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Exogenous ketones: Are They Allowed and Are They Safe?
More and more people are becoming increasingly conscious of their health and wellbeing. It is for this reason that they are looking for diet plans that will work best for them. Keto is one of these diet options that has gained significant popularity, pushing the demand for keto-related products. This increase in demand has resulted in the increase of keto products on the market, and one of the most popular among them are the exogenous ketones (ketone supplements).
Sticking to a ketogenic diet, to any diet, is not easy. As a result, scientists and food manufacturing companies have ventured into producing exogenous ketones to help you stick to your diet. Introducing supplements that help you burn fats without and support you in what you can eat. And that is what exogenous ketone supplements do.
Even though these ketone supplements sound like a perfect solution, it is important to know exactly what they are and how they work. This guide tells you everything you need to know about these popular exogenous ketone supplements.
What are Exogenous Ketones?
They are naturally or synthetically produced exogenous ketones that you use to elevate the ketones’ level in your blood. These supplements increase your ketone levels separate from carb restrictions. They help your body achieve ketosis much faster. Most of these supplements contain the β-hydroxybutyrate because of their ease of synthesis and efficient energy production.
How Do Exogenous Ketones Work?
These supplements work by increasing ketone levels in your body. Once ingested, they help you achieve a metabolic state similar to that achieved through a ketogenic diet. Therefore, they boost your body’s ability to break down fats into the kind of energy that your body needs.
Ketone Salts versus Ketone Esters
The two primary forms of ketone supplements are ketone salts and ketone esters.
Ketone salts are ketones bound in salts. Manufacturers make them by adding synthetic ketones to electrolytes such as Sodium, Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium. Ketone salts come in the form of pills, powders or drinks. Due to their composition, they increase the level of electrolytes in the body. They should be used in moderation as they could affect your kidneys.
Ketone esters are ketone bodies, usually BHB, bound to 1,3 butanediol, an alcohol molecule. They are mainly in liquid form and only a few of them are available on the market. Compared to other ketone supplements, they are expensive and have an unpleasant taste. The effects of ketone esters last longer than of ketone salts.
To get a clear understanding of the effectiveness of ketone supplements, a study was conducted in 2017 to investigate their effects on human metabolism.
This research tested 15 healthy participants who were to consume drinks containing either ketone salts or esters. In both cases, the participants achieved ketosis. What Are the Claimed Benefits of Ketone Supplements?
Ketone supplements have several benefits, which include:
- Weight Loss
The main reason why people choose a ketogenic diet is to lose weight. Although ketone supplements are not a magical way of weight loss, they help your body burn excess fats. When in this state, your body breaks down excess fat to produce the energy needed to run other body activities. If you find it hard sticking to your keto routine, you may consider taking these supplements to achieve your desired results.
- Improves Athletic Performance
When you engage in energetic physical activities, the supply of oxygen to your body muscles can be limited. This causes the production of lactic acid, which leaves your muscles feeling weak and sore. Ketone supplements help to increase the ketone levels in your blood, which allows for your metabolism to perform even with a low oxygen supply. The metabolism helps in keeping you active and improving your athletic performance.
- Suppress Appetite
Ingesting ketone supplements reduces the release of Ghrelin, a hormone that initiates the hunger feeling. With the reduced appetite, you will eat less which contributes to your weight loss journey. If you want to reduce your tendency to eat, try ketone supplements.
Other benefits of ketone supplements include reduced symptoms of keto flu and improved mental health.
Do Ketone Supplements Work to Bring Your Body Back into Ketosis?
Yes, ketone supplements work to bring back your body into ketosis. However, you should not depend solely on them; instead, you should view them as supplements to speed up this process. Although the supplements will help you achieve this metabolic state without restricting your carb intake, it is important to maintain a healthy keto diet. Combining a ketogenic diet with the ketone supplements helps achieve the desired results.
The Potential Downsides of Using Ketone Supplements
Beside the multiple advantages to your body, it is also important to know about the drawbacks of ketone supplements which are:
Electrolyte Imbalance: Ketone supplements help your body break down fats into energy, a natural diuretic process. If your body is not used to being in such a state by consuming a low-carb diet, you can experience dehydration or electrolyte deficiency. Therefore, it is important that you keep drinking plenty of water to avoid this.
Gastro-Intestinal Discomfort: Some supplements, mostly when consumed in high doses, can cause gastro-intestinal discomfort.
Bad Breath: Supplements and especially the ketone esters have an unpleasant smell, which leaves you with a bad breath after consuming them. You may chew a piece of gum to avoid a bad breath.
Overpriced: Ketone supplements are expensive. In most cases, ketone esters are very expensive, while ketone salts are a bit cheaper but still affect your budget.
Contains Calories: You should be aware that ketone supplements contain a considerable amount of calories. Therefore, if you regularly use these supplements, the calories may accumulate in your body, increasing the likelihood that the calories you consume from other foods will be converted into unhealthy fats.
Short-lived Benefits: Although they help your body breakdown excess fats much faster, their effects are short-lived. Scientists believe that their effects last in the body for about 3-6 hours depending on your level of activity, diet and ability to burn ketones.
Are They Safe, and How Should You Take Them?
Ketone supplements are safe for consumption, but you should first get advice from your doctor if you have an underlying condition such as blood pressure, heart, and kidney diseases. You should always take the supplements in moderation in order to avoid interference with the normal functioning of your body. In addition, make sure you consume a lot of water to keep your body hydrated.
There is no set time when you should take your supplements. Most people take them when they are fasting. Others take them early in the morning after waking up. While others consume them before engaging in strenuous activity. Therefore, you should plan when to take them depending on your activity and meal schedule.
Ketone supplements are a great benefit for people on their weight loss journey and that want to boost their athletic performance. However, you should not stop with your keto diet when you take ketone supplements. The supplements are an addition and only speed up the breakdown of excess fats; therefore, you should combine them with a healthy keto diet to achieve maximum benefits. And do make sure that you consult your doctor before starting on keto supplements.