Ketone Bodies

Tempo de Leitura: 2 minutos

What are they?

Ketone bodies (acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetone) are products derived from the breakdown of fatty acids and are produced in the mitochondrial matrix of liver cells in situations of prolonged fasting, low carbohydrate intake, strenuous exercises and pathologically in diabetes that can lead to ketoacidosis and culminate in death. The formation of ketone bodies in a physiological manner does not cause health hazards and is fundamental for alternative energy production in periods of prolonged hunger.

What are the ketone bodies for?

The formation of these is an alternative route for the use of acetyl-CoA in the liver and energy generation for muscle cells, cardiac cells and the brain, in fasting situations of more than 24 hours, for example. Acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate are not oxidized in the liver, but transported by blood to peripheral tissues where they can convert back into acetyl-CoA.

How do ketone bodies work?

When the supply of energy from glucose is low, the body uses fatty acids as an energy source to be oxidized and initiate ketogenesis. This process originates acetyl-CoA that can be used in the Krebs Cycle or in the production of ketone bodies.

When do you need to supplement?

It is important to note that these substances can also be formed from amino acids such as threonine, phenylalanine, lysine, leucine and isoleucine to a lesser degree. As fatty acids are used for the production of ketone bodies, the adoption of the practice of ketogenic diet has gained countless adherents worldwide and is made with a proportion of fat intake that reaches up to 90% of total calories. In this context, many studies illustrate the positive outcomes of a well-planned ketogenic diet in the body.


Reading suggestion:
Low-grade metabolic acidosis as a cause of chronic disease

Moreno-Sepúlveda, J., & Capponi, M. (2020). Diet baja en carbohidratos y dieta ketogenic: impacto en enfermedades metabolics y reproductivas [The impact on metabolic and reproductive diseases of low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diets]

. Revista medica de Chile

, 148

(11), 1630–1639.

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