Chasing Ketones. A Movie or a Misguided Movement?
Seeking Higher Ketones in your Blood with Ketone Esters? Misunderstood ketone numbers.
Chasing Ketones? Sounds like a great title for a movie. This is when people enter a ketogenic diet or drink ketones and they want to get their ketone levels high (over 1mm) or into a "therapeutic range" (3-5mm). First off, I don't believe in this range. It is oftentimes based on mice data using exogenous ketones and they oftentimes give mice 70% carbs in their meals. Many humans find benefits even in the 1-2mm range. Time will tell what the optimal range is, and for what.
Others concerned that when drinking exogenous ketones, their ketones may go up and drop shortly thereafter. So they want to take more and more and spread it out. But what they are missing is that we test ketones in our blood because that is currently the only way to show delivery of ketones to the body has STARTED. The key is STARTED. Ketones in the blood don't do anything. They don't make your blood more red, or thinner or stronger. The ketones (BHB) make it to your blood and then quickly leave to be used by all parts of the body, brain, muscles, mitochondria, etc. That is when it starts to work.
One human study was able to test ketone levels in the brain and it stayed there long after it left the blood system. So ketones may have benefits far beyond the peak and crash of the blood ketone meters.
Also those raising their blood ketones using a ketogenic diet, which is great, may find that their ketone levels DROP over time, even if they swear they eat the same food. They get stressed out and then want to buy exogenous ketones to keep their numbers up, or they go 0 carb. This might not be necessary. Over time your body will INCREASE your "MCT" transporters (not MCT as in MCT oil). This will increase your body's ability to deliver and use ketones. So lower numbers don't mean your body is making less ketones. You may be just fine and that stress isn't helping any either.
On a rare occasion we will see the opposite. Somebody who gets strangely high blood ketone numbers versus others when taking exogenous ketones. This isn't always a win win. They may have less transporters so it accumulates in the blood and isn't being utilized. So it is still a good idea to spot check whether any other benefits are being noticed and not just focusing on chasing ketones.
Don't get me wrong, a blood ketone meter is key (not urine strips), but the numbers can be misleading.