The last year I've been involved with a company that distributes exogenous ketones called keto/os designed by Pruvit.
Like most supplements, and rightly so, they have undergone a lot of scrutiny and lashing across the net for being the product of an MLM based company.
I myself was very reluctant to get involved for those exact reasons and it took me a long time to get on board with it all because I am a skeptic by heart. Especially when it comes to supplements.
I wrote an article before outlining how I ended up buying in and I will link it here.
One of the common misconceptions about using exogenous ketones is that you need to be on a ketogenic diet in order to use them. The only reason I feel like people can arrive at such a conclusion is just because of the fact that the supplement is in fact a ketone itself. Beta-hydroxybutyrate, or BHB.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
The entire point of using an exogenous ketone (exogenous meaning it comes from outside the body, where endogenous means from inside the body) is to get the benefits that ketones provide without actually having to get into a state of ketosis. In other words, you can have your carbs and derive the benefits you get from that ketone BHB itself.
To be completely up front, I am not a fan of ketogenic diets. Or let me state, not from an athletic or muscle building standpoint. And I will tell you why.
Carbohydrates have a protein sparing effect in regards to the fact that the keep the body from using amino acids through the process known as gluconeogenesisto create glucose.
In the absence of glucose, gluconeogenesis essentially robs Peter to pay Paul. If someone is interested in growing as much lean tissue as possible, then robbing muscle of the very building blocks needed to grow is not a great idea. Let us also not forget that carbohydrates serve as a catalyst for the pancreas to secrete insulin, which is responsible for reducing muscle protein breakdown.
Yet at the same time, there's actually no such thing as an "essential carbohydrate".
We have essential amino acids, the ones that cannot be created by the body and must be found through food or supplementation. Those being histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
And we have essential fatty acids, Omega-3 and Omega-6. Just like the 9 essential amino acids, these cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained through diet.
In fact, as we break down what the essentials are by the body, you actually won't find carbohydrates in the list anywhere.
- Water. Without water well, you die.
- Essential amino acids
- Essential fatty acids
- Vitamins and minerals
- Trace minerals
The only knock here is that reducing your diet to protein and fats is said by some to cause deficiencies in some of the areas listed above. Potentially potassium, zinc, selenium, and vitamin D. However let's be clear about something here - if your diet doesn't contain a variety of foods in it then regardless of the "style" of dieting you choose, you'll end up deficient in something somewhere. So even if you decide that a keto diet is right for you, make sure to do your homework in regards to food selection so that you have your bases covered as thoroughly as possible from this standpoint.
With all of that said, from both an athletic performance standpoint and muscle building standpoint, carbs really are king, but only when working in conjunction in a synergistic way with proteins and fats. You need an optimum supply of all three macros in order to either grow muscle, or perform athletically at a high level. Carbs supply an immediate and "cheap" source of energy that is easily converted into ATP which is the driver for fast and explosive muscular contractions.
So while carbs may not be "essential" their role in regards to sports performance and building muscle cannot be overstated.
So where in the hell does that bring us back to in regards to exogenous ketones?
Those on keto diets and those not -
Well this one shouldn't be too hard to figure out. Anyone that decides to implement a keto diet, which has been proven to be an excellent choice for rapid fat loss, can use the exogenous ketones to achieve a high rate of ketosis in that state.
But what about those who either subscribe to a higher carbohydrate diet, or someone just going low carb for the sake of fat loss, either for physique competition or just using a low carb/high fat paradigm to shed more fat?
I'm glad you asked. Or maybe you didn't. But here you are, reading this tripe anyway.
The brain uses about 120 grams of glucose a day (give or take). When the body is low on glucose, such as in a state of low carb dieting, the brain competes with the glucose supply for normal functioning.
Anyone who has ever done a contest diet should understand the manifestations of this quite well. When someone is only ingesting 50-150 grams of carbs a day, then training, then doing cardio, there's not a lot of that "cheap energy" to tap into. When I was in contest prep and carbs were at an all time low, I had times where I had no idea where I was driving to or what my cats name was anymore.
If you doubt the impact on glucose availability for proper brain function, have a lookie at this guy here......
Previous research has found that the ingestion of glucose boosts task performance in the memory domain (including tasks tapping episodic, semantic, and working memory). The present pilot study tested the hypothesis that glucose ingestion would enhance performance on a test of prospective memory. In a between-subjects design, 56 adults ranging from 17 to 80 years of age performed a computerized prospective memory task and an attention (filler) task after 25 g of glucose or a sweetness-matched placebo. Blood glucose measurements were also taken to assess the impact of individual differences on glucose regulation. After the drink containing glucose, cognitive facilitation was observed on the prospective memory task after excluding subjects with impaired fasting glucose level. Specifically, subjects receiving glucose were 19% more accurate than subjects receiving a placebo, a trend that was marginally nonsignificant, F₁,₄₁ = 3.4, P = .07, but that had a medium effect size, d = 0.58. Subjects receiving glucose were also significantly faster on the prospective memory task, F₁,₃₅ = 4.8, P < .05, d = 0.6. In addition, elevated baseline blood glucose (indicative of poor glucose regulation) was associated with slower prospective memory responding, F₁,₃₅ = 4.4, P < .05, d = 0.57. These data add to the growing body of evidence suggesting that both memory and executive functioning can benefit from the increased provision of glucose to the brain.
