Exogenous ketones can greatly help you with your keto diet. Sometimes willpower alone isn’t enough to stop you from grabbing some fast food and you need a little help from exogenous ketones.
But ketones not only help with staying in ketosis, they also help with focus and energy. A common question I see a lot of people ask is:
What Time of Day Should I Take Exogenous Ketones? When you take ketones depends on what you want to achieve:
- Take half a scoop anytime to quickly get into and stay in ketosis.
- Take one-third to half a scoop over 3-5 days to avoid “keto flu” symptoms when transitioning into keto.
- Take a full scoop first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to boost your mental state.
- Take a full scoop 45 minutes or longer before a workout to boost your energy.
Read on to find out more about the proper way to take exogenous
ketones, what exogenous ketones are, how they work, and why you should use them.
What Are The Best Way to Take Exogenous Ketones?
Your goals dictate the right dosage and time to take your exogenous ketones supplement. But it’s a good idea to start with a quarter to half a scoop and increase the dosage from there. Let’s take a closer look at when and how to take the supplement depending on your goal.
Want a quick shortcut to ketosis?
Among the most popular uses of exogenous ketones is getting and staying in ketosis. You’re starting a keto diet or getting back to it the keto lifestyle after being out of it for a while. Either way, if you want to get your body into the state of kenosis swiftly, exogenous ketones are the ideal solution because they give your body the signal that it should prioritize production of ketones for fuel.
Simply put, taking a ketone supplement lets you get into ketosis faster than you would have by maintaining a low-carb ketogenic diet for some days. Take half a scoop anytime to initiate the process of ketosis rapidly. This dosage is especially useful when you’ve just had a meal that is high in carbs.
Want to get rid of “keto flu” symptoms?
When making the transition from burning carbs for energy to using ketones for fuel, your body can have an unpleasant reaction. Before your body adjusts its ketone production to fit its need for energy, you may suffer “keto flu” symptoms. These include
- Low energy
Taking exogenous ketones in this period boosts your body’s ketone supply, making these symptoms less pronounced. Take one-third to half a scoop over the three- to five-day transition period throughout the day. See here for our complete keto flu guide
Want to help boost your mental state?
Ever suffered mental fog and an energy drop after having a carb-heavy meal. That happens because your body is feeding various metabolic processes by redistributing glucose. The problem is the glucose can’t pass through the blood-brain barrier to energize the brain. But ketones can get through, instantly providing the brain with energy.
Take supplemental ketones can offer about 5 hours of additional mental energy even when your body is not in ketosis. A full scoop first thing in the morning on an empty stomach achieves the best results.
Want an energy boost during your workout?
Many athletes rely on exogenous ketones for ongoing energy during extended practice sessions. The body either burns fat for fuel or draws from glycogen reserves to power sudden, explosive movements. Both these processes need oxygen, which is especially important for endurance exercise.
Ketones provide a much-needed energy boost even when oxygen is in limited supply. Take a full scoop 45 minutes or longer before a workout and half a scoop every hour after the initial two hours of nonstop exercise.
But, What Exactly Are Ketones?
Ketones are energy-producing mitochondria within our bodies’ cells. Like glucose, they serve as fuel for the body. Mitochondria in the human liver produce three forms of ketones: acetone, acetoacetic acid (acetoceate), and beta-hydroxybutyric acid (also known as Beta Hydroxybuyrate, BHB, 3-hydroxybutyric, or 3-hydroxybutyrate).
Technically, beta-hydroxybutyric acid is not a ketone because rather a containing a double-bonded
oxygen, it has a reactive OH-group. Nonetheless, beta-hydroxybutyric acid still serves the function of a ketone and converts into energy the same way acetone and acetoacetate does.
Ketogenesis happens β-oxidation leads to the metabolism of fatty acids. The process leads to the formation of acetyl CoA, which gives rise to β-hydroxy-β-methyglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA), which in turns converts into Acetoacetone. In turn, the Acetoacetone switches back to beta-hydroxybutyric acid.
