There are currently over 5,000 exogenous ketone products listed on Amazon, which can be quite a task to sift through when looking for the best formulation for you. From shakes to capsules, oils to elixirs, the keto community is spoilt for choice. If you have found yourself at a crossroads trying to decipher the hundreds of ingredients in these products, and how they will benefit you, then you are not alone in the quest for the perfect keto supplement. The best thing you can do is to arm yourself with the facts before purchasing any product, and to be honest, the basics are quite simple. Once you have a good understanding of exogenous ketones, it will be easier to make an informed decision. Here is the ultimate guide to choosing the best type of exogenous ketones from Amazon.
What Are Exogenous Ketones And How Do They Work?
Before diving into the different formulations of keto products, let’s take a look at the difference between endogenous and exogenous ketones and how they work. Endogenous ketone bodies are naturally produced inside the body when it is in a fasting state or ketosis. When carbs are limited, there is not enough glucose to fuel the body, so it starts to seek an alternative source of energy. This forces our body to shift into ketosis – where stored fats are broken down and used to create ketone acids (ketone bodies). There are three types of ketone bodies that supply our brain, heart, and cells with energy:
- Acetoacetic Acid
- Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB)
Exogenous ketones are ketone bodies that are derived from external sources, rather than through nutritional ketosis. As far as the body is concerned, there is no difference between ketones that are produced by the liver and ketones that are manufactured in a lab. Both are responsible for providing the body with energy when glucose reserves are not readily available.
Exogenous ketones work by mimicking the same function as the ketones that are naturally produced by our bodies. Once ingested, exogenous ketones help to bump up ketone blood levels and inhibit glucose production in the liver.
Some studies have shown that exogenous ketones could still be effective without carbohydrate restriction, however, more evidence and research is needed to confirm this.
While the body may not recognize a difference between both forms of ketones, it is important to know that keto products only contain one form of the three ketone bodies listed above, which is Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB). Acetone and acetoacetic acid are not chemically stable enough to be used in exogenous keto supplements. It would be wise not to purchase a product that contains all three ketone bodies as there is virtually no research indicating that acetone and acetoacetic acid are safe in powdered form.
How Will Exogenous Ketones Help Me?
Depending on the formulation you choose, which we will get to shortly, exogenous ketones prove to be extremely valuable for those who struggle to stick to a very low carb intake. There is no doubt that the keto diet is very restrictive and comes with a few side effects, but a high-quality exogenous ketone supplement can stimulate weight loss and help eliminate some of the common obstacles you are faced with when dieting. Here are a few other ways an exogenous keto supplement can benefit you:
Keto Flu Buster
While your body is transitioning into ketosis, a few unwanted side effects can occur. This is known as the keto flu. The reason this happens is that the body has gotten so used to carbs over the years that once they become scarce, it can go through a few withdrawals. Symptoms usually include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Poor concentration
- Stomach discomfort
- Sugar cravings
- Muscle cramps or spasms
An electrolyte imbalance is also usually the main culprit behind these symptoms, however, exogenous ketones can help bridge the nutrient gap and increase electrolyte levels during the transition. While your body is getting fat adapt, supplying it with additional ketones will also give it the energy it needs to overcome any fatigue and weakness.
Get Back Into Ketosis Quicker
No matter what diet you are following, the chances of slipping up once in a while are quite high. We are only human after all, and sometimes it’s not always possible to stick to the rules. But that’s the beauty of keto products. Supplementing with exogenous ketones can help transition your body back into ketosis after indulging in a sneaky carbohydrate-rich meal.
The body uses various energy systems in order to give us the fuel we need to perform physical activities. During strenuous exercise, the body uses adenosine triphosphate or ATP to fuel the workout, however, it only has a limited supply of these energy molecules. When it runs out of ATP, it starts to break down glucose or free fatty acids to make glycogen for energy. In order for this to happen, the body requires more oxygen, which can be a major limitation in performance. Supplementing with exogenous ketones supplies the body with an instant source of clean energy without decreasing your oxygen levels.
Improved Cognitive Function
Since the brain requires almost 20% of our overall energy, it needs to be fueled properly. Glucose causes spikes and dips in energy due to the blood-brain barrier mechanisms it uses to fuel the brain. These dips in energy often cause brain fog and mental fatigue. Ketones, on the other hand, are more readily absorbed and utilized by the brain. In nutritional ketosis, there may not be enough ketones to fuel the energy demands of the brain, but exogenous ketones can help with the shortage of energy. The rapid boost helps with mental clarity, improved focus, and enhanced cognitive function, especially in the initial stages of the diet.
