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Ketosis Breath: How to Get Rid of It- Thomas DeLauer… The most common form of energy used by the body is glucose, derived from carbs. On very low carb diets the body becomes starved of glucose and begins to use its fat stores as an alternative source of fuel and starts producing molecules called ketones. There are 3 different types of ketones; acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetone – they are removed from the body in the urine or through exhalation (4)
Ketones often make the dieter’s breath smell quite sweet and fruity, different from halitosis.
Acetone is a colorless volatile, flammable organic solvent liquid used as a solvent and an antiseptic. Occurs naturally in plants/trees, forest fires, vehicle exhaust and as a breakdown product of animal fat metabolism and is excreted both in the urine and the breath.
In the Body:
Your body makes small amounts of acetone. You can be exposed to a small amount of acetone by breathing air, drinking water, and eating food with acetone. Your body normally contains some acetone because it’s made during the breakdown of fat. The bloodstream absorbs acetone rapidly and completely from the lungs and stomach – can also absorb acetone from the skin, but less rapidly than from the lungs and stomach. Blood carries acetone to all body organs, but it does not stay there very long. The liver breaks down acetone to chemicals that are not harmful. The body uses these chemical to make glucose (sugar) and fats that make energy for normal body functions. Not all the acetone that enters your body from outside sources is broken down. The amount that is not broken down leaves your body mostly in the air that you breathe out and a small amount leaves the body through urine
Acetone is only dangerous in high amounts (i.e. ketoacidosis where insulin can’t regulate ketone production) The smell can vary, but it usually has a fruity (like the smell of rotten apples) smell – usually likened to the smell of nail varnish remover (acetone is a chemical in nail polish remover)
“Keto breath” isn’t necessarily a bad thing, metabolically speaking – presence of ketone bodies is a good sign – means you’re in a ketogenic state and that your body has become fat adapted and is running smoothly. Bad breath isn’t necessarily an oral hygiene problem, but rather a chemical reaction within the body. It’s not a bacteria build-up, and no amount of brushing is going to stop the bad breath from forming completely. (1,2,5)
-Drink a lot of water. A dry mouth can also make ketosis breath worse. You want to make sure it’s as moist as possible as saliva helps to keep any bacteria out of the mouth. Water helps to keep the pH balance in your mouth, too. This will limit the bad breath side effect. – using a humidifier at night in your room to help keep the mouth moist. Water will get out of your system through your urine, and the urine will take the ketones with it. So while they’re being produced to help with the fat burning, there will also be less hanging around in your body to cause the chemical imbalances.
-Peppermint Essential Oil:
In studies, peppermint oil performed better than the mouthwash chemicals chlorhexidine at reducing cavities – while the problem isn’t an oral hygiene problem, it is a natural breath freshener alternative to gum and mints.
-Sugar/calorie free gum and mints:
Can help to cover the smell, need to be mindful of the carbs.
Some dieters find that ketosis breath only lasts for a short period of time, usually measured in weeks. After this point, it seems that some people’s body’s become accustomed to their new fuel source, and the malodour subsides. Adapt eventually, similar to a test strip (3)
Utilize Your Fats Better:
Reduce fats if necessary or do more cardio to elicit a beta-oxidation response that uses fat for fuel (low intensity cardio).
1) The Causes and Solutions for Bad Breath (Ketosis Breath). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/diet-nutrition/causes-solutions-bad-breath-ketosis-breath/
2) Acetone | CH3-CO-CH3 – PubChem. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/acetone#section=Top
3) Ketosis Bad Breath Remedy for Dry Mouth. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://periodontaldiseasetreatment.org/ketosis-bad-breath-remedy-for-dry-mouth
4) Ketosis Breath: Causes & Solutions for Bad Breath | UltraDEX. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ultradex.co.uk/ketosis-breath-causes-solutions-for-bad-breath/
5) ATSDR – Public Health Statement: Acetone. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=3&tid=1
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