The ketogenic diet was found to be efficacious in the treatment of refractory epilepsy in approximately 30% of patients where all medications failed. Many patients seeking to lose weight to help with pregnancy success ask us Is the keto diet good for fertility? When making choices about your nutrition it is important to explore the facts.
How does the keto diet work?
The keto diet mimics intermittent fasting diet without the fasting and significant caloric restriction. In the state of starvation (or at least the body’s perceived starvation), hormones responsible for the metabolic component of how we expend calories, is altered. In both cases of keto-diet and fasting diets, the body produces the energy it needs for daily living (ATP- remember Bio 101?), from fat and not glucose.
Why is the keto diet popular?
Keto has taken storm and certainly there are “bad” keto diet options (eggs and bacon 24/7) and wiser use of ketosis providing a blend of healthy, but high fat choices with pious vegetable choices. High fat diet makes fat the primary fuel source and not the severely restricted carbohydrates (sugar). Proteins in mild proportion to the fat percentage present, provides the amino acid building blocks to maintain lean muscle.
Balanced keto diets involve 70% of caloric intake rendered from fat, 20-25% from proteins and the remaining from carbohydrates. Brain fuel is glucose. However, this glucose need not come from carbohydrates. In fact, the protein component (amino acids) when broken down, provide the (re) building blocks. The liver becomes the clearinghouse and fabrication house for building the glucose to be later used by the brain and other organs. This process is called gluconeogenesis.
The presence of blood ketones provides the constancy of energy sources. “Ketosis” is a very different bird from “ketoacidosis.” Ketoacidosis is an unstable state and occurs when the pancreas is unable to provide adequate insulin (which shuttles glucose into the cells). It is in response to elevated ketones in the blood and seen in people with Type I diabetes and later stage Type II diabetes. Essentially, the pancreas remains in overdrive and cannot meet the needs of the body. Blood ketone levels reach an order higher than they do in the setting of a functional pancreas and traditional ketosis.
Is the keto diet good for fertility?
The biochemistry of ketosis is what makes the ketogenic diet a powerful tool in the fight against inflammation. Inflammation drives cardiovascular disease, menstrual cycle irregularity and obesity. It is a viable option for controlling inflammation and the benefits are clear. It must be in the armentarium of all clinicians practicing weight loss medicine. The optimal dietary plan is the one that is best for the patient. Sometimes, we must decipher the body’s ability to regulate glucose and nutrition and then develop strategies best suited.
If you are seeking help in eating right for your fertility and starting positive habits to increase your chances of pregnancy, please contact us. We can help you determine the best path for you.
*Your consultation is FREE if you don’t have infertility insurance coverage.