So, what are exogenous ketones? If you’re absolutely new to the ketogenic diet and exogenous ketones, then this post will be useful for you.
What are Exogenous Ketones?
Exogenous simply means ‘out of body’. We can all produce endogenous (in the body) ketones when following a ketogenic diet or while fasting. This occurs when we have depleted our glycogen stores and our bodies need another fuel source and so the liver starts converting fat—nutritional or body fat—into ketones which are then transported to cells and used as energy.
A helpful analogy could be diabetics using insulin. People with type one diabetes cannot produce endogenous insulin. So they take must take exogenous insulin to survive. Whereas, most people produce their own endogenous insulin and do not need to administer exogenous insulin.
Exogenous ketones (BHB Salts) are synthetic ketones and come in the form of salts as the Beta-hydroxybutyrate chemical binds with salt—hence the salty taste of exogenous ketone supplements. There is a benefit to this extra salt as when you are in ketosis, you lose a lot of body fluids which simultaneously depletes your electrolytes and that includes sodium.
What are the benefits of ketosis?
The majority of people use exogenous ketones to catalyse fat burning, to increase their cognitive focus, and to improve their physical and athletic performance.
Exogenous ketones also support the transition to the ketogenic diet so that you do not have to suffer through ‘keto flu’ as you retrain your metabolism.
Exogenous Ketones put your body into ketosis within 15-60 minutes from consumption.
Ketosis is beneficial for a myriad of reasons. It is first and foremost the most therapeutic metabolic state to be in and our Palaeolithic ancestors would have been in ketosis most of the time.
- Ketosis reduces inflammation in the brain and body. It has been linked to helping cure cancer.
- The ketogenic diet was invented in the 1920s as a cure for epilepsy in children
- Ketosis increases cognitive focus as ketones are the preferred fuel for the brain
- Increases physical energy and endurance
- Stabilises blood sugar levels
- Balances hormones
- Ketosis is a fat-burning metabolic state and therefore can reduce body fat, particularly if combined with a calorie restrictive diet.
The benefits of ketosis come from its anti-inflammatory properties as the majority of chronic and autoimmune diseases are caused by inflammation. This includes epilepsy, chronic fatigue, migraines, cancer, PCOS, endometriosis, Alzheimer’s and ADHD.
The list just goes on!
Ketosis also helps with joint pain, clearing up acne and recent studies show that it has an anti-aging effect. This is because when you starve ‘bad, sick or old’ cells of glucose, they then get recycled back into the system in a process called apoptosis. This means that through fasting or a ketogenic diet, you are literally cleansing your body of potentially malignant cells. Pretty amazing, don’t you think!?
So the ketogenic diet really is a therapeutic and ancestral diet.
How can you use Exogenous Ketones?
The BHB Salt powder form of exogenous ketones can be consumed with hot or cold drinks and even added into food recipes. We always recommend starting with a half-portion heavily diluted with iced water or iced unsweetened almond milk.
For boosting physical or mental performance: Just take the exogenous ketone salts 30 minutes before you plan to begin. If you are having KetoBlitz or KetoForce, these are so fast acting that you can take them as you are starting your workout and even during exercise.
For catalysing fat loss: They can be taken as a meal or snack replacement. Exogenous Ketones really boost your energy levels and suppress appetite. So, you will not feel hungry and they also tend to curb carb cravings. Because they suppress appetite, they make fasting and eating at a caloric deficit far easier too.
Find out how exogenous ketones could help you burn fat here.
If you also combine them with MCT Powder, you will achieve an even longer lasting effect with further elevated blood ketone levels. Some products, such as Kegenix Prime and Pruvit Orange Dream already include added MCT powder. And you can add MCT powder or oil into Fat or Bulletproof Coffee too.
In general, when choosing an exogenous ketone supplement, go for your preferred flavours and also take into account the added ingredients. For example, Pruvit Keto//OS MAX includes added BCAAs and taurine, some brands include caffeine, and Perfect Keto base is high in magnesium. Ketologic has very pure in ingredients and Kegenix Prime has added MCT Powder for further elevated Ketone Levels.
Remember that exogenous ketones support the transition to the ketogenic diet as well as boosting physical and mental energy. It can also wonderfully support fat loss when combined with a calorie restrictive diet.
It is absolutely essential that you keep your electrolytes up, so do add extra mineral (volcanic, himalayan or celtic) salt to your food and extra magnesium too. Keeping your electrolytes up is the most important thing to remember when you start transitioning to the ketogenic diet. Find out how to replenish your electrolytes here.
To get started we, recommend the following:
Ensure that you have mineral salt at home. Mineral salt can be pink Himalayan salt, Celtic Sea salt or Volcanic salt. Table salt is not sufficient as it has been stripped of the minerals that you need.
Magnesium is essential for muscle recovery and repair as well as optimum neurological function. With a magnesium deficiency, you will suffer low energy, headaches, cramps and muscle ache. As you will be losing electrolytes on keto, you will need extra magnesium.
Try KetoSports MCT Powder or the Perfect Keto MCT Powder if you require a dairy-free version. Perfect Keto do a delicious Keto Chocolate Collagen that includes MCT Powder; also available in Salted Caramel and Vanilla. MCT Oil powder includes medium chain triglycerides that are easily converted into ketones and used as fuel for the body. MCT Powders are normally from coconut or palm oil and support your body in producing endogenous ketones.
And if you have decided that exogenous ketones will benefit you, choose your preferred flavour and ingredients. We have written a separate blog post that goes into more detail on each product.
Ensure that you start with a half portion, keep hydrated, replenish your electrolytes and let us know how you’re getting on!
Dr Anna Cabeca
Coconut Oil and Ghee