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Best Ketone Supplements

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Last Updated: Feb 16, 2022

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Ketone supplements — also known as exogenous ketones — have become a popular choice within the keto community. Manufacturers promise that these dietary supplements can improve athletic performance, lessen the symptoms of the keto flu, burn fat, reduce food cravings and increase energy levels.

But is any of that true? In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about ketone supplements and their role in the keto diet. Plus, I’ll share my favorite brands based on ingredient quality and effectiveness.

The Five Best Ketone Supplements

To help you make an informed decision and pick the products that are right for you and your dietary needs, I have tested most of the following ketone supplements as part of my keto journey towards a healthier life:

  1. HVMN – Ketone-IQ
  2. Audacious Nutrition – KETOSTART
  3. Perfect Keto – Base
  4. Ketōnd – BioMAX
  5. TruBrain – Ketones

You can click here to jump directly to the reviews of these ketone supplements, or continue reading to learn more about the different types of exogenous ketones.

What Are Ketone Bodies (Ketones)?

To produce energy, the cells in your body require fuel in the form of glucose (from carbohydrates) or ketones (from fatty acids). Many cells can switch back and forth between these two types of fuel, depending on what type of fuel is available at the time. That capability is called metabolic flexibility and it’s crucial for optimal health (as I explain in this article).

In nature, the body produces ketones in the absence of dietary carbohydrates to ensure a steady supply of fuel for those cells that don’t require glucose to function. The metabolic state during which the body makes ketones is called ketosis.

However, it’s worth noting that not all cells in the body can use ketones for energy. Some require glucose, which is why the body can also make glucose from non-carbohydrate sources (e.g., amino acids) if you don’t consume any carbs for an extended period. That process is called gluconeogenesis and it’s a survival mechanism.

Types of Ketones

Your body makes three different types of ketones, including:

  • Acetoacetate (AcAc)
  • Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB)
  • Acetone

Both AcAc and BHB are the main ketone bodies that transport energy produced in the liver to the rest of the body. Most consumer ketone meters measure the amount of BHB ketones in the bloodstream as expressed in mmol/L. If you have more than 0.5 mmol/L of BHB you’re in nutritional ketosis.

AcAc is a precursor to BHB (and acetone), and that’s why it’s considered the mother of ketones. But it’s much less stable than BHB and easily converts into acetone, which is excreted via the breath (thus leading to wasted energy). Some of it also ends up in the urine (where it can be measured using test strips).

Acetone is the reason why your breath may smell fruity when you’re in ketosis. That phenomenon is known as “keto breath.” The best way to measure acetone is by using a breath ketone meter. I’ve been using Biosense to track my state of ketosis because it features clinical accuracy and can detect even trace amounts of acetone in my breath.

Note that any ketones that your body makes are called endogenous ketones as opposed to exogenous ketones that come in form of the supplements we’ll talk about below.

Types of Exogenous Ketone Supplements

Before we dig into the details of each of these products, let’s go over a few basics. First, you need to understand that there are two types of exogenous ketone supplements on the market today:

  1. Ketone salts (usually in the form of L-BHB salts).
  2. Ketone esters (usually in the form of D-BHB or 1,3-butanediol).

The difference between the two has to do with how the ketone bodies are chemically bound to either salts or esters. Salts are much easier to manufacture, and are thus less expensive.

The liver can convert 1,3-butanediol to either AcAc or D-Beta-hydroxybutyrate (D-BHB).

Ketone esters have been used in labs and scientific studies for a while, but weren’t available to consumers until recently. Chemically, an ester is an organic compound made by replacing the hydrogen of an acid by an alkyl or other organic group.

While more expensive, ketone esters have one important benefit — they have been scientifically shown to improve exercise performance in endurance athletes.

Now that you know everything you need to know about ketones and ketone supplements, let’s take a look at the top five products in this category.

Top Five Ketone Supplements

Below is a list of what I consider the top ketone supplements for a low-carb diet — based on the quality of their natural ingredients and their effectiveness.

