Beta-Hydroxybutyrate, aka BHB: Boosting Ketosis With A Supplement

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Ketones are crucial energy sources during periods of fasting or low carbohydrate intake, and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) is one of these ketones. Ketone supplements can mimic the effects of a ketogenic diet, offering a source of energy for the brain and muscles without the need to drastically alter your diet. While the body naturally produces BHB during ketosis, these supplements aim to provide similar benefits, such as enhanced energy levels, improved cognitive function, and support for weight management.

This article delves into the science behind ketone supplements, exploring their potential benefits, how they work in the body, and what current research says about their effectiveness.

What Are Ketones?

Beta-hydroxybutyrate, commonly known as BHB, is one of the three main ketone bodies our bodies produce from fatty acids during periods of low food intake, fasting, or intense exercise, or when carbohydrate intake is very low. This organic compound plays a critical role in energy metabolism, especially when glucose, the body’s primary source of energy, is in short supply. Ketones are not just an energy source; they also act as signaling molecules, affecting cellular processes and gene expression related to metabolism, aging, and inflammation.

In the context of a ketogenic diet, where carbohydrate intake is drastically reduced, the body enters a state called ketosis. During ketosis, the liver increases the production of ketones, including BHB, which become the primary energy source for both the brain and muscles. This shift from glucose to ketones as a primary energy source is what many believe to be responsible for the various health benefits of the ketogenic diet, such as weight loss, improved mental clarity, and increased energy levels.

Ketone supplements are often referred to as “exogenous” ketones. These supplements are designed to provide ketone bodies directly so that the body does not need to produce them through a ketogenic diet or fasting. Ketone supplements are usually used by people following a ketogenic diet, athletes seeking enhanced performance, or people looking to reap the benefits of ketosis without sticking to a strict ketogenic diet. The growing interest in ketones is rooted in their potential to provide an alternative energy source for the brain and muscles, along with other health benefits that extend beyond simple energy provision.

What Are the Benefits of Ketones?

  • Enhanced Energy Levels: Ketone supplements provide an alternative energy source for the body and brain, which can lead to increased energy levels, especially for those on a low-carb or ketogenic diet.
  • Improved Cognitive Function: By providing the brain with an alternative energy source, ketones may help enhance mental clarity, focus, and cognitive performance. In a small randomized study, β-OHB supplementation improved cognition in adults with obesity, which may be partly due to improvements in cerebral blood flow. [PMID: 34605026]
    • Neuroprotective Effects: Ketones are being studied for their potential neuroprotective properties, which could be beneficial in neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and brain injury. [PMC8308443] [PMID: 36577190]
  • Weight Management Support: ketones can aid in weight loss efforts by promoting a state of ketosis, where the body burns fat for energy, potentially leading to reduced appetite and increased fat burning. [PMC5813183]
    • Appetite Suppression: BHB can help regulate hunger hormones, which may lead to reduced appetite and help in controlling calorie intake, aiding in weight management. [PMID: 32193016]
  • Exercise Performance and Recovery: For athletes and those engaged in physical activity, ketone supplements can offer an additional energy source, potentially improving endurance and aiding in faster recovery post-exercise. [PMID: 31820376]
  • Reduced Inflammation: Ketones have anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial in reducing systemic inflammation, potentially impacting a variety of chronic diseases. [PMC9734240]
  • Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Regular intake of BHB supplements might improve insulin sensitivity, which is beneficial for blood sugar regulation and overall metabolic health.
  • Heart Health: Ketone bodies are a critical cardiac fuel and have many roles in the regulation of cellular metabolism and inflammation. Some studies suggest that ketones can have a positive impact on blood pressure. [PMC9733433] [PMID: 36996176]
  • Longevity and Anti-Aging: Early research indicates that ketones may play a role in extending lifespan and improving the aging process by impacting cellular and metabolic functions. [PMC9734240]
  • Enhanced Brain Health: BHB is believed to support brain health by providing efficient energy to neurons, potentially reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases and improving brain function. [PMC8308443][PMC9460077]
    • Mood Stabilization: Some users report an improvement in mood and a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression when taking BHB supplements, possibly due to stabilized energy levels and reduced neuroinflammation. Researchers are talking about using ketone supplements in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. [PMC6543248]
  • Improved Gut Health: BHB may positively affect the gut microbiome, promoting a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which is vital for overall health. [PMC6732196]
  • Increased Autophagy: BHB can stimulate autophagy, a process where cells clean out damaged components, which is crucial for cellular repair and maintenance. [PMC8308443]
  • Support During Fasting or Ketosis: For individuals practicing intermittent fasting or following a ketogenic diet, ketone supplements can provide energy during periods of low food intake, making these practices more sustainable.

Metabolic Production of Ketones With A Ketogenic Diet

The human body can produce ketones. When a person eats a very low carbohydrate diet, their body starts producing ketones. Estimating the daily production of Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB) in a person in ketosis involves many variables and assumptions. In therapeutic ketosis, where BHB levels are maintained between 3.0 to 6.0 mmol/L, the body is in a state of heightened ketone production.

