A popular question that I get asked is, whether taking a ketone supplement is NEEDED when eating a ketogenic diet? The answer simply is NO. With that said, I do believe it is beneficial. Let me explain.
First, let me step back and talk about ketosis
Ketosis by definition is the state of having ketones in your body. Up until recently the only way that you could get into ketosis was thru starvation or eating a very low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet. When your body is in a state of sustained low glucose levels, your liver starts breaking down fats to produce ketones. Now since the development of KetoOS MAX*, (the brand of ketone supplements that I use). KetoOS MAX is a pure therapeutic ketone supplement, that can now get into ketosis by just drinking a ketones supplement. The cool thing is that your body and does not know the difference between the ketones produce by your liver and the ketones that are in KetoOS MAX.
To get your liver to start producing ketones, it may take a couple of days of fasting or up to a couple of weeks on a ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is the complete opposite of how most of us have been eating for the past 30 years. Typically, our diet consists of 60% carbohydrates, 30% proteins, and 10% fats. The ketogenic diet, on the other hand, is 70% fats, 25% proteins, and only 5% carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are found in all the candies, sodas, juices, chips, breads, pastas, rice, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables. Carbohydrates are also hidden in a lot of foods that you would not expect like milk, yogurts (especially the low-fat versions) and other “low fat” foods. To get into ketosis on a ketogenic diet, you typically need to eat less than 20 grams of carbs a day. I know personally that going from a diet mostly of carbohydrates to only 20 grams of carbs a day is VERY HARD.
So the first advantage of using the ketone supplement is that it helps your body get into ketosis.
It takes time, up to several weeks, for your body to shift from carbohydrate/glucose burning into a fat burning mode. During this time people often complain of decreased energy, fatigue, hunger, and cravings for food, due to the low amount of carbohydrates. Supplementing with an oral ketone supplement puts you in ketosis within 60 minutes. Having the ketones in your body to be used as fuel decreases these symptoms. Having ketones in your body also result in more energy, better mental focus, less brain fog and fewer cravings. Thus it is easier to make the switch from a diet of high carbohydrate to one with very low carbohydrates.
Another advantage of using the ketone supplement is to help you stay in ketosis even if you are not perfect with your diet.
We all know that drinking a coke is unhealthy and would easily kick you out of ketosis with its 39 grams of sugars/carbohydrates. What most people don’t realize is that eating something ‘healthy’ such as a banana, with its 27 grams of carbohydrates may also kick you out of ketosis. If you get out of ketosis by cheating on your diet, it may then take another couple of days before you are able to get back into ketosis. Which may not be a big deal if you are on the ketogenic diet for weight loss, but if you need the ketones in your body for medical reasons such as for epilepsy, then getting out of ketosis for even a day or a couple of hours could be problematic. This is why when prescribing a ketogenic diet for epilepsy the patients have to be very strict with the diet, often requiring the help of a dietitian to calculate the exact amount of what types of foods and how much to eat. Now just imagine if you were also drinking a ketone supplement, your brain will still have the ketones around even if you are not perfect with your diet.
A third benefit of using a ketone supplement while eating a ketogenic diet is the increased levels of ketones in your body.
On the ketogenic diet, the level of ketones in your body can range from 0.5 mmoles up to 3 mmoles. The ketone supplement, starvation, and exercise on top of the ketogenic diet can increase theses level even further. Current research shows that that the higher the level of ketones in the body, the more that will get into the brain to be used. Many who have been on the ketogenic diet for years, and then added KetoOS MAX on a daily basis have noticed increased benefits. Specifically, when they have higher ketone levels, they notice an improved cognitive function, improved focus, improved energy, and less pain.
So one way to think about ketone supplementation is the same way you would think of protein shakes. Do weightlifters and athletes need to take protein supplements? No, Rocky Balboa would drink 10 raw eggs every morning to get in the amount of protein that he needed before protein drinks were invented. Now every health food store, gym, and grocery store carries protein shakes because of that convenience. So now since KetoOS MAX is available you have a choice. You could either eat a very strict ketogenic diet or you can drink a supplement that is much more convenient, easier and allows to be a little more flexible with your diet. The answer for me is a no-brainer. I personally try to follow a ketogenic diet, however, I know that despite doing my best, I am rarely if ever in ketosis by just by dietary changes. Thus, I would never experience the benefits of ketosis without KetoOS MAX. Since I love the benefits of having ketones fueling my brain and body I am going to keep drinking it on a daily basis.
*These statements are my opinion and not necessarily the opinion of the company that manufactures KetoOS MAX. The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated KetoOS MAX. These products are not intended to are not intended to diagnose prevent treat or cure any disease. If you are under medical supervision for any allergy, disease, taking prescription medications or you are breastfeeding contact your medical provider before adding any new supplements to your daily regimen.
The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.