Comparison of exogenous ketones (ketone esters, ketone salts and C8 MCT oil) – Results of the experiment | LIMITED TIME OFFER !

Exogenous ketone products and supplements are extremely popular with people on a ketogenic diet. They are used to increase ketone levels in the blood. This may have many uses, and research on exogenous ketones is currently of great interest. The presence of ketones may be particularly useful in circumstances such as therapeutic use.

This summary of the experience covers the following points:

  1. What are exogenous ketone supplements?
  2. What was the experience and why did we do it?
  3. How the experiment was conceived and realized
  4. The results of the experiment
  5. Comparison of costs: price increase by ketone
  6. Posterior Analysis – Strengths and Limits
  7. Summary: takeaway

What are exogenous ketone supplements?

Ketone supplements are any product that can increase levels of ketones in the blood, whether through exogenous consumption or endogenous production.

Currently available ketone supplements include ketone esters, ketone salts and capyrlic acid triglycerides (C8 MCT oil) and MCT mixed oils.

You will also find supplements and foods containing the "active ingredients" above. For example, there are MCT powders (containing M8 C8 oils or mixed MCT oils). There are also snacks and bars that come out (like the Ketone Bar) that also contain them.

However, the ability of these powders and snacks to increase ketones relies entirely on ketone esters, salts or MCT. We therefore refer to these as "active ingredients" and the experience focuses on their examination in their isolated / pure form.

What was the experience and why did we do it?

The question we had was how did these products affect us, how long does the ketone increase? We have tested the response of ketones in blood and glucose to the most popular exogenous ketone products and supplements, to find out for sure.

The purpose of the study was to test the biological and psychological effects of exogenous ketone supplements on two participants over a series of weeks.

  • How do they impact our ketone levels?
  • How long do the effects last?

There are a number of popular ketone supplements on the market that are advertised to get you quickly to ketosis. For this reason, many people think they can take these supplements without changing their diet. They believe that these supplements will put them in ketosis and will achieve the desired results without implementing other changes. However, this is not the case at all and these supplements are not a substitute for a ketogenic diet. What they can do is cause 'ketosis', as do ketogenic diets, and even get ketones beyond what is possible with a ketogenic diet only.

These products being popular, convenient and used in many applications ranging from sports performance to mental enhancement, it is important for people to know what these supplements are doing at their ketone levels.

It was also an opportunity to compare the two ketone esters currently on the market, HVMN and Ketone Aid. Both are popular among endurance athletes.

How was the experiment conducted?

What has been tested?

For the experiment, two participants took four days of basic reading. They measured blood glucose and blood ketones.

The same morning each week, participants tested each ketone supplement. There remained seven days between each test in the form of a "washing period". This made it possible to ensure that there were no effects remaining from one experiment, but that they reverberated on another.

Below you can see the ketone supplements tested:

  1. HVMN Ketone Ester
  2. KE4 Ketone Aid Ketone Ester
  3. KetoCaNa Ketone Salt
  4. Pruvit Keto Max Max Keto Salt
  5. Ketosource Pure C8 MCT Oil

Table 1:Five ketone supplements used in the experiment and their dosage

How did we prepare ourselves for the experience? Who did it?

In designing the experiments, the following criteria were met:

  • Two participants, one male and one female, participated in the experiments on all ketone supplements.
  • Both were on a ketogenic diet for a prolonged period (> 2 years) and had measurable ketones at the time of testing.

For the experiments to take place, the participants:

  • We had their last meal no later than 7.30pm the night before.
  • Had a good amount of sleep the night before.
  • Did not take food, drink or exercise upon waking.

These controls have been set up so that the test conditions remain as close as possible to the initial conditions.

How did we do the experiment?

Figure 1. Overview of the test procedure

Each participant responded to a pre-test survey to examine variables that could distort supplement responses. These included:

  • Quality and duration of sleep
  • Energy levels compared to normal
  • diseases
  • Weight measurement
  • Size measurements
  • Current medicine
  • Finished time last meal
  • Last time in the exercise – any exercise before the test

Once the questionnaire was completed, the initial measurement of blood ketone and resting glucose was performed using the OnCall Glucose Double Ketone Monitor. This was followed by the consumption of one of the five ketone supplements.

