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You’re better off passing on these two keto supplements: Ketone salts like sodium beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) seem impressive on the surface, especially if you measure your blood ketone levels. Ketone salts boost your blood ketones very high in a short amount of time, which makes it look like they put you in deep ketosis.
The issue with ketone salts is that they’re a racemic mixture — they’re a 50-50 mix of molecules (called the D form and the L form) that are mirror images of each other. Humans only absorb the D form of ketone salts; the L form shows up in the blood as a ketone, but you don’t actually use it. Dr.
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“The only ketone that’s effective is the D-form,” Veech says. “The L-form is completely different. It’s metabolized in beta-oxidation, which actually makes it harmful. It’s dumb, convenience manufacturing. It’s cheaper to use the racemic salt, but the effects are not only inaccurate, but could be harmful.” You’re best off avoiding ketone salts.
Related: Keto FAQ: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Keto Diet Emulsified MCT oil is a good example of clever marketing without any substance behind it. As the graph above showed, most MCT oils probably won’t increase your ketones by a meaningful amount, especially if the MCT oil contains lauric acid.
It contains some kind of emulsifier that allows it to mix easily into liquids. While that’s convenient, it means you’re getting about 50 percent of the MCTs that you’d get with a normal MCT oil. You end up paying more for a product that’s half as effective. Pass on emulsified MCT oil and get Brain Octane Oil instead.
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Keto is a great way to enhance your performance, and these keto supplements can help you feel your absolute best. If you’re new to keto, check out this complete beginner’s guide to the ketogenic diet for everything you want to know about ketosis. Sign-up for the Bulletproof mailing list and receive the latest news and updates! .
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No matter what diet you try out, there are going to be roadblocks and difficulty with staying motivated. As someone who has tried more diets than pairs of shoes, I can tell you that none of them are easy.While the ketogenic diet has proven to be the most effective for me, I can tell you it’s also one of the more challenging ones to plan and execute.
That was five years ago, and since then I’ve had huge success using keto diet supplements.But because the market has become flooded with these products, and all the fancy marketing and ripped models that appear around them, I always had some suspicions.For the most part, you can fill all types of nutritional gaps through some relatively simple ingredients.
Keto — the diet du jour that celebs like Mick Jagger and Halle Barry are said to have tried — is an entirely new way of eating. Instead of carbohydrates making up the majority of your calories, fat takes the No. 1 spot and carbs are extremely limited when following That’s where exogenous ketones come in.There’s some support that exogenous ketones can be helpful for people already dutifully following the keto diet — but research has been limited.
“I think people are drawn to a quick, easy fix, kind of a magic bullet supplement, and it’s not that this won’t contribute to weight loss, but it’s not that magic bullet,” Griffin says.Langer sums it up this way: “You have to put the effort in,” she says. “If you want to be in ketosis, do the ketogenic diet.
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Since the keto diet restricts or completely cuts a lot of healthy foods, committing to the diet can mean you're missing out on some nutrients. Though it's ideal to get your nutrients through keto food sources, supplements can help if you're running low, says Vanessa Voltolina, R.D.As a starting point, read the ingredient list on anything you're already taking, since not all supplements are ketogenic.
Then, together with your doctor or a nutritionist, you can decide if you want to start taking anything new. The nutrients that you're missing out on are contingent on how you're approaching the diet—eating clean or dirty, vegetarian, dairy-free, and so on–and visiting a doc for a blood test can help you pinpoint what you're lacking and what dosage to take.
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Giorgos tests his blood ketones Mental performance: Tested using an attention test, where the participants had to pay attention to small changes in the length of two lines and indicate when there were subtle changes, and focus test, where participants had to press the relevant key when different circles on the screen changed color.
Giorgos takes the mental performance test Physical performance: Performing reps to exhaustion of the following exercises on different testing days: pushups, jump squats, tricep dips, burps and flutter kicks (a big thank you to Dr. Benjamin Bikman, Ph.D. for his input on how to design this part of the experiment!) Jonatan performs pushups to exhaustion We also designed a questionnaire to test some other, more subjective markers.
The questionnaire looked at the following things: Mood Hunger Mental claity/ “brain fog” Energy Taste Erik fills in the questionnaire Why didn’t we test the effects of the supplements on weight loss? Well, first of all, we would probably have had to continue the testing over much longer periods of time to see any change in weight.
The weight loss claim is just not true. Ketones are fuel molecules that can be used for energy by cells in the body. If you drink ketones, you will burn those ketones. You will not be burning fat. For anyone who wants to get a bit more technical, research by Stubbs and colleagues shows that BHB shuts off lipolysis (fat breakdown).
