What Are Ketones, And How Can They Help Me?
If you would like to know more about how ketones can help you, read on.
Ketones vs Carbohydrates
Foods that are high in carbohydrates like fruit, bread, pasta and cereals are easy for the body to break down into glucose. Glucose is a great source of energy and so given the choice our bodies will turn to carbohydrates for glucose and fuel.
If our carb intake is high, excess glucose is converted into glycogen which is stored in the muscles and liver to keep our energy levels up between meals. If we eat more calories from carbs and other foods than our bodies can burn, we store the excess as fat.
However, if we keep our carb intake low, our bodies will look for other energy sources and burn stored fats instead. This normal metabolic process is called Ketosis. Ketone molecules are a natural byproduct of this process.
Ketones and Weight Loss
Studies have linked ketones to weight loss as they can trigger lipolysis, the breakdown of fat, and the release of a protein called adiponectin. Low adiponectin levels are believed to be linked to obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Therefore, more adiponectin could help people with weight loss and management.
Ketones and Alzheimer’s
When glucose is in short supply during ketosis, the brain will turn to ketones instead of glucose for energy. In recent years, scientists have looked to ketones as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases. The results so far have shown that ketones could have brain-boosting properties. In one study, ketones improved memory, and in another second study ketones increased cognitive performance among Alzheimer’s patients.
Ketones and Seizures
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3.4 million Americans have active epilepsy. While not all seizures are emergencies, many can cause harmful damage to the brain and body.
Although we still don’t know what causes epilepsy, ketones have long been studied as a treatment for seizures since the 1920s. The first discovery found a reduced rate of seizures for epileptic patients who fasted and reached a state of ketosis. This was followed by several more studies which affirmed that ketosis reduced the recurrence of seizures.
More recent studies have also found that ketones have anticonvulsant properties. One study even found that a ketogenic diet reduced seizures by 75% in children. These brain-boosting properties could even help treat a larger variety of disorders and diseases than we know.
Ketones and Exercise
As ketones become more popular, many professional athletes have started using them to boost athletic performance. Ketones are believed to be a more efficient source of energy during a workout as they provide for longer endurance and energy than carbohydrates.
However, athletes aren’t the only ones gaining from the exercise benefits of ketones! Since ketones can help people workout longer, they may just be the answer to combating fatigue and weight loss plateaus that inevitably occur with all workout and diet plans.
One study of professional cyclists suggested that when ketones were consumed before a workout, the body would use them for muscle fuel without needing the body to be in a fasted state. It was also found that ketones didn’t cause as much of a build of lactic acid which causes muscle soreness and fatigue during workouts. In the same study, athletes were able to go on longer and further with ketones than they were with carbohydrates.
While a diet of low carbs and high fats can increase ketones in the body, taking ketones will have a similar effect where the body will draw from the highly efficient molecules instead of glucose for fuel. This form of energy could boost endurance, aid memory, and even reduce the occurrence of seizures. Studies are still being conducted to uncover other benefits these molecules could have on our health. So far, the results show that ketones could be a promising way to boost brain health, exercise, and metabolism.
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