If you’ve visited your local supplement store, you’ve probably noticed the seemingly endless supply of weight loss products, all promising the world in exchange for you wallet. As exogenous ketone supplements have begun their rapid appearance on the market, you may be wondering where they stand amongst these well-stocked, too-good-to-be-true shelves of empty promises.
We’re all skeptical, and so it can often be difficult to know if these new supplements are worth incorporating into a diet regimen like the keto diet, and if their claims are truly backed by proven research. This article is dedicated to clearing the fog on the real and proven benefits of supporting your routine with exogenous ketones.
What Exogenous Ketones Are
“Exogenous” simply means “external”, and so exogenous ketones are external ketone supplements your body takes in rather than producing naturally. “Ketones” are related to metabolism and how the body works.
Our bodies will naturally break down the carbs we consume into glucose (sugar), which provides us with the energy we need to function. However, when opting for a low-carb diet, such as the ketogenic diet, instead of breaking down carbohydrates—which your body is severely lacking on said diet—your body will break down fats for energy. As a result, something called ketone bodies are produced. This increased level of ketones becomes your body’s primary fuel source.
Exogenous ketones are simply ketones you consume in the form of a supplement. You might have also heard of Ketosis, which is the metabolic state your body undergoes when it no longer relies on carbs for energy. This is what the ketogenic diet revolves around; the concept of consuming a much higher ratio of fat in comparison to carbs. The logic of this diet is that your body is forced to break down fat for fuel, which results in an elevated level of ketone bodies in your system.
These bodies are made up of acetoacetate, acetone, and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), which are produced in the liver during ketosis.
At this point, you might be wondering, “…And how exactly is this helpful for me to lose weight?” Not only does this aid in weight loss, but also a whole bounty of other wonderful benefits, which we’ll now review!
The Benefits of Exogenous Ketones
There have been countless studies and research done that discuss the wealth of benefits of adhering to a ketogenic diet, which include a reduction in blood glucose and weight loss. The results of these particular benefits have been shown to aid in conditions such as cancer, traumatic brain injury, acne, Alzheimer’s disease, and most famously, the prevention of seizures and symptoms of epilepsy.
Additionally, there are promising studies regarding the benefits of ketone bodies themselves, which are produced naturally by your body during ketosis and/or through exogenous supplementation. Let’s take a look!
Weight Loss Goals
Let’s be real. This is probably the number one reason you’re reading this article, and if so, you’ll be pleased to know that weight loss is one of the biggest benefits of exogenous ketone use.
A four week study on rats has shown the efficacy of oral exogenous ketones supplementation in inducing ketosis  and ultimately, leading to a reduction in weight gain through an increase in ketone bodies and reduced appetite.
Ketone supplements do an excellent job of getting and keeping your body in a state of ketosis, which leads to: fewer cravings, lower caloric intake, and more physical activity due to increased energy.
Ketones can work to boost your performance goals due to effectively fueling your muscles during workouts. Since exogenous ketones require less oxygen per mole of carbon to oxidize, this essentially means more bang for your buck in terms of energy needs. So with exogenous ketone supplements, you’re basically getting free energy.
They can also help your muscles after a workout as well. Research reveals that ketosis can also encourage and optimize protein synthesis post-workout, which can greatly aid in recovery.
A thorough study has shown that when comparing high-carbohydrate diet athletes to keto diet athletes, those on a keto diet resulted in a significantly high rates of fat oxidation that aided in muscle glycogen repletion and utilization during and after a three hour run .
The addition of exogenous ketones can reduce neuronal loss and improve neuron functioning. Additionally, there is a part of our brains called the hippocampus which is responsible for emotion, memory, and the nervous system. Ketone bodies have been shown to prevent damage from oxidation to this important part of our brains. This can result in protection against neurodegenerative illnesses and diseases.
In one study, 20 subjects suffering from Alzheimer’s disease among other cognitive impairments were instructed to ingest a drink that would raise their body’s ketone levels. The results were that those with higher ketone levels experienced overall improvements in the ability to recall paragraphs than those with lower ketone levels.
Some other excellent benefits include: potential in fighting against cancer, aid in blood sugar regulation, and much more.
As research continues strong on the topic of exogenous ketone supplementation, there will be more and more amazing benefits revealed. While their various uses will continue to be validated, currently, exogenous ketones maintain a strong stance in terms of health and longevity properties.
 Shannon L. Kesl,corresponding author Angela M. Poff, Nathan P. Ward, Tina N. Fiorelli, Csilla Ari, Ashley J. Van Putten, Jacob W. Sherwood, Patrick Arnold, and Dominic P. D’Agostino (2016). Effects of exogenous ketone supplementation on blood ketone, glucose, triglyceride, and lipoprotein levels in Sprague–Dawley rats. Nutrition & Metabolism, 13(9).
 Volek, J. Freidenreich, D.J. Saenz, C. Kunces, L.J. Creighton, B.C. Bartley, J.M. Davitt, P.M. Munoz, C.X. Anderson, J.M. Maresh, C.M. Lee, C.E. Schuenke, M.D. Aemi. G. Kraemer, W.J. Phinney, S.J. (2016). Metabolic characteristics of keto-adapted ultra-endurance athletes. 65(3), 100-110.
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