So, you’ve recently started on a keto diet. Things are going pretty well. You haven’t suffered from any serious sugar withdrawal symptoms and you’re actually starting to lose scale weight. But there’s just one problem – you’re getting this annoying rash on your upper chest and neck. It’s really annoying – and you want to get rid of it quick!
You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll uncover the nasty truth about keto rash. We’ll discover what it is, why you’re getting it and, more importantly, how you can get rid of it.
What is the Keto Rash?
Well, actually researchers are not entirely sure exactly what the keto rash and why you get it. What they do know is that it is a relatively rare inflammatory condition. It used to hardly ever be seen. But now, thanks to the huge popularity to the ketogenic lifestyle, it is becoming increasingly more prevalent.
Scientists have identified the condition and given it the name Prurigo Pigmentosa. This is a condition that has been known for a long time. And it often occurs when ketones are present. It’s a lesion-like rash that has a scaly outward manifestation. It will most commonly appear on the neck, the middle of the chest and the back.
This condition won’t really cause you a lot of pain. However, it will be fairly itchy, which can be very annoying. The rash will usually be with you for about fourteen days, after which it typically goes away by itself.
In one study, half of the people who were diagnosed with Prurigo Pigmentosa were following the ketogenic diet when the condition appeared. The other half were not. So, this shows that you do not have to be on the keto diet to get this condition. Of course, not everyone who is on the keto will get the condition either. It would seem, though, that the ketogenic diet is a contributing factor.
Symptoms of Keto Rash
The first that you will notice is an abundance of tiny lesions on the affected area of the body. These will soon spread and develop into patches. These become slightly elevated and very rough. After that the lesions will begin to scale and get crusty. They’ll then break way and fall off, leaving a noticeable scar. However, the scars will go away after a few days.
This will look pretty scary. The good news is that the condition is pretty benign. It is more of an inconvenience that anything else.
What Causes Keto Rash?
As we’ve already mentioned, scientists are not exactly sure what causes keto rash. The best they can do it to make some educated guesses. Some believe that there is a link between stored toxins in your fat cells that are released when you start to burn fat for energy. However, those same toxins would be released when you lose weight on any type of diet, yet only the keto diet seems to bring on keto rash.
Another theory is that keto rash might be linked to allergies. It was surmised that people who go on the keto diet and who have an allergy would have an inflammatory reaction due to the increased levels of lactose, fats or other nutrients. However, the rash is quite different to the normal allergy reactions that people usually experience.
A more likely scenario is that keto rash is caused by acetones. There are types of ketones:
- Beta Hydroxybutyrate
Acetone is a byproduct of acetoacetate. Acetone is released from the body two ways; through our breath and through our skin. When we sweat, a lot of acetones will be coming out through the skin. It could be this that leads to keto rash.
Your acetone levels will diminish the longer you are in keto. Until then, however, there is no way to reduce them. So, if the acetone keto rash theory is correct, there isn’t really anything that can be done about keto rash. You just have to put up with it until it goes away!
Still another theory about the origins of keto rash is known as the gut biome link. When a person begins a ketogenic diet, they are making huge changes to their gut biome. In fact, they will be killing the bacteria that normally feeds on carbohydrates. Other bacteria will replace these.
When you begin keto, you will have a surge in dead bacteria in the gut biome. When all of these dead bacteria are sent into the bloodstream in order to be excreted out of the body, they can cause reactions such as those experienced by people with keto rash.
A final possible explanation for keto rash is what is known as neutrophilic infiltration. This involves a series of white blood cells which come up to the surface and cause a specific inflammatory reaction. One way that it evidences itself is with acne. When you are in ketosis, you will have a large number of ketones that cluster around the blood vessels. This could possibly be linked to neutrophilic infiltration and may cause the keto rash.
It could be that all of the possible causes that we’ve mentioned combine to bring about a reaction that leads to keto rash.
What to Do Keto Rash?
As we mentioned in the last section, there are certain possible causes, such as acetones leaching out of the skin, that we can’t do anything about. So, for the purposes of this section, we are going to assume that there is some sort of link between keto rash and neutrophilic infiltration. That’s because this is the only potential cause that is treatable.