Readings of blood ketones and blood glucose were taken every 30 minutes after taking the ketone supplements for a total of three hours. These were taken to determine the ketone and glucose response to the supplement.

Once all the readings have been taken and the experiment is over, the participants have resumed their daily activities.

Once all the ketone supplement tests were performed, the results were analyzed with the aid of a visual analysis in the form of figures. This was done to compare changes in ketone and glucose levels in the blood and to identify differences between ketone supplements and participants.

The results of the experiment

Medium blood ketones

Figure 2 Average blood ketone values ​​for each supplement for 3 hours after eating

We have seen here that Ketone Aid ketone esters (KE4) predictably increase ketone levels to a much greater magnitude than salts (KetoCaNa and Pruvit) and HVMN ester. Esters and salts had their maximum effect after 30 to 60 minutes.

The elevation of ketones was prolonged when taking esters compared with ketone salts. Ketones returned to baseline values ​​120 minutes after salt intake, while elevation of ketone was maintained 180 minutes after the consumption of the ester.

C8 MCT oil had a very different impact on ketones, with a comparatively lower peak effect, which also occurred later than salts and esters. The increase in ketones after C8 MCT oil also remained slightly elevated after 180 minutes.

Average blood sugar

Figure 3 Average blood glucose values ​​for each supplement for 3 hours after eating

As expected, we found that the supplements with the greatest increase in ketone showed a significant decrease in blood glucose. KE4 and HVMN showed the largest reduction in blood glucose, which remained below baseline even after 180 minutes.

We can see that the KE4 ester has reduced blood sugar for longer than the HVMN. This is to be expected because KE4 contains more Betahydroxybutyrate (BHB) ketone than HVMN ester.

The mechanism by which ketone esters, in particular, reduce blood sugar, is not fully understood, but it may have implications in the treatment of conditions such as type 2 diabetes, particularly in the case of research showing an attenuated glucose response when taking a ketone ester before an oral glucose. tolerance test.

Relative change in ketone levels between participants

Figure 4.Relative change in ketone levels for the person 1

Figure 5.Relative change in ketone levels for person 2

Person 1 exhibited a typical response to ketone esters, with almost identical patterns, and higher KE4 due to increased BHB content. In addition, after ingestion of ketone salt, the ketones were lower than the C8 MCT oil after 120 minutes, suggesting that the C8 MCT oil provided a more effective way of prolonging the ketone increase.

Person 2 presented a slightly different pattern in which the KE4 ester peaked at 100 minutes. It's about 40 minutes later than the person 1.

KE4 levels, as expected, were higher than the HVMN ester because of the additional amount of BHB in the standard dose. Person 2 maintains ketone levels for Pruvit Keto Max longer than person 1.

Individual responses to ketone esters HVMN and KE4

In deepening the data, we examined the individual responses of the two subjects used for the experiment.

Figure 6. Individual answers to HVMN Ester

Individual responses suggest that even small differences in basic ketones can radically alter the ketone response. While only two individuals (one male and one female) were evaluated, the variables controlled and known to have an impact on the change of ketones are as follows:

  • Basic blood ketones
  • Physical activity (even small movements change the response)
  • Body mass

We can see that the response of ketone levels between KE4 and HVMN was similar, ketones being higher after KE4 ingestion. This was expected because the KE4 ester contains 5 g of more BHB than the HVMN ester per serving.

Figure 7. Individual answers to KE4 ester

Dosage for a ketone boost of 2 to 4 mmol

Does the increase in ketone levels differ between ketone supplements?

Although interestingly, few people need or desire ketone increases greater than 4 mmol. If you are looking to increase your ketones to the lower therapeutic range of about 2 mmol, you may be wondering what supplement you should be consuming.

  • Do you need to take ketone esters or can you reach the desired level with C8 MCT oil or ketone salts alone?

