Keto And Hormones: Reasons to Test Hormones Before Going Keto

  • July 26, 2022

Before recommending any major dietary changes — including a ketogenic diet — it’s best for patients to get a baseline assessment of their current health. This may include a comprehensive metabolic panel as well as updated weight and blood pressure readings. Of course, you’ll also order panels related to any illnesses or long-term health conditions they are managing, such as heart disease or an autoimmune disease. 

However, one area patients may not think to evaluate is their hormone levels and functioning. Here’s what you need to know about ketogenic diets, why it’s a good idea to recommend hormone testing before suggesting a keto diet, and which tests to consider.

Breaking Down the Keto Diet

Every few years a specific dietary plan makes headlines. Right now the ketogenic, or ‘keto’ low-carb diet is in the spotlight. According to a study in the Journal of Postgraduate Medicine (JPGM), keto diet followers focus on a high-fat diet with adequate protein and low consumption of carbohydrates. This approach triggers the body to go into a state of ketosis, a metabolic process where the body burns stored fats for energy since there isn’t enough glucose from carbohydrates being consumed.

It’s worth reminding patients that not all fats are created equal. MindBodyGreen suggests keto dieters consume healthy fats in the form of avocados, butter, coconut oil, nuts, olives, olive oil, and seeds for 75 percent of their daily calories. 

Carb intake should be limited to 20 to 50 grams per day — or roughly 5 percent of daily calories. Swap out the rice and potatoes for low-carb vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and beet greens.

Finally, proteins should make up about 20 percent of a keto dietary plan. Opt for lean proteins such as beans, chicken, salmon, or lentils.

Health Benefits of a Keto Diet

The keto diet has proven to be beneficial for the management of epilepsy, diabetes (glycemic control), obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and other endocrine disorders. It’s also helpful in maintaining good health of the heart (cholesterol reduction), central nervous system, and respiratory system. Going keto reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and osteoporosis.

Weight loss patients may also inquire about the efficacy and safety of trying a keto diet to manage obesity. 

As for hormones, a keto diet can help reset sex hormone imbalance (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone), regulate insulin production, and balance adrenal gland functioning. Because of this, consider looking closer at hormonal balance as part of your diagnostics and ordering hormone level tests to align with your treatment plan.

Reasons to Conduct Hormonal Testing for Keto Patients

Before giving your patient the green light to shift their meal planning to keto, explain that it’s best to schedule preliminary, baseline hormone testing to ensure this is a beneficial, safe and healthy option for their specific system at this time. Promote these top benefits:

  • Get a baseline metabolic picture of the patient. Have they been experiencing weight loss? Weight gain? A new health issue or diagnosis? Ordering a baseline hormone panel will help you determine if recommending a keto diet for medical purposes makes sense.
  • Keto makes the body more insulin sensitive. If the patient has type-2 diabetes, is hypoglycemic, or has other issues with blood sugar levels (including insulin resistance), keto should be monitored closely. A ketogenic diet can help stabilize and balance insulin production and use. This leads to better body weight management (fat loss), fewer cravings, and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Testing insulin levels regularly can help monitor the progress and success of a new dietary plan.
  • Keto affects estrogen levels in women. Testing of this hormone should be done before and during a keto diet protocol. Does the patient have estrogen dominance or low progesterone? Menopause or perimenopause complications? Difficult to manage PMS or menstrual cycles? Keto can reduce estrogen levels, in turn helping to reduce unwanted weight gain in the form of body fat, low energy levels, hot flashes, bone loss, mood swings, and low libido.
  • Keto helps support normal cortisol production from the adrenal glands. Testing adrenal functioning can help determine if the stress hormone cortisol is high, and in turn is negatively affecting the balance of sex hormones, blood sugars, sex drive, thyroid function, and creating an increase in mental stress. High cortisol levels can also lead to muscle loss and mental health problems, including burnout.

Testing Options for Keto Patients

As you determine if a keto diet would benefit your patient, consider one of the following test panels:

Advanced Hormone Testing (Female and Male specific tests) 

Wellness Health Screens (Female and Male specific tests)

Weight Loss (Basic and Plus Panel)

Access Medical Labs is your trusted partner in precision diagnostic lab testing of blood, saliva, urine, and swab samples. We offer 24-48 hour turnaround times for our holistic health and wellness clinic partners. Learn more about our personalized services and testing solutions here.

More About Dr. Ghen

Mitchell Ghen, DO, Ph.D

Mitchell Ghen, DO, Ph.D. has 33 years of experience in Anti-Aging and holistic and integrative medicine. Along with his work in nutritional medicine, “Dr. Mitch” has a remarkable amount of experience as an expert clinician and researcher in the field of stem cell transplantation.

In addition to being a physician, Dr. Mitch holds a Master’s Degree in Biomechanical Trauma and has a Ph.D. in nutrition and psychoneuroimmunology. He is an international lecturer on oral and IV nutrition and stem cell transplantation and is recognized as one of the premier teachers at conferences and seminars on integrative medicine. His private practice is in Boca Raton, Florida.

Dr. Mitch’s vast academic knowledge, coupled with his entertaining delivery, makes him one of the most sought after personalities in his field. Currently, he is a medical director for several Natural Medicine companies and a consultant for physicians worldwide, teaching them how to implement integrative medicine into their practices.

He is the co-author of four textbooks including the “Advance Guide to Longevity Medicine,” “The Ghen and Raine’s Guide to Compounding Pharmaceuticals,” “The Anti-Aging Physicians’ Handbook for Compounding Pharmaceuticals,” and “The Essentials and Science of IV Parenteral Medicine.”