Different Types of Ketone Supplements Explained

If you find yourself wondering what exactly ketone supplements are, aka exogenous ketones, and how they can help you through your keto diet, you aren’t alone. While your body does a great job of producing ketones when you’re restricting your carb intake, ketone supplements provide a healthy avenue for maintaining a healthy level of ketosis and supporting your diet.

It’s important to have a good understanding about ketone supplements so you can ensure you are purchasing quality products, but first lets reshash on why these exogenous ketones can help supplement your keto diet and ultimately help you reach your weight goals quicker.

Making the Right Choices

Low and poor quality supplements can lead to not only a waste of money, but some unpleasant side effects such as elevated levels of triglycerides and cholesterol as well as constipation. This is why it’s always important to do thorough research before taking a supplement and to ensure you understand what combination of compounds you’re ingesting.

It’s also worth noting that the type of keto supplements you choose can have an effect on things like your mood as your body is transforming. The market is saturated with vitamins, shakes, protein powders, and ketone salts that can help you raise the levels in your body if food isn’t enough.

Natural Supplements

If you’re new to the keto diet and feel overwhelmed with all of the information on dos and don’ts along with the various supplements available, keep in mind that everyone’s bodies work differently and it’s all about finding the type of supplement suitable for you.

An easy way to get started is to begin supporting your diet with some of these natural ketogenic supplements:

  • Vitamin D
  • Fish oil
  • Sodium and potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Creatine
  • Hydroxymethylbutyrate (HMB)
  • ECA Stack
  • Glutamine

The Different Ketone Supplement Types

When your body undergoes ketosis on a ketogenic diet, there are three types of ketones that are naturally produced: acetoacetate, Beta-hydroxybutyric acid, and acetone. Any worthwhile exogenous ketone supplement will contain BHB, which is found to be used most efficiently by the body.

Ketone supplements can be broken down into four categories: ketone salts, ketone esters, ketone oils, and false ketones.

Ketone Salts

Ketone salts are widely used by people on and off the ketogenic diet, such as people suffering from conditions including sleep loss, low energy, memory fog, and also by conditions caused by inflammation.

Ketone salts contain the BHB bound to calcium, sodium, and magnesium, and works to elevate ketone levels[1]. You might hear ketone salts referred to as BHB Mineral Salts or even Ketone Mineral Salts. The supplements currently on the market primarily contain ketone salts.

Ketone Ester

Ketone esters give your body the raw BHB ketone without other salts or compounds bound to it. The benefit here is that this raw form allows your body to use up the ketones more quickly and efficiently, which can lead to a rise in ketone levels.

Ketone esters are not currently used commercially and are mostly only seen in research. One thing to keep in mind about these ketones is that they are notorious for both their taste and the effort it takes to swallow. Gut distress is also a common side effect after taking ketone ester.

Ketone Oil Supplements and MCT Oil Powder

Oils are another great option that can increase ketone levels in your body. Unlike ingesting ketones themselves, ketone oil is not a direct pathway and can therefore take longer than ketone salt and ester supplements, which the body can use for energy right away.

Medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil powder along with coconut oils are composed of medium chain fatty acids that can aid in boosting ketone levels but must first be broken down before being used for energy. So while MCT oil powder works faster than foods, it’s still slower than ketone salts and esters. Another downside to consider with MCT oil powder and other oil supplements is their caloric density means you’re also ingesting much more calories.

False Ketones

This is a category that includes products that describe themselves as “keto” but in reality do not help raise ketone levels and are not true ketone supplements, so buyers beware.

A good example of false ketone supplements are raspberry ketones, which are a natural substance that are responsible for giving red raspberries their powerful aroma. They can also be found in fruits like kiwis, blackberries, and cranberries.

While recently becoming popular as a weight loss supplement and proven to decrease weight in a study on rats[2], the raspberry ketones promoted in supplements are synthetically made and there is no evidence that they can aid in ketosis or have anything to do with ketone bodies.

Bottom Line

Ketone supplements can be a great way to support your ketogenic diet and lifestyle. The key takeaway when choosing a ketone supplement is to look at its effect on ketone levels. The better the product, the better it will be at moving the body into a state of ketosis.

Continue doing your diligent research and don’t fall prey to phony product claims touting the best ingredients. Now you know better!


[1] Kesl SL, Poff AM, Ward NP, Fiorelli TN, Ari C, Van Putten AJ, Sherwood JW, Arnold P, D’Agostino DP. Effects of exogenous ketone supplementation on blood ketone, glucose, triglyceride, and lipoprotein levels in Sprague-Dawley rats. Nutr Metab. 2016; 13:9.

[2] Morimoto C, Satoh Y, Hara M, Inoue S, Tsujita T, Okuda H. Anti-obese action of raspberry ketone. Life Sci. 2005; 194-204.


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