With all the buzz around keto and the ketogenic lifestyle, exogenous ketones are everywhere. They can be a powerful tool, but there still seems to be a lot of misinformation surrounding them. In order to get the most out of any supplement, you should always do plenty of research and learn as much as you can, so that you can pick the best supplement for your needs. To get started, keep reading to learn about the benefits of exogenous ketones and how to pick the best one.
Why Take Exogenous Ketones?
Increased Fat Burning – One of the biggest benefits of exogenous ketones is that it can increase the amount of fat you burn. Instead of burning carbohydrates like your body normally would, in ketosis, your body taps into reserves and burns fat. Taking exogenous ketones gives your body a boost of energy so you can burn even more fat. Exogenous ketone supplements can help maximize your fat burning, but it can’t do all the work for you.
Workout Fuel – While taking exogenous ketones, you still need to exercise regularly and eat well, but the ketones can make it a lot easier. Ketones in general give your body a boost of energy and can be used as a pre workout. In fact, several exogenous ketones are marketed as pre workout supplements because of how effective they are at it. Ketone bodies are much more effective at providing energy to your muscles, meaning it helps you power through workouts and optimize athletic performance.
Improved Mental Function – Exogenous ketones not only improve physical performance, but cognitive performance as well. Usually your brain is powered by glucose, but while in ketosis, it runs on ketones, which provide more efficient energy to your brain. Exogenous ketones have been compared to nootropics, since they have shown to improve focus, memory creation, and even creative processes. You may find it easier to get work done and find yourself being more productive throughout the day.
Quicker Ketosis – Ketosis is the state in which your body is burning fuel instead of carbs. Exogenous ketones supply your body with an ample amount of ketone bodies, which raises ketone levels in your blood and gets your body in ketosis rapidly. Ketosis aids in weight loss and athletic performance and allows your body to run more efficiently on “clean” energy. Exogenous ketones can also help your body remain in ketosis, which means its long lasting effects can help you feel the benefits of ketosis for several hours after taking them.
Neuroprotection – Perhaps one of the most amazing benefits of exogenous ketones is their potential to actually protect brain cells and fight against the cognitive decline that comes as we age. This has the potential to make you less susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Ketone bodies have even been shown to prevent damage from oxidation in the hippocampus region of our brain, which is responsible for things like memory and emotion.
Minimizes the Effects of Keto Flu – When starting a ketogenic lifestyle, many people report having flu-like symptoms, varying from dizziness, low energy, headaches, stomach or muscle pains, irritability, and even nausea. It happens when you start a ketogenic diet because you’re depriving your body of its usual energy source, carbs, and your body isn’t too efficient at using ketones yet. While your body transitions to using ketones for energy, supplying it with plenty of exogenous ketones to use can make the transition smoother, which makes it easier to stick to and maintain.
Factors to Consider Before Buying
Types of Exogenous Ketone Supplements
Before you can choose an exogenous ketone supplement, it’s probably a good idea to know what types of exogenous ketones there are, so you can decide which one is right for you. The three main types of exogenous ketones are esters, salts, and oils.
Esters are the purest form of exogenous ketones, containing just the ketone bodies and an alcohol to bond them, but they also come with the most side effects. Esters are the fastest acting ketone supplements you can take, skyrocketing your blood ketone levels. Since they provide your body with ketones directly and immediately, there is nothing your body has to extract the ketones from. However, they can have a very strong taste, which is too much for some people. Even if you are able to get over the taste, many people also experience gastric distress while using esters.
Ketone salts contain a ketone body, usually BHB but not always, and a salt that it bonds with, usually magnesium, calcium, potassium, or sodium. They do not skyrocket ketone levels like esters, but they still do a really good job of raising blood ketone levels. An added benefit of ketone salts is that they are a source of electrolytes – the sodium, potassium, or magnesium – which are important to maintain while on a ketogenic diet. Keto salts also come in a wide array of flavors, with everything from chocolate and coffee flavors, to fruitier options like watermelon and lemonade.
The last main type of exogenous ketones are oils. Chain fats, like MCT, are used to provide an indirect source of ketone energy. BHB is a ketone body itself, but MCT, and other fat chains, must be broken down by your body to get the ketones. Oils can be used as a boost and are often used with other types of ketones to provide a longer lasting, more sustainable boost of energy. However, oils by themselves do not usually raise blood ketone levels nearly as much as salts or esters, though. They also tend to be higher in calories, which is a deal breaker for many people looking to burn fat and keep calories low.
