Can You Use Exogeneous Ketones to Transform Your Health? Learn How (and How Not) to Use Them

Can You Use Exogeneous Ketones to Transform Your Health

We live in a world of simple cosmetic fixes. Have wrinkles? A few shots will fix that. Don’t like your hair? Schedule an appointment for a cut and color. Want to lose weight? There are plenty of “miracle-fixes” on the market for your waist line.

Here’s the problem with all of these “solutions” though. They’re not permanent. They’re all band-aids to their original problem. But there’s one “fix” that’s actually beneficial to our health.

Exogenous ketones are a supplement that can be used to help us lose weight, improve our focus, and boost our physical performance. But they’re not a temporary fix like those previously mentioned. They’re the real deal and can make all the difference in our health. Stay tuned to learn what they are, why you should use them, and how to do so [1].


What Are Exogeneous Ketones?

We can’t move forward until we explain what exogeneous ketones are. Should you decide ketosis is the ideal metabolic state for your body and lifestyle, you’ll probably need to utilize exogeneous ketones.

Exogeneous is used to describe something developed from unusual factors or come to be in a unique manner. So, when this adjective is used to describe ketones, it simply means the ketones are manufactured outside of the body instead of inside.

Even if you’re just starting out on your ketogenic journey, you should know that it all focuses around ketones, or organic compounds made by the liver when we limit our carb intake, forcing our bodies to seek fuel from fat instead of glucose. Ketosis is a natural metabolic state, but it doesn’t happen on its own with the average American diet.

There are several advantages of ketosis. Many prefer their bodies to be in ketosis because of weight loss but ketones are a great fuel source for both the body and brain.

This is why many also rely on ketosis for boosts in energy and mental clarity.

To summarize, exogeneous ketones are simply ketone supplements. By consuming them, we can put ketones into our body without waiting for the body to do so itself.


Are There Different Types of Exogeneous Ketones?

To better understand that different types of supplements, let’s first explain the different types of ketone bodies found in the blood stream during ketosis.

  1. First, acetoacetate is created as glucose levels drop and fat is burned as fuel.
  2. Next, beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) is created from acetoacetate
  3. Finally, acetone is a created side product of acetoacetate


Scientifically speaking, BHB is not technically a ketone. But because it functions like a ketone and converts into energy, we classify it as one. This is also an important compound to know. As you can see, BHB can only exist with the creation of acetoacetate. So if you’re waiting to experience the benefits of ketosis, you could be waiting several days as your body goes through the process.

When it comes to exogeneous ketone supplements, you’ll find BHB as the main ingredient in most. This is because it can flow freely within the blood stream and reach more areas of the body.

When looking for exogeneous ketones, you’ll probably come across a few different types. Here’s what to know about each one [2].


  • Ketone Esters

Ketone esters are raw ketones. They are not chemically bound to any other compounds. This means ketone esters can be utilized faster by the body, but this comes with a price. Many find the taste intolerable and stomach problems are a common side effect.


  • Oils

Medium to smaller chain fats, like medium chain triglyceride oil, can be used to boost ketones. However, the process is slow and doesn’t have the effect other exogeneous ketone options do.


  • Ketone Salts

These are a common type of exogeneous ketone supplements. Unlike esters, where the ketone isn’t bound to anything else, the ketones in this product are bound to a salt (possibly sodium, magnesium, or potassium). They’re not as effective as esters but they’re easier on the stomach and taste buds. They’re also more effective than oils.


Those who regularly take in exogeneous ketones discover a type that works best for them over time. But for most, ketone salts seem to be the most popular and best received.


How Can Exogeneous Ketones Be Used?

Not sure what you can use exogeneous ketones for? Here are some of the most popular benefits individuals rely on them for.


  • Get back into ketosis after a diet mistake

If you follow a ketogenic diet, you know how easy it is to make a diet mistake or two. Whether you allow yourself to have a cheat day and enjoy a few carbs or you just ate something you shouldn’t have because you were starving, throwing yourself out of ketosis is often easier than remaining in it [3].