Here are some cures that have proven to work for people with kept rash . . .
Ginger / Green Tea
The combination of these two super nutrient filled compounds will help to lessen the effects of the condition.
Taking 50mg of zinc per day will help to alleviate the condition. Ideally you should apply a zinc-based rub to the affected areas.
Probiotic / Prebiotic Rich Foods
Taking care of your gut biome should go a long way to helping to control the condition. Taking probiotic and prebiotic rich foods will be a huge benefit. Think foods like asparagus, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha.
Prebiotics VS Probiotics
You’ve probably heard of probiotics. That’s simply the name we give to the good bacteria that is within our gut. The word probiotics means pro life and refers to the life enhancing bacteria that keeps us healthy and wards of bacteria. Having this good, healthy symbiotic bacteria growing in your gut is very important. It exists on a balance with the bad bacteria.
Prebiotics are the foods that feed the probiotics in your gut. Prebiotics, then, determine the entire health profile of your gut. The ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria determines such things as how efficiently your body removes waste, how efficiently you digest your food, how effectively you absorb and distribute nutrients and even your energy levels.
When we get sick we usually take antibiotics. Antibiotics are intended to make us well, but they destroy both good and bad bacteria, which is not a good thing. However, there is a better way . . .
Prebiotics are the food source to feed your good bacteria. Ideally, of the 100 trillion bacteria cells in your gut, 80% of them should be good bacteria. In most people, it is nowhere near that. The way to increase that number is by feeding your good bacteria with what it needs to thrive.
There are three key sources of prebiotics . . .
- Raw Foods – raw plant foods such as bananas, apples and raw vegetables are good sources of prebiotics.
- Sprouted Foods – sprouts are the ideal food for the probiotics inside your body. They contain vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, antioxidants and are very high in fiber, which your probiotics relish.
- Fermented Foods – raw leafy, green vegetables, sauerkraut, yogurt and other naturally fermented foods that are allowed to create their own lactic acid bacteria are fantastic foods to feed your gut bacteria.
You can also take a good quality prebiotic supplement. The reality of our modern food supply is that a lot of the natural goodness that would have fed our probiotics half a century ago have been stripped from our foods through modern agricultural practices. That’s why many foods are marketed as having added prebiotics. A lot of these products are not legitimate and will not provide you with the bacteria health that you need.
Keto Rash Solutions from the Trenches
The great thing about the internet is that it provides an online forum where people from all over the world can join a community and share information. When it comes to problems like the keto rash, it can be extremely helpful to learn what other people have done to deal with the condition. Here are some methods that have proved especially beneficial . . .
Cynthia has found that are sure for way for her to get of keto rash pretty much straight away is to up her carb intake. All she needs to do is to down a few full sugar Coke’s are a cinnamon donut and the rash starts to disappear.
Obviously, this may not be the ideal solution if you’re intent on staying in keto, but if that rash is driving you to distraction, then you may have no option!
Ryan has found that ox bile was effective in treating keto rash. This one is based on the belief that keto rash is caused by the body having problems in digesting fat. Adding an enzyme supplement to the ox bile was also helpful. After taking it, his keto rash went away within a couple of days.
Susan has found that antibiotics have been the answer to her keto rash woes. She also found that using gentle antimicrobials helped to make the transition of the microbiome in the gut during the adjustment to ketosis. Oregano was one anti-microbial that she found to be especially good.
David, any many others, have found that ensuring that they were taking in a full range of nutrients was a big help in defeating keto rash. He made sure that he was getting a good mix of vegetables, herbs, spices and clean meats. This covered a wide variety of his micronutrient needs and this improved his keto rash. You can take a comprehensive multi-vitamin to help to cover all of your bases.
All About Fermented Foods
Taking in the right natural foods will help to feed your good bacteria. Such fermented foods as
- Fermented Carrots
- Fermented Zucchini
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Fermented Garlic
will feed your probiotics in the right way.
Another great source of prebiotic food to feed your healthy bacteria is omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil is a superior source of omega-3. Supplementing with fish oil will boost your immune system greatly.
Supplementing with glutamine is another way to give your good bacteria the fuel they need to flourish.