The reason esters taste so bad is because ketones themselves taste pretty gross. That being said, no matter what kind of supplement you use, there will likely be something that tastes a little “off”. The taste of ketones can be very difficult to mask, however, many brands have done a great job of doing so. Still, it is important not to set your expectations too high for the taste, after all, you’re not using the supplements because they taste good, you’re using them for results.
If you are sensitive to taste, esters are definitely not for you, but salts may be a good choice. Most people enjoy, or can at least tolerate, the taste of ketone salts mixes. But if salts are still too strong for you, you may want to try capsules, which can give you all the benefits of exogenous ketones without the taste. The only downside to pills and capsules is that they may take a bit longer for your body to digest and absorb.
Who Should Take Them?
Exogenous ketones are the most beneficial to people who are already on a ketogenic diet or lifestyle. If you are already running on ketones instead of carbs, exogenous ketones will be even more effective and you will see more rapid results. Exogenous ketones are most often associated with weight loss, making them a good choice for anyone who is trying to shed some pounds. However, that’s not to say other people cannot use exogenous ketones.
They can be extremely useful before a workout, regardless of whether or not you are on a keto diet. They can also be used before work to improve focus, alertness, and overall performance. You don’t have to fit a certain mold to use exogenous ketones, they can be used by all different kinds of people. Really, a better question would be “who shouldn’t use exogenous ketones?”
Exogenous ketones are not recommended for anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding. There has not been enough research done to show that these supplements are safe to take while breastfeeding or pregnant, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and hold off.
The 5 Best Exogenous Ketone Supplements of 2018
1) Keto Plus
Keto Plus is a combination supplement containing both BHB and MCT oil powder. Keep reading to see how it fares against the competition and my personal experience with it.
- Servings per container: 20
- Cost per serving: $2.75
- BHB per serving: 12g
- Other ingredients: Citric acid, calcium silicate, malic acid, silica, natural flavor, stevia, fruit & vegetable juice, monk fruit
Keto Plus ketone blend – What gives this supplement its power is its special blend of ketone bodies. Unlike other supplements, which only have BHB, Keto Plus contains BHB and MCT, medium chain triglycerides. Combining the two is far better than BHB alone, and creates a sort of super fuel, which gives you unmatched, sustainable energy.
Convenient – Keto Plus comes in powder form and is super easy to mix into water. It comes with a handy little scooper, which is equal to one serving, so all you have to do is dump one scoop of the powder into water and shake. It’s easy to take with you and tastes great. The powder can also be mixed into shakes
Boosts Ketone Levels – The main feature of this supplement, the reason so many people use it, is because it can greatly boost the ketone levels in your blood. Ketones give your body a boost of energy while your body is in ketosis and aids in several different things. It supports weight loss, enhances mental focus, and maximizes athletic performance. It is a great option between meals to help maintain ketosis.
First Impressions – The first time I ordered Keto Plus, I got the raspberry lemonade flavor and immediately loved it. The taste is good (as far as ketone supplements go) and it mixes easily, so it was hard to dislike. I mixed it in a bottle of water and drank it on my way to the gym. I could definitely feel a difference in my overall energy levels and performance when I took Keto Plus, but it was too early to tell if it would help with weight loss.
- Comes in five flavors; cherry limeade, fruit punch, raspberry lemonade, green apple, and watermelon, so there is something for everyone
- Promotes mental clarity
- No jitters or shakiness
- No crashes
- Provides carb-free energy
- Comes with a 90 day money back guarantee
- There are only 20 servings in a container, so if you use this regularly you will have to restock regularly.
After using Keto Plus for a while, and trying the various flavors, raspberry lemonade is still my favorite, but fruit punch is definitely a close second. As far as results go, I have been very pleased with what I’ve got. I’ve been reaching fitness goals faster than I did before, not only weight loss goals, but also exercise goals, like running a mile in under 10 minutes. This drink is a great pre-workout supplement or just a daily boost. Regardless of which way you choose to use this drink, I highly recommend trying it out.
