What Are Exogenous Ketones? How They Help Energize Workouts

by Josh | Last Updated:  September 4, 2020
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When I started the ketogenic diet Facebook was awash in MLM company salespeople attempting to sell their Exogenous Ketones. They were listed as solving everything that could plausibly happen to you to get into Ketosis without effort, herculean strength and also to lose weight.

What Are Exogenous Ketones? Exogenous ketones are a supplemental form of Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). They are an extra fuel the body can use to perform activities along with glucose and glycogen. Exogenous ketones allow us to metabolically function in a manner that wouldn’t occur naturally without them. Having full carbohydrate stores, as well as elevated ketones in the blood.

Now that we have covered the basics of exogenous ketones we can dive into whether they should be used, by whom and how they can help increase your performance.

They shouldn’t just be avoided due to the fact that MLM companies talk them up, the reason they do is that they can sell them with a clear mind as they can help performance.

We will start by discussing what are ketone bodies in the first place and why they exist.

What Are The Three Primary Ketone Bodies?

When your body is in ketosis it breaks down fats into ketone bodies including Acetoacetate, Beta-hydroxybutyrate, and Acetone.

KETONE BODYFUNCTION
AcetoacetatePrimary ketone body created by the beta-oxidation of acetyl-CoA
A byproduct of this process is Acetone.
Can easily be re-transformed into acetyl-CoA is required.
Beta-hydroxybutyrate
(BHB)
This ketone body is a subset of the Acetoacetate formed in the first stage above.
This can be re-transformed into acetyl-CoA if required by the body.
AcetoneA byproduct of both other ketone bodies being created
In the liver can be converted to lactic acid, then oxidized into pyruvic acid
This pyruvic acid can become acetyl-CoA via string of events

What Causes The Creation Of Ketone Bodies?

Ketones are a byproduct of the body when it lacks blood sugar and lowers insulin. The signals are then sent to the liver that we need to start processing fatty acids for energy instead of depending on glycogen and glucose. These fatty acids are taken up by cells and beta-oxidation occurs starting the process of ketosis.

The process of beta-oxidation creates a molecule called acetyl-CoA. As more fatty acids are released and metabolization occurs the levels of acetyl-CoA rise.

This increase actually creates a form of metabolic-based “feedback loop”. This feedback loop is the primary trigger for liver cells to shunt excess acetyl-CoA into ketogenesis, or the making of ketone bodies. 

The liver then dumps the ketone bodies into the bloodstream where they are taken up by skeletal and heart muscle cells. At this point, the brain begins to use ketones as an alternative primary fuel when blood levels are high enough to support crossing the blood-brain barrier.

Ketones word cloud - What Are Exogenous Ketones
Ketones word cloud

What Is The Purpose To Ketone Bodies?

The primary purpose of ketone bodies is to fuel the body when it detects a lack of available energy in the form of glucose in the body. This signaling informs the body that additional energy via the stored energy reserves needs to begin.

In times of limited food availability, or a low carbohydrate intake resulting in low insulin levels, ketone bodies supply up to 50% of the energy requirements for most body tissues. This also includes up to 70+% of the energy required by the brain.

How Do Exogenous Ketones Work?

Exogenous ketones are a substance that is typically taken orally that add additive BHB the bodies energy resources.

Consuming exogenous ketones isn’t the same as being on a ketogenic diet. Ketones from supplements haven’t been naturally created by your body breaking down fat stores. So consuming exogenous ketones may slow the bodies need to create its own ketones which could plausibly slow down weight loss.

Who Should Use Exogenous Ketones?

Anyone who is performing athletics, body building, weight lifting and other high intensity activities. They are a way to get a good boost on your workout, especially in the first few weeks while you are adapting and could hit some carbohydrate walls while trying to get a hard workout in.

This is not to say that others who don’t participate in these activities should avoid consuming exogenous ketones. It just means you need to take some time and think about why you would need them and how they will help you get you your chosen, and wanted, results.

If it doesn’t help reach the goals you want to reach, then it isn’t the time to use them. This doesn’t mean never, it just means now isn’t the right time.

Josh Koop

Are They A Missing Piece Of Your Exercise Puzzle?

Exogenous ketones definitely own a place in high-performance activities which require fast energy utilization. This is the place where ketones typically are at their worst. Ketone bodies function well as a long-acting energy source which can make them amazing for endurance sports.

If you take part in sports like long distance running, cycling, rock climbing and similar which require long running energy for hours on end ketones by themselves are a wonderful thing. They grant you the hours and hours of activity without needing food and energy sources consistently.

For those who participate in frenetic activities like MMA, short sprints and the like the exogenous ketones can provide the additional spark to get over the energy hump and keep you free from having to bulk up glycogen stores prior to runs and play.

For those interested in purchasing exogenous ketones I recommend Peach Base from Perfect Keto, it tastes outstanding with just water making it perfect for on the go energy. Check the price on Amazon and get back to us and tell us how they work for you!

Should I Take Exogenous Ketones Before Bed?

Though there is no harm in taking them right before bed, you get the most benefits from exogenous ketones if you take them in the morning on an empty stomach. They aren’t going to be of much benefit while sleeping and personally I wouldn’t want to take an expensive sleep agent.

What Are Ketone Esters?

We will just scratch the surface of Ketone Esters so that you are familiar with them. They are almost the next generation of the exogenous ketones and can provide amazingly potent energy that lasts a while without having to ingest a crazy amount of it. Here is HVMN Ketone Esters on Amazon, it will open in a new tab for you to learn more.

Final Thoughts on What Are Exogenous Ketones

I hope you learned a decent amount in this article around exogenous ketones and their uses with a ketogenic and non-ketogenic diet. They can be amazingly assistive in sports and competition and definitely should be investigated by those serious about performance.

For those looking to lose weight though they are a waste of money and time. You would do much better purchasing quality foods with that money instead.

Since exogenous ketones can slow down your native creation of ketone bodies from your body fat then this side-effect could hamper your results and cause you to question the diet overall.

Please take time to share this if it was at all helpful, please comment below if you have used or are thinking about using ketone supplements and what your intended goal for use is as I would love to hear more!

I grew up in a home where most our days were spent inside, and sports were not a family priority. I did play soccer and baseball as a kid, but the older I got, the more I lost interest. To regain my health, I decided to adhere to the three tenets of health and longevity. I hope you will join me, by making it your purpose to live as long and well as possible.