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But with exogenous ketosis those factors stimulating ketosis are not present, so the overall effect of the ingested BHB is to decrease lipolysis. If the supplements cause enough of a reduction in hunger, this could cause people to eat less and therefore, indirectly, cause weight loss. We will find out just how much of an effect the supplements have on hunger in the experiment.
In fact, a number of people in my consumer survey reported that they stopped using the supplements due to weight gain. This could make sense, as drinking ketones basically means you’re adding empty calories on top of whatever else you’re consuming. We chose 4 major brands of ketone supplement to test.
It’s worth noting that some companies are a little bit more transparent than others. Here is a quick overview of the brands of supplement included in the experiment and the product we tested: Amount of BHB per serving: Unknown: proprietary blend Price per serving: $6.50 Multi-level marketing? Yes Other ingredients: Erythritol, L-taurine, fermented L-leucine, malic acid, natural flavor, stevia, xantham gum, citric acid Amount of BHB per serving: 11.7 g goBHB™ Price per serving: $2.67 Multi-level marketing? No Other ingredients: Citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, beetroot extract, stevia, malic acid, riboflavin (color) Amount of BHB per serving: 11.38 g goBHB™ Price per serving: $3.93 Multi-level marketing? No Other ingredients: MCT oil powder, acacia fiber, cocoa powder, natural flavor, stevia leaf extract, monk fruit extract Amount of BHB per serving: Unknown: proprietary blend* Price per serving: $2.00 Multi-level marketing? Yes Other ingredients: MCT powder, citric acid, natural flavors, silica, guar gum, rebaudioside A and beta carotene (color) *In the case of Kegenix Prime, we are told there are 10 g of Kegenix’s “PRIME ketone blend”, but we are not told how much of those 10 g are BHB and how much are MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) powder.
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The reason we needed five days was that we included a placebo (an artificially flavored drink with no caffeine content) alongside the four brands we tested. Our teammates didn’t know that one of the supplements was a placebo. We also gave everyone a different supplement each time, to rule out any improvement in the tests being a result of people simply getting better at those tests over time.
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This would allow us to compare the results of the tests before and after taking the supplement, and also compare this against the results of the placebo. The reason for testing after one hour was based on Prüvit’s “59-minute test”, which recommends testing ketones 45-60 minutes after taking the supplement (by the way, saying “59 minutes” instead of 60 minutes or 1 hour just sounds like another marketing gimmick to me).
We carried out the testing at more or less the same time each day. As I mentioned before, this was by no means a scientific experiment carried out under lab conditions, and this means we can only draw tentative conclusions from any of the data. Nonetheless, carrying out the testing in the way described above should give most people a good idea of how well the ketone supplements show the noticeable benefits they are marketed to have and provide a clear enough basis for a decision on whether or not to buy them.
The first table shows the average results of all the brands of ketone supplements grouped together and compared to the placebo in this graph. The second table shows how the different brands performed against each other, and against the placebo, too. Table 1 compares exogenous ketones collectively with the placebo.It shows the total average change in markers tested before and after the supplements as a group, versus the placebo.
When the results for the supplement and the placebo were within 0.2 (either % or mmol/L) of each other, we classed the supplement as neither “better” nor “worse” than the placebo. We gave a “winning brand” sticker to the brand that scored highest against the placebo for each marker, but not for physical performance, since none of the supplements performed better than the placebo for that marker.
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We were at the very least expecting that drinking a ketone supplement would cause blood ketones to rise, but an average increase of 0.33 mmol/L is very small. The supplement associated with the highest average increase in blood ketones was Prüvit’s Keto-OS Max, but it was only an increase of 0.6 mmol/L.
I had the chance to interview Dr. Ryan Lowery, Ph.D. about this in person. He performs some (not peer-reviewed) research on different brands of ketone salts and is listed as one of the “specialists” on Prüvit’s website. He suggested that we had perhaps ran the tests too long after the supplements were taken, stating that blood ketones tend to peak at 30 minutes.
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Plus, do you really want to spend up to $390/month on a product that gives you the benefits of ketosis for half an hour? I also chatted to some Prüvit reps, who told me that it might be necessary to keep taking the supplements for a couple of months to start to see more elevated ketones.
But I would hesitate before spending money on a two-month supply just to find out if that’s true. Real Ketones’ Kegenix Prime was associated with a decrease blood ketones. Not a good start, and we’ll get back to this point later. For many of the other markers, the ketone supplements performed pretty poorly, especially for physical performance! The ketone supplements were associated with a 5.4% decrease in physical performance while the artificially-sweetened, non-caffeinated beverage I used as a placebo was associated with a 20.3% increase: a big difference in favour of the placebo.