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Are Exogenous keto supplements safe and effective for weight loss?

Friday 26 April 2019

As you may already know, a keto diet also referred to as ketogenic is a very low-carb, high-fat diet.

What this means is that your meal plan revolves around foods that are very high in fat and very low in carbohydrate.

So when you eat high-fat meals for a number of days, your body goes into what is known as ketosis. This is a nutritional state which induces weight loss.

However, it is easier imagined than down, as consistent compliance with this type of meal plan is very difficult.

There have been suggestions that taking ketone supplement can help you lose weight without you necessarily changing your eating plan.

According to people who propose ketone supplements, they help to mimic ketosis and raise blood ketone levels just like when you eat a high-fat meal.

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Can exogenous ketone supplements help you shed weight?

On a standard high-carb diet, glucose is the main source of fuel for your body cells.

Your body converts sugar and starchy foods like bread, pastries, pasta into glucose, which now act as energy for your body.

However, with ketogenic, you limit to the barest minimum these starchy foods and sugar and this causes your body to look for alternative sources of fuel.

When this happens, your body then digs into your fat store, which therefore produces ketone bodies when broken down in excess. This then brings about a state known as ketosis.

This can naturally occur when you fast or engage in strenuous exercise(s).

Acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate are the two main ketone bodies produced during ketosis immediately replace glucose as the source of fuel for your body. They start to produce fuel for your brain, heart and muscles with energy.

Experts believe that when these ketone bodies are produced, they are then responsible for bringing about weight loss which ketogenic preaches.


The process by which your body produces high numbers of ketones, which act as fuel for your body instead of glucose from carbs is known as ketosis.

When you eat high-fat meals for a long time, your body produces(endogenously), however, Ketone bodies can come from a synthetic source outside your body (exogenously).

Invariably those ketones found in supplements are referred to as exogenous ketones.

Exogenous ketones can induce loss of appetite which thereby brings about weight loss.

Like we said earlier, Acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate are the two main ketone bodies produced during ketosis – however, the only beta-hydroxybutyrate ketone is contained in supplements acetoacetate, has been known not to be chemically stable as a supplement.

Below are the two main forms of ketone supplements:

Ketones bound to a salt, typically sodium, potassium, calcium or magnesium are known as ketone salt.

And are usually found in powder form and mixed with liquid.

There are those linked to another compound called an ester and packaged in liquid form. These are known as ketone esters and are mainly used in research as they are not easily available for purchase.

These two forms of ketone supplements have proven to increase blood ketone levels, and imitate the process of ketogenic.

Most available ketone supplements are said to contain 8–12 grams of ketones per serving.

The advantage of ketones supplements help you experience ketosis without necessarily having to follow the keto diet.

And experts also claim that taking ketone supplements have many of the same health benefits as a ketogenic diet, including weight loss.

Some keto diet beginners have also reportedly taken ketone supplements alongside it  — Thereby quickening the time it takes to reach ketosis and boycotting many of the unpleasant effects that follow going from a standard high-carb diet to a ketogenic diet.

Symptoms that follow transitioning from a high-carb diet to a ketogenic diet

Commonly known as “keto flu” include constipation, headache, bad breath, muscle cramps and diarrhoea.

Studies have shown that one study in 15 people of normal weight, who add ketone esters to their beverages, experienced 50% less hunger after an overnight fast than those drinking a sugary beverage.

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Some setbacks for supplements

Please note that people who have had a meal beforehand, may not have their appetite affected by ketone supplements.

Also taking a ketone supplement after a carb-containing meal even though it will still raise blood ketone levels but will not be as effective as if you fasted.

While a small study has found that exogenous ketone supplements reduced appetite for over four hours, which is a good deal for those planning to lose weight –More studies are required before ketone supplements can be recommended for appetite control.

Again, it should be mentioned that although ketone supplements have the potential effect the appetite, much still needs to be proven about their weight loss benefits potentials.

It has also been found that ketones Inhibit Fat Breakdown, which is a shift from the purpose of the ketogenic diet.

Ketogenic supports the production of ketones from stored fat as an alternative fuel source, however, if your ketone blood levels become too high, your blood can become dangerously acidic.

For this not to happen, healthy people have a feedback mechanism that slows down the production of ketones, when they become excessively high.

Also important to note is the availability of calories of ketones, this means that your body can use the calories in ketones as a fuel source. Calories in ketones are about four per gram, the same number of calories contained in carbs or protein.

Some side effects

Although generally declared as safe and effective for increasing ketone body concentrations, but the long-term effects are unknown.

There have also been reported side effects with ketone salts than ketone esters such as nausea, diarrhoea and stomach discomfort.

One serving of ketone salts provides (22):

680 mg of sodium (27% of the DV)
320 mg magnesium (85% of the DV)
590 mg of calcium (57% of the DV)
However, to maintain ketosis, you’ll need to take a dose every two to three hours, doubling or tripling these numbers.

Manufacturers of ketone supplements recommend taking up to three servings per day.

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