To clear this up, once you remove carbs, brain function drops if there is not an alternative source for improving cognition.
Now when I write "remove carbs" I'm talking about low carbohydrate diets, and not ketogenic diets. The brain cannot use fatty acids for fuel. Fatty acids do not serve as fuel for the brain, because they are bound to albumin in plasma and so do not traverse the blood-brain barrier. In starvation, ketone bodies generated by the liver partly replace glucose as fuel for the brain. So if someone is going low carb, but not in a ketogenic state, then essentially brain cognition is going to be in the shitter.
Ketosis can only happen once your body no longer as the ability to draw upon glucose for a fuel source, and then a switch in the metabolic pathways happens so that ketones can be used instead of glucose. The process here is that fat gets broken down in the liver, and glycerol and fatty acid molecules are released. Ketogensis happens, then and a ketone body called acetoacetate which is then converted into BHB and acetone. Acetone is the one that makes your breath smell like you've been feasting on the flesh of rotting corpses in a truck stop bathroom.
BHB however, is quite amazing.
The therapeutic uses for ketogenic diets have been documented quite thoroughly, like right here....
Surprisingly, D-beta-hydroxybutyrate (abbreviated "betaOHB") may also provide a more efficient source of energy for brain per unit oxygen, supported by the same phenomenon noted in the isolated working perfused rat heart and in sperm. It has also been shown to decrease cell death in two human neuronal cultures, one a model of Alzheimer's and the other of Parkinson's disease. These observations raise the possibility that a number of neurologic disorders, genetic and acquired, might benefit by ketosis.
But to expound on BHB, is in fact the preferred fuel source by the brain. But even more than that, BHB appears to suppress brain glucose function. Yah, this was done on rats, but I will follow up with some people stuff after this as well........
It is hypothesized that ketone bodies play a neuroprotective role through an improvement in metabolic efficiency, by sparing glucose, and the degradation of muscle-derived amino acids for substrates15. During hypoxia, ketone bodies have been shown to be neuroprotective16,17 by depressing glucose uptake and CMRglu possibly due to metabolic bocks as a result of oxidative damage. Ketone bodies are thought to stabilize the lactate/pyruvate ratio and bypass the metabolic blocks associated with oxidative stress induced impairment of glucose metabolism.
So over the last many months, what I've seen with competitors who are in a very depleted carbohydrate state is this very thing when they added in the ketones during those times.
And while it's true that the brain draws upon different fuels for function, a brain trying to run on trace amounts of glucose that is being constantly depleted through cardio and training will be a brain that isn't working all that well.
So as I dispersed this product out to competitors in a state of severe carbohydrate depletion, they all kept coming back amazed at what happened. Brain fog gone, the ability to generate hard mind to muscle contractions during training had returned, and the feeling of death washing over them every hour of the day was gone. Or at least, for the hours that the exogenous ketones were running through their system.
This didn't happen once, or twice, or even three times. It happened with every competitor that ended up using the product.
When the brain cannot draw upon enough glucose for efficient functioning and the ketones are implemented, it now has a fuel source that it actually prefers. Especially in the times when the body is depleted of glucose.
In summary, this is the first study directly showing acute utilization of BHB in human brain. The concentration of tissue BHB is in agreement with earlier acute hyperketonemic (nonfasted) data, with concentrations of brain BHB quite low. At the plasma levels of 2.25 ± 0.24 mmol/L BHB, the appearance of the 13C label into the brain and into the amino acid pools is rapid, reaching a steady state for Glu4 and Gln4 at fractional enrichments of 6.78 ± 1.71% and 5.64 ± 1.84%, respectively. The distribution of label resembles that of glucose, consistent with the view that BHB is metabolized primarily within the large neuronal compartment. Modeling the glutamate and glutamine steady-state fractional enrichments based on a single compartment gives oxidative rates of BHB of 0.032 ± 0.009 mmol kg−1 min−1 that are consistent with whole brain human brain measurements made earlier using AV difference methods. Analysis of aspartate labeling is consistent with the view that in these compartments of BHB consumption, aspartate and glutamate are not equally distributed. We anticipate that information gained from these BHB studies will contribute towards defining the extent of BHB accumulation and the metabolic contributions that are not glucose dependent, which may be helpful towards understanding and managing clinical situations where glucose is not readily available, for example, the ketogenic diet and hypoglycemia.
^ and the above is exactly what competitors are often dealing with, and why it is they see such dramatic results when implementing keto/os as part of their competition cycle. And it's exactly what happened to me when I hit the "wall" in prep for my show as well.
But even if you're not a competitor, or do enjoy a diet rich in the delights from places like the Cheesecake factory or Olive garden, the benefits of BHB go far beyond that of just supplying the brain with an amazing fuel source. From appetite suppression to its very well documented anti-inflammatory properties, it's not just a supplement to be thrown in by guys and gals trotting around on stage 95% naked. You can still keep your clothes on and derive tremendous benefits from an overall health perspective with the inclusion of said product, and drastically improve your quality of life.
Or don't. I don't care.
But if you want to, try a pack out here.........
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