Scientists have successfully generated hypothalamic-like neurons from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) taken from the blood and skin cells of super-obese individuals and people with a normal body weight. The researchers found that the brain cells derived from the super obese were more likely to dysregulate hormones related to feeding behavior and hunger, as well as obesity-related genes and metabolic pathways.
Ketones, for those unfamiliar, are a fuel source of the body and brain, alternative to glucose. The brain is more efficient utilizing ketones compared to glucose and certain bodily functions are also better off when ketone bodies are used compared to glucose. Ketone bodies can be produced within the body (endogenous ketones), which I mention here. It is also possible to supplement with exogenous ketones, ketone bodies originating outside of the body.
There are 3 different ketone bodies:
- Acetoacetic Acid
- Beta-Hydroxybutyric Acid (BHB) Technically, BHB is not a true ketone body, but it functions the same as acetone and acetoacetic acid.
Exogenous ketones come in two basic forms: ketone salts and ketone esters. Ketone esters are synthetically created chemicals that bind alcohol to ketone bodies. Until fairly recently, ketone esters were not available for purchase, as they were used for research purposes. There are now at least a few different products on the market. Very expensive, but available. Ketone salts are the more common form of exogenous ketone supplementation. Most exogenous ketone products are ketone salts and work by binding BHB to sodium, potassium, or calcium, or a combination of these.
Effects of Exogenous Ketones
There is a growing body of research regarding the efficacy of ketone supplementation in regards to all kinds of aspects. Some positive effects that have been observed are:
- Appetite Suppression: Levels of hormones associated with hunger (insulin, ghrelin, glucagon-like peptide 1, and peptide tyrosine tyrosine) are decreased
- Excess ketones (up to a certain point) are not stored as adipose tissue: Meaning little risk of gaining fat with ketone supplementation
- Gastrointestinally more gentle than MCT oil: In other words, less likelihood of disaster pants.
- Enhanced performance: The research here tends to go both directions, but for the most part stamina, oxygen requirements, and VO2 seem to be enhanced with exogenous ketones.
- Improved Cognition: The brain runs more efficiently on ketones, one observed benefit is enhanced myelination
- Many benefits of BHB: neuroprotective, anti aging, anti inflammatory/reduces and protects against oxidative damage, inhibits HDAC
Some negative effects that commonly occur are: bad breath caused by acetone breakdown and electrolyte imbalance induced by fluid loss.
To Ketone or Not to Ketone
There are many possible benefits of ketone supplementation and thus far it is seen to be safe and effective. The take away, though, is that supplementation is not necessary. It is possible to almost constantly have a supply of endogenous ketones fueling your body and brain. By implementing a ketogenic diet and/or intermittent fasting your body will naturally produce and use ketone bodies. Supplementing has its uses and advantages in certain situations, but the many amazing benefits of BHB and other ketone bodies are available to you, and for free.
You may have heard of it before. If not, allow me to enlighten you. Intermittent fasting (IF) is going an extended period of time ingesting zero calories, followed by eating all of your required calories in a short “feeding window.” There are many variations and time frames for each phase. A common variation, and the one I’m using, is a 16/8 fast. This is where you are in a fasted state for 16 hours and eat all your food in a glorious 8 hour window. Sounds crazy? There are actually a great amount of benefits to IF, as far as health, longevity, fat loss, muscle building, and more.
Fat Loss and Muscle Mass
IF has been shown, in multiple studies to lead to healthy and sustainable fat loss, and increased BMR (basal metabolic rate). There have also been multiple studies showing that paired with a resistance training (lifting weights) program, muscle mass has not only not decreased but has increased, albeit in small percentages. Though, for an average male, a gain of 1-2 lbs. of muscle in 2 months is nothing to scoff at.
Health and Longevity
Here are where the benefits of IF really outweigh the discomfort of the first day or two of being hungry. In study after study, IF has been shown to decrease and prevent brain cell senescence, which is basically the process in which your cells age and become less functional. IF has also been shown to promote autophagy, which is where the body destroys dead or malfunctioning cells. This is a vital process to health and living a long healthy life, as it has been linked to the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc.), malignancy, and infection (various types of cancer). IF also triggers stem cell regeneration in the immune system, basically renewing your immune system, which has obvious benefits.
So, IF will help you to burn more fat, maintain or build muscle. IF will also boost multiple functions that will lead to a longer and healthier life. And it is surprisingly easy to do.