Following a ketogenic nutritional approach is one of the most effective and efficient ways to melt away unwanted body fat. The ketogenic diet is completely different to virtually every other weight loss diet imaginable, and harnesses a powerful metabolic ability of the body that causes the rapid breakdown of fat tissue for energy.
In addition to promoting rapid weight loss, the ketogenic, or keto, diet delivers a wide range of other health benefits. Clinical investigations show that following a ketogenic diet reverses the effects of diabetes, promotes insulin sensitivity, lowers cholesterol levels, and improves cognitive function.
Several scientific studies have demonstrated that practicing a ketogenic nutritional approach over a long period of time even protects the body from various neurodegenerative and neuromuscular disorders.
The ketogenic diet has become extremely popular, and is now used by athletes, professional sports players, wall street CEOs, Silicon Valley startup entrepreneur, and bodybuilders around the world.
Elite US Navy Seals even follow a ketogenic nutritional approach in order to prevent seizures during extreme deep diving exercises. The anti-seizure benefits offered by the keto diet also make it a powerful health tool for epileptic individuals.
The recent explosion in popularity of the ketogenic diet has made it one of the most commonly searched diet terms in the world, which has led to an extreme amount of contradictory, confusing, and complicated information flooding the internet.
The supplement industry has been quick to capitalize on the increased popularity of the keto approach, offering keto dieters a wide range of products that claim to be able to enhance the ketosis state.
In reality, there are very few reasons to take any supplements at all while following a strict ketogenic diet unless it’s with the goal of developing lean muscle mass or enhancing sports performance.
There are no shortcuts to ketosis, as the only way to induce the fat burning, high-functioning state keto dieters aim for is by precisely following ketogenic macronutrient intake rules. There is, however, one exception to this rule- BHB, or Betahydroxybutryate salts.
BHB salts have captured the attention of fitness enthusiasts, sports players, bodybuilders, and keto dieters around the world for their ability to mimic some of the elements produced by the body during ketosis, the metabolic state that the ketogenic diet induces.
Functioning as exogenous ketones, or ketones that come from an external source, the BHB source is a controversial topic among keto dieters.
Are exogenous ketones powerful tools for keto dieters, or expensive snake oil supplements? What are Betahydroxybutryate salts, and what do they do?
In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more to help you decide whether BHB salt supplementation is an intelligent choice that will assist you in achieving your health, fitness, and weight loss goals.
What Is The Keto Diet?
If you’re reading this article it’s probable that you’re either currently following the ketogenic diet, or are at least interested in getting started, so we’ll begin with a quick rundown of what the ketogenic diet is and how it works.
The keto diet itself is not a revolutionary new innovation in nutritional science- it has been used extensively since the early 1920’s as a dietary approach to the treatment of epilepsy, and has existed in various forms- such as derivatives of the Mediterranean diet– for thousands of years.
The Atkin’s diet, released in the 1970’s, and the more recent Timothy Noakes ketogenic approach, however, have brought the ketogenic diet to the mainstream.
In the last ten years there have been thousands of different clinical investigations into the benefits of the ketogenic diet, examining its effect on cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, obesity, heart disease, and even senescence, or age.
The ketogenic approach can be summed up succinctly in just two words- eliminate carbohydrates.
The body requires three primary macronutrients to survive and thrive- fats, protein, and carbohydrates. Protein is an essential building block of the body and can’t be avoided, but the ketogenic diet leverages the fact that carbohydrates and fats can be used alternatively as an energy source.
Eliminating carbohydrates from the diet causes an interesting and powerful shift in metabolic gears, and places the body in a state called ketosis. This state delivers a broad spectrum of health benefits that make weight loss and enhances productivity exceptionally easy.
Individuals following the keto diet have been clinically proven to lose weight at a rate twice as fast as that of those following traditional low-fat diets, and experience significantly lower appetite response that makes adhering to a low caloric intake effortless.
The benefits of the ketogenic diet aren’t limited to weight loss, however. Eliminating sugars and carbohydrates is so effective in managing blood sugar levels and insulin response that the ketogenic approach has allowed many diabetic individuals to completely cease diabetic medication routines.
Recent scientific investigation has even demonstrated that individuals that have been diagnosed with cancer that follow the ketogenic diet deprive cancer cells of glucose.
This phenomenon causes the cancer cells to use alternative oxidative metabolic processes to survive, ultimately making them selectively sensitive to chemotherapy and radiation therapy and thus enhancing the effectiveness of these treatments.
For the average person, however, the ketogenic diet means faster weight loss with less effort, higher energy levels, more motivation, enhanced productivity, higher immune system function, reduced chance of disease, and better overall health. Eliminating sugars and carbs is one of the best choices you can make for your health.
