There are two very specific times when exogenous ketone supplementation might be helpful.
Beyond these, exogenous ketones will more likely hurt your ketogenic diet than help it. The two appropriate reasons are:
- Ease the transition from carbohydrate based energy to ketone based energy
- Supplemental ketone source for extended or strenuous exercise
Transition from carbs to keto
During the Induction Phase of ketogenic diets, primarily day 2 and 3, you may experience symptoms of low blood sugar due to the fact that you aren’t getting enough dietary carbohydrates to supply the energy needed to function, but your liver isn’t yet capable of producing enough ketones to supply the energy either.
During these two days, you may feel tired, fatigued, light-headed, and all around blah. The people who don’t quit the diet at this point usually recover on day 4 as your glucose levels stabilize.
Anecdotal evidence from limited studies suggest that exogenous ketone salts (the same ketones your body makes, but supplied via a pill / supplement) may help you by supplying the ketones you need for energy when your body can’t make enough yet.
However, this is still debated because scientific research has shown that exogenous ketones keep the body from making enough new ketones due to the fact there are enough ketones already circulating in your blood stream.
Although skeptical ourselves, there is a possibility that short-term (2 days or so) use wouldn’t stunt the liver’s ability to produce adequate ketones during that transition. However, after day 4, we do not recommend anyone use exogenous ketone salts.
Beyond just wasting money, they will impede the liver from producing ketones from your own fat stores, which totally defeats the entire reason people are on non-medical ketogenic diets.
Supplement for strenuous exercise
As a supplemental energy source for extended or strenuous exercise, ketone esters have been shown to be very helpful, especially in regards to endurance and exercise recovery.
In short, the research showed that supplemental ketone esters controlled the physical effects of overtraining, which decreases one’s performance more than improving performance directly.
It has to be noted here that the research was only relevant to those who train for extensive periods of time with short recovery periods. Basically, professional athletes (the study was done over a three-week intensive cycling program) may benefit when pushing their limitations beyond what they normally do.
The authors of the study did not recommend use for recreational cyclists as the training was less frequent and not as vigorous.
Again, it should be noted that we are talking about ketone ESTERS, not ketone salts like those sold as supplements. Ketone esters are liquid, highly concentrated and still quite expensive, however, some companies that sell ketone salts as exercise enhancers don’t want the clarification made.
Unfortunately, this makes other sellers of legitimate ketosis supplements look bad.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.