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Old 02-28-2012, 06:27 AM   #1
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Mitochondria and Being Ketone Adapted...

I recently learned something that has really helped me understand why I have low energy while most others who do low carb have better energy in ketosis than I do.

If you have this problem (not in the first couple of weeks but 5-6 weeks in.. still low energy) you might find this interesting.. I am doing some more research but this is how it was explained to me (in a Podcast with Mark Sisson from Primal Blueprint.)

I apparently take a long time to become adapted to using ketones and fat for energy because I have less mitochondria to produce energy because of my YEARS of being totally sedentary.. My body didn't need them as much so I produced less. I was a total slug for YEARS and my body became adapted to just that.

Hi explained that I would build them in just staying LC.. just staying on track but that I could help myself with bits of HIT (High Intensity Training) here and there.

Of course this is HARD for me because like I said.. I am a slug! I have walked on occasion.. and that's been not much but I started doing jumping jacks and jumping rope once a day (I can only make it like 2 minutes!). I hope to help myself so I don't become discouraged again..

My low carb past would go like this: make it to 6-7 weeks and just be so sick of having ZERO energy that I would give in and eat carbs.. I would instantly feel more energy and decide "Low Carb" just is not for me. I NEED carbs. But I knew the science proved otherwise.. it was driving me crazy!

Learning about the mitochondria situation has been a light bulb moment for me.

I had to post this because I have seen several of you over the last couple of years complain about just the same thing.

For some it's easy to become ketone adapted. Mark said average is about three weeks. For a few of us it can take much longer.

Just something to think about
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:01 AM   #2
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Very interesting...when I first started low carb (this past summer) I had lots of energy. In the past few months, I have noticed a huge lack of energy, especially once the afternoon starts.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:14 AM   #3
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Very interesting this stuff about ketones, keto-adaption and energy. I listened to a podcast with Mark Sisson recently and was surprised to hear him say that once keto-adapted, ketones should not be 'spilling' over into urine and thusly being detected by stix. He said that your body should get very efficient at using them and not be making them in excess....I have to say, I am very confused about this.
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:18 AM   #4
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That's really interesting. In the beginning of my journey, I too really didn't ever get that wonderful energy everyone talked about. That might be the explanation.

Keep in mind, though, that sometimes that energy slump can be due to a screwed-up thyroid. That's what mine eventually turned out to be. If you have been low carbing a long time and still feel lethargic, be sure and have your thyroid properly checked out by a doctor who understands the importance of testing not only TSH, but T3 and T4 levels. It makes a huge difference!

I hope you'll feel better, Daisy Hair!
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:21 AM   #5
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Thanks...I have been having this problem also...and I am another slug. I have hypothyroid and it has been a many year battle with exhaustion for me.
I have felt better doing lc...but still always exhausted...but I have recently started moving again. I will have to read up on this.
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:25 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by clackley View Post
Very interesting this stuff about ketones, keto-adaption and energy. I listened to a podcast with Mark Sisson recently and was surprised to hear him say that once keto-adapted, ketones should not be 'spilling' over into urine and thusly being detected by stix. He said that your body should get very efficient at using them and not be making them in excess....I have to say, I am very confused about this.
I think that's the same podcast I had my question in... the most recent one with Jimmy? From what I understand maybe he was commenting on all the people that pay so much attention to ketostix.. so many stop showing any trace on the stix after a while and he explained that it's because we spill much less ketones because we get better at actually using them for energy. I would think that even then when you have a high fat meal you are going to show ketones on the stix. I don't think your body can use ALL that fat that quickly and will spill some ketones still maybe? At least that is my guess!

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That's really interesting. In the beginning of my journey, I too really didn't ever get that wonderful energy everyone talked about. That might be the explanation.

Keep in mind, though, that sometimes that energy slump can be due to a screwed-up thyroid. That's what mine eventually turned out to be. If you have been low carbing a long time and still feel lethargic, be sure and have your thyroid properly checked out by a doctor who understands the importance of testing not only TSH, but T3 and T4 levels. It makes a huge difference!

I hope you'll feel better, Daisy Hair!
I am going to get my thyroid checked soon. I had it checked at my reg. Dr. but of course they only did the base test. I wish it were not so difficult to get an in depth panel done. #$$%@! Doctors.

I am feeling emotionally GREAT.. just physically would love the energy to ride a bike or something. I got a new bike and can't go three blocks. Gosh I am whiney this morning!
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:27 AM   #7
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Thanks...I have been having this problem also...and I am another slug. I have hypothyroid and it has been a many year battle with exhaustion for me.
I have felt better doing lc...but still always exhausted...but I have recently started moving again. I will have to read up on this.
Hi!
This is just why I started this thread. It's so frustrating to feel like everyone is going gangbusters energy wise and we are not.