Making The Right Choices About Exogenous Ketones
Exogenous ketones are helpful for elevating blood ketone levels, but it is important to remember that these products are by no means a miracle pill that will shed off excess pounds in a matter of days, despite what some labels may tell you. They are a helpful tool to be used in combination with a healthy low carb high fat diet and exercise that can help accelerate results and supplement your body with crucial minerals it needs, depending on the formula of course. Thinking that keto weight loss pills will magically make fat disappear with little to no effort to follow a healthy lifestyle will only set you up for disappointment. They are a way to make life on a keto diet easier by helping to alleviate some of the negative side effects associated with the diet and giving you a much-needed energy boost, especially when the body is becoming fat adapted.
Types Of Exogenous Ketones Available On Amazon
A simple search for exogenous ketones on Amazon will bring up thousands of products ranging from omega 3 capsules to ketone test strips. Without knowing exactly what to look for in a keto product, it is easy to fall victim to marketing ploys and catchy headlines such as “as seen on Shark Tank’. While research has shown all three variations of exogenous ketones help to elevate blood ketone levels, it is the added ingredients in these formulas that can potentially affect its potency or create more underlying health concerns.
Poor quality supplements can affect cholesterol levels, or lead to undesirable side effects such as constipation diarrhea, nausea, headaches, and in some cases high blood sugar, so it is best to do the homework on which formulation delivers well-known ingredients from high-quality sources.
There are currently three main types of exogenous ketone formulas doing their rounds:
- BHB Salts – the most widely used form of exogenous ketones, which have been bound to potassium, sodium, magnesium, or calcium.
- Ketone Esters – currently used for research purposes but can be found in a few products. Instead of binding BHB to salts, ketone esters are bound to esters that are derived from alcohol and carboxylic acid.
- Ketone Oils – another common product on the market, which does not contain any BHB, but rather a blend of MCT oil or powder to encourage more ketone production within the body.
These are a few popular exogenous ketone products available on Amazon:
Exogenous Ketone Shakes And Creamers
Keto shakes and creamers are the new buzz around the keto community, and the majority of keto products sold on Amazon are in the form of these sweet drinks. Keto shakes usually contain ingredients like BHB salts, collagen, stevia, caseinate, and artificial flavoring to make the product more palatable. The powder is usually added to water, almond milk, or coffee depending on your preference. One bottle typically lasts between 15 days to a month depending on the dosage, which varies from ½ a scoop to 1 full scoop every hour during workouts, unfortunately, with a dosage like this, it can be expensive in the long run.
Some recommend that the shakes can be used as a meal replacement, while others only recommend using them as a creamer. The flavors of these shakes and creamers range anywhere from pink lemonade to birthday cake, however, based on a few reviews, some of these flavor profiles have missed the mark, rendering them completely inedible for those with a sensitive palate.
Combating fat with a sweet treat sounds like a dream come true, but just because these products contain exogenous ketones, it doesn’t mean that the other ingredients are the best choice for your overall health. Take stevia for example, while it may be recognized as safe by the FDA, for some individuals it can cause adverse side effects.
A few studies have reviewed the effects of zero-calorie sweeteners and found that it has a negative effect on beneficial gut bacteria, which is responsible for various pathways in the body such as combating disease, aiding digestion, and protecting your overall immunity.
Another study found that consuming stevia and other non-nutritive sweeteners encourage a craving for more carbs throughout the day. Instead of curbing bad habits, frequently indulging in these sweetened products does not help with forming new, healthier eating habits.
Another downside to most of these products is that they are not vegan-friendly. To make them creamy and decadent, manufacturers of these shakes use an ingredient called caseinate. Caseinate is a protein derived from casein in whole milk from cows and sheep, which is used as a foam stabilizer in cream and milk substitutes like these keto drinks. Some other non-vegan ingredients commonly found in these shakes are grass-fed butter, bovine collagen, and low-fat milk.
Exogenous Ketone Ester Drinks
Ketone ester drinks are not as widely available as BHB salts but are available for purchase on Amazon…if you can get over the hefty price tag. They are usually found in smaller bottles that are either taken as a clean shot or diluted in water. Some of the ingredients include a ketone ester formulation, water, stevia, and natural flavors.
Many of these exogenous ketone products are accompanied by a catchy label such as “world’s strongest ketone formula” or “world’s first ketone ester drink.” While ketone esters do have a significant effect on ketone blood levels, which is why they are reserved for research purposes, it doesn’t come without side effects. GI distress, headaches, nausea, cramps, and vomiting are common side effects some individuals may experience when ingesting these potent exogenous ketones.
Ketone esters do not have a very pleasant taste, for some it can be quite aversive even with the added stevia and natural flavors in the formula. The biggest downfall of these ketone products is the price. They are twice as expensive as BHB salts with little to no added benefits other than raising blood ketone levels. There are no vital vitamins or minerals added to the formula that can effectively boost overall performance and health. Typically three-shot size bottles (roughly 60mls) will set you back between $90 to $100, and that is just for 3 to 6 servings worth of product! This product may be better suited for athletes who need a few extra ketones of energy before a race or challenge, but for the average keto dieter who wants to maintain ketosis and supplement the nutrient gap, this may not be the type of product for you.
