Exogenous ketones are a fascinating supplement that we encourage many of our Team Keto Warriors to learn more about. The primary benefit to supplementing with exogenous ketones is staying in an energized state of ketosis and/or provide energy on demand. But what exactly does that mean? Here we’re going to relate exogenous ketone use to the average keto warrior as you go from carb-dependent to fat adapted… With all the struggle in-between.
What are ketone bodies and exogenous ketones?
Understanding ketones is essential to success with the ketogenic diet. So how and why are ketones made and what are the implications of exogenous ketones?
Your body makes ketones naturally under the right conditions.
This happens when carbohydrate and protein levels are low, forcing your body to turn fat into energy . As free fatty acids are broken apart, ketone bodies are produced . Specifically, beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB/B-OHB) .
Exogenous ketones can stimulate the benefits of natural ketone bodies.
Taking exogenous ketone supplements does not trigger fat metabolism or weight loss directly . Instead, these ready-to-go ketone bodies enter your cellular mitochondrial metabolism and increase energy production .
This ability to flood your body with supplemental ketones is valuable when overcoming the learning curve associated with getting into ketosis and staying in ketosis . It allows you to continue adapting your body towards ketosis, despite dietary hick-ups and growing pains that would otherwise cause failure.
Ketones are naturally produced by fat metabolism in the liver. Interestingly, ketones can replace carbohydrates in the body as a superior energy source. Exogenous ketone supplements can be taken to therapeutically induce energy while moving towards ketosis.
Beta-hydroxybutyrate: get familiar with B-OHB / BHB!
When your body naturally makes ketone bodies, beta-hydroxybutyrate is the main compound created. Surprisingly, beta-hydroxybutyrate or BHB/B-OHB isn’t technically a ketone … Rather, BHB easily shifts into the ketone acetoacetic acid (AcAc) which directly feeds mitochondrial energy production . From here on when exogenous ketones, BHB or B-OHB are mentioned… Think beta-hydroxybutyrate which is our metabolically produced and supplemental go-to ketone!
What ketones do: the advantages of fat metabolism
You know that ketones are a source of fuel, one that is more powerful than standard carbohydrates . And like how one can eat a power-bar to energize on the go, a keto warrior can take exogenous ketones on the go with greater effect.
So, what exactly happens when we take exogenous ketones?
Exogenous ketones on their own do not enact all the benefits produced by the ketogenic diet. However, they do have their place in support of successfully carrying out keto.
- Physical and mental energy boost : Your brain and muscles crave ketone bodies, and can make large amounts of energy from them efficiently and clean. This is the primary use-case for taking exogenous ketone supplements – getting a quick hit of ketones when your body isn’t making enough naturally (yet).
- Lower Inflammation and bodily stress : The metabolism of ketones bypasses several inflammatory processes that standard carbohydrates must go through. Interestingly, ketones also appear to therapeutically nourish mitochondria to perform better.
- Appetite suppression : Exogenous ketone supplementation appears to suppress appetite, allowing you to extend your fast and crush cravings (without caffeine).
Ketones are an excellent fuel source with very few drawbacks. Supplementing with exogenous ketones can immediately improve energy and suppress appetite, without inducing the bodily stresses caused by carbs. This makes exogenous ketones an ideal option for on-demand energy while getting into the flow of the ketogenic diet.
How to take exogenous ketone supplements
Taking exogenous ketone supplements is quite easy and the effects are great. This is good news. However, its important to stay conscious of our goal – to make our bodies more and more efficient at making their own ketones from fat.
With that in mind, view exogenous ketone supplements as corrective aids helping us while we focus on making our bodies into ketone factories. We do not want to take exogenous ketone supplements so often that we suppress our bodies own natural ketone production.
When to take exogenous ketones:
Here are the best times to take your exogenous ketone supplements.
- Before intense or long exercise: Supplementing with exogenous ketones can give you the energy you need to workout longer and re-build your physique. For weight loss, we do want to be burning our own body-made ketones. However, as we re-shape, exogenous ketones can help us increase athletic performance to a physiologically activating level.
