Exogenous Ketones Review – Importance to the Ketogenic Diet & Ketosis

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The term ketones are a source of energy most often heard when talking about the ketogenic diet. The diet has become increasingly more popular each year, as more and more people are trying and getting results they love. Ketones are the natural foundation and the main goal of the ketogenic diet.

In the ketogenic diet the main goal is to burn the fat the body has or gets as its main source of fuel rather than sugar. This happens as the body converts fat to ketones.  This is the process of ketosis. There are a number of ways to test for ketosis to ensure the body has switched its primary fuel source from sugar to ketones.

The process of ketosis begins when the body no longer uses glucose from sugar as energy, these levels become lowered and the body will then go to the next fuel source, which is fat. The liver then breaks down fats and converts them into ketones.  There are several ways to get the body into ketosis with the best way being to deplete blood glucose which signals the metabolic shift towards fat burning.

The body creates three main types of ketones which are Acetate or acetone, Acetoacetate and beta hydroxybutyrate or commonly referred to as BHB.  Acetoacetate is the primary ketone and is either converted into energy or a BHB. Acetone has the least metabolic effects on the body and is mostly a waste that spills into blood and urine which can be used to test for the state of ketosis.  BHB is not necessarily a ketone as it is a byproduct; however it has key benefits the body needs to help the state of ketosis. Among the benefits include the ability to create new tissue and modulate BDNF in the brain.

There are three main methods of testing for the state of ketosis that can be found on this website. The first test being a urine test, this test is checking for acetone that is spilled into the urine this is not the best method for testing as it does not give exact levels, this testing is great for beginners just to see that ketones are present and that ketosis is in effect.

The second test is breath testing which is more accurate, but again not the best measurement. breath measurement measure acetone using a device such as the Ketonix breath analyzer. The test can be expensive, but it does give a more reliable result than urine testing and is reusable.

The third test measures the levels of BHB in the blood stream. This is the most accurate of testing levels of ketones because it gives an actual level. The test is similar to that of blood sugar testing.  With this test you will get a more accurate read to let you know if you are very low in ketones levels which are less than .5 mmol/l, mild which are .6-1.5 mmol/l, optimal which are between 1.6-3.0 mmol/L or very high levels of ketones which are anything greater than 3.0 mmol/L.

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