Can I Do Ketogenic Diet If I Am on Medication
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Okay, show of hands.
Who else is still searching for that perfect way of eating that will make weight loss nearly effortless, boost your energy, and give you back your mental clarity?
Yeah, most of us are. The good news is, a ketogenic diet can deliver amazing health and weight loss benefits from its low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat way of eating. Which means you're probably chomping at the bit to go on the ketogenic diet - but you aren’t sure if you can because you’re on medication.
Here’s the thing...you can absolutely be on the keto diet when you’re taking certain prescription drugs. All it takes is awareness, a mind that’s open to the possibilities, and a doctor who’s willing to partner with you about your health choices.
Ready to find out more?
Let me explain.
On Keto, You May No Longer Need Drugs For These 8 Common Conditions
Unlike many other diets, the keto diet causes a significant lowering of insulin. Because so many chronic health conditions are caused by high insulin levels, when you're on the ketogenic diet you may need to reduce or even eliminate medications you may be on for some very common conditions.
Let's take a look at 8 conditions in particular that are associated with high insulin levels:
- High blood pressure
- Type-2 Diabetes
- High cholesterol
- Low testosterone
- Sleep apnea
- PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
- Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety
I’m sure you’re with me on this: these 8 conditions are so common as to seem almost normal in our society. But you don’t have to live with them or be at high risk of developing them in the future if you don’t already suffer from them.
As you progress on your low-carb ketogenic diet and your insulin levels drop, the meds for these conditions have a stronger and stronger effect on you. Thus, your need for medication decreases.
For instance, if you’re on insulin or metformin for type-2 diabetes, your need for those two medications will go down. If you are on a keto diet and still take the same dosage of insulin or metformin, you are risking very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) because the insulin you take once your blood sugars are back to normal will push your glucose levels down too low.
Left unaddressed, hypoglycemia can be dangerous. In its early stages, you may experience an irregular heart rhythm, fatigue, pale skin, sweating, and anxiety. As hypoglycemia worsens, you may feel confused, be unable to complete routine tasks, have blurred vision, or slur your words.
Or, as another example, once you’ve been on a low-carb ketogenic diet and your blood pressure has dropped to normal, it’s probably not necessary to keep taking medication meant to correct high blood pressure. If you do, your blood pressure will drop too low. You’ll feel dizzy, weak, nauseated, and may even faint.
Information For Your Doctor
I’m not telling you to go off your medications - please don’t stop or change your dosage unless you consult with your doctor. Rather, I’m giving you data for you and your doctor to research, because ideally, you’ll work with a doctor who’ll help you reduce or even eliminate your medication over time.
Though there are doctors who are of the opinion that once you’re on a med, you’ll be on it forever, I recommend you find a physician who is supportive of your choice to go on a ketogenic diet to improve your insulin levels and achieve weight loss. A knowledgeable health care provider will appreciate your information and can partner with you to make the most informed choices about your health care, treatment, and prevention. Most health conditions don’t require you to be on medication for the rest of your life, especially if you find the cause of your health problem by, for instance, going on a ketogenic diet and lowering your insulin level.
Just realize your current doctor may not realize the power of the keto diet to affect your body and improve the conditions I listed above. Let your healthcare provider know you’re going on the ketogenic diet, and ask them to check your blood sugars and blood pressure once you start keto. Then, they’ll know to check and adjust your medications if necessary.
Will Your Medications Keep You From Being In Ketosis?
Another question to consider: will your medications affect your ability to get into ketosis, the metabolic state in which your body uses fat and ketones rather than glucose (sugar) as its main fuel source. Without being in ketosis, you won’t experience the fullness of a keto diet. Which would be awful! After all, you’d like to achieve weight loss, sharpened focus and mental clarity, and improvement of type-2 diabetes.
So let’s consider a few things:
If you’re taking insulin, it can inhibit your ability to get into ketosis because insulin suppresses your body’s production of ketones. But the point of the ketogenic diet is to condition your body to use ketone bodies for energy instead of carbohydrates. That’s what makes the diet work, and why it’s important to minimize insulin.
Or if you’re taking corticosteroids such as prednisone, your ability to get into ketosis will be blocked. Prednisone uses up all the insulin your body produces, and it starves the parts of the brain that need glucose. The more the brain demands glucose, the more glycogen the liver pumps into the blood, which can cause your blood sugar levels to rise high enough to induce type-2 diabetes. Definitely not a state of being in ketosis.
And taking estrogen, for instance for hormone replacement therapy, can also block your ability to get into ketosis.
But that’s not all. Certain medications for high blood pressure and high cholesterol have a side effect of increasing insulin resistance, a condition caused by chronically high insulin levels that result in your body’s cells being unable to efficiently use insulin to regulate your blood glucose. Your body keeps making more insulin to try to force the cells to get insulin’s message - and in the process, makes it nearly impossible to get into ketosis.
I know this is a lot to take in but bear with me. This information could mean the difference between successfully transitioning off medication on the ketogenic diet or being tied to prescription drugs for a long time.
The Overall Goal Of The Ketogenic Diet
Certainly, the promise of significant, rapid weight loss on the keto diet is alluring. That’s probably the main reason people have heard about it and want to go on it. And people I work with have had some stunning successes.
But for long-term health, the overall goal of a ketogenic diet is to change the way you eat to help bring your body back to optimal functioning. Then, your need for medication can go away.
You’ll simply no longer need to take a variety of medications, some of which have significant potential side effects that can outweigh the benefits they provide.
Instead, by eating a low-carb, high-fat keto diet full of wholesome food, your body will thrive and you’ll enjoy optimal health. Maybe for the first time in many years, as you and your doctor are able to bring your medication dosages down before going off them altogether.
I know the power of the ketogenic diet. Are you ready to harness it for yourself?
*Any comments on our blog or websites relating to weight loss results may or may not be typical and your results will vary depending on your diet and exercise habits.
***Always consult a professional before making any significant changes to your health.