Ketone Supplements: More Harm Than Good?
Enjoy this article co-authored with my dear friend, Tatiana Schallert, who is co-serving with me, my ministry, and my family.
I AM Love, Dr. Sharnael
Have you noticed that Ketone supplements are so popular recently? I know my Facebook newsfeed is buzzing with different articles and brands promoting ketones. I honestly had no clue what the deal was so I decided to do some research, which is exactly what I encourage you to do before jumping on the bandwagon. There is a lot of information out there on this topic right now and from what I found – taking Exogenous Ketones may be more harmful than good.
What are Ketones?
Ketones are produced in the liver from fatty acids. Then they are consumed as alternative fuel by the body, particularly the brain, when blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply. The brain consumes lots of energy every day and it can’t run on fat directly – only in the form of glucose or ketones. Ketones are popularly known as “brain fuel.” Eating a no-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat diet encourages the body to organically reach a state of Ketosis. It takes about 72 hours for the liver to be in full ketosis so the kidney can assimilate the changes as the ketones gradually increase. Then it takes about two weeks for your body to adjust to the new pathway.
What Is Ketosis?
When the body produces ketones it’s said to be in ketosis (you can test ketone levels through urine tests). The fastest way to get there is by fasting. However, fasting is not something we do forever. On the other hand, a low-carb or “keto” diet also leads to ketosis and is a more sustainable option. The idea of a ketogenic diet is to get the body to switch its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat. As insulin levels become very low, fat burning increases dramatically. This is great if you choose to lose weight and some studies show that ketogenic diets do lead to more weight loss and increased brain function.
What are Exogenous Ketones?
So what’s the deal about all the Keto supplements? Well first lets talk about exogenous ketones vs. endogenic ketones:
Exogenous = Originates from a source external from the body.
Endogenous = Originates from a source internal to the body.
The idea of taking the exogenous ketones is to help get the body into ketosis faster or without having to make significant diet changes. However, from my research, it seems that it may not be the best idea to take them just to “lose weight quick,” “get into Ketosis faster,” or because your friend Suzie says she feels great taking them and they’re the next hot new thing to try.
As far as medical supplementation goes exogenous ketones have been known to have many health benefits similar to nutritional ketosis. Although some people claim to get a quick fix and experience benefits from these supplements, I still have some concerns. I’m not an MD but I have been a wellness practitioner for many years and I believe that natural is always gunna be the way. Every lasting health change I have ever made has been a gradual one – joining Young Living, educating myself on natural wellness, using essential oils multiple times daily to support different body systems and my emotions, gradually eliminating toxic chemicals out of my home and personal care routine, eating less sugar, eating MORE raw LIVE foods, taking daily walks to get in shape without burning out, implementing meditation and yoga techniques, transforming my mind and words to be more conscious, building my business, being a loving parent, etc. It seems to me that changes such as ketosis are also meant to be gradual to really bring lasting benefit.
Why Exogenous Ketone Supplements May Be More Harmful Than Good
Taking Ketone Supplements can tax the body, specifically the liver and kidneys similar to how energy drinks, alcohol, laxatives, or any over supplementation can overload and strain the process of assimilation and flushing. This surge of ketones encourages an up and down cycle that puts unnecessary stress on the body, specifically the liver and kidneys. Just like how you can take diet pills and drink ten cups of coffee every day then feel great and have tons of energy doesn’t cancel out the fact it’s still no good for your endocrine system. And be careful what you read on biased sites that have a supplement to sell… find your research from sources that have nothing to gain from you purchasing Ketones.
According to T Nation, “to serve up exogenous ketones to an obese, insulin-resistant general population with promises of fat-burning and disease prevention is potentially damaging…What that extra dose of ketones leads to is glycation, oxidation, and conversion to fat for the metabolically deranged majority, and elevated insulin because of excess energy in the bloodstream.”
In others words, Ketone Supplementation (Exogenous) is not the same thing as being in nutritional Ketosis (Endogenous Ketone Production). In fact, taking Exogenous Ketones can lead to serious health side effects specifically to the kidneys and the liver. Not to mention, it could lead to more fat storage, more water retention, and does not have the same benefits that are attributed to being in a state of nutritional Ketosis… Although they suppress appetite, boost the brain, and give an alternative source of fuel and an energy surge, they are actually prohibiting the body’s ability to burn fat and not providing any nourishment or metabolism benefits. The process of creating ketones in the body requires energy, while ingesting exogenous ketones requires none. This seems counterproductive to long term weight loss goals. So just like many other “diet” supplements like diet pills, water-retention pills, laxatives, or any other “fix-it” pills. This appears to be another rip-off.
In fact, although cardio metabolic health and insulin sensitivity are improved during nutritional ketosis, exogenous ketones have no benefits here other than potential inflammation reduction and offering an alternative source of fuel. And this is just one example of the benefits that a natural ketosis offers that ketone supplements do not.
It also appears that Exogenous Ketones can be addicting (like affecting the body’s ability to produce its own ketones and becoming dependent on taking exogenous ketones). Taking ketones can also have pretty unpleasant side effects such liver issues and kidney damage (some studies show the possibility of developing kidney stones), as well as headaches, water-retention, bad breath, brain fog, confusion, lethargy, irritability, leg cramps, nausea, constipation, other GI issues, and heart palpitations.
Listen To Your Body
My conclusion is it is best to encourage the body to produce energy, heal, and release weight on it’s own gradually without unnecessary supplementation. Taking short cuts usually doesn’t pay off in the long run. If you are interested in getting your body into a state of ketosis then I would encourage you to do it through your diet and lifestyle change before adding exogenous ketones into the mix. I would say it is unwise to use Ketones as a “quick fix.” And as with everything, talk with your medical provider about what options are best for you and your body.
Personally, a lifestyle of no refined sugar, mostly raw, whole food, vegan diet with enough water, probiotics, enzymes, quality vitamin and mineral supplements, gentle exercise (such as Yoga and daily walks outdoors), Young Living Essential Oils, and a healthy emotional state (through prayer and meditation) is optimal for me and my body to release weight and feel vibrant. As I implemented these changes I released all my “baby weight” (over 50lbs!) from my recent pregnancy within the first three months postpartum and am now consistently on my way towards my ideal weight. People always ask me what my secret is! If you would like to hear more about my wellness journey please feel free to connect with me (details below).
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I am a work from home wife, mama of 4, conscious musician, songwriter, blogger, and founder of Gr8ful Oilers! My journey with Young Living Essential Oils started about four years ago when a dear friend from my local church shared them with me. I initially bought my first Premium Starter Kit because I knew, at the very least, I would smell AMAZING without the chemicals. lol Because, you guys! Young Living essential oils do smell absolutely MAGICAL! (Where To Purchase Essential Oils)
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