How you manage to do HIT without any energy is another matter
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:33 AM   #8
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Even if you are keto adapted, it doesn't mean you won't spill ketones. It just depends on whether the body uses them all.

AND if you don't have ketones in your urine, does that mean you're adapted or does it mean you are in/out of ketosis more or less?

I would really be surprised if Mark Sisson was ever in ketosis. His diet is really pretty wide.
So if he has no ketonuria, it probably is not because he's adapted, just probably not in ketosis.

I think there are some LC myths re ketosis, as well, and really, everyone should be able to swing back and forth since it part of the mechanism to save the species from extinction.
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Old 02-28-2012, 07:57 AM   #9
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Hi, DaisyHair. Dr. Wolfgang Lutz wrote in Life Without Bread that it can take months or even years to become adapted to LC, and some who are elderly or very ill do not adjust. And that is at his level of ca. 72g/CHO/d. He starts middle-aged and ill folks at ca. 100 grams and has them very slowly work down to approx. 72.

Dr. Jan Kwasniewski wrote that it can take a long time.

Both wrote that the only way to heal is to stay LC, even if it takes years for symptoms which appeared during High Carb to abate.

When I went VLC, I found that, at about 10 1/2 months, a new amount of energy and strength, a new vitality appeared. Every few months since then, I notice stages of more adaptation, more endurance, poise, strenth, etc.

I continue to find supplements a great help.

Thanks very much for posting this thread. I agree that it is an important subject.
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:14 AM   #10
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Yes, it must have been the same one. Interesting to know that he is not necessarily keto adapted himself which I believe means that it is the 'preferred' energy source once truly adapted. And Jem, excellent point about ketosis being the mechanism that has allowed our species to survive!!

I am currently listening to a podcast (ask the experts) interviewing Dr. Cate Shanahan who has an impressive list of credentials. She is reiterating Dr. Lutz's and Dr. Kwasniewski's stance that it can take years to undo the damage that a SAD has done and the key is good nutrition.

I also think it interesting that she states that she prefers not to use hormones as a quick fix. Even if thyroid appears to be the problem....hmmm......not that she won't or hasn't but thinks long term good nutrition is the preferred way.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:14 AM   #11
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I've been low carbing for 5 years now. I still have not ketone adapted, well I shouldn't say that, because I obviously function on LC, but not when VLC. Among other things, I am always tired when I go into ketosis. For instance, I get "burn" in my legs just running up steps or a short sprint, that is not usual for someone of above-average fitness.
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:17 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Auntie Em View Post
Hi, DaisyHair. Dr. Wolfgang Lutz wrote in Life Without Bread that it can take months or even years to become adapted to LC, and some who are elderly or very ill do not adjust. And that is at his level of ca. 72g/CHO/d. He starts middle-aged and ill folks at ca. 100 grams and has them very slowly work down to approx. 72.

Dr. Jan Kwasniewski wrote that it can take a long time.

Both wrote that the only way to heal is to stay LC, even if it takes years for symptoms which appeared during High Carb to abate.

When I went VLC, I found that, at about 10 1/2 months, a new amount of energy and strength, a new vitality appeared. Every few months since then, I notice stages of more adaptation, more endurance, poise, strenth, etc.

I continue to find supplements a great help.

Thanks very much for posting this thread. I agree that it is an important subject.
Wow!
I have not read Dr. Lutz's book yet. It's on my list.
That is really interesting. I imagine if you spend 40+ years using carbs and sugar for energy it would take a long time to make the true transition.
It's upsetting and encouraging to me all at the same time!

My emotional state is much better on LC (not so much of a rollercoaster constantly) but I sure do miss the energy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clackley View Post
Yes, it must have been the same one. Interesting to know that he is not necessarily keto adapted himself which I believe means that it is the 'preferred' energy source once truly adapted. And Jem, excellent point about ketosis being the mechanism that has allowed our species to survive!!

I am currently listening to a podcast (ask the experts) interviewing Dr. Cate Shanahan who has an impressive list of credentials. She is reiterating Dr. Lutz's and Dr. Kwasniewski's stance that it can take years to undo the damage that a SAD has done and the key is good nutrition.

