Following a ketogenic diet is becoming more and more common, something that was once used for medical reasons alone is now often used by people looking to improve their body composition through the elimination of carbohydrates. Before explaining what exogenous ketones are, we must first look at what ketosis is.
Glucose is the body’s preferred form of energy and is used for all sorts of tasks. It can come from protein (through a process known as gluconeogenesis) but mostly comes from carbohydrates. When you eat a high carb diet, you will get an immediate increase in energy, but most of the glucose consumed is stored as glycogen and turned into body fat.
A ketogenic diet restricts carbohydrate intake to almost zero, after three days your body will have almost run out of glycogen and will instead look to get energy from fatty acids. These are released from adipose tissue and travel to the liver where they are turned into ketones. Once this happens the ketones travel into the blood and can be used as energy. You are now in ketosis.
An exogenous ketone is a ketone that has been produced outside the body and is a form of supplement. They can be used while trying to enter ketosis (as a way to speed things up). They can also be used to maintain ketosis if you have consumed some carbohydrates. They are also used to improve performance in the gym where they provide extra energy. You can take exogenous ketones before a workout, when you are feeling fatigued, or if you have consumed carbs.
You can also take exogenous ketones before you reach ketosis.