1. HVMN – Ketone-IQ

HVMN - Ketone-IQ
Ketone-IQ is a ready-to-drink exogenous ketone supplement.

Pros

  • Scientifically proven to improve endurance.
  • Convenient delivery (liquid).
  • Doesn’t trigger an insulin response.
  • Lack of salts means less risk of GI upset.

Cons

  • Price.
  • Comes in plastic containers.

Ketone-IQ is the recently-launched successor to “Ketone Ester,” a product HVMN specifically developed for elite athletes to improve their performance. It’s one of the few consumer products that delivers ketone bodies as esters (in the form of 1,3-butanediol) rather than as electrolytes (salts).

As a result, Ketone-IQ is liquid and not a powder like most of the other products in this review.

One of the major improvements HVMN has made to its ready-to-drink ketone supplement is bringing down the price from $30 to $3.60 per serving.

That’s right: HVMN used to be so expensive that most consumers couldn’t afford it.

I used Ketone-IQ for a few weeks, primarily before intense CrossFit workouts or when I wanted to boost my mental clarity. What I noticed wad that having a shot of Ketone-IQ before a workout improved my endurance, as long as my heart rate remained at 160 bpm or lower. If I crossed that threshold, I started fatiguing at the same rate as I would without a ketone supplement.

The other thing I noticed was a boost in energy and mental clarity when I used Ketone-IQ, thanks to the fact that the supplement raised both my blood and breath ketone levels (as measured via finger prick test and using my Biosense breath ketone meter).

Biosense measurement
My breath ketone levels increased from 2 to 8 in less than one hour after consuming Ketone-IQ.

What’s more, ketone esters do not trigger an insulin response, like some ketone salts do. As a result, you can use them even while fasting, according to HVMN. However, since the product has calories (energy), I wouldn’t consume it until after breaking your fast, if you’re a fasting purist.

Another benefit is that the lack of salts in ketone ester supplements reduces the risk of upsetting your stomach, especially if you take the products several times a day.

The only downside of Ketone-IQ is that it comes in plastic containers that can leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals into the liquid, much like plastic water bottles do.

Shop Ketone-IQ*

2. Audacious Nutrition – KETOSTART

Audacious Nutrition - KETOSTART
KETOSTART is available with or without caffeine.

Pros

  • Developed by scientists.
  • Tastes great.
  • Gentler on digestive system than most other ketone salts.
  • Available with or without caffeine.

Cons

  • If you have a sensitive GI tract, you might still experience minor side effects.

KETOSTART is arguably one of the best BHB supplements on the market. It was developed by Csilla Ari and Dom D’Agostino, two researchers who have been using exogenous ketones as part of their scientific studies.

Their idea was to bring a ketone supplement to market that would match the quality and efficacy of the ketones they’ve been using in the lab. KETOSTART by Audacious Nutrition, the company run by Dr. Ari, is exactly that.

Both my wife and I had a chance to try KETOSTART and we both noticed a boost in athletic performance when working out in a fasted state, as well as reduced feelings of hunger.

I should also mention that my wife has a much less sensitive stomach than I do, and she didn’t feel any of the symptoms (such as bloating) that often accompany ketone salts. On the other hand, I have a relatively sensitive stomach and noticed some minor discomfort — though much less than what I have experienced after consuming other ketone salt supplements.

What’s great about KETOSTART is that the product is available with or without caffeine. So if your goal is to boost athletic performance during a morning workout, the formula with caffeine might be your best bet. Since I’m also relatively sensitive to caffeine, I stuck with the caffeine-free formula on most days.

As far as the taste of KETOSTART is concerned, I really liked it and thought that the level of sweetness was quite balanced.

Shop KETOSTART*

3. Perfect Keto Base

Perfect Keto - Base.
Perfect Keto – Base.

Pros

  • No artificial flavors.
  • Paleo-friendly sweeteners.
  • 11.4 mg of L-BHB.