Exogenous Ketone Salt Supplements
In the health industry, supplements always reign supreme because of their convenience and affordability. One capsule with all the minerals you need is far easier than mixing up a shake or chugging a shot of offensive tasting liquid. Since there are no sweeteners, milk, or artificial flavors, supplements don’t contain as many calories as their counterparts.
This doesn’t mean that supplements don’t have their flaws. There is a vast range of keto supplements on the market, and while they all claim to rev up ketosis and blast away fat, some of them are too good to be true. It all boils down to the quality of ingredients and formulas. Some exogenous ketone products contain one or two types of BHB salts to help elevate ketone levels, while others don’t contain the salts at all but rather include vitamins and minerals similar to what you would find in a daily multivitamin capsule. These products do not elevate ketones or burn fat because they do not contain Beta-Hydroxybutyrate, they can, however, help minimize a few side effects of the keto flu depending on the nutritional content.
The potential problem with some supplements is the low dosage levels of BHB salts, as well as the additional fillers and binding agents that are added to the formulation, which can either hinder the potency of the BHB salts or put your health in jeopardy. Common additives such as titanium dioxide and magnesium stearate have been linked to suppressed immune T-cell function, lung inflammation, and potential DNA damage. These ingredients are usually listed in fine print underneath the nutritional facts table, so be sure to read them before purchasing any product.
A good formulation like Approved Science® Keto contains 2000mg of exogenous ketones with BHB potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium, as well as MCT oil and BioPerine® for added absorption all encapsulated into a vegan-friendly vegetable cellulose casing.
Exogenous Keto Bars
Much like the keto drinks we mentioned earlier, keto bars are another type of sweet treat designed for keto dieters on the go. There are a variety of flavors available and like most shakes, these products also contain artificial flavoring, protein, MCT powder, and low-calorie sweeteners. Some brands also contain BHB salts, but it is not a common ingredient in these bars.
These bars can help deliver a boost of energy, but do not function the same way as exogenous ketone supplements. They are beneficial for curbing hunger on the go, and the added nuts, sweeteners, and chocolate flavors can satisfy sweet tooth cravings, however, they should not become a replacement for healthy meals.
Unfortunately, these bars are quite costly, and they are still higher in calories, which could push you close to your carb limit if you are not careful. Another downside to these keto bars is that there are not many vegan-friendly options to choose from, many contain egg powder, grass-fed protein sources, milk powder, and butter.
Exogenous Ketone Oils And Powders
Another exogenous ketone product blowing up on Amazon is ketone oils – namely MCT oil. MCT oil which is short for medium-chain triglycerides is derived from coconut or palm oil and is a popular product amongst keto dieters. The composition of these triglycerides allows it to be broken down and used by the body much quicker than other fats. Because of this, it helps to spike up ketone levels and give you a quick boost of energy.
Currently, there are two forms of MCT available on the market: powders and oil. Many manufacturers have stood by the “sweets sell’ rule and offer MCT powder as a flavored meal replacement shake, which comes with the same disadvantages as BHB shakes. The additional calories, sweeteners, and not to mention the ‘chalky’ aftertaste many consumers have complained about are a few reasons why MCT powders are not the best choice. These formulations also work out to be more expensive because of the manufacturing process and additional ingredients.
MCT oil, on the other hand, is a cheaper and better option for those who want to stay away from sweeteners and artificial flavors. MCT oil is either sold in its true form or as a capsule for more convenience. There are four MCTs naturally sourced from coconut oil.
- Caproic Acid (C6)
- Caprylic Acid (C8
- Capric Acid (C10)
- Lauric Acid (C12)
The shorter the ‘C’ chain, the quicker it takes for the MCT to be absorbed and utilized.
Caproic acid does have the shortest carbon chain, however, it leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste and can cause a tingling sensation in the back of the throat.
Lauric acid is considered an MCT, however, it acts more like a long chain triglyceride because it takes much longer to digest. In good quality formulations, both caproic and lauric acid are removed to make it more palatable and quicker to digest.
You want to look for a product that contains high percentages of caprylic and capric acids like Approved® Science MCT Oil for maximum potency and visible results. The oil can be added to coffee, salads, fat bombs, or taken as is.
Putting It All Together
Exogenous ketones are a valuable tool for making life on the keto diet easier. Provided you choose the right formulation, exogenous ketones can help accelerate weight loss, stave off keto flu symptoms, and help give your body and mind the boost it needs. Thanks to platforms like Amazon, exogenous ketones are extremely easy to source. However, not all keto supplements are created equal. There are thousands of formulations that vary in taste, calories, and of course ingredients. If you are looking for a good formula that is vegan-friendly, won’t encourage higher carb consumption, and helps you to form healthy food habits without the added sweeteners and dodgy fillers, then a BHB salt supplement like Approved Science® Keto is the best way to speed up results and achieve keto success!