keto diet supplements

What Do Ketone Supplements Do? The Different Types of Ketone Supplements Explained

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Are you thinking about going on the keto diet? Or maybe you are already doing keto and looking at some supplements to help you out.  

There are many different kinds of ketone-related supplements available to make sure you achieve the best results from a keto diet. We’re here to help you discover the different types of ketone supplements and what they do. 

keto diet supplements

What are Ketone Bodies?  

Before talking about the different classifications of ketone supplements, let’s start with ketone bodies. These are the natural products of fat burning in the body that occurs when carbohydrate intake is reduced. 

These molecules are made in the liver and are produced when you do not have enough insulin in your body to turn glucose into energy. They are then sent through the bloodstream for your muscles, heart, and brain to utilize. 

There are three different types of ketone bodies:  

  • acetoacetate  
  • acetone (the spontaneous breakdown of acetoacetate) 
  • beta-hydroxybutyrate.  

Acetoacetate has a very distinct smell that occurs in the breath and urine during ketosis.  

Acetone is unstable and volatile and is not used by the body. It is expelled by the body in urine and the breath. It has a characteristic “sweet and fruity” odor during ketosis. 

Beta-hydroxybutyrate or BHB is an energy dense molecule that is also the most predominant and quantitative, that is why it is used for diagnosing alcoholism, pregnancy, ingestion of isopropyl alcohol, etc.  

High levels of ketone bodies in the blood during starvation, along with a low-carb diet and prolonged heavy exercise, can lead to ketosis.  

Ketoacidosis is a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when your body produces high levels of these blood acids. This is not the same as nutritional ketosis.  

What are Exogenous Ketones? 

Exogenous ketones are ketones that come from a synthetic source in the form of supplements. Unlike endogenous ketones, they are not produced naturally by the body. They are becoming a popular way of supporting the ketogenic diet and maintaining a healthy level of ketosis. 

The type of ketone found in exogenous ketones is usually BHB because that is the molecule that the body uses more efficiently than the other two.  

It is important to understand ketone supplementation so you can maximize the impact and benefits for your health. 

What are the Advantages of Ketone Supplements? 

Ketone supplements’ main purpose is to give your body a source of ketones to use when your body is not producing enough on its own. They are a great help when you want to quickly enter ketosis, either when starting a keto diet, or after an increase in carb intake. 

These dietary supplements are also helpful for an athlete needing to up carb intake temporarily, or just a normally active person who is having difficulty sticking to a strict reduction of carbs.  

These handy products will get you back in ketosis as soon as you take them, instead of having to wait a couple of days.  

Here are some research-backed effects of exogenous ketone supplements: 

  • speeds up weight loss 
  • keeps you satiated 
  • improved regulation of blood glucose 
  • enhances your cognitive performance and mental focus 
  • reduces the risk of diseases 
  • less chance of inflammation. 

What are the Different Types of Exogenous Ketone Supplements? 

Ketone supplements are divided into four classifications which are available for purchase and consumption.  

Keto Salts 

The first type of ketone supplement is keto salts or ketone salt supplements. These contain BHB formed when ketones are bound to a salt, commonly sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, or an amino acid like lysine or arginine. This helps to improve the rate of absorption in your body.  

It is the most widely available type of ketone supplement and is the most recommended and used by the average consumer. Compared to other types of ketone supplements they are the most affordable. 

Many studies about ketone salts have been done on rats, and they all agree about low levels of BHB in the blood. As for human studies, the same results were garnered to see if ketone salts can help with metabolic defects. Doctors noticed improvements.  

One research study illustrates the difference between salts and esters acutely, realizing that ketone salts provided D-BHB of 1mM while the same amount of BHB in a ketone ester raised blood BHB levels to 2.8mM 

Ketone Esters 

Another type of supplement is the ketone ester supplement. These are salt-free liquids that contain no extra ingredients aside from BHB. These are bound to a ketone precursor through an ester bond, which means that you are consuming raw hydroxybutyrate (BHB).  

This raw form of ketone enables your body to absorb the ketone quicker, which can raise blood ketone levels immediately.  

Although they have been around since the ’70s, ketone esters are still rarely used by consumers as their benefits and effects are still being investigated by many researchers.  

Pure ketone esters are also known to for their terrible taste. This is one of the reasons they are less popular than salts. However, they more potently raise blood ketones, so they are quicker at inducing a state of ketosis. Would you consider putting up with the offensive taste for fast and deep ketosis? Many wouldn’t. 

Non-Ketone Supplements 

There are also a number of supplements available that do not include any ketone bodies, but that claim to be beneficial for your keto diet.  

One example includes raspberry ketones which are actually unreliable for most consumers and have nothing to do with ketone bodies or ketone diets. Fish oil is another example of a non-ketone supplement.  

Another type is the oil-based ketone supplements. They don’t actually contain ketones but medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oils. These oils or powders contain medium fatty acids that help boost your fat levels and maintain ketosis.  

The main difference between using oil-based supplements and ketone esters is that esters enable your body to use them for energy directly, while oil-based ketones need to be broken down first before being used for energy.  

MCT oil powder is a beneficial supplement to help you enter and maintain ketosis, but it is slower than ketone salts or esters. However it is often faster than just consuming foods containing longer chain fatty acids, and can sometimes be more convenient.  

At low doses, it has little effect on raising your ketone blood. This means you need to consume large amounts to drastically increase your ketones and this comes with an increased risk of gastrointestinal side effects. 

Multiple studies, such as one by the American Oil Chemists’ Society, have shown that triacylglycerol concentration and free fatty acids are reduced by fish oil. The study that has been carried out has shown that fish oil decreases blood concentrations of triacylglycerol and free fatty acids consistently from an overnight of fasting. This results in no significant changes in glucose, insulin or ketone body levels in the two test groups that carried out the study.  

Olive oil, on the other hand, raises the ratio of blood ketone body levels to free fatty acid levels significantly when used as a supplement. 

What Do Ketone Supplements Do?

High-quality exogenous ketone supplements, whether salt, ester, or oil, can aid in brain health, weight loss, and activating your longevity pathways. These different types have their own advantages and disadvantages. 

Despite the lack of research, many individuals have reported improvements in their feelings and the appearance of their body, hence their popularity. 

You can get more out of these keto supplements when you consider each product’s benefits and side effects, when you have figured out your gut tolerance, and when you have a good nutritional foundation for your ketogenic diet.  

Of course, all of them can help you get to a state of ketosis quickly. Consider each supplement’s characteristics and select which one you think will work for your diet. 

Or you can even skip them and pursue nutritional ketosis on its own and just use non-ketone supplements like MCT oils to supplement your diet! 

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