatty meal, dietary fat is broken down into fatty acids and glycerol.
Thus, when carbohydrate intake is limited, glucose becomes unavailable as the body’s fuel, energy utilization by the body must then be obtained from breaking down of fatty acids derived from a high-fat meal. When fatty acids are broken down in excess, ketone bodies (namely; Acetoacetate, β-Hydroxy butyrate and Acetone) are produced. This process takes place in the liver. Consequently, when we are on a very low-carb and very high-fat diet, the liver ‘switches from an organ of carbohydrate utilization and fatty acid synthesis to one of fatty acid oxidation and ketone body production’.
In the absence of sufficient glucose, the brain uses ketones (derived from breakdown of fatty acids) for fuel, because, unlike most other tissues, the brain cannot utilize fatty acids for energy. Elevated ketone bodies in the blood is termed ‘ketosis’.
Acetone is one of the ketone bodies produced in the body, but it is produced in small quantities and therefore not used by the body. On the other hand, acetoacetate and β-Hydroxy butyrate are used up by the system for energy production). Ketone bodies are acidic in nature, thus they continuously release H+ ions into the blood. On the other hand, the alkali reserve of the body (HCO3–) serves to neutralize the acid, maintaining an acid-base balance. But when large amounts of ketone bodies accumulate, the body’s concentration of HCO3– is overwhelmed resulting to very low pH levels (ketoacidosis).
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