2) Keto Drive BHB Salts
Maintaining a low carb diet is no easy feat. Anyone who has tried knows how hard it can be, especially during the first few weeks. When you go on a low carb diet, you take away your body’s main energy source, carbohydrates, so it’s easy to feel like your body has been drained of energy. If you find it difficult to maintain energy levels, Keto Drive may be for you.
- Servings per container: 16
- Cost per serving: $3.69
- BHB per serving: 11.7 g
- Other ingredients: Citric acid, malic acid, natural orange flavor and other natural flavors. Contains 2% or less of silica, stevia, natural color, gum blend, salt.
Supports Rapid Ketosis – This supplement allows you to feel the benefits of ketosis faster than you normally would. Benefits of ketosis include weight loss, decreased appetite, increased energy, and increased fat burning. You can achieve those benefits, and broader fitness goals, faster with this supplement.
Simple Formula – The powder contains only a few ingredients, the most abundant of which is beta-hydroxybutyrates. The other ingredients are just meant to add flavor, there isn’t anything that’s going to interfere with a clean, carb free diet. There are no carbs, sugars, or caffeine in this supplement, so the energy it gives you is all clean, sustainable energy.
Enhances Performance – Because of the goBHB, this supplement increases ketone levels in blood, which in turn increases your overall performance in several ways. It can increase mental focus, athletic endurance, fat burning, and overall sustained energy. The ketones in your system is what your body draws upon for energy while your body is in ketosis, so giving your body a big scoop of BHB can have huge benefits.
First Impressions – I generally don’t take pre-workout supplements because they tend to make me jittery. I figured this would be a good alternative since it is stimulant free but is still supposed to provide a sustain energy boost. After the first time trying it, I could tell it was different than most of the other supplements I had tried. It felt like my overall energy was enhanced, it didn’t feel like a burst of artificial energy, and I didn’t get the jitters. While it can be taken any time throughout the day, I’ve been using it as a pre workout drink, and that has been my favorite way to use it. It gives me the energy I need to get through my whole workout and makes the exercise more effective too, since it increases the amount of fat burned.
- Tastes great
- Comes in three flavors; orange mango, matcha lemonade, and black cherry (with caffeine).
- Gives you clean, sustainable energy
- Mixes easily and is easy to drink on the go
- Supports weight loss and rapid ketosis
- It’s expensive, at nearly $4 per serving
- It is not recommended to use this if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
In the end, this supplement gets two thumbs up from me. After using it for a few weeks, I can tell it has sped up ketosis and I had begun losing weight faster. Even though I use it before workouts, you can use this supplement as more than just a pre-workout supplement, since it also improves mental focus. I highly recommend Keto Drive to anybody who wants to improve their endurance, and energy levels, without having to choke down a gross, sugary shake.
3) Perfect Keto Exogenous Ketones
If you thought going on a low carb diet meant giving up chocolate, you’d be wrong. One way to satisfy your chocolate craving, and a lot more, is with Perfect Keto’s Chocolate Exogenous Ketone supplement. This BHB salt supplement is one of the most popular on the market, keep reading to find out of it is right for you.
- Servings per container: 15
- Cost per serving: $3.93
- BHB per serving: 11.38g
- Other ingredients: natural chocolate flavor, citric acid, stevia leaf
Zero Additives – The simple formula of this supplement is part of what makes it so great. Other than BHB, there are only three other ingredients. This results in a supplement that is gluten free, dairy free, and keto friendly. There are no carbs or sugars of any kind, no fillers or unnecessary junk, just high quality ingredients.
BHB Boost to Maintain Ketosis – The beta-hydroxybutyrates salts in this supplement is what is responsible for all the great results. It helps your body reach ketosis fast and maintain it, which has numerous benefits, including better mental focus, enhanced alertness, and better athletic performance as well. Raising your blood’s ketones can also support weight loss since your body is tapping into stored fat for energy instead of carbs.
Multiple Flavor Options – While it’s awesome to be able to get your chocolate fix, you may want to switch it up. The good news is that there are four different flavors of Perfect Keto, so you can still find some variety in your routine. Perfect Keto comes in vanilla, chocolate sea salt, coffee, and peaches & cream. BHB can be very hard to mask the taste of, but Perfect Keto has done a great job.
I was very excited to try the chocolate flavor Perfect Keto supplement. I assumed it was too good to be true, and there was no way there could be ketone supplement that tasted good, let alone like chocolate. When I first tried it I was pretty impressed. It’s far from drinking a chocolate milkshake, but it’s actually better than a lot of chocolate protein shakes I’ve tried. Aside from the taste, I also had more energy and it felt easier to concentrate on tasks.
