Currently there is a lot of hype around the use of exogenous ketones for performance, health and lifestyle. If you are an endurance athlete you’re probably seeing various ads with influencer athletes coming up on your social media feed.  And,  not only are they hocking ketones for athletic performance, but as a ‘nootropic’ (gawd, I hate that word) for focus in daily life.

So, should you be using these uber expensive supplements? With some of the Ketone Ester products costing over $30 per dose it’s a good idea to do your homework. 

With all the marketing hype going on we are not being given the full picture which is lying by omission. What is being purposely left out of the conversation is this: Your liver has the capability to produce a LOT of ketones (and a lot of glucose) from fat, and, if you are optimizing your fat metabolism, it already is. The cost for these ketones: ZERO. . . . yeah, that is a gaping omission you probably want to know more about. So let’s dive into some key takeaways from our conversation. 

  • Natural Ketone Production & Recovery: Our conversation highlights the significant benefits of optimizing fat metabolism, not only for the performance benefits, but, for faster recovery ( actually cellular damage prevention) and  improved mental acuity. OFM, athletes maintain a state of low-level ketosis, enabling the body to produce and utilize ketones efficiently without relying on external supplements.The principal reason for a low level of blood ketones in OFM athletes is they have built the metabolic capacity to efficiently metabolize ketones as an energy source. Because ketones are relatively unstable, they are not meant to accumulate in the blood but get harnessed for energy or as a substrate for cholesterol synthesis.

  • Strategic Use of Exogenous Ketones: While OFM focuses on promoting natural ketone production, the occasional strategic use of exogenous ketones during competition  is appropriate. These are utilized  as an additional boost in ketone levels post-carbohydrate consumption, rather than as a primary fuel source for endurance events.

  • Fat Adaptation & Metabolic Flexibility: The episode emphasizes the liver's ability to fulfill the body's metabolic needs by producing fatty acids,  ketones and glucose as energy substrates.. This challenges the traditional view of glucose as the body's preferred energy source. By optimizing their fat metabolism athletes have the metabolic flexibility to harness glucose,, ketones and beta-oxidation based upon the metabolic need. 

  • Prioritizing Fat Oxidation: The discussion advocates for increasing fat oxidation rates through natural means and a naturally-occurring peptide like Vespa over synthetic exogenous ketones. This actually spurs endogenous synthesis of ketones and glucose if necessary.

  • Exogenous Ketones have their place: While exogenous ketones have their place, they should complement rather than replace the foundational metabolic state achieved through OFM.

  • Enhancing Motor Function & Focus: Finally, we explore how deep fat adaptation leads to stable blood sugar levels, thereby maintaining fine motor skills/coordination as well as focus. This is attributed to the body's efficient use of ketones and glucose  because, when fat metabolism is optimized, beta oxidation of free fatty acids is doing the bulk of the work  in the muscle fibers, thus sparing glucose and ketones so you can be “Blood Sugar Stable”. In addition oxidative stress and lactate are reduced to prevent cellular/mitochondrial damage which is experienced as fast recovery. This underscores the holistic benefits of a fat-adapted state.

Does this eliminate the benefits of using an exogenous ketone?  

As you can see there is a lot more context and nuance  to using exogenous ketones. This is why your first step is to optimize your fat metabolism so you have the metabolic flexibility to harness exogenous carbohydrates and ketones as the ‘icing on the cake’ to boost performance.

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