How The Keto Diet Works
In order to determine whether Ketosis Betahydrobutryate BHB Salts are an effective tool for ketogenic dieters, it’s necessary that we take a look at the finer points of how ketosis works and what the body actually does during ketosis.
The basics of the keto diet are extremely simple- keto dieters reduce carbohydrate intake to less than 5% of their total daily macronutrient balance, supported by 20% protein and a massive 70% fat.
The average human body is powered by carbohydrates. Most of us wake up in the morning and consume toast, cereal, or another carbohydrate-rich food, which is almost immediately converted into glucose, or blood sugar. Some of this glucose is stored in muscle tissue, some is burned to power the body, and some- or a lot- is stored as excess fat deposits.
The issue with carbohydrate energy is that it’s fast-burning and inefficient- sort of like using high-octane fuel in a family car. Starting the ketogenic diet means eliminating carbohydrates as a source of energy by consuming fewer than 50 grams of carbs daily.
For around 72 hours after eliminating carbohydrates, the body will use up all of the stored glucose, at which point it scrambles to find an alternative energy source to remain alive.
The alternative energy source is found in the fat deposits of the body, and the fat content of the diet. The body can’t use fat as energy directly, however, so it begins to break down fatty acids through a catabolic process called beta-oxidation to create Acetyl Coenzyme-A, or acetyl-CoA.
This molecule is the precursor to three specific energy-carrying molecules called ketone bodies.
These ketone bodies, or ketones, are used in lieu of glucose to power the body, and the advantage they offer is obvious.
Instead of needing to constantly refuel the body with carbohydrate-sourced glucose once every six hours or so, the ketogenic diet allows dieters to metabolize the massive amount of energy stored in their fat deposits, which, for the average person, is in excess of 40,000 calories.
The three ketone bodies that fuel the body during ketosis are created in the liver, and can be broken down into acetoacetate, acetone, and Beta-hydroxybutyrate- or BHB.
During the early stages of ketosis, the body creates more acetoacetate than the other two ketone bodies, which is what causes the urine, sweat, and breath of keto dieters to have a distinct acetone-like odor.
All three of these ketone bodies are used by the body as an energy source during the ketosis state, but are present in even baseline, normal dieters, albeit in small amounts. The liver is, in fact, always producing ketone bodies, but it’s only during adherence to a ketogenic diet that ketones take over from glucose as a primary energy source.
Ketone bodies are more efficient than glucose as an energy source, and deliver more metabolic bang for your dietary buck. A clinical investigation performed in 2013 conclusively determined that ketones are more efficient sources of energy than glucose, and increase total resting energy expenditure.
Interestingly, although keto dieters consume little or no carbohydrates, their blood glucose levels remain within healthy parameters due to various processes that occur in the body.
The body, when starved of carbohydrates, is able to synthesize glucose from the amino acids that are found in protein. These amino acids, referred to as gluconeogenic amino acids, include arginine, alanine, valine, and glutamine, which are commonly used in strength training and muscle-boosting supplementation.
Given a surplus of these amino acids, the body is able to perform a function called gluconeogenesis, which can potentially throw the body out of ketosis- so be careful with BCAAs and whey protein while on keto.
Fortunately, the ketogenic diet provides a muscle-sparing effect that prevents catabolism, which allows fitness enthusiasts to lower protein intake and still build new lean muscle mass.
The core take away from this breakdown of how the keto diet works is that by eliminating carbohydrates, it’s possible to place the body in a metabolic state that converts fat into ketone bodies for fuel, one of which is BHB, or Beta-hydroxybutyrate.
The idea behind BHB Salts is that it’s possible to elevate energy levels and induce ketosis immediately by adding them to the diet while in the early stages of ketosis- but there are several supplements that make this claim and fail.
We’ll proceed to take a look at some of the most common keto supplements on the market today and help you identify what works, and what doesn't.
Snake Oil Keto Supplements: What To Avoid
The popularity of the ketogenic diet has led to many supplement manufacturers flooding the supplement market with a diverse range that claim to be able to boost results while in ketosis, speed up the keto-adaptation process, or deliver higher energy levels without throwing the body out of the ketogenic state.
Of these common supplements, ketone energy supplements are the most trustworthy, although in some cases they may be unnecessary.
There are many keto shake formulas and high-fat ketone energy supplements available that are intended to be used as fuel sources for the body to convert into ketones, such as coconut-based coffee creamers and high-fat powdered drink mixes.
If you’re interested in supplementing your diet with a high-fat energy source, save money and time by simply purchasing MCT oil in bulk and adding it to your protein shakes or coffee, and avoid the overpriced alternatives. One of the most common mistakes made by new keto dieters, however, is supplementing the diet with raspberry ketones.
