If you have been following the Keto lifestyle, you have heard the advertisements of Exogenous Ketones. If you believe the ads, these supplements are a magic cure to weight loss.
Exogenous ketone body supplements provide users with an instant supply of ketones. They raise blood ketones even if you’re not in a state of ketosis before ingestion.
It’s not fully understood what the long term effects are of combining a non ketogenic diet with exogenous ketone supplements. Research is in its early stages and more data is needed.
Exogenous ketone bodies are just ketone bodies that are ingested through a nutritional supplement. Ketone bodies produced in the liver are more properly referred to as endogenous ketone bodies.
Endogenous = Originates from a source internal to the body.
What are ketone bodies?
Our bodies use ketones via our mitochondria to generate energy. They are an alternative fuel source to glucose.
Ketones are simple compounds because of their small molecular structure and weight. Specifically, they are organic (carbon-based) compounds that contain a central carbon atom double-bonded to an oxygen atom and two carbon-containing substituents, denoted by “R” (see chemical structure below).
In humans, there are 3 different ketones produced by the mitochondria of the liver. These are also often referred to as ketone bodies.
The three ketones are:
- Acetoacetic Acid
- Beta-Hydroxybutyric Acid (also known Beta Hydroxybuyrate or BHB). Other chemical names include 3-hydroxybutyric acid or 3-hydroxybutyrate.
BHB is not technically a ketone since it contains a reactive OH-group in place of where a double-bonded oxygen normally would be as you can see in the diagram above. Yet, BHB still functions like a ketone in the body and converts into energy.
What can we eat to help promote these Ketone Bodies?
The biggest question for most people will not be, what do they need to eat, but rather what they should avoid. If you are eating carbohydrates the liver will metabolize them first and the body will use the carbohydrates for energy. The fats will be stored for later. The process of converting a fat cell into a ketone body is more of a process than converting a carbohydrate into glucose. The body is good at choosing the simplest activity. Therefore, cut down on the carbs and increase your fats.
There are different types of fats, some quickly promote the production of ketone bodies, while others take the slow route. Choosing fats that can get to the liver quickly and be converted to ketone bodies can be helpful. Dr Jockers.com does a fantastic job of explaining this process. Rather then putting it in my own words, head over there for a minute. Don’t forget to come right back and finish up here.
MCT Oil vs Exogenous Ketones
After reading this post I hope you have a better understanding of what a ketone body is, how we produce them and how they benefit our bodies. Our liver is going to use exogenous ketones or it will create ketones endogenously from the stored fat.
What I am interested in is helping people effectively produce energy from ketone creation in the liver. Once adapted to ketones, the liver will turn more to the endogenous fuel source, i.e . your love handles.
In short, you can purchase and consume a very cost effective MCT oil and the liver will quickly create ketones and use them as fuel. Or, you can purchase expensive exogenous ketone supplements and your liver will take them and use them as fuel.
Either way I recommend you consume them when on a low carb diet. Best of luck to you in your health journey.