What is BHB and Why Is It The Ketogenic Sweetheart?

Everyone is looking for that secret sauce to stop the sugar cravings, reduce their thigh gap, and increase their fats by going into ketosis. And so with the rapidly growing keto movement, we are seeing a lot of different products cropping up including BHB to help people get into that immediate ketosis. and help them walk away from the donuts.



BHB salts, or (Beta-hydroxybutyrate) is a product that has hit the market in the last few years that mimic the nutritional state of ketosis. And keto is everywhere right now. There are so many different versions of it, and BHB is the newest sweetheart of the keto movement. People bragging that they lost 100 pounds in 10 weeks using various BHB products. Of course it has to be tied together with nutrition, and not everyone can lean into ketosis in the same manner because we all metabolize fats differently. In fact those with EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency) and similar illnesses do not have the required enzymes to digest fats and so we see a lot of people that overdo the fats in their keto diet and end up getting wider not thinner. And too few carbs for too long can disrupt our HPA Axis. Any increase in cortisol depending on what state your body is in currently can impact our fat stores. In a Boston Children's Hospital study they found that  "The very low-carbohydrate diet produced the greatest improvements in metabolism, but with an important caveat: This diet increased participants' cortisol levels, which can lead to insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. The very low carbohydrate diet also raised C-reactive protein levels, which may also increase risk of cardiovascular disease." 

So what if we are increasing our cortisol levels day after day? Since it is produced by the cortex which increases blood sugar when it is low or if the body is under stress this can cause glucose production in the liver or it will strip muscle tissue of protein to make glucose. Excess cortisol over long periods of time can increase the risk of diabetes due to prolonged blood sugar elevations.

As well we have to consider our microbiome land. Again if you stick with low carb too long, which is why I know that Bulletproof recommends refeeding days, you will induce a mucus deficiency in your gut, as well as other areas of the body. 

BHB is naturally created in the body when you do intermittent fasting and in foods like eggs and dairy. A lot of athlete using ketosis use these sort of products in small amounts for endurance, and we've seen them used in medical clinical studies with hit and miss results. 

Now of course I tried the main ones on the market so that I could say from experience how they work, and what you see. People think they can use these supplements and then not change to a full ketogenic diet and get the best of both worlds. But even with the supplementation you will see the return to the bodies natural state when you add in carbohydrate rich foods. It's nature, right? And in fact I believe that the yo-yo is harmful and your body will start to have even more insulin/fat storage problems long term for those that use this in that sort of manner. During the time you are using it, your body uses the BHB as the energy source, rather than using your fat as the energy source. So pre-workout or during a long race is when I can see it having the greatest supplemental support.

BHB, like GHB, is a weak partial agonist for GABAB receptors as well and repeated treatment of neurons with these sorts of products at the high levels that they are loading leads to degradation of GABABRs. Now for someone trying to withdrawal from drug abuse this could be an answer to block that connection. I have talked about GABA and my father's alcoholism on my vlogcast and how amino acid therapies can do amazing things for areas like this. So of course there is a place for creating dietary or medical based BHB.

In the athletic arena they did some research and found that when they compared the highly trained ultra-endurance athletes consuming an high-carbohydrate to a low-carbohydrate diet diet the long-term keto-adaptation results in extraordinarily high rates of fat oxidation, whereas muscle glycogen utilization and repletion patterns during and after a 3 hour run are similar. So again, I can see where this would be amazing support for your endurance athlete, but with so many unknowns I feel like it's been a fast and crazy market.

And so while everyone is pushing Reset as the next best "half the price" thing I want to add as a side note you can buy a BHB + caffeine pre-workout product for $30 on Amazon.  So why would you pay $105?? Why?? A pre-workout that is MCTs, BHB in various formulations, caffeine, choline, potato, dandelion root and red spider lily. 1/3 of the price, and a more complex product. I guess like everyone else if you start making the kind of money JMOA provided and you give into the formulation money trail. I loved what this guy stood for with nutrition at the core, but sometimes if it looks like a cash cow and it moos, it is exactly that. So don't buy into the hype. Always look at what is the best solution for your nutritional truth, and when you find it get the best product for you. A ketogenic lean can be a fantastic source of wellness, but consider all of the factors as you get started. 

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