Boost Your Athletic Performance with Ketone Drinks
April 24, 2017 | 6,037 views
By Dr. Mercola
Most athletes out there are aware that that the body uses up glucose as a source of energy. So what better way to boost your performance than to allow your body to store up more on glucose?
However, this logic has been disproven by nutritional science. To ensure that you are healthy, you can’t just focus on storing more of your fuel source.
You have to consider which fuel can prevent the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which may harm your body’s cells beyond repair. A suggestion to keep you at the top of your game is training your body to use up ketones instead of glucose and fat.
What Are Ketones?
All these years, I’ve been talking about ketones as the body’s alternative to dirty fuel. Our bodies are accustomed to using up glucose instead of fat as a fuel. We consume glucose and sugar in our daily diet, which the body then uses up as our primary source of energy.
But aside from being dirty fuel, glucose also paves the way for insulin resistance. Insulin resistance refers to having permanently elevated insulin levels, triggering the body’s process of storing, instead of expending, fats. This is sometimes the cause of weight gain for people who are overweight or obese.
Ketones, on the other hand, are considered clean fuel because they allow the brain to expend fats instead of glucose. This limits the glucose that the body needs. Ketones also offer the body a choice of which fuel to burn. This clean fuel can be used up by most of the cells in the body, except for the liver and blood cells.
Most of the ketones that are found in the body are usually endogenous, or produced in the body. But you can also supply yourself with ketones through external means.
I recommend ingesting medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil because it can be easily converted to ketones. You can use coconut oil because it also contains MCTs, but with a much lower concentration.
MCT oil is different from other forms of fat because of its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier without transport molecules. It is also easily absorbed by the body because it doesn’t need to be processed with bile and other digestive juices. It is absorbed through the intestinal membrane and transported to the liver, where it’s then converted to ketones. These ketones are then transported to other parts of the body to be used as energy.
Ketones have also been observed to help in dealing with Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases. These diseases usually cause the neurons to become insulin resistant, stopping them from using up glucose. This will result in the neurons slowly dying off, and cause the slow degeneration of your cognitive function.
The good news is that even if these neurons become insulin resistant, ketones can be used up by the brain as fuel because they don’t require insulin to penetrate the blood-brain barrier.
Ketone Drink May Be Helpful for Athletes
Throughout the years, athletes believe that the easiest way to bolster athletic performance is to increase glucose intake. But studies show that a high-ketone diet for athletes provides superior benefits. In experiments, competitive cyclists who were given a ketone drink showed improved speed and endurance. The ingestion of this drink allowed their bodies to use up these ketones instead of fat and glucose.
Although I don’t usually recommend anything from outside the natural food category, there have been studies that show that ketone ester drinks may change your metabolism for the better. Scientists created this ester drink, which contains both (R)-3-hydroxybutyrate and (R)-1,3-butanediol. Reuters says that by ingesting ketonic drinks, the amount of lactate produced by the body is minimized, pulling down the risk of having cramps and soreness after a workout.
How to Naturally Increase Ketones in Your Body
You can also naturally increase the ketone bodies in your system by following these recommendations:
- Water Fasting. This refers to ingesting only water for an extended period of time in order to trigger your body into entering ketosis.
- Intermittent Fasting. This refers to limiting your food ingestion to specific hours of the day, allowing your body to fast for 13 hours or more. This will allow the body to absorb the vitamins and minerals from the food instead of ceaselessly adding to the digestive system’s load.
- Ketogenic Diet. The ketogenic diet refers to eating foods that are high in healthy fats, have moderate amounts of protein, and low in net carbs. Eating about 50 grams of net carb a day would allow your body to enter nutritional ketosis where your body would start burning up fat instead of using up glucose.
The ketogenic diet has also been observed to promote increased muscle mass and longevity. Ketones protect muscle proteins, which then keep muscle mass intact even when energy is expended for movement.
Although ketones offer a wide variety of positive effects on your performance and endurance, note that exogenous ketone supplements are composed of BHB salts, MCT powder, and ketogenic amino acids, and that excessive intake can alter the pH in your blood. Be sure that your intake of ketone supplements is close to the amount that your body is accustomed to producing.
To learn more about burning fat for fuel and the effects of ketone drinks on athletic performance, read my latest book, Fat For Fuel, and the article “Novel Ketone Drink May Boost Athletic Performance.”