More and more often one hears and reads about ketogenic nutrition, ketosis and exogenous ketones. In the USA, exogenous ketones have been widely used as dietary supplements for quite some time. During the Tour de France 2019, exogenous ketones were used in professional cycling. Modern medicine is increasingly concerned with ketones, as effects such as blood pressure reduction or anti-inflammatory effects have been observed. Positive influences on dementia patients are being investigated. Athletes, like from cycling or bodybuilding, use exogenous ketones especially for two reasons. First, because ketones serve as an additional source of energy during exercise. Secondly, because ketones support weight loss by reducing the feeling of hunger, supplying the brain with energy. At the same time, they help keep insulin levels low, which supports fat burning.
Since I am generally open to new things, exogenous ketones have naturally aroused my curiosity. I read up on the subject and tested the first batch of exogenous ketones for a few weeks. Here is a first field report now
What are ketones?
By definition, ketones, also called ketone bodies or keto bodies, are chemical compounds that have at least three carbon atoms and one non-terminal carbonyl group. Ketones can be produced chemically in the laboratory, meanwhile there are also naturally extracted ketones. However, they are also formed quite naturally in our body, namely in our liver. Babies produce them even faster than adults. Exogenous ketones are called ketones, which are supplied to the body from outside as food. There are also the endogenous ketones that our body produces itself. Ketones serve our body in times of hunger periods for energy supply. If our body runs out of sugar because we are fasting, for example, our body has to fall back on its fat reserves. Our brain lives almost exclusively on glucose, i.e. sugar. We notice very quickly when our brain runs out of sugar. We become irritated, can no longer concentrate. This is followed by sea disturbances, trembling and dizziness, among others. Our body can produce a small amount of sugar from proteins and fats, but this is very inefficient and is not enough for our brain in the long run. In the case of a prolonged lack of glucose, our bodies begin to ensure its survival by producing ketones. Ketones easily get into our brain and serve as energy there, as well as in other body cells.
Almost everyone has had noticeable exposure to ketones at some point in their lives. In the air we breathe, a chemically smelling odor is sometimes noticeable during prolonged illness. This is especially true for gastrointestinal complaints or when we eat little or no food for a long time due to illness. This smell is also often found in diabetics type 1. The ketone body acetone is exhaled with the breath. Due to a lack of energy, our body begins ketogenesis, the production of ketone bodies. Acetone is probably one of the better known keto bodies, although it is less useful for the body. The two other ketones are called acetoacetate (AcAc) and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). Beta-hydroxybutyrate, also called beta-hydroxybutanoic acid or beta-hydroxybutyric acid, is the most important ketone body.
Are ketones dangerous?
No. Our body produces ketones itself. There are probably two reasons why ketones seem to be dangerous for some people at first sight. Keywords: Raspberry ketones and ketoacidosis. For a few years now, so-called raspberry ketones have been used in the dietary industry. These ketones are found in traces in raspberries and are also used in everyday foods to create a raspberry flavor. In animal experiments, a metabolic acceleration and thus fat loss has been shown in some cases. This effect has not yet been proven in humans. These ketones do not occur naturally in the human body in this chemical form. They have a similarity to capsaicin, which provides spiciness in chili. The side effects have not yet been fully clarified. The consumer centers advise against taking them.
The second point is ketoacidosis. The ketoacidosis occurs particularly in type 1 diabetics due to insulin deficiency. The cells receive little or no sugar from the blood because the beta cells of the pancreas of type 1 diabetics are unable to produce any or very little insulin. Therefore, the body produces ketone bodies for energy production. During the production of ketone bodies, protons are released which cause the pH value of the blood to drop. This leads to hyperacidity, the ketoacidosis. In diabetics, ketones can then be detected in the urine, as the body tries to get rid of excess ketones. In healthy people and with the usual dosage of exogenous ketones, ketoacidosis is far from being a problem.
Interval fasting – My first experiences
The ketones tested by me are produced naturally by fermentation (vegan). Chemically it is beta-hydroxybutyrate, which also occurs in the human body. I have tested the ketones in the morning before breakfast. With the ketones the classical intermittent fasting (interval fasting) is supported. Ketones do not increase the insulin level. Hunger hormones such as ghrelin are downregulated, so that a gnawing feeling of hunger does not occur. I have tested the ketones especially in the morning training. I train regularly on an empty stomach. The concept of sobriety training in the narrower sense would have to be examined and discussed more closely, which would go too far at this point. My carbohydrate stores are more or less filled. My body has learned to manage the stored glucose. However, as soon as I have hardly any carbohydrates stored in my muscles, it is of course not without danger to go on a sometimes more intensive bike ride. Hypoglycaemia can be fatal in traffic. However, since I don’t want to increase my insulin level during the session with gels or bars to continue burning fat, I filled my water bottle with ketones. The tested ketones are in powder form and are dissolved in water. Through the ketones I was able to significantly reduce my hunger feeling during the units, sometimes it disappeared completely. Once I started with a strong growl in my stomach as well as legs and head without energy. Drinking the ketones made this disappear after some time. Here I noticed a clear effect. An increase in performance due to the intake has not occurred so far. My performance (Watt) was as usual. From other experience reports, however, it is said that some effects only become really noticeable after a longer intake. I will continue to test.