Ketones are a fundamentally different fuel source than the carbohydrates, fat, and protein that our bodies typically rely on for energy. A highly efficient energy source, the body produces ketones when pushed to its limits - either during extreme carb restrictionHallberg2018 or after heavy exercise.Noakes2006
Ketosis is generally defined as elevated blood ketone levels greater than 0.5mM.Hallberg2018 There are two types of blood ketones: endogenous and exogenous ketones. Both ultimately can get you into a state of ketosis, albeit through very different methods.
The three primary ketone bodies are beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), acetone, and acetoacetate (AcAc). Most exogenous ketones products utilize BHB rather than AcAc because BHB is more stable and easier to make into a sellable product. Acetone, on the other hand, is considered to be a waste product of fatty acid breakdown.
Ketone salts typically come as a powder containing BHB bound to a mineral salt (usually either sodium, potassium, or calcium) or amino acid (like lysine or arginine). These powdered BHB salts are commonly dissolved in liquid to be consumed in drink form.
Many studies have been conducted in ratsKesl2016,Ari2016,Caminhotto2017 and have shown relatively low levels of BHB in the blood. Human studies showed similar results, with clinical trials reporting blood BHB levels of 0.6 - 1 mM after ketone salt drinks.Rodger2017,Omalley2017,Stubbs2017
One recent study in young adults illustrated the differences between salts and esters (more on these later) acutely: ketone salts provided a peak D-BHB of 1 mM whereas the same amount of BHB in a ketone ester raised blood BHB levels to 2.8 mM.Stubbs2017
For performance, data has been mixed at best. Four studies investigated the effects of ketone salts in athletes (total n = 22) with none of the studies finding significant improvements in performance markers.Rodger2017,Omalley2017,Evans2018,Waldman2017 In one study, performance actually decreased by 7%, and GI distress (ranging from nausea to diarrhoea to vomiting) was reported in a high percentage of athletes.Evans2018,Fischer2018
High salt intake is linked to hypertension, cardiovascular disease and even stomach cancer.Strazzullo2009 The 2015 - 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 2,300mg of salt consumption a day; but most Americans consume 3,400mg daily. Some ketone salt products contain nearly 70% of the recommended daily allowance of sodium in a single serving.
MCTs exist naturally in some foods such as coconut oil and dairy products. But a high amount is required to increase blood BHB. Studies on MCT supplements report that blood ketone levels following MCT use were relatively low (0.5 - 1mM).Henderson2009 However, the consumption of large amounts of MCTs can cause gastrointestinal side distress.Henderson2009,Ivy1980 Additionally, people who are trying to lose weight should watch out for MCTs (specially if supplementing with MCT powders) as they are highly caloric.
There are a couple of types of ketone esters being developed and sold right now with each affecting the body differently. H.V.M.N.'s Ketone 1.0 was the world's first commercially available ketone ester, creating a new market for these products when it was first released in 2017.
The D-BHB monoester raises blood ketones to exceptional well, roughly a 3 - 6 mM increase within 30 minutes of consumption.Stubbs2017,Clarke2012,Shivva2016,Cox2016 This means you enter into a state of ketosis faster than other products currently on the market. It was developed over the course of 15+ years by DARPA, the NIH, and University of Oxford.
Ketone esters have proved beneficial for endurance performance also.Holdsworth2017,Cox2016 Athletes using ketone ester drinks before a workout reported no major side effects hindering performance. This is in contrast to ketone salts and the acetoacetate diester which have reported side effects (GI issues) that hampered performance.Leckey2017 There have been published clinical trials in humans demonstrating the efficacy of ketone ester drinks on improving performance, recovery and several health outcomes such as appetite control,Stubbs2017 blood glucose managementMyette2018 and even neurodegenerative disease.Newport2015
There are a couple of types of ketone esters being developed and sold right now, with each affecting the body differently. H.V.M.N.'s Ketone 1.0 was the world's first commercially available ketone ester, creating a new market for these products when it was first released in 2017.
Now, there is a new form of exogenous ketone available to enhance performance, sharpen focus, and provide sustained, clean energy: H.V.M.N. Ketone 2.0. This concentrate offers the same benefits as ketone esters, but at a lower cost per serving and with optimized results.