Cons

  • High amount of magnesium might cause GI upset.
  • Not available as D-BHB.

Perfect Keto’s exogenous ketone base was the first keto supplement I tried when I started a standard ketogenic diet a few years ago.

What I like about this exogenous ketone base is that it’s plain and simple, and without any “extra” ingredients you might not want. Instead, it contains 11.4 milligrams of L-BHB in the form of electrolytes, such as sodium, magnesium and calcium.

If your body isn’t used to high amounts of magnesium, you might have to start with less than a full serving of this supplement because a single serving has 98% of the daily value of that particular mineral. While magnesium is important, some people experience GI upset when they consume so much of it in one shot.

Perfect Keto Base has only 20 calories and less than one gram of carbs per serving. While that’s nowhere near enough to kick you out of ketosis, it technically breaks your fast. So be aware of that if you practice intermittent fasting in addition to maintaining a ketogenic diet.

Perfect Keto’s ketone base is available in the following flavors:

  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Peach
  • Vanilla
  • Salted Caramel
  • Strawberry Lemonade

In addition to the tubs (which are great for use at home), Perfect Keto also offers BHB capsules and single-serving packs (which are great for traveling).

Buy Perfect Keto Base*

4. Ketōnd BioMAX

Ketōnd BioMAX
Ketōnd BioMAX.

Pros

  • Available with goBHB or goBHB–D ketones.
  • Relatively low cost per serving.
  • Available with or without amino acids.

Cons

  • goBHB–D formula is not compatible with fasting.
  • BioMAX has artificial flavors.

Ketōnd offers two versions of its exogenous ketone supplement:

  • Ketōnd BioMAX
  • Ketōnd Advanced Ketone Blend

Ketōnd Advanced Ketone Blend is a plain ketone formula with no bells and whistles. What I mean by that is that it doesn’t have any MCT oil powder or amino acids (protein). Instead, it delivers 11.7 grams of goBHB, a bioidentical ketone body developed by Compound Solutions.

goBHB is a salt-based ketone that’s delivered as:

  • Sodium beta-hydroxybutyrate
  • Calcium beta-hydroxybutyrate
  • Magnesium beta-hydroxybutyrate

Ketōnd Advanced Ketone Blend is available in numerous flavors, including:

  • Blue Raspberry
  • Caramel Macchiato
  • Citrus Mango
  • Fruit Punch
  • Grape
  • Piña Colada
  • Summer Peach
  • Strawberry Daiquiri
  • Tiger’s Blood (Blood Orange)

Note that some of these flavors are limited edition and are thus only available periodically.

Ketōnd BioMAX uses goBHB-D — a first-of-its-kind, all-natural ketone that is biologically identical to the ketones your body makes.

BHB is available in two optical isoforms (D and L). In case you’re wondering, an isoform is basically a mirror image.

You might have seen the same prefix on amino acids (such as L-leucine). Most ketone supplements use L-BHB, which has been less studied as far as human metabolism is concerned.

Based on what I know, D-BHB gets metabolized quicker, which means your body can use it for energy more readily than L-BHB.

In addition to using D-BHB instead of L-BHB, BioMax also contains the following amino acids:

  • L-leucine
  • L-taurine
  • Acetyl-l-carnitine
  • Solathin (a protein isolate made from potatoes)

The idea behind adding those amino acids and protein is to promote fat burn and weight loss, as well as to increase exercise performance and to make you feel full quicker.

Due to the protein, BioMAX is definitely not fasting compatible because consuming protein often triggers an insulin response. Additionally, Ketōnd decided to add artificial flavors to its BioMAX formula, which I hope they’ll remove in a future version.

BioMAX is available in three flavors:

  • Aloha Punch
  • Caramel Macchiato
  • Tiger’s Blood (Blood Orange)

BioMAX comes in a pack of 20 individual sticks that you can easily take with you when you’re working out or while you’re on the road.