But using exogenous ketones can help not just get your body back into ketosis but do it faster than if you went at it alone.


  • For mental clarification

Our brains love ketones. Some use exogenous ketones in the morning or before an important meeting or work event to boost their brain power and performance.


  • For extra energy and enhanced performance

Athletes also love exogenous ketones because of the sudden burst of energy they provide. If you have a big workout or physical event coming up, try using ketone supplements for enhanced performance. When our body is in ketosis, it utilizes oxygen better, making it easier for our muscles to perform.


Who Should Take Exogeneous Ketones?

If you can check off the following ticks, exogeneous ketones are most likely safe for you to take and should be considered.

  • You eat a low-carb diet
  • You’re in good health
  • You have smart health goals (you’re not looking for a quick-fix)
  • You understand ketosis and how to stay safe when in it
  • You’ve been cleared by your doctor


Even though considered safe by most medical professionals, you should still receive medical clearance from your doctor before taking ketones if you have any questions.


You should especially speak to your doctor if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes.

This is important for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. With type 1, the pancreas doesn’t produce adequate amounts of insulin (a hormone that helps transport glucose to cells for energy) and in type 2, the body’s tissues don’t use insulin as they should.


But in those with diabetes, messages can get lost. The body can think there isn’t enough glucose (even when there’s plenty) and switch to burning fat. The liver then starts to produce ketones, putting the body into a premature state of ketosis. This can happen quickly and the use of exogeneous ketones can put the body into ketoacidosis, a condition that could lead to a drop in blood pH. Ketones are acidic and having too many in our system can be dangerous or even fatal.

This isn’t to say that exogeneous ketones can’t be beneficial for diabetics. They can actually be used to manage the disease. But because things can quickly turn when using exogeneous ketones in diabetics, progress needs to be closely monitored. If a patient’s diabetes is easily managed through diet changes and medications, they’re more likely to be able to use exogeneous ketones for their benefits, including improving their diabetes’ diagnosis [4].


How to Use Exogeneous Ketones

Ready to learn how to use exogeneous ketones? While we’ll cover some basics here, the way you use yours will depend on the type and brand you choose. But here’s what you need to know to get started. We’ve broken down the instructions by suggested main goals of using exogeneous ketones.


  1. Using exogeneous ketones to burn fat

This is the main reason people turn to exogeneous ketones. Whether they just want an increase in ketones or just need a little help getting in or back into ketosis, supplements can make the difference. Taking ketones themselves won’t burn fat. If you’re eating a diet high in carbohydrates, you won’t see much of a difference, so keep this in mind.

To use ketones to burn fat, take one serving to help push your body into ketosis. Watch your diet closely, focusing on fats and minimizing or completely excluding carbohydrates for best results [2].


  1. Using exogeneous ketones to skip the keto flu

If you’ve entered ketosis several times before, you know all about the keto flu. It feels just as if you’ve come down with the common infection. You’ll feel tired, achy, and just overall not well. For some, the side effects can be intense. But exogenous ketones can speed up the transition and lessen the length and severity of these symptoms.

To use ketones to skip the keto flu, take smaller servings for several days. For example, split a serving into two or three portions and spread them throughout the day. This can be done for up to five consecutive days.


  1. Using exogeneous ketones to off-set a carb-heavy meal

If you struggle with following a ketogenic diet or just don’t have the time to wait for your body to naturally make the transition after a cheat meal, you can use exogeneous ketones to get the job done. If you’ve been eating a high-carb diet, there is still a way to get your body back on the ketogenic track.

To use ketones to jump start ketosis, take half of a serving after eating a meal that includes carbohydrates.


  1. Using exogenous ketones for enhanced physical performance

Whether you’re an athlete or just have a more physically involved day ahead of you (moving furniture, a day of yard work, walking for charity, etc.), exogeneous ketones can give you the added boost of energy you need to get through. Though not recommended for short bursts of energy, ketones can give you sustained energy to get you through the most physically demanding of days as their presence helps your body better utilize oxygen [5].