Ketone salts are less expensive than ketone esters and do provide a mild boost in ketone levels. They have a milder taste that is easier to mask with artificial sweeteners, like stevia and other natural flavors. However, the science behind ketone salts is still lacking, with no clear evidence for weight loss, cognitive ability, or improved performance. In fact, in some cases, performance decreased due to overwhelmingly negative side effects.
After we develop an understanding of ketosis and ketone supplements from each angle, you will be able to determine if exogenous ketones are worth your money and which ketone supplement may be best for you.
Ketone production was once a lifesaving feat that helped our ancestors survive famines, but now we intentionally use ketones for their unique health benefits (e.g., increased mental clarity, decreased fatigue, reduced appetite, and improved sense of wellbeing and vitality).
In contrast, when we restrict carbs enough to stimulate ketogenesis continuously, our blood ketone levels begin to rise until we enter a state referred to as nutritional ketosis. Once blood ketone levels reach 0.5 mmol/L or more, you are technically in ketosis and will start experiencing many of the unique benefits of keto dieting. As ketone levels rise, your ability to use them will increase along with their positive effects.
Thousands of people have followed this dietary approach and achieved incredible health and weight loss results. However, the newfound availability of exogenous ketone supplements raises a controversial question: What if you could skip the lifestyle changes required to follow a keto diet and get similar results by simply ingesting exogenous ketones every day
In other words, exogenous ketone bodies are made in a laboratory, packaged as a supplement, and ingested by the consumer as a way to increase ketone levels without having to wait for the liver to produce ketones endogenously (inside of your body).
Though each type of exogenous ketone product has been shown to increase blood ketone levels (without having to follow a ketogenic diet), there are several nuances to be aware of before purchasing any of these options.
Ketone salts are the most accessible exogenous ketone bodies, with a plethora of products on the market in both pill and powder form. Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) powders will give you the most bang for your buck.
Though it is true that they increase blood ketone levels, keto pills will not translate to any significant increases in ketosis, fat loss, or fat burning. (In fact, as we will discover later, exogenous ketones temporarily decrease fat burning.)
BHB ketone esters are technically the best exogenous ketones supplement for raising our blood ketone levels and getting us into ketosis quickly. The highest-quality ketone product of this type is HVMN ketone ester.
For some, $4 may sound like a reasonable price to pay for the benefits of deep ketosis. However, recent research suggests that each serving does not contain enough ketone ester to induce mild ketosis in healthy adults.
So, is paying around $8 for a brief taste of ketosis worth it To help you decide, we must also consider critical information that keto supplement companies rarely tell you: The underlying differences between artificial ketosis from exogenous ketones and nutritional ketosis with a well-formulated ketogenic low carb diet.
Your body must go through a series of steps before you can enter ketosis. Glycogen (our storage form of sugar), insulin, and blood sugar levels all must drop, which allows fatty acids (from your fat cells and your diet) to enter your liver in larger quantities and at a faster rate. This combination of changes sets the stage for sustained ketone production by consistently stimulating ketogenesis.
If these physiological processes do not occur, then your body will struggle to produce enough ketones to sustain ketosis on its own. Without giving your body the time it needs to adapt to ketone burning, you will not experience all of the benefits of ketosis.
By supplementing with exogenous ketones, you are essentially forcing your body into ketosis without establishing the foundation for sustaining ketone production. The result (If you are consuming a high-quality ketone supplement) is a quick increase in ketone levels that will drop after your body burns them and/or excretes them unused.
In other words, if your body is already a fat-burning, ketone-using machine (after following the keto diet for at least a month), it will probably be able to extract the most out of each exogenous ketone servings.
In contrast, if you are looking for a short cut to weight loss and ketosis without setting the foundation for sustaining ketone production and losing fat with a keto diet, then exogenous ketones will not do much for you at all.
In both cases, any benefits you do experience will only last for a few hours. The overwhelming majority of your health and weight loss results will be a direct result of the food you eat on a daily basis, not the ketone supplement you take.
Although ketones and sugar provide us with the energy we need to stay alive, they can also be life-threatening if their levels get too high in our bloodstream. Fortunately, our bodies have many regulatory feedback loops to help prevent blood sugar levels and/or ketone levels from getting out of control. 59ce067264