Fermentation is the oldest and best method for preserving and enhancing the nutritional value of both raw and cooked vegetables. It gets rid of the bad bacteria in the food and enhances the good bacteria.
The first stage of fermentation involves submerging the vegetable in a salty brine in order to kill off the bad bacteria. The good bacteria (lactobacillus) survive this process. In the next stage of the process, the lactose and other sugars present in the food are broken down into lactic acid.
Lactic acid is a great preservative. At the same time, it produces a sour, tangy taste.
The Fermenting Process
The fermentation process requires just a few pieces of equipment:
- The vegetable you will be fermenting
- Cutting board
- Knife or Mandoline
- Fermenting Vessel
For our example we’re going to make sauerkraut. You will start with a whole cabbage.
- Cut and quarter the cabbage and then cut out the core.
- Cut the quarters into eighths, pulling off the loose outer leaves.
- Slice the eighths into your preferred thickness.
- Place the sliced up cabbage into your fermenting vessel.
- Add salt to the vessel. Salt should be based on weight. Use roughly 1 ½ tsp of salt per pound of vegetables.
- Rub the salt into the shredded pieces of cabbage until the juice from the cabbage comes out. You want the cabbage to be submerged in it’s own brine.
- Continue kneading the mixture to compress it down.
- Add a weight to press the mixture jar. You may place a plate over the sauerkraut and then put a mason jar fill of water on top of it
- Allow the vessel to sit and naturally go through the fermentation process. The longer you leave it the more it will ferment. For a mild level of fermentation, leave it for a week
A single spoonful of sauerkraut delivers trillions of probiotics and enzymes to the gut. They will provide all of the benefits and more of expensive probiotic supplements.
You should consume sauerkraut daily. Add it as a side dish to your breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Using it as a condiment with cooked meats is a smart idea. The abundance if healthy bacteria found in sauerkraut can offset the cancer causing compounds that are present in cooked meat.
Coconut Milk Kefir
Kefir is a thick, yogurt-like cultured drink that is made from coconut milk (you can also use coconut water). It is thinner than is far more potent than yogurt. It has a sour taste, yet is extremely refreshing. This fermented food is inoculated with valuable bacteria and yeast that break down the lactose in the coconut milk and other sugars found in vegan milks to form lactic acid and propionic acid.
As kefir ferments, it develops a complex matrix of beneficial microorganisms. These greatly improve the health of the gut microbiome. When you consume kefir, you’ll be providing your body with natural probiotic properties that go a long way to re-establishing healthy gut flora.
Coconut milk kefir combines the benefits of kefir with those of coconut milk. And guess what coconut does?
It helps you to burn more fat. In fact, each tablespoon of coconut oil will help you to burn an extra 120 calories of fat. Coconut oil also has an appetite suppressant effect on the hunger control hormones of the body. So, people who eat a lot of coconut tend to eat less.
Studies have shown that the addition of coconut oil to the diet can reduce belly fat measurement. In a recent study, two group were analyzed over 16 weeks. Both groups followed the same diet and activity level. The only difference was that one group was given a tablespoon of coconut fat per day. At the end of the trial the waist measurements of the trial group were significantly lower than that of the control group.
50 percent of the fatty acids in coconut oil are lauric acid. Lauric acid is antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial. It is a super protector from all the germs that can attack your body.
How to Make Coconut Milk Kefir
What you need:
- 2 cups of raw coconut meat
- A 2-quart glass jar
- A food processor (or a powerful blender)
- Filtered water
- Kefir grains
- Grate the coconut meat very finely.
- Process the coconut meat in the food processor until it is completely pulverized and pasty (about 10 minutes)
- Place a third of a jar of coconut meat in a jar and then fill with water. Now pulse in the blender for 10 seconds.
- Place the mixture into your glass jar with the aid of a strainer. Squeeze all of the water into the jar, leaving the meat behind. This can be used for baking.
- Repeat until you have processed all of the coconut meat.
- Add a tablespoon of kefir grains to the coconut milk.
- Cover the jar with a piece of cheese cloth, placing a rubber band over it to keep it tight.
- Place the jar in a dark, warm place for 24 hours.