The ketogenic diet is a famous diet that has been tried and tested by many people worldwide. Even if individuals don’t have personal experiences, they are sure to know someone who has tried the keto diet. But what about exogenous ketones that impact health and performance?
Ketones are metabolites of fat oxidation or in simple terms, are produced when the body burns fat for energy or fuel. Their utmost importance lies in providing fuel to the brain as the brain can make use of only glucose and ketone bodies for energy. The brain usually relies on carbs as a substrate compared to lipids and during starvation, lipids are used to sustain brain functioning via these ketone bodies.
Carbs and glucose are primary energy providers to human body. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which ketone bodies act as primary energy providers to the body in comparison to the glycolysis state in which blood glucose provides energy. The primary ketone bodies used for energy include acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate.
Nutritional ketosis is the state of increased ketone levels in the body that is feasible through multiple ways such as fasting, by consuming a low-carbohydrate diet (less than 50 grams daily), exercising for a long time without carbs or by consuming exogenous ketones. We call it exogenous as we are taking a product that has been produced outside the human body. It is important to note that the terms ketosis and ketogenic have slightly different meanings. Ketosis is increased blood-ketone levels either from endogenous (produced in the liver) or exogenous (taken as supplement) ketones. Ketogenic is the existence of elevated ketone bodies as a result of following a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet and the ketogenic diet is the best example. Read more about this diet, its advantages and side effects at www.firsteatright.com.
There are two variations of exogenous ketones-salt and esters (mono- and di-esters). Ketone salts that are reasonably priced have mild impact on ketone levels raising the blood ketone levels to around 1 mmol and having a high salt load. Ketone esters, on the other hand, have a significant impact on blood ketones raising blood ketone levels to 3-4 mmol within 20 to 30 minutes of ingestion.
Impact of Exogenous Ketones
The impact of exogenous ketones on endurance performance is interesting as two important studies on this prove contrasting results-one shows positive effects and the other showed negative effects, but one has to remember that the protocols used for testing purpose varied significantly. Exogenous ketones are advantageous when there is overall improvement in substrate metabolism and prove beneficial in numerous ways:
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