On the Metabolism of Exogenous Ketones in Humans

The benefits of ketogenic diets for neurological conditions, weight loss, and cognitive function are driven by ketone bodies, namely Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (β-HB) and acetoacetate (AcAc), which are produced during fasting, starvation, or exercise in response to low-glucose availability. Recent evidence suggests that β-HB has molecular signaling actions that could benefit aging and metabolic health. Exogenous ketone esters (KE) and ketone salts (KS) provide a way to deliver ketones in the absence of ketogenic diets or fasting while providing the benefits associated with these dietary regimens. Consuming KE and KS elevated blood β-HB levels rapidly, but β-HB was >50% higher after KE vs. KS. Eating a meal before KE or KS reduced the elevation in β-HB. Continuous dosing of KE maintained nutritional ketosis for 9 hours. Exogenous ketones are an effective way to rapidly induce ketosis, and their use as a “dietary supplement” may mimic the healthspan effects of ketogenic diets and fasting.

View the full peer-reviewed scientific paper at Frontiers in Physiology.