Exogenous ketones like BHB salts and products like MCT oil powder help you get into the state of ketosis fast. These ketone supplements make it very easy to attain the health benefits of ketosis. They’re a tool for those already keto-adapted and for those who use them for increased performance or as help to stay in ketosis longer, or more often.
Exogenous ketones are also for those just looking to try it out. It lets anyone be able to access ketones simply by consuming these exogenous forms of ketones. Technically, MCTs are not an exogenous ketone such as BHB salts. They’re not ketones. But they readily convert into ketones. So MCT oils and powders are a great source of endogenous ketones. The end result is similar, and thus this top 5 list includes MCT oil powders as well as BHB salts.
Why Use Exogenous Ketone Supplements?
Exogenous ketones are powerful. They will get you into ketosis whether keto-adapted or not. The benefits of this range from weight loss to sustained mental and physical energy. The benefits are the same as those from nutritional ketosis, however, they’re not a substitute for nutritional ketosis. More on that below before we get into the top 5 exogenous ketones for 2018.
The 4 Types Of Ketone Supplements
- Esters (direct form not available commercially): Ketone esters link ketone bodies to an alcohol. This is then metabolized in the liver to produce the ketone. These are mostly used in labs for research purposes which might be a good thing because they’re said to taste like kaka.
- BHB Salts (direct form – very popular and proven to work): Most ketone salts are a combination of BHB and wither sodium, calcium or potassium. They’re also referred to as ketone mineral salts.
- MCT Oil: indirect and also popular.
- MCT Oil Powder (indirect, newest keto supplement, be careful of added ingredients).
When To Use Exogenous Ketones
- Mental Enhancement: This one’s my favorite. Ketones are able to cross the blood-brain barrier with ease. If you’re already in keto-adapted, you know the effect. Exogenous ketones give you that same mental boost which helps you focus and gives you more energy.
- More Energy: On the subject of energy, did you know exogenous ketones are becoming the new goo? You know those carb-loaded gels long-distance athletes love? Exogenous ketones might take the edge here.
- To Reach Higher Ketone Levels: You may be attempting to reach higher levels of ketosis for whatever reasons. Exogenous ketones will help you get higher levels than with your ketogenic diet can do alone.
- To Stop Keto Flu: The whole drama over keto flu from your body not breaking down fats for energy yet can be done away with.
- To Control Hunger: In the same way a low carb high-fat meal can keep you satiated all day long, when reading product reviews and related articles online you’ll notice that many people claim exogenous ketones reduce their hunger. This then makes it help with weight loss as well.
Ketone supplements provide a shortcut to ketosis, so you can reap the health benefits of ketosis, whether keto-adapted or not. When used correctly, exogenous ketones and MCT oil products can be amazing to supplement with. Here are some of the main health benefits received when using them.
Top 5 Score
Health Benefits Of Exogenous Ketones
Your body loves ketosis. These benefits of it provide some proof of that.
- Weight Loss: Thanks to its appetite suppressing qualities, whether on a keto diet or not, exogenous ketones reduce hunger.
- Neurodegeneration: Research shows that exogenous ketones may help slow down declined mental abilities from neurodegeneration.
- Potentially for cancer
- Helps increase mental energy and focus
- Helps decrease inflammation
- Helps you control blood sugar
The Dangers Of Exogenous Ketones
If you don’t exactly have the healthiest diet or lifestyles hear about these benefits of ketosis, exogenous ketones, etc. and think that these are the answer to life… that is not the case.
Many might simply buy the jug because it says chocolate sea salt on it (I love that flavor!) and they heard exogenous ketones were a healthy way to lose weight. While this is true, it’s probably best to look into how to factor it into your current lifestyle the healthiest way possible, first.
Should We Use Exogenous Ketones? Ketosis serves a purpose, and it’s probably why we’re able to survive on this planet. Being able to go without eating and use stored fats for energy is a survival tool and possibly far more as we’re now seeing with the keto diet. But it’s probably not a good idea to constantly take exogenous ketones and eat a high carb diet (high blood glucose levels). It’s not natural for the body to have high blood glucose and use ketones. This is a personal opinion, so
Exogenous ketones are better for some than others. Those who could benefit from these are athletes, military, and people who need a high amount of calories from carbs, yet still want to access ketosis. If you want to enter into a state of ketosis without a high fat diet, these will do it.
