Ketones, Nutrition

Ketones: When You Have Too Many

Welcome to the 3rd post in the Ketone Series! If you are reaching this post first, go check out the first 2 posts in the series here and here.

We have a handle on what ketones are and how they can help with weight management, so let’s talk about what happens when you have a buildup of ketones.


Being in a state of ketosis isn’t harmful. In fact, when we are in a fast (meaning we aren’t consuming any food) we are in ketosis. It is a natural thing that happens every day – especially in the mornings when we first wake up.

What “being in ketosis” means is that the body has a higher-than-usual amount of ketones floating around. (Remember, ketones burn fat for fuel as opposed to burning glucose.) The body normally eliminates the excess ketones in the urine.

But what happens when you have too many ketones floating around?


Ketoacidosis – also know as diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA – happens when the ketone levels in the body reach such high numbers that it causes the body’s pH level to become acidic. This is a very dangerous situation that can lead to death if not treated right away.

It is very important to keep a check on your ketone levels as well as your blood glucose levels – especially if you are a diabetic.

Symptoms of Ketosis and Ketoacidosis

At the time of this writing, I haven’t been able to find any symptoms of being in ketosis…..other than potential fat loss.

Symptoms of ketoacidosis include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Thirst or a very dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • High blood glucose (blood sugar) levels
  • High levels of ketones in the urine
  • Constantly feeling tired
  • Dry or flushed skin
  • Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain (Vomiting can be caused by many illnesses, not just ketoacidosis. If vomiting continues for more than 2 hours, contact your health care provider.)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fruity odor on breath
  • A hard time paying attention, or confusion

Before you start this type of diet (Ketogenic) or take supplements to put you in a state of ketosis, check with your healthcare professional!


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