Can Exogenous Ketones really give you the benefits of the actual ketogenic diet?
Or is it just another marketing scam done correctly?
Let’s dig in and find out!
What are Exogenous Ketones and how do they work?
What are Ketones?
It only makes sense to start with what ketones are before we discuss about Exogenous Ketones.
Ketones are a byproduct produced by your liver to be used as fuel when there’s a lack of glucose in your body.
They’re always present in your blood and there are 3 types of Ketone bodies :
- Acetoacetate (AcAc)
- 3 beta-hydroxybutyrate (3HB)
These are called Endogenous ketones because they’re naturally produced by your body internally.
3 Times Your Body Produces more ketones:
- Long period of exercise
- Diabetes (pathological cause)
Endogenous Ketones vs Exogenous Ketones:
Exogenous ketones, on the other hand, are the same ketone bodies injected into your body in the form of Ketone supplements and drinks (Salts and Esters).
Claim: Exogenous Ketones are being marketed as an instant way to put your body into Ketosis with or without the need to follow a Ketogenic diet.
It’s important to remember that Ketogenic diet has been clinically proven to have many health benefits including weight loss.
However, we’re discussing the external ketones that you can take in the form of supplements and drinks.
What does Clinical research say about Exogenous Ketones?
Research evidence: No evidence for the claim that Exogenous Ketone supplements can put you in instant ketosis.
No human studies whatsoever.
Some brands that talk about the benefits of their supplements seem to focus on the benefits of ketogenic diet rather than any evidence for the supplement.
Here’s a study I found:
Exogenous Ketones on Rats by Dr. Dominic D’Agostino
In this study, they tested the effectiveness of 5 ketone supplements on Sprague Dawley rats for 28 days.
They found out that oral exogenous ketone supplements helped induce nutritional ketosis in the rats without dietary restrictions.
Problem with this study:
- He happens to also develop exogenous ketone supplements.
- Brands link out to him and his study to support their instant ketosis/weight loss claims.
He also happens to be a part of another study on rats that concluded exogenous ketones to have anti-seizure effects.
Absolutely nothing against Dr.Agostino, but we just need more evidence on this particular topic.
Even if exogenous ketones help put you in a temporary ketosis, there is no clinical evidence to support the weightloss claims being advertised by these supplement companies.
Who can benefit from Exogenous Ketones?
Despite the lack of clinical evidence, these are the 2 groups of people suitable for experimenting with it.
Hardcore athletes: EK supplements seem to help some athletes work out better.
Keto flu: If you want to avoid keto flu at all cost during the beginning stage of your keto diet. Some people claim exogenous ketones have helped them avoid Keto flu, so if you must take it, let it be for this reason.
However, please consult with your doctor before doing so.
Who shouldn’t take it?
Anyone wanting to take it for the sole purpose of losing weight.
You’ll be better off following the actual Ketogenic diet that has proven to work benefits.
It will be hard to start and keep up with the Keto diet but it’s not impossible.
There have been a few claims of people using Exogenous Ketones to help with Keto flu.
So if you must take it while you’re on this diet, you can take it during the beginning stage of the diet (at your own risk).
Warning: Please consult with your doctor before taking this kind of supplements, especially if you’re pregnant or have other health conditions.
What is the best brand of Exogenous Ketone supplements?
When it comes to diet supplements, I’ve taken a self-vow not to mention or link out to any brands unless I’ve tried the product myself or I can support the claims with valid clinical studies.
As mentioned earlier, Ketosis has many clinically proven benefits.
I have no doubts in that and as a matter of fact, I’m considering to go on a proper Keto diet soon.
However, Exogenous ketone supplements, on the other hand, is a whole different thing.
I refuse to mention brands or link to them until enough valid clinical research has gone into the effectiveness of it.
This might change in the future if/when plenty of research has gone into it.
Here’s what you should look out for when buying Exogenous Ketones:
- Online scams: I cannot stress about this enough. Do not fall prey for those Advertisements with free trials. A good chunk of them will misuse your card details and charge money from your card when you least expect it.