What are Ketones?
- Acetoacetic Acid (AcAc)
- Beta-Hydroxybutyric Acid (BHB or beta-hydroxybutyrate)
These ketone bodies are always in our blood.
The Big Deal With Using Ketones For Energy
Compared to our other cellular gasoline (carbs), we can store an unlimited supply of energy from ketones in our body within our fat. When you’re reliant on carbohydrates, you’re forced to keep your tank partly full as we can only store just over 2,000 calories of glycogen from carbs. An empty carb tank results in carb-withdrawal symptoms from not being able to switch into a ketone or fat burning metabolism.
Once you’ve become “keto-adapted” you automatically become more of a hybrid person. Just like a hybrid car can switch to gas or electric during times of need, a hybrid keto-adapted person can simply switch into the metabolic state of ketosis during times of need.
This is a bigger deal today than it ever was in our past human history.
How so? It offers a solution to today’s high-carb, high-grain dieting side effects (metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes, for example). In the past, we’d have a much easier time of tapping into a natural state of ketosis when needed.
We’ve always endogenously produced ketones. Exogenous ketones are a new thing.
Endogenous Ketones V Exogenous Ketones
Endogenous Ketones – When we produce ketones within our own bodies, they’re called endogenous ketones. Taken from our Beginner’s Guide To The Keto Diet, ketones are molecules created by our liver from fat stores once blood insulin gets low. We naturally produce these ketone molecules when we metabolize fat.
Exogenous Ketones – An artificially produced supplement form of endogenous ketones. If you’re supplementing with ketones, they’re considered exogenous.
Exogenous ketone supplements provide your body with instant BHB. Instant ketones.
They work within minutes. No matter how much glucose is in your blood at the time, these exogenous ketones put you into ketosis. You then get to take advantage of some of its benefits that range from cognitive function and instant energy to reduced inflammation in your body.
What’s Better: Nutritional Ketosis or Exogenous Ketones?
The same question posed in a different way can be, what’s better, getting protein from powder or from a grass-fed steak or wild salmon? Omega-3 from supplements or from a variety of healthy wild fish? Just like with health supplements where you consume an isolated nutrient instead of the whole food where it comes from, if it’s possible to get what you need from whole food or nutrition, then that’s probably the best choice.
Exogenous ketones are not a shortcut to nutritional ketosis, but they do give your body a break from full-time carb usage. They are a tool you can use to get into ketosis if your lifestyle makes it too difficult to do so without them. And they’re also a good way to get an increased edge for those who are very on top of their nutrition and performance.
The difference Between BHB Salts, MCT Oil Powders, MCT Oils
BHB Salts v MCT oil – With BHB salts, the ketones are available right away. In comparison, with MCT oil and any other ketone oil made from medium chain triglycerides, your body’s cells must process the MCT’s to produce ketones. One is indirect while the other is direct. Both work fast.
MCT Oil vs MCT Oil Powder – MCT oil causes many people GI distress, which forces them to take less. The powder is easier on the gut. This lets you take normal doses (and receive more benefits). The oil powder can be mixed with BHB salts, it’s easy to travel with, and to cook and bake with.
MCT oil powders don’t have that much research out as they’re fairly new, and on top of that, many companies use additives and fillers like maltodextrin to help turn the oil into a powder. Perfect Keto is one of the only brands I’ve seen that doesn’t use any of these additives many prefer to avoid in their health products.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST EXOGENOUS KETONE SUPPLEMENTS
Third party inspections and full disclosure of excipients, additives, and fillers on labels are not required, so when you see a company fully declare everything on their labels, regardless of the ingredients, you know they’re a trustworthy brand.
It’s good when a company declares every ingredient on their label. Artificial metallic colors, gluten, or unnecessary binders and fillers are something more common in capsules and softgels, but additives and fillers are just as common in MCT powders and BHB salts.
Here is a good piece of information about this I found on this MCT oil vs MCT oil powder article:
“Many MCT powders contain additives and fillers to extend the shelf-life of the product, enhance mixability, improve texture, prevent caking, increase bulk and/or reduce costs of manufacturing.
Some of the most common fillers and additives in MCT powder you should avoid are:
- Emulsifiers: Soy/Sunflower lecithin and mono- and diglycerides.
- Fillers: Soluble corn fiber, maltodextrin, psyllium husk.