I also think it interesting that she states that she prefers not to use hormones as a quick fix. Even if thyroid appears to be the problem....hmmm......not that she won't or hasn't but thinks long term good nutrition is the preferred way.
Thanks for reminding me about this Podcast.. I was planning on listening to it. I am really learning lately. I thought I really "got" low carb and ketosis.. etc. but I think really maybe I will never totally understand. Now I do feel like no matter what I have to do this. I have to stay the course.
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:44 PM   #13
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Thank you for posting this Daisy!! I have hypothyroidism and it is so easy to blame everything I have on that!!!! Seems that my lack of energy could be something more. Off to research some more.

I have Life Without Bread and love it very much!!! I have even read it a few times but don't remember anything in there. The reason I have read it a few times. How do you Auntie Em remember anything you read? I don't. Another something I blame my thyroid for--lack of retention. I read something and have to read it a few times, then cannot even remember what I read. Ugh!!!
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:55 PM   #14
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Thanks for posting this. In relation, I too am 2+ months into LCing and also have wondered why I don't have all that wonderful energy that others talk about on this board. I've been feeling so sluggish for weeks now.

Anyway, I've been doing some research about L-acetyl carnitine, and how it can help the mitochondria in some people's bodies to work more efficiently. I KNOW this might be early to say, but I took 500 mg yesterday, and 500 more this morning, and for the first time in ages I have a lot of energy today! After getting out of work, I've been doing housework and errands non-stop, when usually I am just fighting to get through the day awake. (I was also 1.2lbs down this morning!).

I'm going to be posting about the carnitine and my experiences with it after one week. Maybe it can help others... As for me, I hope this awesome high energy lasts!
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by clackley View Post
Very interesting this stuff about ketones, keto-adaption and energy. I listened to a podcast with Mark Sisson recently and was surprised to hear him say that once keto-adapted, ketones should not be 'spilling' over into urine and thusly being detected by stix. He said that your body should get very efficient at using them and not be making them in excess....I have to say, I am very confused about this.
What I understood it to mean is that at first the body is in a precarious balance between lypolysis and glycolysis for energy. this can switch back and forth quite easily throughout the day and night. When glucose is abundant the body is adapted to glycolysis and will quickly return to it when supply becomes again abundant.

When supply is not abundant the body switches to lypolysis. Because some tissue needs glucose directly, some of the free fatty acids are converted for combining with amino acids for gluconeogenesis. The brain uses both ketones and glucose, and at first it hogs some of the glucose along with the muscles that need it, after a period of time when levels of dietary supplied glucose remain low, the brain decreases it's demand for glucose and increases it's use of ketones. This leave much more of the created glucose for the muscle tissues to use and reduces the demand for gluconeogneis which requires amino acids that are typically pulled from skeletal and heart tissue if not supplied by diet.

It's an adaptation to prevent muscle from being scavenged. that means more ketones will be burned than before. Not that ketosis is no longer happening or that too many ketones are no longer being made. Ketosis is just the name of the condition that occurs when fat is burned and ketones are available to use in abundance.

So being "keto adapted" just means the body and brain are using more ketones now than it did before, and is using them more efficiently than before. It may or may not "give" you more energy, you may stay in an energy balance because that's really what your body is trying to do, is stay balanced. Being "keto adapted" just means your body has decided to Reduce/Reuse/Recycle. Reduce the need to break down body tissue protein and fat for glucose for the brain since it can use those ketones instead, Reuse the free amino acids for glucose production, and recycle the ketones into the energy instead of throwing them out

If you body is burning more fat than it needs for energy, you can still spill excess ketones, or your body could burn the ketones and spill the excess energy as heat or fidgeting. Every body is different. But the ketones that are free aren'tthe same bits needed for glucose making so it makes sense that if the body is still depending on glucose, it's not going to body to try to use up the ketones, and that's why they are discarded.

sorry for a book.
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:40 PM   #16
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I think that's just about right, metga.
But I do think that the idea that primal, zc, paleo, etc are saying is that there is somethig special about their woe that ultimately makes them use ketones first...which is only true because there is no glucose to speak of.

The body will swing right back to glucose first when it is made available. It's just easier.

The use of ketones is the way the body avoids starvation.
If the only fuel was glucose and the body did not get it, well that would be it. Using ketones is the back up plan.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:59 AM   #17
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The body will swing right back to glucose first when it is made available. It's just easier.
I don't like to say that it's easier for the body to use glucose, I don't believe it's so much that it is easier but that it is crucial.

The body can have a lot of excess free fatty acids floating about and all other things being equal, the body is okay, the but the body can't have a lot of excess glucose floating about, it's dangerous. Both Ketones and glucose can decrease the blood PH, but it's when there is excess glucose or ketones AND excess glucose that there is a danger. Ketosis is never a problem with the body, but Hperglycemia, excess blood glucose, and Ketoacidosis, the condition of excess glucose and excess ketones will destroy cells.

