Are all Exogenous Ketones Created Equal?

There is increasing interest in the effect that ketones might have on the performance of athletes. We know that by consuming a diet very low in carbohydrates – less than 50 grams per day or so – we can enter ketosis or increase the circulating concentration of ketones in the blood. That’s why these diets are called ‘ketogenic’ (1, 8). In recent years, supplements have been developed that allow us to increase our circulating ketone concentrations independently of our habitual diet. These are the so-called ‘exogenous ketone supplements’ (9).

There are various types of exogenous ketone supplements, including ketone esters, ketone salts, and ketone precursors (that are converted into ketones in the body). Ketone salts combine ketones with sodium, potassium, calcium, or magnesium, and, predictably have the potential to provide a very high salt load. Ketone salts tend to provide a modest elevation in blood ketone, specifically D-βHB,...

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