- Helps your body reach ketosis quick
- Supports weight loss
- Easy to mix
- 30 day money back guarantee
- No junk or filler ingredients
- Comes in four flavors
- Extensively lab tested
- Doctor approved
- Dairy free and gluten free
- The only downside to Perfect Keto is the price, almost $4 per serving. If you’re on a budget, there are other options available at nearly half the cost.
Perfect Keto is one of the most popular BHB supplements out there, and it is easy to see why. It is packed full of BHB salts and not much else. It gives your body exactly what it needs to reach ketosis, and that’s exactly where you want to be. I am definitely in the camp of people who recommend Perfect Keto. For those looking for a low cost option, this may not be for you. There are options available that are under $2 per serving, however, they often contain less BHB per serving and can be of lower quality. With Perfect Keto you can be sure you’re getting the best of the best.
4) Sheer Strength Keto Pre-Workout Supplement
A good pre-workout supplement can play a crucial part in meeting fitness goals. Unfortunately, if you are on a ketogenic diet, a lot of these pre-workout supplements are off limits because they are sky high in carbs. There are some that are sugar-free, but your best option is to go with a pre-workout supplement specifically made for those on a ketogenic diet, such as this Ketogenic Pre Workout Supplement from Sheer Strength Labs.
- Servings per container: 20
- Cost per serving: $1.95
- BHB per serving: 4g
- Other ingredients: malice acid, organic stevia leaf extract, natural flavors, silica, citric acid, beet root powder, monk fruit extract
Boosts Overall Performance – This supplement is designed to be an overall performance booster. It can boost athletic performance, including strength, and stamina, which makes for a more intense, effective workout. This supplement helps you push yourself as far as you can go, and get as much as possible from every workout.
Safe – This supplement, from the Keto Series, has been shown to be safe and non habit forming. This is a huge benefit, since the last thing you would want to do on your quest to be healthy is form some kind of nasty habit. This also means you shouldn’t feel withdrawals when you don’t use the supplement, so any time you want to stop you can. This supplement is also made in a FDA registered facility in the USA, so you don’t have to worry about varying purity and potency.
Boosts Metabolism – Lastly, this supplement can help boost your metabolism, which in turn will aid in weight loss. Speeding up your metabolism means your body will burn energy and fat quicker, so it is easier to lose weight. Most people on low carb or ketogenic diets are trying to lose weight to begin with, so this is a nice bonus and can boost all your efforts.
I took it about 35 minutes before going to the gym and what followed was one of the most intense workouts I’ve had in a while. I was able to push myself farther, and although it hurt a lot more the next day, it felt great to get a workout like that especially while on a severely carb-restricted diet. I didn’t find myself getting winded early on and was able to keep working out for longer.
- Easy to mix
- Improved mental clarity and focus
- Ketones boost
- Good for both men and women
- Compliments low carb and ketogenic diets
- This mix is not totally carb free. However, the carb content is very low.
I have found this supplement to be superb, and dozens of other Amazon customers agree. Compared to other keto supplements I have looked at, this one is also very affordable, costing less than $2 per serving (although the BHB content is lower). If you’re looking for a low-cost way to power through those workouts while on a carb restricted diet, this is the option for you.
5) Zenwise Health Keto-Lift BHB Salts
If you’re looking to give your keto diet a boost of sorts, you should look no further than Keto-Lift. This is powerful tool developed by Zenwise Health to not only help get you into ketosis quicker, but it provides a nice energy boost for both your mind and body.
- Servings per container: 16
- Cost per serving: $3.31
- BHB per serving: 11.7g
- Other ingredients: Citric acid, natural colors and flavors, Stevia leaf extract
Enhanced with goBHB – This supplement from Zenwise Health gets all its power from the patented formula of beta-hydroxybutyrate, goBHB. goBHB acts as fuel, giving your body energy, especially for those on a low carb diet. It can provide a sustained boost of energy, giving you hours of energy without crashing. It is not only great for fueling workouts, but also fueling the mind, keeping you more alert and focused.
