I’ve previously written about some experiments I’ve conducted involving ketosis, from intermittent fasting to longer five-day fasts and caloric restriction, to help my body kick-start production of ketones. However, in these cases getting into ketosis involved a lot of work so I was looking for ways to shortcut/“hack” the process.
Exogenous Ketone Esters and Ketone Salts – A Shortcut to Mimicking Ketosis
In recent years, exogenous ketone supplements have become very popular. They elevate blood-ketone levels without having to eat large amounts of fats, follow (excessively carbohydrate-restrictive) ketogenic diets, or fast constantly. These ketones (beta-hydroxybutyrate) come in two forms, ketone salts and ketone esters:
- Ketone Salts: While the body uses and makes BHB ketones salts naturally, in supplement form ketone salts are synthetically (lab) made compounds that combine sodium (and/or potassium, calcium, or magnesium) with BHB. The salt is used to raise the pH and make things less acidic. Currently, all ketone supplements on the market are made from ketone salts. While they raise ketone levels, most people will only experience mild nutritional ketosis (~0.6-1.0 mmol/L).
- Ketone Esters: These are not normally found in the body, but exogenous ketone esters convert into BHB once it is in the body. They are also synthetically (lab) made compounds that link an alcohol to a ketone body, which can then be metabolized by the liver into a ketone. They are like ketone salts on steroids as they have 5-10 time more BHB per serving/maximum daily intake than ketone salts. To date, pure ketone esters have been very expensive to produce and have only been available to researchers, elite athletes (Tour de France cyclists), and the US Department of Defense (people have spent more than $20,000 to have an independent lab produce a single serving!).