Buy Ketōnd BioMAX*

5. TruBrain Ketones

TruBrain Ketones
TruBrain Ketones.

Pros

  • Combination of raw ketone ester and salts.
  • 12 grams of L-BHB and D-BHB blend.
  • Delicious chocolate flavor.

Cons

  • TruBrain doesn’t say how much D-BHB is in its product.

What’s unique about TruBrain is that it’s a combination of raw ketone esters and salts.

The leading scientist behind TruBrain (Alyssa Warth) claims that by combining salts (electrolytes) with esters, TruBrain offers the benefits of both, including fast absorption, electrolyte support, better taste and an affordable product.

Our patent-pending blend is born from years of R&D, testing with our private group of endurance athletes, and proving it on the field ourselves – our CEO Chris did over 365 workouts & over 400 total hours of endurance workouts last year, with 3 of the hardest climbs in the Tour de France (Cols Bonnette, D’Izoard, Mt Ventoux). 

TruBrain

The problem with ketone esters is that they aren’t very practical and are incredibly expensive. Plus, they lack the necessary electrolyte support.

So I like the idea of combining esters and salts into a tasty supplement that’s affordable and effective. Unfortunately, TruBrain doesn’t spell out exactly how much D-BHB is in its proprietary blend.

Buy TruBrain Ketones*

Exogenous Ketones vs. Keto Shakes

Unlike keto meal replacement shakes, exogenous ketone supplements don’t provide sufficient calories to replace a full meal. So if you’re looking for a keto-friendly product that provides liquid calories as opposed to ketones, choose one of those options instead.

However, if you’re looking for a ketone supplement to help you get started on a high-fat diet, or if you’re looking for something that eases the symptoms of the keto flu, exogenous ketone supplements are your best bet.

The problem is that the keto supplement market is flooded with products. Just go to Amazon*, search for “exogenous ketones” and you’ll get over 600 results.

As you might expect, not all of those supplements are created equal. While they might each meet some technical standard for keto compatibility, a healthy diet is a way of life, not a means by which to achieve some short-term goal like weight loss.

Because of that, I care deeply about not only the keto compatibility and function of the products I consume, but also about the overall health impact of those products.

As a result, I take into account factors such as the quality of ingredients, the trustworthiness of the brand, the scientific evidence supporting the brand’s claims, and paleo compatibility before purchasing, consuming, reviewing and recommending products.

That’s why I’ve included only a handful of supplement brands in this article. These are the brands and their products that I have used and trust, and that I feel comfortable recommending to family, friends and readers.

Of course, I don’t doubt there are other reputable companies out there that make great products that I might not have heard about. If you’re one of them, shoot me an email and we can chat.

Side-by-Side Comparison

Below is a side-by-side comparison table of all the ketone supplements I’ve tested.

TypeKetone$ / Serving
HVMNEster1,3-butanediol$3.60 – $4.00
Audacious NutritionSaltL-BHB$4.00
Perfect KetoSaltL-BHB$2.35 – $2.90
KetōndSalt or EsterL-BHB or D-BHB$2.67 – $4.00
TruBrainEster and SaltL-BHB and D-BHB$3.93 – $4.33
Comparison of the top five exogenous ketone supplements.

Health Benefits of Exogenous Ketone Supplements

I bet almost everyone who starts on a ketogenic diet tries a ketone supplement at some point. But do you need exogenous ketones? And, if so, what are the benefits? Some people even claim that exogenous ketone supplements are a scam that hurt more than they help.

The idea behind ketone supplements is to deliver the same or similar benefits that you get when your body is in nutritional ketosis.

But what does the scientific evidence say?

The short answer is that exogenous ketones are no replacement for a proper ketogenic lifestyle and a diet that puts your body into nutritional ketosis.