- Preservatives: BHA, BHT, TBHQ, sodium benzoate and citric acid.
- Thickeners: xanthan gum, glycerol.
- Food dyes: Blue No. 1/Brilliant Blue, Blue No. 2/ Indigotine, Green No. 3/ Fast Green, Red No. 3/Erythrosine, Red No. 40/ Allura Red, Yellow No. 5/Tartrazine, Yellow No. 6/Sunset Yellow.
- Anti-caking agents: Silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, stearic acid.
- Enhanced food performance: Disodium phosphate.
These additives disrupt the ratio of MCTs to non-MCTs, leaving you with less beneficial fatty acids and more artificial ingredients devoid of any nutritional value.”
The 5 Best Exogenous Ketone Supplements
Now onto the best ketone supplements. All of these 5 are great products with good customer experiences and reviews. The list contains 3 MCT oil powders and 2 BHB salts. Since it’s just 5 products, there’s no room for bad quality. If you see a lower rating it may be due to price/value, the taste or perhaps a lack of third-party inspection certificates.
I put the most weight on health factors (additives and fillers, etc.), second comes value and then last is taste.
A great tasting MCT Oil Powder from 100% Coconuts and only one other ingredient, Acacia Fiber
MCT Oil Powder Rating 4.5/5
Perfect Keto MCT Oil Powder is number one on this list for a few different reasons. The company is founded by functional medicine clinician Dr. Anthony Gustin and each ingredient is used in specific amounts to provide maximum ketone benefits. They use zero binders and fillers often found in other MCT oil powders. It’s a premium product and they don’t make up for it by jacking up the price. However, number 3 on this list has a very similar product at a better value. That’s what keeps this from being a complete 5. However, it’s quality is one of the very best. This MCT Oil powder is one of the only MCT powders that uses ZERO additives and fillers.
One scoop equals one serving. 30 servings per jug. Each scoop is around 11 grams and you get 10g of MCT Oil Powder per scoop.
Other Ingredients: 5
Our Rating: 4.5
Only 2 Ingredients
- 100% Coconut MCTs: 70% C8 Caprylic Acid, 30% C10 Capric Acid
- Acacia Fiber (good prebiotic fiber): Acacia fiber is a prebiotic with many health benefits in its own right, such as the reduction of inflammation. If you look at other MCT oil powder labels, you’ll see the MCT doesn’t always come from only coconuts. And they use additives like maltodextrin instead of this acacia fiber.
- Highlight Feature: Only 2 ingredients: MCTs from coconut + Acacia Fiber
- Ingredients: ZERO Additives and Fillers
- Blended to minimize common GI problems associated with MCT oils/exogenous ketones
- Lab tested for guaranteed, verified purity
- Good ratio: 70% C8, 30% C10
- Not too many cons with this one.
A BHB salt, free of unnecessary additives, fillers, or subscription plans
BHB Salt Rating 5/5
Perfect Keto Base BHB Salt has everything you need in a BHB salt and nothing you don’t. For this reason, it shares the number one spot alongside their MCT oil powder as the best exogenous ketone supplements you can find. As far as price and value, many other BHB salts are more expensive, and lesser quality as they use additives and fillers. What gives Perfect Keto Base their edge outside of their proven raw ingredients quality is, taste. BHB salts are hard to make palatable. Perfect Keto has risen above when it comes to taste as well.
Other Ingredients: 4.5
Our Rating: 5
Perfect Keto Base BHB Salt Other Ingredients: Natural Chocolate Flavor, Citric Acid, and Stevia Leaf.
- Highlight Feature: Flavor, Chocolate Sea Salt – little did I know this was my favorite flavor of BHB salts or any health supplement powder now. It also comes in vanilla, coffee and peaches and cream.
- Easy to blend: blends as well as it tastes
- ZERO NET carbs
- High-quality BHB ketones sourced in the US
- All natural: No additives, fillers, or unnecessary ingredients like gums
- Trustworthy: Lab tested for purity
- There are none I can think of at the moment.