- Only buy from reputable sites and health stores.
- Always read the verified purchase reviews only from Amazon and be sure to take note of the percentage of negative reviews over positive.
- Do not fall prey for photoshopped before/after photos.
- Don’t believe every YouTube video review, half of them just want to promote the product for a commission.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Exogenous Ketones
Can Exogenous ketones cause ketoacidosis?
Mayoclinic describes Ketoacidosis as a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when your body produces too many ketones.
It happens because of the lack of insulin to regulate your blood sugar level which is usually high for diabetic individuals.
However, Ketosis through ketogenic diet is a controlled process.
You will be on a low sugar diet so your body will produce the right amount of Ketones required.
Now all of the above is for natural ketogenic diet.
As for Exogenous Ketones, as mentioned over and over, there isn’t sufficient clinical evidence to support the positive claims of EK.
And I’ve not come across any ketoacidosis related side effects, yet either.
I’d say, consult with your doctor before taking it just to make sure you’re on the safe side.
Will Exogenous ketones put you in Ketosis faster?
During my research on this topic, I came across a video advertising their brand of Exogenous Ketones.
They said their supplement drink will put you in Ketosis within an hour-3, just like that.
They also give you some sort of card with a color indicator to compare the level of ketones present in your urine as a proof for you to believe you’re in ketosis.
I thought that was a bit weird.
And then I came across a couple of other videos, one from a Chiropractor, who said exogenous ketone supplements make you pee the excess ketones out in your urine.
So you’re just mostly peeing it out and wasting your money, he said.
Bottom line: If you want to take it as an alternative to ketogenic diet when you don’t have any health conditions that stop you from following the diet, don’t waste your money.
Can I take Exogenous ketones instead of Ketogenic diet for weight loss?
According to professional medical practitioners and dieticians, that’s not recommended at all.
Shortcuts for weight loss are never recommended for long-term health benefits.
Everyone who has ever had success with the ketogenic diet agrees that the first few days will be super hard, but it’s not impossible.
Think about it for a moment, when you’re following a ketogenic diet, your body uses up the ketones it naturally produces to break down fat.
You will lose weight as a result of that.
But when you inject external ketones into your body, your blood test and urine are going to show an increase in ketones because you just injected yourself with it.
Does that necessarily mean you’re in ketosis?
No, at least not until there’s sufficient clinical evidence to support that claim.
Are Exogenous ketones safe during pregnancy?
It’s not safe unless your doctor says so.
You need to take serious precautions when taking any supplement (Capsules/drinks) during pregnancy.
Can Exogenous ketones make you gain weight?
First of all, there is no clinical evidence to say it helps you lose weight in the first place.
What about the people claiming to have lost weight from taking it?
Check out their before/after photos and see if they happen to be advertising a specific brand, coupons, discounts, etc.
Because those supplements are a huge business and promoters usually get their share of it too.
Now, let’s assume someone really did lose weight by just taking Exogenous Ketones, what happens when they stop taking it?
Are they supposed to take it forever?
Do you know how costly they are?
Just let that sink in.
How long does it take your body to get into Ketosis with Exogenous ketones?
As mentioned earlier, they advertise saying it can put you in ketosis within 1-3 hours.
They also say you’ll see a high level of ketones in your urine or blood test to prove that you’re in ketosis.
And like I said earlier, you’re obviously going to see ketones in your pee because you just injected your body with it.
As for it putting you in instant ketosis, we need more clinical evidence for that.
- The ketogenic diet has proven benefits but exogenous ketones lack evidence.
- It’s hilarious that some brands recommend you to take the supplement along with the diet just so any weight loss you do achieve can be credited to the supplement.
- If it does work, it’s more beneficial for hardcore athletes and those wanting to avoid the keto flu at all cost.
- Waste of money if you’re planning to take it as an alternative for the ketogenic diet.
What’s your take on Exogenous ketones?
Comment below and let us know!