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Exogenous Ketones 101

Your Complete Start-Up Guide To Exogenous Ketones

Ketone supplements such as exogenous ketone salt drinks can provide a major boost to your nutrition program by supporting optimal health, fitness, energy, cognition, satiety, performance, and weight loss. Learn what they are and how to use them properly.
Exogenous ketones have rapidly become more and more mainstream. Because of their unique feature of providing ketones into the body, many have questions surrounding their safety, usefulness, and how to properly integrate them.
Since most people interested in the ketogenic diet are doing so for the unique feature of the metabolic shift of the presence of ketones in the metabolism, it's important to understand how exciting is ketones fit into this model and your healthy lifestyle. 

What are exogenous ketones?

Exogenous ketones are a nutritional supplement version of the ketones that are naturally produced in your body during fasting, carb restriction, or the consumption of medium-chain triglyceride oils (MCTs).
The word exogenous comes from the fact that these ketones are made from outside the body. Your naturally produced ketones are referred to as endogenous or diet-induced ketones.
The beautiful thing is that it's not an either-or situation. While it's not the exact same thing as following a ketogenic diet, it can absolutely provide some serious support to a healthy low-carb lifestyle. Furthermore, research continues to build to support the role of exogenous ketones as a supplement to help provide you with health and fitness benefits while being able to relax a bit more on your program. This means that you don't have to follow a strict ketogenic diet all the time to net many of the benefits of ketones in the metabolism.
Exogenous ketones supplements at their core are mainly made up of the chi-town beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). This is also the primary ketone based energy source your body runs on during nutritional ketosis.

How exogenous ketones work

When you consume exogenous ketones, you are blood ketone levels will rise regardless of whether you are in a state of nutritional ketosis. The beautiful thing is that this increase actually provides many of the benefits of actual ketosis, including appetite regulation, increased energy, brain function, athletic performance, stress reduction, and even weight loss.
It doesn't give us a license to eat whatever we want full time or switch to a permanent high carb diet but what it does do is provide an incredible bridge and act as a support tool for a healthy lifestyle without having to be rigid all of the time.

4 Primary Reasons Exogenous Ketones Can Benefit You:

 1. They Replicate Nutritional Ketosis
The main goal of exogenous ketones is to replicate a state of nutritional ketosis. A common misunderstanding is that exogenous ketones can get you into a permanent state of ketosis on their own.
The reality is that they temporarily raise the levels of ketones in your bloodstream which also, in turn, provides you with many of the benefits of nutritional ketosis.
By raising your systems ketones, these supplements can:
  • Supercharge your energy
  • Drive mental clarity and focus
  • Support weight loss in several ways
2. They Help You Transition Into Ketosis
Exogenous ketones absolutely help support keto flu symptoms even if they don't directly affect nutritional ketosis.
As we've discussed here, when your body adapts from primarily utilizing carbohydrates and glycogen as its main fuel source to stored body fat and dietary fat, there can be a lot of unwanted initial side effects. This is referred to as the keto flu and generally includes symptoms like:
  • Lethargy
  • Poor physical performance
  • Headaches
  • Bloating
  • Irritability & mood swings
  • Brain fog
The main reason is that your body has not yet become efficient at tapping into sad as an efficient fuel reserve yet. The other reason is dehydration and corresponding electrolyte loss.
The good news is that these symptoms are temporary and the even better news is that you can use exogenous ketones to help navigate this initial murky on-ramp phase. As your body learns how to tap into its own fat reserves and dietary fat for fuel, you can she will it with exogenous ketones to help make the transition into ketosis easier.
Wow many questions whether this actually hinders the transition into nutritional ketosis, the reality is that exogenous ketones are not permanently in your system and thus do not hinder the transition.
3. They Can Help You Get Back On Track
Most people are not going to be able to follow a strict high-fat low-carb diet all of the time. If you've done this for a reasonable period of time and have experienced what it's like to go off of your program, you know that it can kick your butt and potentially take a while to re-enter ketosis.
Exogenous ketones absolutely have a role here to help. Because they help boost your energy, promote cognitive function, and reduce cravings, supplementing with exogenous ketones during the re-entry. It can help mitigate many of these symptoms.
The caveat is that if you've been following a diet like this for a longer period of time, you'll likely be able to re-enter ketosis a bit quicker and with a bit less of a headache in start-up mode.
Still, exogenous ketones can help mitigate the issues that can present here.
4. They Support Weight Loss
One reason that exogenous ketones have some mild controversy around them is that many falsely promote them as an instantaneous fat loss miracle. The truth is that they absolutely help but it's not an overnight fix, although many of the feel-good benefits kick in immediately.
There is a large chunk of research to support their role as a support for fat loss indirectly and exciting new research is showing that they actually can help directly with fat loss.
Exogenous ketones help with weight loss in the following ways:
  • Support appetite regulation and reduce cravings
  • Provide energy at the cellular level which in turn helps various processes of our body relating to weight loss such as metabolism, hormones, etc.
  • Supports your metabolic fat loss processes

How To Successfully Integrate Exogenous Ketones

Exogenous ketones and ketogenic diets can help you live a healthier life, burn fat, and build muscle. However, there are more factors than just being in a ketogenic state alone.
You still need to maintain a healthy activity level ideally, maintain sleep hygiene, eat quality food, manage stress, optimize your caloric intake, and maintain proper macronutrient ratios of carbs protein & fat.
All of that said, exogenous ketones can be a phenomenal tool to support your journey.
Here's how we recommend using them: 
  • Consume 1 serving of exogenous ketones in the morning to kick-start your day
  • If you are in the early phases of transitioning into ketosis, absolutely consider a second serving for added energy, focus, and craving reduction in the mid-afternoon. This also goes for people who want to avoid the 2 p.m. crash and have an abundant supply of energy all day.
  • If you are training or engaging in any type of physical activity, you may time your second serving of exogenous ketones to coincide with this activity as a pre-workout boost. Consider drinking about 30 minutes prior to your activity.
  • We also recommend using exogenous ketones as an in case of emergency break glass savior. This will be for those times when you get kicked out of ketosis because life happens. So take one serving as a situational tool when needed.
 The steps to starting a successful journey:
  1. Set your goals
  2. Make a nutrition plan
  3. Develop an activity routine or training regimen
  4. Use exogenous ketones as a tool
  5. Monitor your progress and provide yourself with a healthy environment for accountability
  6. Make adjustments as needed

How To Use Exogenous Ketones For Weight Loss

The ideal way to set yourself up for weight loss with exogenous ketones is to create a synergistic plan that addresses is necessary areas to make results effective and the whole process efficient.
Here is a foundational plan for success:
  1. Begin by restricting carbs and adopting a ketogenic diet or a diet that at least reduces your carbohydrates and increases your healthy fat to a reasonable degree.
  2. During this transition phase, supplement with exogenous ketones to help prevent many of the symptoms of keto flu.
  3. Once you pass the keto flu, you may begin your desired form of exercise although many find success on the ketogenic diet even without a structured training regimen.
  4. As you begin losing weight, this is because your body is oxidizing its own fat, meaning you are burning your own body fat for fuel and are running off of ketones for energy!
  5. You may tweak your macronutrient ratios of carbs, protein, and fat to your needs in order to ensure you are still progressing with your fat loss goals.
  6. Even after the transition phase, you can still use exogenous ketones as a morning turbo shot, as a pre-workout drink, and as a pick-me-up. This will help further support your health and fat loss goals.

The truth is that supplementing with exogenous ketones can absolutely help you lose weight and live a vibrant life-it just takes a little understanding of how to use them.