Switching back to glucose burning so quickly is, in my opinion, similar to emergency response to a gasoline spill. It MUST be dealt with before anything else, to keep the body safe and balanced. if someone tosses a lump of burning coal and a stick of lit dynamite into your living room and you dive after the dynamite first in order to toss it back outside, people might think you prefer dynamite because you so eager go after it to take care of it first. You can wait to get rid of the burning coal, it's not as dangerous.

I think because the body so easily and readily uses and disposes of glucose that the idea that the body "prefers" glucose came about, when actually the body is just cleaning house in the proper order to reduce potential damage.

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Old 02-29-2012, 05:09 AM   #18
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:00 AM   #19
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IMO,most overweight people with low energy have a hormonal problem.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:21 AM   #20
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That's different, though. Now we are talking about diabetes.

All I'm saying is that the body, in a normal state, will no longer be in ketosis when glucose becomes available.

The reason I said it's easier is because the body doesn't have to do as much work to create the energy source and since some organs are very partial to glucose......

The bottom line is that our bodies are always keto adapted. It is just how the body functions....and it is normal. We all have this ability. It is not unique to just a chosen few.
As I said before, the mechanism is there just in case.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:28 AM   #21
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That's different, though. Now we are talking about diabetes.

All I'm saying is that the body, in a normal state, will no longer be in ketosis when glucose becomes available.

The reason I said it's easier is because the body doesn't have to do as much work to create the energy source and since some organs are very partial to glucose......

The bottom line is that our bodies are always keto adapted. It is just how the body functions....and it is normal. We all have this ability. It is not unique to just a chosen few.
As I said before, the mechanism is there just in case.
I do not disagree with you.

I just put out my long winded explanations for the benefit of those who wonder why I say what I say.

I was making the distinction, based on previous interpretation of "easier", that easier doesn't mean better. While you didn't make the claim at all in your post, I've often seen that people think that since glucose is an easy fuel that means that it is the body's preferred fuel and that is why it burns first over fat. I thought that idea might come up eventually and that is what I was addressing, pre-emptively. No diagreement with your post was intended, I just spun off from a line of though you brought me to.

It is not only diabetics. High blood sugar causes damage to arteries and other tissue even without diabetes.

Also, I noticed that it seems to be the case, call it coincidence, that a substance that is more harmful takes precedence in processing over something less harmful. Alcohol is processed before sugar; sugar is processed before fat/FFA... if you are in ketosis and drink alchohol, lypolyis will halt until the alcohol is processed and removed.

It's really easy for the body to process alcohol, but that doesn't make it the body's preferred fuel. I know you don't claim that, but many people make the leap from Easy Fuel to Preferred Fuel, and that is what I was addressing.
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Old 02-29-2012, 08:51 AM   #22
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I get that metga.

There is a lot of confusion around this subject....
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:35 AM   #23
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There are some things in the Volek and Phinney book on this, but I don't have the book yet.

I did find this at Ketogenic Diet Resource, on ketones. (Thanks Jem for recommending that site.) The author states that most of the following information is from the Volek and Phinney book.


Ketones are a beneficial product of fat metabolism in the body. When the body breaks down stored fat, it creates fatty acids, which are then burned in the liver in a process called beta-oxidation. This process results in the creation of ketone bodies, which are then used as fuel by the muscles and brain cells.

There are three major types of ketone bodies present in the human blood stream when the metabolic process of ketosis is in progress:

Acetoacetate (AcAc)
β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB)
Acetone
In times of starvation and low insulin levels, ketone bodies supply up to 50% of the energy requirements for most body tissues, and up to 70% of the energy required by the brain.
Although glucose is the main source of fuel for neurons when the diet is high in carbohydrates, these fatty acid fragments are used preferentially by brain cells when carbohydrate or food intake is low.

During fasting or low carbohydrate intake, normal levels of ketone bodies in the blood stream can rise to levels between .5mM and 5 mM, depending on the amount of protein and carbohydrates consumed.

In contrast, Type 1 diabetics who don't inject enough insulin, or Type 2 diabetics whose pancreatic output of insulin is very low, may experience diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a wildly out of control ketosis in which blood levels of ketone bodies may rise above 15-25mM. There is no insulin to put the brakes on fat burning, which results in a flood of ketone bodies in the blood stream.

These much higher levels of ketone bodies result in the blood pH becoming too acidic and causing the health issues associated with ketoacidosis.


