How Exogenous Ketone Supplements Work – Are They Effective?

Exogenous Ketone Supplements
Medical review by Natalie Butler, R.D., L.D.   

When I started with keto, the available information was limited; that was six years ago. I was struggling to get into ketosis, as I didn’t have the information that I needed before. Now, with the popularity of exogenous ketone (EK) supplements, one can easily get the information they need. Thanks to the different studies done on ketones, now people have a better understanding of what it is and what it is capable of doing. If you want to learn more about it, read on and find out what EK can do to your body.

What are Exogenous Ketone Supplements?

The ketone can be produced in the body, either endogenously or exogenously. Endogenous ketones are produced in the body by the liver due to sugar and carbs restriction. The suffix “endo” is a Greek word that means within.

For those who have problems producing the substance in their bodies, scientists were able to develop supplements that can be administered orally. The ketones present in these supplements are known as exogenous ketones, the term Exo means outside.

The supplements contain beta-hydroxybutyrate ketone. EK supplements are available in two primary forms – ketone salts and ketone esters. These two forms of ketones have shown an increasing level in the blood, imitates what takes place in ketosis if you follow a ketogenic diet.

Ketone salts vs. Ketone esters

There are two primary forms of ketone supplements – the ketone salts and the ketone esters. To know more about the two types of ketone, let’s differentiate one from the other.

Ketone Salts

  • A BHB attached to mineral potassium, magnesium, or sodium
  • With a bearable taste
  • Raises blood levels of an isoform of BHB known as I-beta-hydroxybutyrate
  • As compared to esters, it is less potent
  • In terms of levels in the blood, it is long-lasting as compared to esters

Ketone Esters

  • Raises blood levels of an isoform of BHB known as d-beta-hydroxybutyrate
  • The taste is unbearable
  • BHB attached to an alcohol molecule
  • In terms of blood ketone levels, it is short-acting as compared to salts
  • More potent compared to ketone salts

What are the Benefits of Exogenous Ketone Supplements?

EK is known for its many benefits and some of which are as follows:

Improved Athletic Performance

Prolonged physical activity can lead to oxygen supply deficiency in the muscles. This will result in increasing the production of lactic acid. Too much lactic acid can lead to muscle soreness and weakness. The supplement can serve as a source of energy for the body during intensive work out that helps reduce lactic acid formation. Based on a study done to check the effect of the supplement shows that athletic performance has improved by 2%.

Increase Ketosis

A study conducted on exogenous ketones in human metabolism shows that it helps increase the state of ketosis. This is the state where it burns more fats rather than carbohydrates. It means that the body will search for fat than carbs for fuel.

Other benefits are as follows:

  • Increased fat burning/speed up weight loss
  • Increased energy
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Better mood
  • Appetite suppression
  • Improved focus
  • Better sleep

Potential Problems and Side Effects

Generally, EK supplements are safe and effective in increasing the substance body concentration, but in the long run, the effects are not known. There are more side effects with ketone salts as compared to esters and some of which include diarrhea, stomach discomfort, and nausea. Decreasing your supplement intake can reduce the risk of experiencing these side effects.

One very common to a ketone is its poor aftertaste. Also, achieving ketosis using ketone salts is not advisable because of the high amount of minerals you take.

EK may also cause a diuretic effect that could lead to water loss and mineral depletion. It is best to drink more water and take supplements high in magnesium, sodium, and potassium to replace the minerals and fluid levels. If you are not careful, you might experience keto flu, a form of mild dehydration. This may lead to symptoms such as headaches, diarrhea, heart palpitations, dizziness, constipation, and cramping.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are popular questions and answers about EK:

1. What do exogenous ketones do?

EK can help put your body into ketosis without the need to get into a ketogenic diet. EK can decrease appetite for 4 hours if taken while fasting, but some studies show that it may affect your weight loss efforts. Further studies are done to support the use of keto supplements in losing weight.

2. When is the best time to take exogenous ketones?

It is best to take EK one hour before working out. It can be made with an empty stomach or with food but maybe more effective if taken with an empty stomach or when fasting.

3. Can I take exogenous ketones before bed?

There is no harm if you take the supplement before going to bed. However, if you want to get the most benefits from this supplement, it is best to take them in the morning with an empty stomach. Other single supplements and magnesium can be taken before going to bed.

4. Are taking exogenous ketone supplements safe?

EK supplements are known to be safe and effective in increasing your body’s ketone levels. However, the long-term effects are not yet known. There are more side effects with ketone salts as compared to ketone esters. Some of the common side effects are diarrhea, stomach discomfort, and nausea.

5. Are there dangers involve in taking exogenous ketones?

The supplement is safe in general, but if you increase your ketone level too high, it might lead to ketoacidosis. This condition involves a high blood sugar level and lowers pH level in the blood. Some of the symptoms include urinating a lot, excessive thirst, and dry mouth.

Final Thoughts

If you want to take advantage of the good effects of this supplement, make sure that you keep in mind everything you have read in this article. The effects may differ from one person to another since the body responds differently. If you are not sure if this supplement is right for you or not, consult your doctor before taking the supplement. If you want to share your ideas about EK or have some questions, you can comment below.

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