Ketosis Made Better

You know how people say "I wish I could bottle up my child's energy and sell it"? What if that product actually existed now?

I know, I know, people also say "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

To be honest, that's what I thought the first time I heard about it. A friend of mine told me about this new thing she'd heard about, and her claims got more and more outrageous. More energy, improved mental focus and cognition, rapid weight loss with no hunger or cravings, better moods, and even a cessation of aches and pains. Right, whatever. (Rolls eyes)

Frank Underwood doesn't believe it either

But hey, she's a friend, so I listened to her spiel. (And yeah, part of me wanted there to be this magic bullet that did all these things, since growing older can kinda suck sometimes...)

She talked about an assistant professor at the University of South Florida who had been researching ketones for the Office of Naval Research (ONR) with regards to oxygen toxicity induce seizures experienced by Navy SEAL divers using re-breathers. The increased efficiency of oxygen utilization was surprisingly effective, and from there, interest in the therapeutic exogenous ketones grew.

Dr. Dom D'Agostino expanded his research into mitigating neurodegenerative disorders, promoting wound healing, enhancing physical performance, and even curing cancer. Because the ketone esters used in his studies were expensive and in limited supply, Dr. D'Agostino formulated stable ketone salts that could be created from more abundant materials. What he came up with was so revolutionary that the University of South Florida had it patented.

That's great and all, right? What about those fantastic claims?

To feel better, to think better, to look better, to be better?

Well, it turns out that there just might be something to these ketones, after all. If you want to read the exciting (ok, not really) science behind ketosis, check out the Tech pages for the full details (and some controversy, to spice it up a bit). Dr. D'Agostino's work and that of others indicate that using ketones for fuel can help you:

  • Provide neuro-protective benefits for
    • Seizure disorders
    • ADD/ADHD
    • Alzheimer's
    • Parkinson's Disease
    • Multiple Sclerosis
    • Autism Spectrum
    • Bipolar Disorder (type II)
  • Enhance memory
  • Enhance cognitive function
  • Improve mood
  • Decrease cravings
  • Enhance insulin sensitivity
  • Increase satiety (feeling of fullness)
  • Improve energy levels
  • Help migraines
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Inhibit the growth of cancer
  • Lower triglycerides
  • Reduce weight
  • Burn body fat
  • Preserve muscle mass
  • Reshape your body

Although discovered over a century ago, ketones have not enjoyed much scientific attention until recently, leading to a dearth of publicized benefits. In fact, for 50 years afterwards, they were considered abnormal metabolites that were not beneficial. In the 1920s, children with drug-resistant epilepsy benefited from ketosis brought about by their ketogenic diet. Interest again waned until the mid-1960s, when Dr. Atkins began promoting his low carb, ketogenic diet (Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution). It was quiet again until recently, when Dr. Dom D'Agostino of the University of South Florida began researching exogenous ketones as a means to mitigate oxygen toxicity in US Navy SEALs in 2007.

Research at USF Morsani College of Medicine and across the globe is starting to gain momentum and some of the particularly interesting findings are that exogenous ketones (meaning they are added to the body, not created internally) are linked with many health benefits.

Anyone who has dieted before knows that if you don't permanently change your eating habits, you will gain the weight back. And possibly gain more than you lost. Part of this is due to muscle mass being lost, along with fat, when someone following the typical American diet suddenly restricts calories. Basically, the body prefers to burn sugar first, then alcohol, then fat. Protein can be converted to glucose (sugar), so ones muscles are typically 'raided' for fuel before fat stores, when consumed nutrients aren't sufficient to meet energy needs. This leads to about a 48 hour window after beginning a restrictive diet before the body enters ketosis. When carbs are consumed, they are used first, before the body resumes fatty tissue breakdown.

Exogenous ketones allows you to enter the state of ketosis within an hour of consumption, giving you nearly immediate benefit. Benefits also aren't limited to overweight people losing pounds. In fact, the research started with looking at increasing performance of Navy SEAL divers and first gained a foothold of public interest among the weight lifting/body building communities.

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