However, exogenous ketones can help by providing the following benefits:

  • Improved cognitive performance.
  • Extended peak cognitive performance during exercise.
  • Increased endurance performance when you supplement with ketone esters.
  • Less severe symptoms resulting from the keto flu.
  • May treat or improve symptoms of patients with neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Improved Cognitive Performance

Your brain’s neurons and your heart prefer ketones over glucose as a form of energy. Plus, ketone bodies can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and thus act as an instant and effective source of fuel for your brain.

If you’re already on a ketogenic diet, you’ve probably noticed your improved focus and mental clarity compared to the high-carb diet you might have maintained before.

However, during the first few weeks of starting a ketogenic diet, you might feel everything but on top of your (mental) game. That’s where exogenous ketones can help to provide the fuel you aren’t getting due to other factors.

Extended Peak Cognitive Performance

If you’re an endurance athlete, you know that long races are mentally exhausting. Sometimes, it’s an athlete’s mental strength — as opposed to their physical dominance — that makes the difference between winning and losing.

Ketones can help you maintain your peak cognitive performance for longer, which can give you an edge in a race.

Increased Endurance Performance

Scientists have demonstrated an increase in endurance performance in athletes who supplemented with ketone esters before a competition. Think of it as a pre-workout supplement!

A study by Oxford University has shown that elite cyclists rode over 400 meters further in a 30-minute trial when fueled with carbs and ketone esters. While that 2% increase in performance might be unnoticeable to the average Joe, it makes a huge difference for elite athletes.

Lessens the Symptoms of the Keto Flu

During the first few days and weeks after having started a ketogenic diet, you might feel sluggish, fatigued, and suffer from brain fog — all common symptoms of the keto flu.

The keto flu is usually caused by insufficient fat intake or an electrolyte imbalance, because you’re not taking in enough sodium. As a result, your body doesn’t have sufficient ketones to fulfill your energy requirements.

Lessening the symptoms of the keto flu is one of the primary benefits of exogenous ketones. In fact, that was the reason why I stocked up on a couple of tubs of exogenous ketones before starting the diet.

Liver and Muscle Protection

Studies in rodents have shown that AcAc, one of the three ketone bodies, is used as fuel by macrophages (a special type of cells that act as inflammatory mediators) and can protect liver cells from diet-induced fibrosis and injury.

Additionally, AcAc helps with the proliferation and regeneration of muscle cells which is why some athletes supplement with ketones to improve their recovery after intense workouts or competitions.

Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease

The treatment of particular medical conditions isn’t the focus of this article. However, for the sake of completeness, I should mention that ketone supplementation has been shown to be highly effective in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological and metabolic conditions — in particular the ones that are caused by a disturbed glucose metabolism due to a lifelong and high intake of carbohydrates.

Drawbacks of Exogenous Ketone Supplements

Some people think of ketone supplements as a shortcut to ketosis and to lose weight without sticking to a ketogenic dietary lifestyle.

That doesn’t work.

When you consume exogenous ketones, your blood ketone levels go up. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re in nutritional ketosis. If you’re not, you forfeit many of the benefits of a ketogenic diet. Plus, taking exogenous ketones might negatively impact your body’s own production of ketones.

Most systems in the body operate based on a feedback loop. For example, supplementing with melatonin or injecting testosterone effectively reduces or halts the body’s own production of these hormones. Consuming exogenous ketones has a similar effect.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of long-term studies on ketone supplementation available. However, based on my experience I recommend using ketone supplements during the first few weeks of your keto journey while you dial-in your nutritional needs and fat consumption.

I used exogenous ketones during the first week of my keto journey, until I figured out my correct fat and salt intake (and to prevent or lessen the symptoms of the keto flu).

Ketone Supplements Side Effects

Ketone supplements are considered to be safe, but there are a handful of side effects that some people experience, including:

  • Gastrointestinal problems: diarrhea, nausea and stomach discomfort. That’s one of the reasons why I like Ketone-IQ from HVMN — it doesn’t cause any stomach issues even when consumed in higher amounts.
  • Bad breath: exogenous ketones sometimes leave a bad aftertaste in your mouth and can cause smelly breath.
  • Breaking your fast: If you practice intermittent fasting (or any other kind of nutritional fasting), you need to be aware that ketone supplements can break your fast.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are ketone bodies (ketones)?

