Do you really know what you’re’ getting into?
Sure, ketosis may be working for you and you might want to kick it up a notch—but is supplementing with exogenous ketones really right for you?
If you don’t understand the dangers of exogenous ketones, you might be taking a serious risk. Be careful. Take a few moments to read about the impacts of exogenous ketones before you decide to put them in your body.
You don’t even have to do the research. We’ve listed several hazards and side effects for you to sift through in the sections below.
Risk #1: Increasing your likelihood of ketoacidosis
You might have heard of ketoacidosis, but do you understand what it is?
Ketoacidosis is a condition that happens when the ketone level in your blood rises too high. This can happen when your body is in ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural process that allows your body to create fuel from fat when carbohydrate sources aren’t available for body energy. (1)
Most of the time, ketosis isn’t dangerous. However, if you’re producing more ketones than you can use, Ketoacidosis can occur. This condition can be deadly. In diabetics, ketoacidosis occurs with a high blood sugar level and a lowered PH in the blood. (2)
Symptoms of ketoacidosis
For diabetics, some of the first symptoms you might notice are the same symptoms you experience when your blood sugar gets high: dry mouth, urinating a lot and experiencing excessive thirst. You can also test your blood sugar. If it’s above 240 mg/dL, you may be in danger.
If you experience these symptoms, get medical attention as soon as you can:
- You’re vomiting and it’s been more than two hours since the vomiting started
- You have a stomachache or feel queasy
- You feel tired and have brain fog or a woozy feeling
- Your breath smells fruity (this is a symptom of excess acetone, one of the three ketones produced in the body during ketosis) (4)
- It’s hard to breathe
Don’t take exogenous ketones if you have diabetes, because diabetics can be more likely to develop ketoacidosis than non-diabetics.
The dangers of exogenous ketones include the risk of ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis may ultimately result in coma and death. (5)
What can be done about ketoacidosis
If you get ketoacidosis, you’ll be dehydrated. One of the treatments you might receive could be an IV to rehydrate your body.
You might also need to take an electrolyte replacement to help raise your blood PH level, too. This will help your internal organs function properly. A good electrolyte supplement might contain compounds like sodium, potassium, and chloride.
An important part of your treatment might include insulin to help bring down your blood sugar levels and reverse the processes causing your diabetic ketoacidosis. (6)
When is it safe to supplement with exogenous ketones while avoiding ketoacidosis?
Generally, if you’re not diabetic, the dangers of exogenous ketones may not be as harsh on your body. Just stay hydrated, keep an eye on your electrolytes, and watch out for symptoms of ketoacidosis just in case.
Risk #2: Digestive issues
While not everyone using exogenous ketones gets tummy trouble, digestive issues might be the most common dangers of exogenous ketones.
- Stomach pain
- Dry retching
There are a couple of reasons why exogenous ketones might be hard on your system. First, they don’t taste good. At all. Second, if your exogenous ketones include ketone salts, this can impact the way osmosis happens in your digestive tract and throw off normal functions. (7)
Take a look at your ketone supplement. Does it contain more ketone salts or more ketone esters? Keto salts tend to be a little harder on the digestive tract than keto esters are. (8)
What can you do about it?
The best thing to do might be to start out with small doses and work up to larger ones. Doses of about one teaspoon a day can slowly be upped to about two tablespoons a day. While you may still experience some gurgling, this stepped-up dosage can help alleviate the dangers of exogenous ketones. (9)
Risk #3: Can exogenous ketones cause thyroid disorder?
Ketogenic diets were first suggested to help patients with epilepsy. A recent study looked at 120 patients with drug-resistant epilepsy on ketogenic diets. Because thyroid function changes during periods of fasting, the study focused on what happens to the thyroid during ketosis.
The conclusion in this study indicated that ketogenic diets may cause hypothyroidism. (10)
There are still a lot of unknowns about exogenous ketones. If one of the dangers of exogenous ketones is the way it might impact your thyroid, ask yourself: Is it worth the risk?
Risk #4: High blood pressure and keto salts
Low carb diets can lower blood pressure. (11)
However, if you struggle with high blood pressure, check your exogenous supplement. If it contains keto salts, you may be putting yourself at risk of elevating your blood pressure even further.
Risk #5: what are the dangers of exogenous ketones regarding blood cholesterol?
While this might be a reason to monitor the types of fats you’re taking in on your keto diet, does it have anything to do with exogenous ketones?
Since exogenous ketones only impact the amount of ketones in your blood—not the type or amount of fat you eat—the dangers of exogenous ketones might not apply here. (15)
Risk #6: How do exogenous ketones impact your blood sugar?
Ketone drinks can lower your blood sugar. This can be good in some cases, especially for diabetics who are looking for ways to control blood sugar spikes.
No real dangers of exogenous ketones here. (16)
Risk #7: Reduced endurance in athletes
According to one study, a ketogenic diet, including those who are supplemented with the best keto products, can impair athletic ability. This might be because ketones reduce your body’s ability to use carbohydrates. (17)
Before you put that supplement in your mouth, consider the dangers of exogenous supplements. They might not be for you. If, after all this, you decide that they’ll work for you, make sure you get a high-quality supplement to support your ketosis.(18)