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Ketosis Science: Do Exogenous Ketones Work? Thomas DeLauer….
Exogenous ketone bodies are just ketone bodies that are ingested through a nutritional supplement (think of ketone bodies produced in the liver as endogenous ketone bodies)
Most supplements use bHB as the source of their ketone bodies. BHB is converted to acetoacetic acid and then some quantity converted to acetone through a acetoacetate decarboxylase waste pathway, the acetone will be excreted. Some of the acetoacetic acid will enter the energy pathway using beta-ketothiolase, which converts acetoacetic acid to two Acetyl-CoA molecules. The Acetyl-CoA is then able to enter the Krebs cycle and generate ATP. Exogenous ketone body supplements provide users with an instant supply of ketones.
Exogenous ketone body supplements provide users with an instant supply of ketones and will raise blood ketones even if you’re not in a state of ketosis before ingestion.
Note: Research is in its early stages and more data is needed to understand the long-term effects of combining high blood ketone levels with high or moderate carbohydrate based diets.
Benefits/When to Use: Overview-
Exogenous ketone supplementation causes blood glucose to decrease significantly, likely due to the acute increase in insulin sensitivity. Also improve oxygen utilization, especially in the central nervous system (CNS) – This effect decreases the likelihood of oxygen reaching potentially toxic levels in the CNS.
Ketone bodies are considered neuroprotective as they reduce the inflammation and hyperexcitability that is normally exhibited as glucose metabolism declines in the brain.
Anti-Inflammatory properties: There is evidence that ketone bodies play a crucial role in reducing inflammation by inhibiting a specific class of proteins called inflammasomes.
Weight Loss/Fat Burning:
Note: Exogenous ketones don’t cause weight loss, but rather help promote a ketogenic state. Taking exogenous ketones will let your body know that it is time to use ketones – When you’re done using the exogenous ketones as fuel, your body will start asking for other places to get ketones from – this would be fat.
*Ketones are believed to regulate appetite by altering levels of the hunger hormones cholecystokinin and ghrelin – also affect the hypothalamus region in the brain and positively impact leptin signals*
One study in rats showed that, under conditions of ketosis, glucose consumption is decreased in the cortex and cerebellum by about 10% per each mM of plasma ketone bodies – body will choose to run on ketones over glucose.
When you run out of glycogen, your body can either make more, or start making energy from fat. Both of these processes are dependent on using oxygen for energy. However, when you take exogenous ketones, your body can use that energy immediately with much lower oxygen utilization – Exogenous ketones require less oxygen per mole of carbon to oxidize. Exogenous ketones present a way to elevate ketone levels without having depleted muscle glycogen stores (low muscle glycogen is well known to impair sustained physical performance)
In one study, from the journal of Neurology of Aging, 20 subjects with Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairments were asked to consume a drink that helped elevate ketone levels in their body.
Found that those with higher ketone levels experienced greater improvements in paragraph recall versus those with lower ketone levels.
1) Ketones 101: Exploring The Benefits Of Exogenous Ketone Use. (n.d.). Retrieved from
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4) Yeh YY and Sheehan PM. (n.d.). Preferential utilization of ketone bodies in the brain and lung of newborn rats. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from
5) KETONES SUPPRESS BRAIN GLUCOSE CONSUMPTION. (n.d.). Retrieved from
6) Ketosis, ketogenic diet and food intake control: a complex relationship. (n.d.). Retrieved from /