Taking into account the results of the previous experiment, our participants compared four ketone supplements to the amount of product presumed to be needed to increase ketone levels in the therapeutic range of 2-4 mmol.

The experimental method remained the same as that of the previous test but the dosage of the supplements was adjusted, see the figure below.

Figure 8. Ketone Supplements – Adjusted Dose

Subjective comments on adjusted doses

C8 MCT Oil 50ml

Person 1:"C8 MCT oil was fast and easy to consume with this 50 ml dose. No side effects observed with the largest dose »

Person 2: "The C8 MCT oil was easy to consume, though, with the high dose, I felt stomach ache about 60 minutes, it did not last too long"

KetoCaNa 38g

Person 1:"KetoCaNa was difficult to consume in this quantity because it required a lot of water (about 600 ml) and did not mix well. Not suitable if you are traveling "

Person 2: "KetoCaNa was uncomfortable to consume at such a high dose, with an extremely strong taste and a lot of water needed to make it palatable, was not appreciated"

HVMN 26ml

Person 1:"HVMN was more tolerable in the smaller dose compared to the full dose. It was quick and easy to flip "

Person 2: "Taking 26 ml of HVMN mixed with a small amount of water was not" tasty "as such, but very easy to consume, and the unpleasant taste did not last long, so not bad at all"

KE4 20ml

Person 1:"Similar to HVMN, this small amount of KE4 was easy to consume. Both esters still have the same taste as kerosene, but they were much easier to handle than KetoCaNa salts. "

Person 2: "The KE4 was very tolerable, especially with water and a lower dose, the taste was not bad at all, very palatable and the taste did not last long"

Results of adjusted doses

Average glucose levels

Average levels of ketones

Here we observed a similar increase in ketones with KE4, HVMN and KetoCaNa, although the increase with KetoCaNa remained slightly elevated between 60 and 150 minutes relative to the esters.

The C8 MCT oil does not increase ketones to the same extent as other products. However, as expected with C8 MCT oil, ketones remain high beyond salts and esters.

With regard to palatability, taking a ketone ester was a much easier way to increase ketones above 2 mmol compared to salts, which were difficult to consume at the quantity required.

Peaks of ketones in supplements (relative)

Here we find a negligible increase when the C8 MCT oil is increased from 18 ml to 50 ml, and a slightly higher increase (although not linear) when doubling the dose of KetoCaNa.

In comparison, the ketone esters reacted much more radically to the increase in the dose. It is important to note that the difference in ester consumption was more dramatic than that of KetoCaNa (10 g of BHB used in the two ester assays when the total doses were 25 g of BHB (HVMN) and 30 g of BHB (KE4).

This clearly shows the potency of ketone esters in increasing the number of ketones in ranges that other ketone-based supplements currently can not solve without the problems of high salt load, taste and poor tolerance.

As we saw in the previous section, individual responses are likely to vary considerably, highlighting the importance of self-experimentation in therapeutic scenarios.

Ketone Supplement Price Comparison

Esters and salts are known to be expensive. The cost breakdown below shows the price per serving that we used to increase our ketones, almost identically, by comparing KE4, HVMN and KetoCaNa.

Ketone supplement Cost per increase of 1 Mol (Est.)

Ketone supplement Dose for
Increase of 1 mmol (East)
Cost of one
Increase of 1 mmol of ketone
US $ (Est.)
HVMN 15.7 ml $ 8.52
KE4 13.9 ml $ 6.81
Pruvit Keto OS Max 20g $ 6.19
KetoCaNa 19g $ 3.58
C8 MCT oil* 18 ml $ 1.06 The increase in ketones had an upper limit for C8 oil in our tests. In our tests, the addition of higher doses of C8 MCT oil did not increase by 1 mmol (the peak observed was 0.7 mmol).

Source: Ketosource Analysis.
– Prices used from product owners' websites in the United States (last updated February 2019).

It is important to note that lower ester doses can be taken. For example, as little as 10 g of BHB can be used to increase the ketone, which reduces the price per serving of esters.

In addition, while salts were a cheaper option for this 2 mmol range, the low tolerance to treatment could make ketone esters a more viable option for those seeking to increase ketones> 2 mmol.