Measuring Ketone Bodies

After a few weeks of adapting to a ketogenic diet, most people's blood ketone levels go above the 1 mM level. As the levels of ketone bodies rise, the brain begins to use more than half of them for fuel.

In addition, the muscles of the body use all of the ketone body types. But after a few weeks of keto-adaptation, the muscles start converting the acetoacetate into β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) and returning it to circulation, as the brain prefers to utilize BHB for fuel.

So as time goes on, and the muscles convert more acetoacetate to BHB, the levels of β-hydroxybutyrate ketones increase, and the acetoacetate levels decrease.

This is important to know because the Ketone stix you buy in the store only test for Acetoacetate, not β-hydroxybutyrate ketones.

So the longer you are eating low carb, the less MEASURABLE ketone bodies will show up on the Ketostix. In other words, it will seem like ketosis is slowing. However, at this point, your brain will be happily burning the β-hydroxybutyrate ketones for fuel, and as long as you stay under your carb sensitivity levels, you will be burning fat for fuel.

Last edited by Auntie Em; 03-10-2012 at 09:37 AM.. Reason: added information
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:41 AM   #24
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Auntie Em, Thank you so much.

I'd read this long ago but couldn't remember where it came from.
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:45 AM   #25
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Metga, I wish I had more to post. It's a fascinating subject.
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:52 AM   #26
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I loove this kind of stuff. I remember learning about it a long time ago before ever joining this board, and I can't remember all the sources of what I read so I sometimes wonder if I made it up or read a wacky unsubstantiated book. When I see someone else post It I breath a sigh of relief because I've based conversations and decisions off of this stuff and I now know I really did see it before,.

Now I just need to exercise and increase my mitochondria.
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Old 03-10-2012, 10:06 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daisyHair View Post
I recently learned something that has really helped me understand why I have low energy while most others who do low carb have better energy in ketosis than I do.

If you have this problem (not in the first couple of weeks but 5-6 weeks in.. still low energy) you might find this interesting.. I am doing some more research but this is how it was explained to me (in a Podcast with Mark Sisson from Primal Blueprint.)

I apparently take a long time to become adapted to using ketones and fat for energy because I have less mitochondria to produce energy because of my YEARS of being totally sedentary.. My body didn't need them as much so I produced less. I was a total slug for YEARS and my body became adapted to just that.

Hi explained that I would build them in just staying LC.. just staying on track but that I could help myself with bits of HIT (High Intensity Training) here and there.

Of course this is HARD for me because like I said.. I am a slug! I have walked on occasion.. and that's been not much but I started doing jumping jacks and jumping rope once a day (I can only make it like 2 minutes!). I hope to help myself so I don't become discouraged again..

My low carb past would go like this: make it to 6-7 weeks and just be so sick of having ZERO energy that I would give in and eat carbs.. I would instantly feel more energy and decide "Low Carb" just is not for me. I NEED carbs. But I knew the science proved otherwise.. it was driving me crazy!

Learning about the mitochondria situation has been a light bulb moment for me.

I had to post this because I have seen several of you over the last couple of years complain about just the same thing.

For some it's easy to become ketone adapted. Mark said average is about three weeks. For a few of us it can take much longer.

Just something to think about
I listened to the podcast you are referring to and thought it was outstanding! I wanted to recommend it here as many have questions about ketosis, but can't link due to the TOS.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:46 AM   #28
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I am bringing this back to the lobby because I am back on low carb after several months off. I gave up because 3 months in I still had no energy.

I now have had several AM blood glucose readings (fasting) over 130 and am sure I've got to figure this out for once and for all, not coming off again. Now it's my health at stake.

This is so hard for me (the lack of energy). I've also experienced several "graying out" times and totally blacked out and fallen twice (last year).

I am a week back in and working very hard on keeping up with my salt and other electrolytes.

Hopefully this old thread will help someone else going thru the same thing.

So many of us apparently take MUCH longer to get that energy and I think it needs to be out there.

Oh and well I've miss LCF so much!
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Old 05-21-2013, 01:38 PM   #29
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Good to 'see' you DaisyHair!!
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Old 05-21-2013, 02:44 PM   #30
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Hi daisyhair. I just want to encourage you to try the high intensity training. I, too, was sedentary and since starting the HIIT I have become an exercise lover. It's hard physically, but it only takes 20 minutes to do and it gives you more energy. It will also help your cells to become more sensitive to insulin so your readings should go down some from exercising alone. One other thing that has helped me immensely is drinking more water. Most people are walking around tired and irritable from being dehydrated.
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