What Are Exogenous Ketones? A Complete Guide
The Ketogenic Diet Explained
A ketogenic diet is an approach to eating that is high fat (70-80%), moderate protein (20-25%), and low carb (5-10%). This is designed to induce the body into ketosis. The quality and types of foods are vitally important for crafting a nourishing ketogenic diet. It's based on carbohydrate restriction, which leads to the body using fat as a source of energy instead of glucose. The fats themselves are further broken down into smaller compounds - ketones (ketone bodies) that can be used as energy by your brain, muscles, and other tissues.
Humans have always relied on ketones for energy when glucose sources were scarce (i.e. no fruits available during winter). It is a normal state of metabolism. In fact, most babies are born in a state of ketosis. However, with abundant sources of carbohydrate, people rarely access ketosis, and it becomes a dormant metabolic pathway. Our ancestors had frequent periods of time when high carbohydrate food wasn't immediately available. For this reason, our bodies are amazing at adapting to burning ketones for fuel. Ketones that come from the fat are called endogenous ketones (that you produce naturally as a result of being in ketosis).
What are exogenous ketones?
Exogenous ketones are a supplement used for boosting performance and energy or complementing a low carb diet designed for weight loss. They are ketones you can consume that your body isn't directly making. However, from your cell's perspective, they cannot tell the difference. Exogenous ketones are chemically and functionally identical to endogenous ketones. The only difference is that they come "Exo-" from the outside. When consumed, they reach the tissues through the blood and, just like the naturally made ketones, are used as fuel. There are a few kinds of natural ketones that your body produces during ketosis. One of them is called Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB).
Benefits of Exogenous Ketones
- Higher Ketone Levels: Especially in the morning or between meals, ketones boost your body into an effortless fat-burning mode.
- Physical Performance: Ketones before and during workouts give you energy and decreased need for oxygen.
- Mental Focus: Ketones improve energy levels for brain cells, increasing mental output, and sharpening focus.
- Improved Overall Well-being: Ketones help you get into ketosis for benefits from enhanced well-being, to disease prevention and longevity.
How do exogenous ketones work?
When ingested, the BHB salts are absorbed in the intestines and enter the blood where they function exactly like the natural ketones. This increases the levels of ketones in the blood and leads to ketosis. It's important to note that weight loss happens due to the breaking down of fats to ketones and not because of the increased ketones in the blood. This means that you can't just take keto pills to lose weight, you have to incorporate a diet of the increased protein, fat, and decreased carbohydrates. For most people, a range of 20-50 grams of carbohydrate intake per day is ideal for the keto diet.
Can exogenous ketones help you lose weight?
These supplements can't trigger weight loss by themselves, because they're just one part of the equation. It's up to you to follow along with the keto diet to see results.
Exogenous ketones are very effective supplements, but none the less, should be supplementary to a low carb/ketogenic style of eating that is geared towards weight loss.
Exogenous ketones don't cause weight loss, they help cause ketosis. In other words, they don't directly make you burn fat, but can help make it much easier to incorporate a lifestyle that leads to fat loss. The energy they deliver helps you maintain focus and stamina, so you don't experience the initial fatigue that comes with switching to the keto diet. This will help you get results faster by avoiding unnecessary detours from your diet.
Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body is using fatty acids for its primary source of energy. Using fat for fuel does not automatically guarantee weight loss. It all depends on how much fat and protein you are eating, in addition to being below a carb threshold that will induce ketosis.
Other health benefits from the Ketogenic Diet
Shared goals with the ketogenic diet include enhancing weight loss, improving athletic performance, increasing focus, and treating medical conditions.
Ketosis has been shown to help with the following medical conditions:
- Alzheimers Disease