What are they and what are they for?
We all want the easy solution. The quick fix. We want immediate results. As the saying goes, things that seem too good to be true, usually are. But this doesn’t stop us buying into things, such as supplements, in the hope this thing may actually work. … If we don’t try, how will we ever know, right?
So there’s literally shed loads of supplements out there, all wanting us to buy into their claims, and keto (short for ketones) supplements are just another one in the long list.
Keto supplements can directly provide your body with ketones, or will increase the amount present in your blood. They come in a variety of forms – capsules, powder, tablets, bars and liquids. And salts and “esters”.
These supplements are aimed at weight loss, fat loss and/or performance improvement. They’re usually rather expensive, and only 3 products to date have been certified by Informed Sport.
Some keto supplement claims include helping you sleep better, reprogram your genes, increase your energy levels, burn fat and improve physical and mental performance. Sounds amazing, eh!
Don’t get too excited though…
Because not all supplements work. And not all supplements are safe.
Also, you should note, that there’s no 100% guarantee that certified supplements come risk free, and, just because they’re on Informed Sport doesn’t mean to say they’re effective – they won’t necessarily do what the packet says they’ll do. You need to do your homework!
I’ve recently been to an excellent conference on sports and exercise nutrition, ISENC 2018, where, among other topics, ketogenic diets and supplements were discussed by scientists and other experts in the field of sports and nutrition.
There’s more and more scientific research being done on different types of supplements, ketones included. And is ongoing.
It currently appears that supplements containing beta-hydroxybutyrate (big word! – “beeter-hi-droxy-boo-tie-rate” !!), or BHB for short (!), are the most effective. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support their use. And, as I’ve said before, just because you pop in your local Holland & Barrett or other health food shop (or go online) and get a supplement containing BHB, doesn’t mean it’s going to “work”. Remember, if the shop assistant/sales person offers you advice on products…
- They’re trying to sell you something, and
- Consider if they’re actually qualified to tell you about nutrition (potentially unlikely)
A lot of the research has shown people suffering side-effects of diarrhoea and nausea from taking ketone supplements. If you opt for supplements containing “MCT” (medium chain triglycerides (“try-gliss-er-rides”), as a means of achieving “ketosis“, if you have too much, then this will also give you the trots! Nice. So more is not more (benefit)!
I’m not going to go into detail about MCT and coconut oil, because this is a whole topic in itself! If you want to know more about this, please let me know!
If you decide to take keto supplements, then check this out:
Some points to note
- There’s no 100% guarantee supplements are safe, legal or effective
- You could experience side-effects if you take ketone supplements
- Do your homework and a “need versus want“ analysis before taking any supplements
- Could you alter your diet or exercise regimen to improve your performance (and health), without the need for supplements, which may be expensive and could risk your health and military or sporting career?
As a little kinda bonus, here’s some points to consider with keto diets:
I hope you have found this useful. Have you been using any ketone supplements or been thinking about it? Let me know if you have and how you got on.
N.B. It is crucial to get your food and fluid intake right if you want to control your IBS symptoms, and if you want train harder, go faster and recover quicker from training sessions and competitions. Dietary requirements are highly individualised and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Working with a Registered Clinical & Sports Dietitian to develop a bespoke plan based on your unique requirements will help to ensure the most appropriate strategy and best results are achieved.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new treatment or health care regimen, or before making any changes to your existing treatment, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
References and further reading
- Pinckaers, P.J.M., Churchward-Venne, T.A., Bailey, D. et al. Sports Med (2017) 47: 383. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-016-0577-y
- Schick, E. E. (2016). The role of the ketogenic diet in exercise performance. Medicina Sportiva, 12(2), 2756-2761.
- Stubbs, B. J., Cox, P. J., Evans, R. D., Cyranka, M., Clarke, K., & de Wet, H. (2018). A ketone ester drink lowers human ghrelin and appetite. Obesity, 26(2), 269-273.
- Zinn C, Rush A, Johnson R (2018). Assessing the nutrient intake of a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet: a hypothetical case study designBMJ Open 2018;8:e018846. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018846