Despite many complexities, some studies suggest that during a ketogenic state, the liver can produce from 50 to 100 grams per day of all types of ketones including BHB.

Are Ketone Supplements Safe?

Ketone supplements, including BHB (Beta-Hydroxybutyrate), are generally considered safe for most people when used appropriately. These supplements mimic the body’s natural process of ketosis, providing ketones directly to the body without the need to strictly adhere to a ketogenic diet. This aspect of exogenous ketones can be particularly appealing for those looking for a safe and convenient way to experience the benefits of ketosis. Most users tolerate BHB supplements well, and they have a good safety profile with minimal side effects.

Medication Interactions with Ketone Supplements

  • Diabetes Medications (e.g., Insulin, Metformin): BHB may affect blood sugar levels, potentially requiring adjustments in diabetes medication dosages to avoid hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.
  • Blood Pressure Medications: The interaction of BHB with blood pressure medications can enhance their hypotensive effect, necessitating careful blood pressure monitoring and possible adjustments in medication dosages.
  • Diuretics: Since BHB affects fluid and electrolyte balance, it could interact with the effects of diuretics on electrolyte and fluid regulation, increasing the risk of dehydration or electrolyte imbalances.
  • Corticosteroids: The use of corticosteroids, which can elevate blood sugar levels, in combination with BHB may require medication adjustments to maintain optimal blood sugar control.
  • Cholesterol-Lowering Medications (Statins): Combining BHB with statins may affect lipid profiles, necessitating more frequent cholesterol level monitoring and potential adjustments in medication.
  • Anti-Seizure Medications: BHB’s effects on brain chemistry might interact with the mechanisms of anti-seizure medications, impacting their effectiveness and possibly necessitating dosage adjustments.
  • Antidepressants and Mood Stabilizers: BHB can influence brain chemistry and may interact with psychiatric medications, potentially altering their effectiveness and requiring careful monitoring.

Supplement Interactions with Ketone Supplements

  • Creatine: When used together with BHB, creatine might alter energy metabolism in muscles, potentially impacting exercise performance and recovery.
  • Electrolyte Supplements: BHB can change electrolyte balance, so combining it with electrolyte supplements requires careful monitoring to avoid imbalances, especially of sodium, potassium, and magnesium.
  • Herbal Supplements with Diuretic Properties (e.g., Dandelion, Green Tea Extract): These herbal supplements can exacerbate the fluid and electrolyte balance effects of BHB, increasing the risk of dehydration and electrolyte disturbances.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 supplements, when taken with BHB, may enhance anti-inflammatory effects, but this combination should be monitored for its impact on lipid profiles and blood clotting.
  • Calcium Supplements: Combining BHB with calcium supplements could affect calcium balance.
  • Magnesium Supplements: Ketones can influence magnesium levels, so magnesium supplements might lead to an imbalance.

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Keto Drive BHB Orange Mango by ZHOU Nutrition

Kick your keto diet into high gear with this premium patented beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) complex. Formulated to help support increased blood ketone levels, boost athletic performance, and spark mental energy when used in conjunction with a keto diet, Keto Drive delivers the benefits you seek all while serving up a delicious Black Cherry flavor. 1. ATHLETIC ENDURANCE: Conquer your workouts and power through your day with sustained, smooth energy. 2. FAST, SUSTAINED ENERGY: A delicious, convenient powder that mixes easily in cold water or shakes for the quick energy boost you need right when you need it. 3. MENTAL PERFORMANCE: Stay focused and mentally sharp through any task your day throws at you.

Suggested Use:
Shake or stir vigorously one (1)heaping scoop (14.7g) into at least 16 oz. of cold water daily. Begin with half (1/2) scoop to assess tolerance. May be consumed between meals, on an empty stomach, or whenever increased physical and mental performance are desired.Use only as directed.

Serving Size: 1 Scoop

Amount Per Serving
Calories … 5
Total Fat … 0 g
Cholesterol … 0 g
Total Carbs … 0 g
Protein … 0 g
Calcium (as goBHB™) … 850 mg
Sodium (as goBHB™) … 940 mg
Magnesium (as goBHB™) … 110 mg
Keto Drive™ Performance Complex … 11.7 g
Calcium Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (as goBHB™)
Sodium Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (as goBHB™)
Magnesium Beta-Hydroxybutyrate Tihydrate (as goBHB™)
Caffeine Anhydrous … 100 mg

Food First!

Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.

Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.

To Sum It Up

Ketone supplements offer a range of health benefits, including enhanced energy levels, improved cognitive function, and support for weight management. They also show potential in exercise performance and recovery, reducing inflammation, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and contributing to heart health. While ketone supplements provide these various advantages, especially for those interested in the effects of a ketogenic lifestyle, it’s important to remember they are part of a larger picture of overall health and wellness. As with any supplement, the effects can vary from person to person, and they should be used as one component of a balanced approach to health.

This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice

Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.

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