Ketone bodies — or ketones — are an alternative fuel source for your body. If you follow the standard American diet (SAD), your body uses glucose for fuel. On a high-fat diet, such as the ketogenic diet, your liver can produce ketones for your body to use as fuel.

Three of the ketone bodies you might have heard about include acetone, acetoacetic acid, and beta-hydroxybutyric acid (BHB).

What are exogenous ketones?

While your liver can make ketones from fat — either from the fat you eat or the fat stored in your body — you can also get them from supplements. Ketones made by the body are called endogenous (having an internal origin). Ketones supplied via supplements are called exogenous ketones.

The supplements in this review provide ketone bodies in powder or liquid form, which go directly into your bloodstream so your body can use them for energy. Most of the supplements in this review include beta-hydroxybutyric acid in the form of salts, such as calcium, magnesium, sodium or potassium.

How can you raise your ketone levels?

You can raise your blood ketone levels by entering nutritional ketosis or by supplementing with exogenous ketones.

The best way to expedite that process is by combining your ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting. You can learn more about ketosis and ketone levels in my ketogenic diet guide.

Do ketones burn fat?

No, ketones don’t burn fat. It’s the other way around. Ketones are the product of nutritional ketosis. In other words, your liver makes ketones when your body burns fat for energy.

I started a ketogenic diet to lose weight. Do I need ketone supplements?

You probably don’t. I would focus all my energy on remaining in nutritional ketosis to allow your body to burn its own fat. If you’re new to keto and how to apply it in the context of weight loss, check out my ultimate keto guide.

What drinks can you have on keto?

To remain in nutritional ketosis, you can have any drink that doesn’t contain high amounts of sugar or carbs. For a detailed list of drinks you can and can’t have on a ketogenic diet — you guessed it! — read my ultimate ketogenic diet guide.

Do ketone supplements really work? 

Yes, but perhaps not in the way you think. Consuming exogenous ketones (i.e., ketone supplements) does cause your blood ketone levels to go up. But it should go without saying that just having more ketones in your blood does not mean you’re in ketosis.

The whole point of a ketogenic diet is to shift your body’s primary fuel source from sugar to fat. You could eat a pound of ketones, but that would not put you in ketosis. As a result, you wouldn’t get any of the benefits associated with keto.

Should I supplement with exogenous ketones?

My stance on ketone supplements is the same as with any other supplement. You can use them to supplement but not replace an otherwise healthy ketogenic lifestyle.

Think of exogenous ketones the same way you think about vitamin and mineral supplements. Use them to fill the gaps — not as a way to eat crappy food and then take shortcuts.

Will exogenous ketones put you in ketosis?

Exogenous ketones raise your blood ketone levels, but they don’t automatically put you into nutritional ketosis.

If I take exogenous ketones, do I have to follow a ketogenic diet?

I would highly recommend you follow a ketogenic diet if you decide to supplement with exogenous ketones. If you don’t, you’ll lose out on the benefits and might fail to achieve your weight-loss goals. You might even gain weight if your body has more fuel than it needs.

Do exogenous ketones break my fast?

That depends on your fasting goals. If resetting your gut microbiome or authophagy are your primary goals, then supplementing with exogenous ketones won’t negatively impact that.

However, if your primary goal is losing body weight and, in particular, body fat, then I’d avoid any source of energy, including ketones, during your fasting window.

Can you take exogenous ketones while fasting?

You certainly can use exogenous ketones to break your fast. I have used them towards the end of my fasting cycle and before starting a strenuous workout session. That way, I give my body some extra fuel to sustain the workout.

However, as I mentioned above, ketone supplements have calories and they can impact your blood sugar levels and, thus, break your fast.