The conversion of Acetoacetone to Acetone is irreversible. Energy is produced when Acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyric acid are converted to acetyl-CoA within mitochondria in a cell. The body expels Acetone through your urine and breath.
What Makes Exogenous Ketones Special?
Exogenous ketone bodies refer to ketone bodies produced outside the body and introduced into it via a nutritional supplement. In contrast, endogenous ketones are ketone bodies that the liver produces.
The majority of supplements use beta-hydroxybutyric acid (BHB) to make exogenous ketone bodies. The process converts BHB to acetoacetic acid. An acetoacetate decarboxylase waste pathway converts a small portion of BHB to acetone. Beta-ketothialase is then used to introduce a small quantity of acetoacetic acid into the energy pathway. Likewise, acetoacetic acid (via beta-ketothialase) is converted to two Acetyl-CoA molecules.
Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), the main energy-carrying substrate in all living organisms, is generated when Acetyl-CoA finds its way into the Krebs cycle.
Exogenous ketone bodies give your body an instant supply of ketones even if you’re not in ketosis before taking the supplement (for example, when it is taken immediately after having a carb-heavy diet). The amount of ketones in the bloodstream rises even when insulin hinders the process of ketogenesis.
It is important to note that the above research on the mechanics of exogenous ketones above is still in its early phases. To fully understand the long-term effects of combining a high-to-moderate carb
diet with high blood ketone levels, more data is required. Similarly, more research needs to be done to determine the long-term effects of combining exogenous ketone supplements with a non-ketogenic diet.
At this point, you may be wondering why BHB is the preferred ketone body for exogenous ketone supplements. That’s because of it’s easy to formulate, and the body easily converts it to energy. In other words, BHB is the easiest ketone body to make into a supplement that the body easily converts to acetoacetic acid which raises ketone levels in the blood to achieve ketosis.
Why use Exogenous Ketones?
Supplementing your body’s ketone supply with exogenous helps in many ways. Exogenous ketones can enhance athletic performance, achieve sustainable weight loss, prevent cancer, improve cognition, and offer anti-inflammatory properties. Let’s take a closer look at some of these gains.
Exogenous ketones can reduce your appetite and delay the onset of hunger by reducing the supply of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. You don’t stand the risk of weight gain as a direct result of consuming ketone supplements because kidney filters out and disposes of excess ketones through urine.
Compared to MCT oil, exogenous ketones are more tolerable. For some people, the use of MCT oil causes gastrointestinal problems, especially when consumed in excess. The body tolerates ketones salts well, so you’re not likely to suffer an adverse reaction to the supplement.
However, for the best results, combine exogenous ketones and MCT to achieve weight loss with minimal gastrointestinal distress.
Exogenous ketones can improve your physical performance by helping your body store and use energy more efficiently. The acute ketosis that the supplement induces can last for hours and doesn’t deplete glycogen stores in your muscles.
Ketone supplements also improve your cognition. Your brain uses the additional ketones to synthesize the phospholipids it needs for myelination and growth. Even though glucose is the preferred molecule, it’s not as efficient as the ketone molecule. BHB seems to directly activate neural pathways, enhancing neuroplasticity, stress resistance, and cognition.
Health and longevity
Ketones have anti-carcinogenic properties reportedly because, unlike healthy cells, cancerous cells cannot effectively use ketone bodies.
Additionally, using exogenous ketone supplements can help curb the neurodegenerative effects of aging. As a result, it reduces the risk of developing forms of dementia such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
This protective property might the result from the reduction of hyperexcitability and inflammation, both of which typically occur when glucose supply diminishes in the brain. Some research has shown that ketones
inhibit inflammasomes and thus reduce inflammation.
Is ketosis safe?
Ketosis is one of many safe and natural states of the metabolism. It’s been shown to offer powerful benefits for some people, including people with type 2 diabetes or obesity as well as children who
have epilepsy. It has side effects which you can minimize with the right diet plan and lifestyle.
How do I pick the right exogenous ketone supplement?
Choosing the right exogenous ketone supplement is important because they can be pricey and some products are better than others. That’s why we have an exogenous ketone supplement guide to help you make the best choice