- When you’re exhausted: This is especially true during your initial keto flu, however during the keto diet it isn’t uncommon to get hit with tired spells all over again. When this happens, you when you know its going to happen – exogenous ketones are an effective solution.
- To combat a carb mistake: Accidents are going to happen, they’re inevitable. Lucky for us, ingesting exogenous ketones can maintain our ketosis even if an accidental carb-meal stops natural production. This is a hot-fix at best, but it will keep you mentally fortified and not wrecked by crashing out of ketosis.
There are 3 primary times to take your exogenous ketone supplements effectively. They are: before exercise, when you’re exhausted, and to combat bad food choices. Focusing on these 3 will allow you to get the most value out of your exogenous ketones while also promoting optimal body-made ketones.
What exogenous ketone supplement should you be taking?
Its clear that exogenous ketones like BHB can be a powerful tool for those wanting to do the ketogenic diet right. But which brand and supplement is the right one? Here are some guidelines our keto warriors have found useful.
What to look for in exogenous ketone products:
1 - BHB Salt Vs Ester
There are in fact two classes of exogenous ketone supplements.
- BHB Salts contain beta-hydroxybutyrate linked to an electrolyte such as potassium, sodium or calcium.
- BHB Esters are direct, liquid, pure forms of either beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) or acetoacetic acid AcAc.
The differences between these two types are drastic across the board, and, while AcAc is scientifically more effective… We just won’t touch the stuff for two primary reasons. First, they are too expensive (by multiples); and second, AcAc taste the absolute worst (beyond bad). Bottom line, BHB salts work just fine for us, while tasting good and costing a fraction of what ketone esters charge!
2 - BHB Dosage
The ideal clinical BHB salt dosage is around 11.7 grams. This should be a staple-point number for any exogenous ketone supplement. From there, you can evaluate overall value.
3 - Overall value
Assuming you are getting 11.7 grams of BHB salts, how many servings are you getting? What is the cost average per serving? Is your product American made, does it contain artificial colors and flavors, does it even say? All of these things are important.
We recommend: Team Keto FUEL Exogenous Ketones
Well, it’s no secret that at Team Keto we make our own supplements for our keto warriors – ones that we believe to be the best.
FUEL was formulated to be the exogenous ketones supplement that we’ve always wanted to take. FUEL and all Team Keto supplements are professionally crafted in a fully compliant facility in Utah, formulated precisely and purely to be a product that our keto warriors trust.
To further Team Keto’s commitment, all TK supplements come directly from our hands to yours. No middlemen, no risk of counterfeit, no price markups and ultimately no problems.
We designed FUEL as ketogenic diet coaches to help our keto warriors succeed. In FUEL you’ll find zero fluff and only the highest quality BHB ketones. Our mission is to help you succeed, both supplemental through quality products and with lifestyle through knowledge and diet design.
Common mistakes with exogenous ketones
Don’t start with a full serving.
Don’t take them all the time.
Don’t confuse acute ketosis with nutritional ketosis.
Consider MCT Oil and more dietary fat if you’re overly reliant on exogenous ketones.
Diabetics should approach the ketogenic diet with caution and professional supervision.
The Bottom Line
Exogenous ketone supplements like beta-hydroxybutyrate have effective use-cases for success with the ketogenic diet. But on the other-hand, they can also be abused to lessen weight loss results.
As you continue on your ketogenic journey, its important to focus on the basics – the foods you eat. This is what we've seen work best in our keto warriors as well as documented and discussed by predominant influencer scholars . Yes, they use exogenous ketones when they feel its necessary, but more importantly they LIVE the diet!
In conclusion, exogenous ketone supplements can aid your ketogenic journey. Are they necessary for success? Absolutely not, you can still succeed without them. However, we can't deny the value of a little insurance and we utilize it in our lives all the time.
Summary of what we’ve learned: