Being in the MCT game and being closely associated with many Low Carb and ketogenic forums we have seen something happening over and over again. Some describe it as severe dizziness while their blood pressure is normal others as brain fog or being light-headed but we are calling it Keto Shock and it is a term we have come up with to aptly describe something we are starting to see way too often. This is not normal carb flu, and in some cases people have reported almost passing out at the wheel of a car. In every case its been a case of too higher dose of MCT oil to start with or an extreme sudden carb cut, down to something like 25g per day.
Due to the abundance of high carb foods most of us have never been in ketosis and despite being designed to use ketones our bodies and brains are not used to it which is why you need to become keto adapted.
Ketosis normally occurs when your liver’s glycogen stores are depleted as happens in a very low carb diet and your body being the incredible thing it is, tells your liver to start producing ketones from fat as an alternate source of fuel.
Normally, unlike so many who dive head long into Banting LCHF etc, one would start off on 50-100g of carbs a day and slowly lower till you get into keto. This allows your body to get used to ketones as it will be dual fuelling for some of the time and once it switches, it is already used to ketones as a fuel.
Suddenly cutting your carbs to ultralow levels will leave your body no choice but to go into ketosis but your brain especially may not be used to using ketones and you may experience being light-headed or dizzy spells of varying intensity. We call this Keto Shock because that’s pretty much what it is and the symptoms, while not damaging (to your brain) can range from subtle to very severe. It’s the consequences of the dizziness that can be problematic or dangerous especially if you are driving or operating equipment.
We first saw this because MCTs will result in ketone production regardless of your liver’s glycogen stores. If you start off on a full dose of 1-2 tbsp you not only stand a chance of upsetting your stomach but you will also get a significant ketone rush and some of you really may not be able to handle it. The symptoms are exactly the same as we have seen with some of those who suddenly go extremely low carb.
Once you are fully ketone adapted that rush triggers what we call a Wargasm which is basically a huge rush of endorphins that leaves you grinning like a cheshire cat and viewing huge mountains as mere bumps in the road. Granted this does happen most often during intense exercise after taking MCTs but the ketone rush fueling that Wargasm is significant and we cringe to think what it does to a brain that isn’t ketone adapted. The trick is that you need to give yourself time to get used to ketosis.
Our standard protocol for MCTs is 1/2 tbsp to begin with, slowly working your way up to 1-2 tbsp over 10-15 days. We stress this all over our product and in the enclosed booklet again and again.
Following this protocol will ensure that you do not experience Keto Shock…
In the case of those experiencing this with ketogenic diets we find that just adding something like berries to the diet and raising the carbs immediately eradicates the symptoms. The process we have recommended is to slowly lower the carbs over a week or so and in all cases the symptoms have not returned.
MCTs allow you to adapt to ketones while keeping your carbs at higher levels makes them a very valuable way of ensuring you don’t have this happen to you.