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A San Francisco start-up is bottling and selling what they call the "superfluous" human.
The human performance company HVMN (pronounced "human") says their new drink can help you improve sports performance, increase your energy, and even improve your concentration and concentration.
What's in this clear, odorless liquid that comes in a small bottle the size of a ball?
It contains 120 calories, no fat, no protein and no carbohydrates.
But it contains what the highest executive in the company sees as the "fourth macronutrient" – the pure ketone ester.
"Ketones are used as an extremely effective fuel for the brain and the body," said Healthline Geoff Woo, co-founder and CEO of HVMN.
Woo explains that his company's new drink, called Ketone, exploits the power of ketones in a fuel that is ready to eat for humans.
According to Woo, unlike today's energy drinks and sports supplements, Ketone relies on the organization's reserves for natural gas and sustained energy production.
Ketan Clarke, professor of physiological biochemistry at the University of Oxford in the UK, explains in an interview with Business Insider that ketones improve performance.
Clarke and his colleagues study ketones. They worked with Woo and HVMN to translate their findings into a consumable product.
The product is not cheap.
One of the 2.2 ounce bottles costs more than $ 30.
What are ketones?
Ketones are compounds produced by your liver when your body is unable to use its preferred source of energy, carbohydrates.
Almost all foods contain carbohydrates. When you eat them, your body turns these carbohydrates into sugar, or glucose.
Glucose is an immediate source of energy and often readily available for your body.
However, if you steal carbohydrates in your body, your body will turn into stored fat for fuel and energy. When your body burns in its fat stores, a state called ketosis, it releases molecules called ketones.
As a general rule, you must follow a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet (such as the ketogenic diet) or not eat for long periods (fasting or without food) to naturally achieve ketosis.
Woo and HVMN think that if you ingest ketones directly, you can enjoy the benefits of a keto diet without the extreme measures.
What does science say?
The main fuel for HVMN ketone drinks is 25 grams of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB).
BHB is naturally produced by the body during a fast or starvation period.
"A common question is why BHB is the ideal ketone for exogenous ketone supplements (comes from an outside source to the body)," said Vanessa Rissetto, dietitian / nutritionist specializing in weight loss and weight management. , at Healthline. "The likely reason is a combination of its energy efficient conversion and ease of formulation. In other words, it is easier to formulate BHB as a nutritional supplement and the body effectively converts it to acetoacetic acid, effectively raising ketone levels in the blood. "
In a July 2016 study in Cell Metabolism, Clarke gave HVMN's first version of Ketone to a group of elite cyclists.
She also gave separate high-carbohydrate and high-fat drinks to two other groups for a three-group comparison.
In the study, Clarke and his colleagues tested the athletes with a 30-minute cycling exercise. The results showed that cyclists who had been given the ketone drink had traveled an average of 400 meters (about a quarter of a mile) farther than the other two groups.
"It's not like caffeine or anything. It's not a stimulant, "Clarke told Business Insider. "If you do not look at what you are doing, you think," Oh, I'm fine, everything looks normal, "but then you look down and suddenly, you see," Oh, wow, I'm fine. I have a lot more than usual. "You will find on a rower, for example, that you go much faster and you do not even realize it."
However, a study published this year in Frontiers in Physiology found that participants performed poorly after drinking a ketone supplement. However, this study did not use the HVMN prototype.
Participants in the study – again, a group of professional cyclists – received a glass of ketone supplement before exercise. Cyclists have certainly achieved ketosis, but their time was twice as slow as that of people who did not drink the ketone supplement.
In addition, the 10 participants experienced gastrointestinal discomfort ("nausea, reflux and mild discomfort") after consuming the drink. An eleventh cyclist could not perform the exercise due to vomiting and dizziness.
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These side effects were more pronounced in people taking the higher doses of ketone supplements.
Nevertheless, most research suggests that ketone supplements are well tolerated.
In addition, many energy drinks currently on the market contain high doses of caffeine or stimulants that can have adverse health effects.
Should you try ketones?
Although no long-term study has been devoted to the impact of the use of ketone esters, several studies have shown that intermittent fasting can be beneficial.
Fasting can induce a state of ketosis, which is comparable to the use of a ketone-based drink to release fat stores of energy.
In early studies, fasting has been shown to increase the life and
Similarly, the majority of studies on ketone-based drinks have been conducted on top athletes.
Trials and research with people of average ability have not yet been carried out.
Woo suggests that these drinks are for people of all abilities.
"Our main use case is with the top athletes and the existing published data corroborate this use case," Woo told Healthline. "But we think that in the long run, this product will be more considered a fourth macronutrient, so that everyone can benefit from the addition of ketones in their diet."
If you are interested in HVMN's ketone-based drinks, you can pre-order a pack of three bottles (2.2 ounces each) for $ 99 on their site.
Products should be shipped early next year.
Although ketone drinks and ketosis can be seen as a way to get more energy, lose weight or improve athletic performance, Rissetto says ketosis is not the norm.
"Everyone wants something when it comes to losing weight, and again and again, I sing the song of a varied and balanced diet," she says. "At the end of the day, the work you do will give you the result you're looking for."