To use ketones for enhanced physical performance, take a serving right before a workout or the start of your day. Take another half of a serving every hour as needed (but at least two hours after your first dose). Only continue taking servings if you plan on remaining active.


  1. Using exogeneous ketones for mental clarity

Are your mornings full of brain fog? Do you struggle to pay attention during the afternoon meeting? Ketones can help! Glucose can’t fuel the brain like ketones can, which is why you’ll notice such a difference in brain power when you switch to a ketogenic diet. But to get the benefits of fueling with fat faster, exogeneous ketones can get your brain the clarity and focus it needs.

To treat brain fog with exogeneous ketones, take one serving on an empty stomach. Results should last about four hours so try to time your dose with when you’ll need your brain to be the most focused.

There are other ways you can use ketones to boost your overall health. Just make sure you get the correct dosages from the manufacturer or your doctor.


How Not To Use Exogeneous Ketones

Ketones come with an extensive list of advantages, but only when used correctly. Here’s how not to use ketones.


  • For fast weight loss

If you’re trying to lose that final stubborn five pounds, exogeneous ketones can help. But you can’t expect the weight to stay off by taking the supplement for a limited amount of time and then going back to a poor diet or sedentary lifestyle.

Use exogenous ketones as a tool to aid with your weight loss but don’t view it as a simple fix. If you really want to lose those last few pounds, feel healthier, and change your overall health, study ketosis, learn its advantages, and then start taking exogeneous ketones when you’re ready to transition into ketosis.


  • When on a high-carb diet

While taking exogenous ketones while eating a high-carb diet won’t necessarily hurt you, it won’t help either. Think of it like eating a cheeseburger while you’re on the treadmill. The two actions cancel each other out.

Exogeneous ketones can help with a diet moderate in carbs. If you’re taking the supplement so you can still enjoy carbs on occasion without stopping your body’s production of ketones, testing for ketones can help you determine your ideal balance of fat to carbs to protein.


  • When you’re not sure what ketosis is

If you’re going to take exogeneous ketones, you need to have an understanding of how ketones and ketosis both work. If not, you may not be getting everything out of ketone supplements you could be. Take the time to learn about ketogenic diets and how to prevent an excess of ketones so you improve your health instead of damage it.


Bonus Advantages of Exogeneous Ketones

Like any health change, using exogeneous ketones has pros and cons. But overall, there are a multitude of benefits to enjoy, some that many find surprising. Explore the pros and cons of ketones below.


  • Suppress appetite

When taking exogenous ketones and following a ketogenic diet, you may find yourself eating less. One study focused on 15 healthy individuals. They were all given an exogeneous ketone drink and all experienced increased blood BHB levels and an overall lessened desire to eat. While the elevated BHB levels certainly played a roll, consuming less carbs make you less likely to endure unhealthy cravings as well [2].


  • Reduce inflammation

Inflammasomes are proteins linked to inflammation. Evidence suggests that ketone bodies can inhibit their development, reducing or preventing inflammation throughout the body when the body remains in ketosis for extended periods [6].


  • Anti-carcinogenic

Cancer cells need oxygen and nutrients to survive, just like healthy cells. However, they are unable to use ketone bodies for energy or growth. Though far from a cancer cure, data suggests that the use of ketone supplements can slow down or stop metastasis, increasing cancer survival rates as a result [7].


  • Fight brain diseases

Early studies have shown a positive link between ketones and the prevention of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. While significant funding and additional studies are needed to make a final conclusion on what role ketones play in preventing or treating brain disease, it’s an encouraging discovery [8].

The main negative to be on the lookout for when taking exogenous ketones is ketoacidosis. Though it mostly only affects those with diabetes, it can occur in otherwise health individuals when extreme measures are taken on a ketogenic diet. Look out for symptoms, including extreme thirst, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting.

Ketoacidosis can occur quickly, often in less than 24 hours. It can affect how internal organs function, like the kidneys and liver. If you suspect ketoacidosis, it’s important that you seek treatment immediately.