Compared to other products, C8 MCT oil can not increase ketones in the same direction, but for those looking for a longer and less important increase in ketones, C8 MCT oil may be the most economical option. the most practical.

Lower doses of C8 MCT oil have a similar ketone effect, as shown in the first test, with 18 ml of increasing ketones in similar proportions to 50 ml (maximum increase of 0.55 mmol at a cost per portion of 0.70 USD).

Posterior Analysis – Strengths and Limits

A wide selection of supplements and ketone products has been tested at full and adjusted doses.

In follow-up tests, the ketone esters were paired for BHB (10 g), while 23.4 g of BHB were used as ketone salts, which corresponds to 11.7 g of D BHB, which is the usable form of BHB; a correspondence for D BHB would offer an interesting solution. comparison of salts and esters.

Follow-up studies can monitor the use of these supplements with a continuous glucose meter to note any changes participants may have missed in these experiments.

Future studies could also investigate the effects of an exercise protocol on ketone levels when consuming ketone esters.

Last thoughts

The tests performed on these ketone supplements showed the expected result of significantly greater ketone increases with ketone esters compared to CCT MCT salts and oil, as well as maximum ketone concentrations at 30-60 minutes. for exogenous ketones compared to C8 MCT oil, which peaked at 120 minutes. .

In seeking a dose to see a smaller increase, the ketone esters increased the ketones when they used only 10 ml. Although it still costs more than $ 12 per serving, using lower doses may still provide a way to stimulate ketones above normal values.

The use of ketone salts to increase ketones up to therapeutic values ​​has proven more cost-effective but barely palatable. Depending on the person and his situation, they may not need a lot of salt to increase the ketone content of certain ranges, but at least for our participants, they will not use more than 38g of KetoCaNa .

Watch ketone ester tasting videos

Video 1: Test of taste Look here to see the participants sample the HVMN ketone ester for the first time

Video 2: Taste test Look here to see the participants taste the KetoneAid ketone ester for the first time

Where can I buy ketone salts or esters?

Neither ketones nor salts are yet available in the UK. The reason is that they have not yet passed the safety assessment. We gave an overview here.

As a result, salts and esters can only be purchased in the United States from the respective websites, with products also selected from Amazon and various supplement websites in the United States. For more information, visit their websites here:

Summary: takeaway

We have confirmed that ketone supplements increase ketones

All ketone supplements tested resulted in an increase in ketones for a temporary period.

  • Windows fast 3 hours: The ketone esters and the ketone salts rapidly increase the number of ketones within 30 minutes. The effects last about 3 hours.
  • Slow window of 5 hours: The C8 MCT oil increases ketones more slowly. However, the increase in ketones lasts about 5 hours (see C8 MCT research analysis on this topic).

What does it say about when to use which supplement?

This is a complex issue that requires more in-depth research on different applications. However, we have three hypotheses from these results.

  1. To increase the need for ketones: If you wish to increase the number of ketones in the therapeutic range from 2 to 4 mmol, it is more profitable to take KetoCaNa (ketone salts). But a more acceptable option would be a ketone ester – at a higher price. Both are able to boost enough ketones to achieve this goal.
  2. For increased needs in ketones: If you are looking for an increase of less than 1 mmol of ketones, the most economical and convenient approach (longer duration) is to use C8 MCT oil. This may be more relevant for A) people who do not follow ketogenic diets who wish to benefit from the "satiety benefits" of ketosis, and B) people with ketogenic diets who have already raised ketones and who only wish to a little extra boost 1 or 2 mmol, and wish to increase to 2 or 3 mmol respectively).
  3. For the most important needs in ketones: If you want a greater increase in ketones for any reason, ketone esters are the best option (this article explores where and why it can be interesting)
QUESTIONS: Have you taken ketone supplements or tried ketone esters? What would you like us to test next? Let us know by adding in the comments.
Comparison of exogenous ketones (ketone esters, ketone salts and C8 MCT oil) – Results of the experiment | LIMITED TIME OFFER !
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