Can exogenous ketones cause ketoacidosis?

Theoretically, you could overdose on exogenous ketones and enter a state called hyperketonemia or ketoacidosis. However, you’d have to consume several times the daily recommended dosage to achieve that. If you follow the instructions on the label, there is no risk of ketoacidosis.

Do exogenous ketones help with keto flu?

Exogenous ketones might help reduce the symptoms of the keto flu. Remember, the keto flu is largely preventable but often caused by a lack of fat and mineral intake.

Exogenous ketone supplements provide all the ingredients your body is lacking while experiencing the symptoms of the keto flu: salts (minerals) and ketones (energy).

Are exogenous ketones an effective weight loss supplement?

Probably not. Keep in mind that when you supplement with exogenous ketones, you practically stop your body’s conversion of body fat into ketones. However, some supplements include compounds, such as amino acids, that support your body’s metabolism and fat-burning engine. I don’t know if that’s enough to compensate for the lack of ketone production.

If weight loss and fat burning are your primary goals, I’d let your body be in nutritional ketosis and burn fat for energy. There are no magic keto weight loss pills that can make up for an improper lifestyle!

Do exogenous ketones cause diarrhea?

Any sudden change in dietary habits might cause diarrhea — especially an increased intake of fat, sugar alcohols (from supplements) and magnesium.

Magnesium is a common ingredient in ketone salts.

Do exogenous ketones reduce hunger?

Some studies have shown that supplementing with ketone esters while fasting can suppress your appetite due to lower levels of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin. Without fasting, no such effects have been observed.

Can exogenous ketones help with athletic performance?

Yes, but it depends on the type of exercise you’re doing and the type of ketone supplement. Observational studies have shown that endurance and weightlifting athletes can do very well on a ketogenic diet by using ketones as a source of energy.

Several studies have shown increased performance (2% to 3%) among cyclists and other endurance athletes who used ketone ester — as opposed to ketone salt — supplements.

However, if you’re doing high-intensity workouts such as CrossFit, your body will likely benefit from glucose as its primary source of energy.

What are raspberry ketones and do they work?

Raspberry ketones are what give red raspberries their powerful aroma. But despite their name, they’ve got nothing to do with the ketone bodies your body can make (or the ones you find in exogenous ketone supplements).

Still, some people claim that raspberry ketones — mixed with green tea — can help with weight loss by breaking down fat and making cells more susceptible to the fat-burning hormone norepinephrine, among other things.

However, there is not a single scientific study that was performed on humans to back up any of those claims. What’s more, natural raspberry ketones are incredibly expensive to manufacture, as you need 90 pounds of raspberries for a single dose.

As a result, all of the raspberry ketone supplements on the market are synthetic.

How are exogenous ketones and MCT oil connected?

There is no connection between exogenous ketones and MCT oil. MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides and you can find MCTs in coconut oil or supplements.

The cool thing about certain MCTs — such as caprylic acid, also known as C8 — is that your body can convert them quickly into endogenous ketones. As a result, MCT oil is another beneficial supplement to help your body get into and stay in nutritional ketosis.

However, don’t consume too much MCT oil because doing so can upset your stomach and cause cramping and diarrhea.

Is BHB an exogenous ketone?

BHB or beta-hydroxybutyric acid is a ketone body and the by-product of nutritional ketosis. It’s also one of the ketone bodies that supplement manufacturers bind to salts to make their supplements.

As a result, BHB can be both an endogenous and exogenous ketone body.

Can you eat carbs and take exogenous ketones?

You can certainly eat carbs and take exogenous ketones. However, if your goal is to get into nutritional ketosis, you should limit your carbohydrate intake to about 5% of your daily calories.

Eating too many carbs will not only prevent you from getting into nutritional ketosis, it’ll also make ketone supplementation entirely ineffective.

How will exogenous ketones impact exercise duration and lactate buffering?