Versatile – It is very easy to mix this supplement into your existing routine. Whether you drink water, milkshakes, protein shakes, or smoothies, Keto-Lift can be easily mixed into any of them. The raspberry lemonade flavor tastes great, and surprisingly compliments several flavors of protein shakes, including vanilla.
Supports Weight Loss – Perhaps the best thing about this supplement is that it supports weight loss. For people on low carb diets, ketones are extremely important because it is what the body draws energy from instead of carbs. By getting a daily boost of these ketones, your body feel more satisfied and satiated, they support metabolism and decrease appetite, so you’re less likely to break your diet.
I have been on a low carb diet for a while, and just like with a regular diet, some days are a lot harder than others. Some days I roll out of bed and just have absolutely zero energy, but any normal energy drinks or supplements tend to have sky high levels of carbs so they’re never an option. A friend recommended Keto-Lift to me and I decided I’d give it a try. The first thing I thought when I tried it was, “wow, this tastes great”. Initially, the taste is the only thing you can really judge since it does not kick in instantly. However, I couldn’t really tell exactly when it kicked in. Throughout the day I could definitely feel that I had more energy, I wasn’t as sluggish, and work didn’t seem as tiresome, but there was never a moment where a switch flipped and the supplement “kicked in” all at once, I personally really like this. It makes it so the boost of energy is sustainable and feels natural, instead of a rush of energy and then a crash like with most energy drinks.
- Fuels workouts
- Sustained energy boost
- Supports weight loss
- Increases mental focus
- Keto friendly
- Vegan friendly
- Caffeine free
- Tastes good; comes in 2 flavors
- Only comes in lemonade flavors, so if you don’t like lemonade this one may not be for you.
- One of the more expensive options
In the end, this is a supplement I would recommend to anyone looking to boost their workouts while on a keto diet. A keto friendly supplement that actually delivers on its promises isn’t always easy to find, yet here one is. It is on the expensive side so I don’t use it every day, but on those days when I really need a kickstart to get into the gym, this is one of my favorite options.
Other Supplements You May Need
Exogenous ketones are great, but they are far from a catch-all supplement. They do not provide you with lots of vitamins and minerals, so you may need to turn to other supplements to meet your needs if you are not meeting them through your diet. Ketogenic diets can make it hard to meet a lot of the recommended daily requirement of several vitamins and minerals. Whether you are on a ketogenic diet or not, it is a good idea to assess your needs and make a plan of attack for meeting them. You may already get all the vitamin D you need, but maybe you’re lacking somewhere else, like in potassium. Below are essential nutrients that your body needs, which you may need to take in the form of supplements if you are not getting enough on your current diet, ketogenic or not.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B Complex
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Omega 3’s
You probably already get enough of a lot of these with your normal diet, especially if it is ketogenic, but if not, supplements can be a great way to meet your body’s needs.
Tips To Consider When Shopping
In order to find the best exogenous ketones for your needs, you’ll need to know exactly what your goals are. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to gain muscle? Are you looking for a boost in the gym? Answering these questions will help narrow down the field of potential options.
It may sound pretty obvious, but doing your own research is critical. This article is a great place to begin, but the more research you do the better. When comparing products, you should look at things like the cost, the number of servings, the amount of BHB or MCT per serving, cost per serving, what the other ingredients are, and customer reviews. A lot of these supplements are very similar, so comparing these things can be a good way to get the best bang for your buck.
After deciding on a supplement, I recommend making a comprehensive plan on how you plan to achieve your workout goals, whatever they may be. This can include planning meals, workouts, and whatever else you need to succeed. You can make your plan as specific or as general as you like, although detailed plans tend to be more effective. Next, you’ll want to track your progress. I recommend starting to track your progress a week or two before actually beginning to take a supplement, so you can see just how effective it is, but it’s up to you.
While using exogenous ketones and tracking your progress, make sure not just to track your progress, but also analyze it. Look at where you are improving and what you are struggling with, then make whatever changes you need. It’s important to be open to change because it is unlikely that the first supplement you try will be perfect, or that a single supplement will work the same for you forever. Making necessary changes where they are needed will help optimize your ketogenic lifestyle and help you meet your weight loss or fitness goals faster.
One final thought- exogenous ketones can be an extraordinary tool, but don’t let the fakes dupe you into buying a useless supplement. Just because something says “ketones” on the label (looking at you, raspberry ketones) does not mean they are actually ketone bodies or useful for putting you into ketosis.