You’re supposed to take the ketones an hour before you work out to boost performance, or 30 minutes after you exercise for recovery. The company claims that some people feel a sense of enhanced focus and “flow” after drinking the substance, though the evidence behind this claim is less established.
It’s not necessary to fast or follow a ketogenic diet while drinking Ketone, but Woo said it could be a type of “bridge” to get people through the first few rough days of fasting. (Clarke, in fact, recommended drinking Ketone with a banana or another carb, so the body has its choice of fuel.)
In a study of 39 elite cyclists published last year, Clarke and others found the athletes were able to go 400 meters further in half an hour after drinking a ketone drink, compared with a carbohydrate- or fat-based energy drink. One reason for the increased performance could be that their muscles contained lower levels of lactate, which causes an achy feeling while working out. Rats on a ketone diet have also run farther on a treadmill and completed a maze faster than rats on a regular diet.
Ketone esters have been shown to have some promise in Alzheimer’s patients and in people with traumatic brain injuries as well, but research on ketones’ cognitive benefits is still very early.
Most recently, Stubbs, a scientist with HVMN and a British rowing champion, found that ketone esters can suppress appetite by controlling ghrelin, a hunger hormone. The reason my glucose dropped after drinking Ketone, Woo speculated, is that the drink signaled to my liver to stop releasing sugar. He is hopeful that, eventually, dietary ketones could become a treatment for people with type 2 diabetes.
“If you can replace some of the calories in your diet that would have come from carbohydrate and refined sugar with ketones, now that it’s in a bottle ...” Stubbs said.
“This is so much grosser than a donut, though, I have to tell you guys,” I said.
“We’ll work on putting it in a donut,” she replied.
Several dietitians have tossed cold water on the idea of ketosis in a bottle. “I have not yet found one ketone-ester supplement that has been able to successfully put someone into the state of ketosis, no matter what dosage they take,” Ben Sit, the president of Evolved Sport and Nutrition, told BuzzFeed News.
Over email, John Newman, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, said, “I’m a little skeptical about the idea of enhancing performance in young, healthy people—I’m a geriatrician after all. However, the older patients I care for in the hospital would certainly be better off if they could recapture some of the resilience that their brains and bodies had when they were younger.”
He said there’s still a “lot of hard work” remaining to determine if ketones can translate to better health.
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