Elite Performance: Ketone Ester Benefits and How They Work

Many have heard of ketones within the keto diet community but the ketone esters may be able to help keto dieters and non-dieters alike. The ability for your body to use ketone esters is shown to be helpful for anyone who takes them, so then what are ketone esters and how are they different from ketones?

A ketone ester is an exogenous beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) ketone used to enhance performance. Normal BHB is made by the liver during periods of extremely low carbohydrate intake.​ When your body is maxed out it produces this fuel for its cells in the form of ketones to continue energizing your body systems.

Ketone Esters are regarded as a sports drink to improve performance, recovery, and cognitive ability. They aim to have a large impact on the overall productivity, focus, mental clarity, and overall mood.

Ketone Esters differ from exogenous ketone salts since they’re developed by binding an alcohol molecule to a ketone body. They provide amazing energy and ketone levels but the taste is much-maligned according to most consumers who report back they are pretty terrible tasting.

I am glad we have that out there now for you to understand, now let’s move into how they can be used and why people would purchase them.

Ketone esters have only been publicly available for about the last couple of years, prior to that only high-end athletes had them available as options due to the high costs associated.

What Is The Development Timeline?

What we know of as Ketone Esters from the 2 primary providing companies is that their development began in and around 2016 by the first people to distribute them, KetoneAid.

This wasn’t available for consumers until just recently in the last year or so. This is similar for their primary competitor who sells single and multiple packs which can help drive the cost down.

There has been numerous companies in the same development cycle and timelines to release their product out to the consumer.

What Benefits Do Ketone Esters Provide?

Ketone esters primary benefits are tied to physical performance, fat and weight loss along with neurological conditions.

Investments into Ketone Esters are mainly focused on sports performance and neurological therapies along with possible tie ins to longevity.

Benefits And Improvements To Performance

There aren’t any big published studies on Ketone Esters and performance enhancement. So most the information on performance has been provided by elite level athletes.

A key research paper carried out the most comprehensive study of Ketone Esters on exercise performance to date. The research group from Oxford University utilized Ketone Esters to improve cycling performance by 2%.

Now, this may not sound large but in a sport where tenths of seconds matter, this could take you from second to first place.

This utilization of ketones is quite similar to that of the ketogenic diet. Though instead of becoming a fat burner, you are burning ketones as an additional primary fuel source which seems to spare glycogen stores in the body.

Glycogen sparing is of large interest to endurance athletes as glycogen stores are finite and very impactful to exercise and “hitting the wall”.

Glycogen storage in our bodies is only large enough to fuel approximately up to 3 hours of exercise.

Benefits And Improvements To Weight Loss

Ketone esters will definitely raise your overall body ketone levels but this hasn’t been specifically linked to increases in weight loss, to measure your ketone levels you can get a tool like this.

Also of note this hasn’t been tied directly to fat loss either, it can help in performance of efforts like cardio and weight lifting which could assist in loss of fat mass.

There is a study though which was small in size with only 15 people involved of normal weight. The participants who drank a beverage containing ketone esters experienced an overall 50% less hunger after an overnight fast than those drinking a sugary beverage. (PMC5813183)

Benefits And Improvements To Neurological Conditions / Issues

Ketones are a viable alternative fuel for the brain which it can utilize similar to carbohydrate. They are able to provide somewhere in the range of 60% of the brains required energy during periods of hunger.

This has led to an interest in creating new methods of increasing ketones for neurological conditions.

This interest will present a solid case for the ketone ester in support. Keto diets are a very common treatment for conditions such as refractory epilepsy.

There is also another condition called Glut-1 deficiency syndrome, where the key issue is the bodies glucose metabolism. This makes a ketogenic diet the treatment of choice in helping patients.

The jury is still out in regards to massive large scale testing as to whether ketone esters can help, this then depends on if ketone bodies themselves actually can contribute. There are studies which are starting to mount evidence that this is the most likely case.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has started to become referenced as type 3 diabetes do to a large feature of it is poor glucose use or uptake by the brain.

Having the ability to instead provide an alternate fuel source via ketone bodies may be beneficial to them.

Who Would Benefit From Using Ketone Esters?

Athletes and people looking for a maximization to their output could definitely benefit from ketone esters. Not only for people on a Ketogenic diet but those who are looking for a counter to the carb bonking effect may be able to utilize esters to enhance their ability to perform.

What Are Possible Side Effects Of Ketone Esters?

As with all studies, even those not on esters, there is tracking on the side effects which come about due to the use. The primary side effects reported with ketone esters are all GI related and have to do with upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

It should be noted that nearly all side effects have been tracked back to going over the recommended dose as being the primary culprit.

More recent publications have shown considerably fewer side effects reported. This may be attributed to better use or to companies improving formulations.

One recent paper explored taking Ester with favored water and that contributed to more minimal side effects 1.

Final Thoughts on What Are Ketone Esters

I am super excited about the future of ketone esters for many reasons. I would love to have it help athletes but I am much more excited about the application of ketone esters to treatment of diabetes related problems as they are escalating in the world dramatically.

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