Overall, exogenous ketones can be used in a variety of ways and for several benefits. There are a few things to keep in mind though.


Exogeneous ketones are not the easy way out. If you want to experience their true benefit, a ketogenic diet, even if more relaxed than some, is a must. While you can use supplements to help get your body back into ketosis after a cheat meal or diet mistake, they shouldn’t be relied on solely for this.

When appreciated and understood, exogeneous ketones can help you get the most out of your ketogenic diet and provide several healthy benefits. If you’ve been looking for a way to improve your ketogenic experience, exogeneous ketones are the perfect answer.


  1. Cliff J. d C. Harvey,corresponding author Grant M. Schofield, and Micalla Williden
    The use of nutritional supplements to induce ketosis and reduce symptoms associated with keto-induction: a narrative review
    PeerJ. 2018; 6: e4488.
    Published online 2018 Mar 16. doi: 10.7717/peerj.4488
  2. Brianna J. Stubbs,1 Pete J. Cox,1 Rhys D. Evans,1 Peter Santer,1 Jack J. Miller,1,2 Olivia K. Faull,1 Snapper Magor-Elliott,1 Satoshi Hiyama,3 Matthew Stirling,4 and Kieran Clarke1,*
    On the Metabolism of Exogenous Ketones in Humans
    Front Physiol. 2017; 8: 848.
    Published online 2017 Oct 30. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00848
  3. Cliff J. d C. Harvey,corresponding author Grant M. Schofield, and Micalla Williden
    The use of nutritional supplements to induce ketosis and reduce symptoms associated with keto-induction: a narrative review
    PeerJ. 2018; 6: e4488.
    Published online 2018 Mar 16. doi: 10.7717/peerj.4488
  4. Shannon L. Kesl,corresponding author Angela M. Poff, Nathan P. Ward, Tina N. Fiorelli, Csilla Ari, Ashley J. Van Putten, Jacob W. Sherwood, Patrick Arnold, and Dominic P. D’Agostino
    Effects of exogenous ketone supplementation on blood ketone, glucose, triglyceride, and lipoprotein levels in Sprague–Dawley rats
    Nutr Metab (Lond). 2016; 13: 9.
    Published online 2016 Feb 4. doi: 10.1186/s12986-016-0069-y
  5. Philippe J. M. Pinckaers,1 Tyler A. Churchward-Venne,1 David Bailey,2 and Luc J. C. van Looncorresponding author1
    Ketone Bodies and Exercise Performance: The Next Magic Bullet or Merely Hype?
    Sports Med. 2017; 47(3): 383–391.
    Published online 2016 Jul 18. doi: 10.1007/s40279-016-0577-y
  6. Youm YH1, Nguyen KY1, Grant RW2, Goldberg EL1, Bodogai M3, Kim D4, D’Agostino D5, Planavsky N6, Lupfer C7, Kanneganti TD7, Kang S8, Horvath TL1, Fahmy TM4, Crawford PA9, Biragyn A3, Alnemri E8, Dixit VD10.
    The ketone metabolite β-hydroxybutyrate blocks NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated inflammatory disease.
    Nat Med. 2015 Mar;21(3):263-9. doi: 10.1038/nm.3804. Epub 2015 Feb 16.
  7. AM Poff,1 C Ari,1 P Arnold,2 TN Seyfried,3 and DP D’Agostino1
    Ketone supplementation decreases tumor cell viability and prolongs survival of mice with metastatic cancer
    Int J Cancer. 2014 Oct 1; 135(7): 1711–1720.
    Published online 2014 May 14. doi: 10.1002/ijc.28809
  8. Zsolt Kovács,1 Dominic P. D’Agostino,2,3 and Csilla Ari2,4,*
    Anxiolytic Effect of Exogenous Ketone Supplementation Is Abolished by Adenosine A1 Receptor Inhibition in Wistar Albino Glaxo/Rijswijk Rats
    Front Behav Neurosci. 2018; 12: 29.
    Published online 2018 Feb 22. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00029
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