The Benefits of Ketone Supplementation
By: Intern, Aaron Davis
First, we need to know what ketosis is. Ketosis is when the body enters a state where the primary fuel being burned is fat, and not the usual source of carbohydrates. Ketosis is a great way to burn fat faster than usual, but how do we get the body to turn into this fat burning machine? Ketosis can be achieved by the ketones that are produced through an increase in fat intake and decrease in carbohydrates, but like many other diets it can be very difficult to stick with, and thankfully there is another option. Through the use of supplemental ketones ketosis can be reached without the usual dramatic diet modification. Along with an increase in fat burning, ketones can also improve cognition, improve cholesterol, and increase long lasting physical exercise.
- Alzheimer’s prevention: One way ketosis helps mental health is by blocking a protein that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease called amyloid B-42, (Yin, et al., 2016).
- Improved Memory and learning: The previous study also shows an increase in synaptic neural plasticity and as a result there is an improvement in learning and memory. Synaptic neural plasticity is the ability for neurons to communicate with each other, and with stronger communication allows for more information to be sent in the body. Backing up this claim another study showed higher ketone values are associated with a greater improvement in memory when compared to the placebo group using a paragraph recall test (Roger, et al., 2004).
- Increased Exercise Endurance: When switching from a primarily carbohydrate fueled workout to a fat fueled workout there will be an increase in endurance due to the higher levels of energy from fat that become available as exercise duration increases (voltek, et al., 2015). In an endurance workout without ketones some fat and a lot of glycogen are used up. Once glycogen levels become depleted all of the necessary energy will have to come from fat, but if those fat stores aren’t as easily accessible fatigue will set in and performance will suffer. As previously stated in the article not only will ketones cause more fat burning earlier on, but will allow for more energy as the workout progresses.
Weight Loss reduction and improved cholesterol
- A 2004 study has shown that in regard to cholesterol LDL (bad cholesterol) decreased while HDL (good cholesterol) showed an increase. Along with the reduction in cholesterol there was a significant decrease in weight.(Dashti, et al., 2004). It’s only natural that more fat is lost with the addition of supplemental ketones since fat is now the main macronutrient being burned, instead of primarily burning carbs which puts the body in a state of glycolysis where high levels of insulin increase fat storage. In a body that burns a lot of carbohydrates there is an increase in fasting plasma triglyceride concentrations which have been shown to reduce HDL. This reduction will not occur during ketosis since carbohydrates are not being burned to the same extent.
How to take exogeneous ketones
- Ketone supplementation comes in a powdered supplement. Take 1 serving once to twice daily with however much water you choose, mix it all together (preferably using a shaker bottle), and enjoy.
Reger, M. A., Henderson, S. T., Hale, C., Cholerton, B., Baker, L. D., Watson, G. S., et al. (2004). Effects of beta-hydroxybutyrate on cognition in memory-impaired adults. Neurobiology of Aging, 25(3), 311-314.
Volek, J. S., Noakes, T., & Phinney, S. D. (2015). Rethinking fat as a fuel for endurance exercise. European Journal of Sport Science, 15(1), 13-20.
Yin, J. X., Maalouf, M., Han, P., Zhao, M., Gao, M., Dharshaun, T., et al. (2016). Ketones block amyloid entry and improve cognition in an alzheimer’s model. Neurobiology of Aging, 39, 25-37.
Dashti, H. M., Mathew, T. C., Hussein, T., Asfar, S. K., Behbahani, A., Khoursheed, M. A., … Al-Zaid, N. S. (2004). Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients. Experimental & Clinical Cardiology, 9(3), 200–205.