In an extremely short period of time of little over three years, exogenous ketone supplements have taken the market with storm. Small, medium, big – all sorts of health and supplement companies have sprouted up across the world to provide dieters with the most advanced, delicious, convenient and effective ketone supplements available in the market.

This goes hand in hand with the growing popularity of Ketogenic diet. Across the world  thousands of dieters are now swearing by the benefits and efficacy of the diet. While the diet mostly found popularity for its quick and significant weight loss benefits, dieters regularly speak about the wholesome improvement in their health. From re-balancing blood sugar levels to improved cognitive performance to a much better mood, the diet’s benefits have given it a cult following.

But the extreme restrictions on carbs and sugars (around which most of the modern diet is designed), lack of availability of keto-centric food in the market, and difficulty in maintaining high levels of energy has made it difficult for dieters to reach or maintain nutritional ketosis (the stage at which the body replaces glucose with ketones for energy).

Origins of Exogenous Ketone Supplements

So, it didn’t take long for health supplement companies like Prototype Nutrition, PruvIt, Onnit, BPI Sports and others to prepare ketone supplements that could not only help people get into ketosis quicker but also boost energy levels considerably especially before workout sessions.

The first exogenous ketone supplement was developed by Prototype Nutrition (now KetoSports) in early 2014 based on the patent of Dominic Paul D’Agostino, Patrick Arnold and Shannon Kesl with University of South Florida. Supplement companies like PruvIt and Onnit were quick to launch their own versions of the products in the market.

The exogenous ketone supplements are designed to add “synthetic” ketones in the dieter’s body. Typically ketones are produced in the body naturally through nutritional ketosis, wherein due to restricted carb intake the body breaks down fats into ketones to utilize them for energy. However, reaching the concentration of blood ketones required to induce ketosis can take time and extreme caution. Which is why many dieters give up or at least have to suffer for a while.

The exogenous supplements by providing additional ketones in the body, usually BHB (beta-hydroxy-butyrate) with MCTs (medium chain triglycerides), raise blood ketone levels that induce ketosis quicker and the MCTs deliver additional energy to the body.

The benefits of exogenous ketone supplements can be summarized as below:

  • Fasten the process of getting into ketosis
  • Compensate for days in which carb restrictions could not be met
  • Enhance energy levels especially before workouts
  • Improve cognitive performance and improving brain functions
  • Alleviate mood and reduce anxiety

Typically the supplements are available in powder, oil or shake form. So, they can be mixed with water or your morning black coffee or any low carb drink or taken standalone. There’s usually no standardized intake guideline so do check the labels for more information.

However, before you do decide to take these supplements for your diet, keep these points in mind:

  • The supplements do not aid in weight loss by themselves. Weight (or fat) loss happens as a result of staying in ketosis. The supplements only help in inducing it but if you not following the diet closely you’ll get no results.
  • The supplements can be expensive so do your research before you jump into buying one. More than 20 companies sell their own variants of ketone supplements. Pick the one that suits you and your pocket best.
  • The supplements can taste awful if not taken with added flavors. Yes, go for added flavors as the supplement in itself can taste really bad.
  • Many of the variants available in the market have “caffeine” in them. Make sure you go for the decaffeinated ones.
  • Try to go for organic variants in case of micronutrient or protein supplements.
  • MCTs can also be obtained from Coconut oil (62-65%), cheese and butter (grass-fed cows).
  • If you can’t reach ketosis through nutritional ketosis and need to depend on the supplements, you’ll most likely not get any benefits in the long run.
  • Stick to the right dosage. Excessive consumption can be dangerous to health and counter-productive to your weight loss goals.

Also, please note that exogenous ketone supplements are not “MAGICAL” weight loss pills. Although many marketers will tell you so but don’t believe them. These supplements are only useful when supplemented with the strict discipline required for the diet. It is highly recommended that you consult with your dietitian or general practitioner before including them in your diet – although a little bit of experimentation might be required nonetheless to find the appropriate dosage and timings.