As mentioned above, supplementing with ketone esters can slightly improve the physical performance of endurance athletes. Ketone ester supplementation can also lower blood lactic acid. Remember, lactic acid builds up when your body is burning carbs at a high rate, without enough oxygen.

The lower lactic acid levels might be related to lower glycogen use during exercise when you supplement with ketone esters.

What’s the downside of taking ketogenic supplements?

The main issue I see with any type of dietary supplement is that people use them as shortcuts for an otherwise bad dietary lifestyle. That won’t work. As the name implies, supplements are meant to supplement an otherwise healthy dietary lifestyle and to fill the gaps we can’t because of work, travel or other factors.

Why have some studies been performed on rats and not humans?

Scientists often study the effects of new dietary supplements or medication on rats before they consider it safe repeating the study on humans. In some cases, the effects discovered in rats can be reproduced in humans, but in other cases those effects don’t translate to humans.

That’s why I recommend treating results from scientific studies performed on rats as a hypothesis rather than a fact.

How can exogenous ketones help Alzheimer’s patients?

Alzheimer’s is a disease that’s caused by inflammation and a disturbed glucose metabolism in the brain. What that means is that the brain can’t properly use glucose for fuel and the affected brain cells start deteriorating.

At the same time, the brain retains its ability to use ketones for fuel. That’s why doctors have started treating Alzheimer’s patients with ketone supplements to fuel their brain.

What sweeteners are OK to have in supplements?

Many low-quality supplements use artificial sweeteners that can negatively impact your health. That’s why I recommend sticking with products that use monk fruit extract or stevia as sweeteners.

Do ketone supplements contain gluten?

Ketones are no natural source of gluten. However, some brands manufacture their ketone supplements in facilities that also produce other supplements that may contain gluten (e.g., meal shakes). So if you have celiac disease, I’d double-check with the manufacturer to assess the risk of cross-contamination.

Can ketone supplements boost energy?

Yes, exogenous ketone supplements can help increase your energy levels and make you more alert and focused because they’re a source of fuel, especially for the brain.

Can a cyclical ketogenic diet help with ketone production?

No, I don’t think so. But a cyclical keto diet can certainly help with improving your metabolic flexibility because it forces your body to go back and forth between using glucose and ketones for fuel.

Can apple cider vinegar help with ketone production?

Apple cider vinegar contains malic acid, a ketone precursor. Additionally, studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can increase insulin sensitivity and stimulate glucose uptake after meals, thus making it easier to get into ketosis.

That latter is the reason why some dieters consider apple cider vinegar an effective tool to improve their weight loss results.

The Best Ketone Supplements: Final Thoughts

Exogenous ketones can be a beneficial tool to support your ketogenic journey. Just don’t forget that high-quality supplements are meant to supplement an otherwise healthy dietary lifestyle — as opposed to enabling you to take shortcuts.

However, exogenous ketones are a convenient way to improve your endurance during certain types of exercises, to fuel your brain with energy when you need it, to provide an overall energy boost, and to reduce the symptoms of the keto flu.

I used ketone supplements when I first started on a ketogenic paleo diet to help lessen the symptoms of the keto flu, and I would do it again. After being on keto for several months, I generally stopped using ketone supplements (except for testing new products to review).

What’s your experience with exogenous ketones, and what’s your favorite product? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Medical Disclaimer

The information shared on this blog is for educational purposes only, is not a substitute for the advice of medical doctors or registered dieticians (which we are not) and should not be used to prevent, diagnose, or treat any condition. Consult with a physician before starting a fitness regimen, adding supplements to your diet, or making other changes that may affect your medications, treatment plan or overall health. MichaelKummer.com and its owner MK Media Group, LLC are not liable for how you use and implement the information shared here, which is based on the opinions of the authors formed after engaging in personal use and research. We recommend products, services, or programs and are sometimes compensated for doing so as affiliates. Please read our Terms and Conditions for further information, including our privacy policy.

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