Symptoms, conditions and causes

What are causes for ammonia odor on Keto and how to handle it?

Ammonia is a chemical byproduct of protein metabolism. When your digestive system functions normally, ammonia converts to less toxic byproducts. If you have excess ammonia levels, it means that something is not functioning right. As a result you may develop a strong ammonia body odor that comes out in your breath, urine, or sweat.

Cause #1: Acidosis

An ammonia odor can be caused by acidosis. Acidosis occurs when your body is too acidic. To alkalize the blood, your body can compensate with ammonia, which is highly alkaline. This situation may happen when you’re adapting to ketosis.


  • Increase the quantity of vegetables in your diet

  • Avoid apple cider vinegar

  • Consume potassium

  • Consume magnesium

  • If you are on keto:

    1. allow time to adapt to keto (1 to 2 weeks)

    2. you can add apple cider vinegar (1 to 2 teaspoons stirred into about a cup of water, before your meals) after acidosis is resolved, after the period of transition into keto

Cause #3: Excess protein consumption

Sometimes a strong ammonia odor can simply be due to consuming excess protein, because ammonia is a byproduct of protein. Consuming more moderate amounts of protein should help.


  • Reduce protein consumption

  • 3 to 4 oz per meal is plenty.

Other causes:

  • Keto adaptation

  • Fatty liver

  • Cirrosis

  • Kidney damage

  • Potassium deficiency

  • Medication

  • Alcohol

Last updated: May 18, 2024 15:46 PM