One of the few MCT oil powders you can find made with 100% coconut MCT’s and NO additives or fillers
MCT Oil Powder Rating 4/5
Zhou Nutrition’s MCT Powder is another great quality MCT powder to try out. Taking a note from Perfect Keto, Zhou uses only Acacia Fiber during its manufacturing process and avoids all use of the common additives and fillers you see in most MCT powders. Zhou’s MCT Powder is made with the patented “goMCT” MCTs. While you don’t get the delicious flavors Perfect Keto have perfected, Zhou’s MCT Powder is a proven product pushing a 4 digit tally in positive reviews. Hundreds have attested to its true lack of flavor and positive ketone results.
Other Ingredients: 5
Our Rating: 4
One of the few MCT powders you can find that are truly all natural – its lack of a clear third-party certification is the only thing holding it back from a full 5-star rating.
- Highlight Feature: VALUE – 45 servings per container
- Reviews: Outside of its high-quality ingredients, Zhou is very popular and has hundreds of happy customers that have publicly shared their experiences with this product
- Good MCT Ratios: One scoop provides 9 grams of goMCT® powder. Its comprised of 70% Caprylic acid (C8) and 30% Capric Acid (C10) with no C12 Lauric acid
- ZERO additives or fillers
- No clear third-party inspection certificates
A High Quality, All-Natural BHB Salt
SHEER Ketones BHB Salts made this top 5 list because they do a good job of avoiding all the common unwanted additives and fillers in BHB salts. It’s good to see we have options to choose from when trying to avoid these types of ingredients. SHEER Ketones’ other ingredients include citric acid, fruit and vegetable juice powder for the color, and “natural flavors.” It uses a stevia leaf extract (Rebaudioside A).
Other Ingredients: 4
Our Rating: 4
A popular, well-priced BHB salt that will increase your ketones during times of need.
- Highlighted Feature: goBHB “Performance Complex” raw ingredients
- Value for the price
- A short history of mostly very positive reviews
- ZERO carbs and ZERO additives or fillers
- While it does have a slight history of positive reviews, I’d like to see more.
- There are a couple complaints about this black cherry flavor, but overall most seem to enjoy it.
- No third-party inspection certificate that I can see
Another natural BHB salt supplement option that utilizes goBHB™ and avoids the use of unnecessary additives and fillers
The Zenwise Keto Life BHB Salt uses a custom calcium, magnesium and sodium ketone complex to help access ketones for fuel without the low carb diet or fasting. This product is another all-natural option that goes as far as using turmeric for its added coloring. It is a proven product with hundreds of happy customers. They seem to have a strong grasp on the lemonade side of the exogenous market with their Raspberry Lemonade and Wild Limeade flavor choices.
Other Ingredients: 5
Our Rating: 4
Keto-Lift uses the goBHB™ patented ketone complex.
- Highlighted Feature: ZERO Additives or fillers
- Zero NET carbs
- Flavors: Raspberry Lemonade and Wild Limeade are this brand’s claim to fame.
- Easy to use: Mixes great in water and good for baking
- Reviews: A very strong review history
- Lack of third party inspection certificate
And The Best Exogenous Ketone Powder Is? Perfect Keto Base BHB Salt
While we know that both MCT Oil Powders and BHB salts are proven supplements to increases ketosis, the winner of a top 5 exogenous ketones list I think should be a true direct form of exogenous ketones – one of the BHB salts. Perfect Keto’s BASE takes the win here. The edge ranking factor is its flavor. With stevia-based flavors such as chocolate sea salt, and the fact that it uses zero additives and actually tastes good, this BHB salt is going to have to take the W. They’re the only 100% coconut MCTs that don’t utilize the goMCT™ form.. this is neither a pro or con. And while it doesn’t have the best bang for your buck compared to the other BHB salts on this list, it’s the most proven as far as happy customer track record and consistent high-quality keto supplements.
- Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB): Nutrition strategies that rely on carbohydrates always leave us needing more food. On the other hand, the ketogenic...
- Quick & easy ketosis: Perfect Keto exogenous ketones get you in ketosis. Our beta-hydroxybutyrates (BHB) formula was designed for those on a...
- Easy to mix: The bhb ketones in our BASE keto drink mix dissolves easily in water, coconut milk, coffee and shakes. It's the best-tasting ketones...
- No additives: Perfect Keto BASE is a bhb supplement keto drink that provides keto salts, contains ZERO carbs, ZERO gums or fillers, and ZERO...
- High quality ingredients: Perfect Keto Base contains high-quality beta hydroxybutyrate (BHB) that's been extensively lab tested for purity,...
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