Although raspberry ketones may bear a passing similarity to the ketone diet in name, this is where the correlation ends. Raspberry ketones are found in small amounts in raspberries, and are responsible for the unique scent and flavor offered by the fruit.
They don’t, however, have anything to do with the ketogenic diet, and are only supported by a small amount of clinical evidence that demonstrates that they may assist with speeding up the weight loss process for normal dieters.
One supplement that is extremely helpful during the early stages of ketosis is an electrolyte supplement. The early stages of keto-adaptation cause the body to lose a significant amount of water weight, which also depletes electrolyte levels and causes the “keto flu”.
Adding a sugar-free electrolyte supplement to your diet helps to increase energy levels and minimize lethargy during the keto adaptation process.
What Are Ketosis Betahydrobutryate BHB Salts?
BHB salts are a new form of ketogenic diet supplement that doesn’t fit into the above classifications of keto supplements. Beta-hydroxybutyrate, or BHB, is one of the three key ketone bodies that are produced by the liver as an energy source during ketosis, and is classified as an endogenous ketone, or one that is manufactured within the body.
Recent developments in supplement technology have made a new form of ketone available to keto dieters, known as exogenous ketones. Waiting for your body to shift metabolic gears into ketosis can sometimes be frustrating, and cause low energy levels and fatigue.
Ketosis Betahydrobutryate BHB Salts provide the body with Beta-hydroxybutyrate paired with another compound such as magnesium, calcium, sodium, or potassium.
Your body doesn’t care whether the ketone bodies it uses for energy are exogenous or endogenous- to your metabolism, BHB is BHB, regardless of the source.
Keto dieters are beginning to incorporate BHB salts into their diets for a variety of reasons, such as boosting energy levels without waiting for the metabolism to convert fat to ketone bodies, or to ease the keto-adaptation process.
How Ketosis Betahydrobutryate BHB Salts Work
Ketosis Betahydrobutryate BHB Salts offer a number of unique properties that make them a highly sought-after supplement for ketogenic dieters. When the body is provided with Beta-hydroxybutyrate paired with another compound, the digestive system breaks it down into raw BHB, which then bootstraps the ketosis function of the body.
Upon reaching the bloodstream, Beta-hydroxybutyrate is moved throughout the body, where its unique hydrophilic properties come into play. Beta-hydroxybutyrate is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the mitochondria of the cells of the body, which makes it a readily available energy source.
Inside the mitochondria of a cell, Beta-hydroxybutyrate is converted into acetoacetate, another ketone body.
This acetoacetate is then converted into acetoacetyl-CoA, which is then, in turn, converted into acetone and acetyl-CoA. The acetyl-CoA that is created inside the cell is then subjected to a series of chemical reactions called the Kreb’s cycle, which transforms it into adenosine triphosphate, or ATP- the basic energy currency of the body.
What this means for you as a ketogenic dieter is that it’s possible to fast forward the keto-adaptation stage and eliminate the “keto-flu” entirely when beginning the early stages of ketosis.
It’s important to clarify what BHB salts are not- it’s not possible to supplement your diet with BHB salts, consume large amounts of carbohydrates, and expect to remain in ketosis.
BHB salts, however, are extremely effective in providing the body with vast amounts of ketone bodies quickly, and function as the most efficient ketogenic fuel source available. As a tool for expediting the keto-adaptation process and remaining productive, powerful, and full of energy while in ketosis, nothing compares to BHB salts.
When To Use Ketosis Betahydrobutryate BHB Salts
As a general rule, BHB salts should be used in a similar manner to the carbohydrate supplements used by professional athletes before competition events. As BHB salts function as a powerful energy booster, many ketogenic dieters choose to mix them into a pre-workout shake or supplement to enhance workout performance and effectiveness.
BHB salts can also be used as a keto-adaptation supplement in addition to an electrolyte complex to completely eliminate the keto flu, or used as a daily energy boosting supplement to support the ketogenic process and enhance overall health levels.
Some ketogenic dieters practice cyclical carbohydrate refeeding in order to restore depleted muscle glycogen levels, which throws the body out of ketosis. Supplementing the diet with BHB salts after a carbohydrate refeed can help the body enter the ketosis state faster, making it easier to run a continuous cyclical ketogenic approach.
Ketosis Betahydrobutryate BHB Salts Final Thoughts
BHB salts are a powerful tool that should be in the supplement arsenal of any fitness enthusiast, biohacker, strength trainer, or athlete intent on getting the most out of their body while following the ketogenic diet.
While BHB salts won’t magically induce ketosis after just one serving, they are the cleanest, most efficient exogenous ketone available, and a great way to turbocharge the metabolism during ketosis.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23852511 ↑