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The first way involves measuring blood BHB. As the name suggests, this test will give you a reading of how much beta-hydroxybutyrate is in your blood.
This test involves using a BHB meter, and provides the most accurate ketone measurement available (that can be purchased by consumers directly).
For this test, you’ll need test strips along with a BHB meter and a lancet device to prick your finger. You should also probably have some alcohol swabs around to clean the area before pricking your finger and after you have gotten your blood sample. Get a drop of blood, place it on the strip, and feed the strip into the meter.
Advantages of blood testing include the accuracy of measurement. Blood testing also gives you a quantitative reading of BHB (in millimolar; mM).
Disadvantages of blood testing include the need to purchase a device and the strips, which can get costly. The test is also more invasive, requiring a fingerstick to get the drop of blood. This could become bothersome to some people.
The final measurement involves breath testing for acetone. This test device is a newer type of consumer product that measures the amount of acetone excreted in the breath. This involves the one-time purchase of a ketone breath meter from one of several companies that have made these devices available.
Advantages? You only need to purchase one device, and no strips are required.
Disadvantages of this method are that you need a larger handheld device that’s not as convenient as urine test strips. Breath meters are also less accurate than blood or urine testing, and only measure acetone, rather than the two ketones most prominent in the circulation: AcAc and BHB.
Very few studies have been done to validate breath meters or confirm their accuracy. This area of ketone testing is in its early stages.
Is Urine Ketone Testing for You?
Whether or not you opt to use urine test strips will depend on your goals: What do you want to actually measure? How long have you been on a ketogenic diet?
While it’s a quick, convenient, and low-cost option for ketone measurement, it’s also less accurate and far less numerical than other testing methods. Another caveat is that those on a long term ketogenic diet may find less and less utility from urine ketone testing as time goes on.
Urine test strips are probably great if you’re new to a ketogenic diet and want to test if your diet is actually working. Are the foods you’re eating actually getting you into ketosis? Urine strips might help you find out.
But, if you’re a “keto pro,” blood BHB testing might be the best method for you. This is also the case if you’re experimenting with exogenous ketones like HVMN Ketone Ester, which can be more accurately measured by blood testing.
Overall, urine ketone testing gives a quick, practical, and somewhat effective snapshot of ketosis. It’s up to you to decide if this method is adequate for your lifestyle.
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