Ketone salts are a dietary supplement we use daily at Konscious Keto to increase ketone bodies and achieve ketosis faster, especially for times when we’ve pushed our carb macros beyond the limits and need aid to return to ketosis quickly.
But a variety of nutritive salts play a significant role in maintaining well-being on a ketogenic diet and we’ll detail which are ideal for those living a low-carb, high-fat lifestyle in our nutrition guide to different salts, below.
While many followers of a ketogenic diet boast about the increased feelings of energy and mental sharpness when using ketone salts, medical researchers are unsure of which form of ketone bodies are most effective and if they can be harmful in excess.
We've taken a look at all sides of the debate and are happy to share that, available data points indicate no adverse effects of using a ketone supplement, especially if consumed when in a fasted state, which can offer increased benefits to glucose regulation.
Plus, the anecdotal testimonials of those following a low-carb, high-fat diet and taking exogenous ketones to act as a safety net, for when their meal plan is less than perfect is promising. We'll also share more on the usefulness of ketone salts below.
Although many want to follow a ketogenic lifestyle, maintaining the restrictive plan can prove challenging long-term for some who are always on the go or hesitant to commit to a good meal prep routine.
A word of advice, ketone salts should not be used as a trick to induce metabolic ketosis every day, while still stuffing yourself with high-carb bread and pasta. Instead, ketone salts are a helpful and powerful tool to use to restore ketosis quickly but shouldn't become a dietary crutch or a replacement for a well-balanced ketogenic diet.
Before we get into how and when to use exogenous ketone salts or other mineral-rich salts, let's review what ketone salts are and how they behave in the body.
What are Ketone Salts?
Ketone salts are a character within a cast of ketone bodies that we can use for fuel, particularly in the absence of glucose. Furthermore, ketone salts encourage the body to enter and maintain metabolic ketosis.
Those with a goal to lose weight may be aware that fat loss can occur regardless of ketosis, but students of the lifestyle also know that the health benefits of keto extend far beyond a reduction on the scale.
In addition to accelerated fat loss, those in ketosis with elevated levels of ketones generally experience increased energy, enhanced mental sharpness and increased endurance, especially beneficial for those who engage in low-impact, steady-state cardio whose ideal fuel source is fat and ketones as opposed to sugar.
What are BHBs?
There are two types of exogenous ketones, and it's worth touching on their distinctions, although we'll focus on beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) throughout the article as it's the most widely-marketed ketone used in commercial supplements, including our Keto Activate.
First, it's important to note the two different kinds of exogenous ketone supplements: ketone salts and ketone esters.
Ketone salts are a ketone body bound to a mineral ion, most commonly sodium. And while there are different variations of ketone bodies, ketone salts primarily use beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB).
Conversely, ketone esters contain a ketone body paired with a ketone precursor. While ketone ester products exist in a limited amount within the exogenous supplement market, its presence pales in comparison to those with ketone salts—likely because of the notably unpleasant taste of ketone esters.
Where we run into trouble is when consumers expect an exogenous ketone supplement to be a nutritional end-all-be-all, and a replacement for sound nutrition choices as it's not a silver bullet.
A supplement is just that, in addition to a well-balanced meal plan and not a stand-in as a complete dietary protocol. Keep a close eye on maintaining a balanced low-carb diet and add in BHBs whenever needed.
The Top Keto Salts
Mainstream health circles cast salt as harmful to our wellness and, to a certain extent, we agree.
The bleached and iodized variety of salt often present in American homes is void of essential trace minerals, and you may want to toss it if you still have some lingering in your cupboard.
Luckily, there are many mineral-rich forms of salt on the market and that's a great thing because replenishing quality salt is especially vital on a ketogenic diet. Here are some excellent salt options to enjoy on a ketogenic meal plan:
Himalayan sea salt
Himalayan salt is fantastic to add extra flavor to food, but it's more than just a seasoning.
Paired with spring water, pink sea salt makes 'sole water' which aids in hydration and provides sodium, potassium, magnesium, and other electrolytes, often deficient on a ketogenic diet.
Celtic sea salt
Sodium, magnesium, and potassium are the minerals most commonly deficient in those following a ketogenic diet, and Celtic sea salt is worth adding to your keto meal plan since it's rich in all three elements.
Celtic sea salt also provides calcium, iron, zinc, and manganese—perfect for keeping the body primed for peak performance.
Grey sea salt
Also known as French sea salt and hand-harvested from pristine Atlantic seawater, grey salt is unrefined and brimming with essential electrolytes, especially beneficial on a ketogenic diet.
Furthermore, sodium is needed to function correctly, as it helps your body control blood pressure and getting adequate amounts is vital for proper muscle and nerve function.
Redmond's Real Salt
As we mentioned, table salt is void of essential nutrients, and we advise ditching it altogether. Instead, consider a high-quality salt like that produced by Redmond's because it contains all the natural trace minerals that we need for optimal function.
Ideal Keto BHB Supplements
Any genuine and lasting relationship is rooted in honesty, so we'll go ahead and admit that we're a bit biased in this area.
Our Keto Activate, BHB-based, exogenous ketone supplement is free of artificial ingredients and fillers and is formulated to support nutritional ketosis, so we'll always hail it as the best on the market, hands down.
Whichever supplement you choose, the key is to find one with the cleanest ingredients possible and select one free of artificial ingredients and fillers.
People will experience benefits to varying degrees when using a ketone salt supplement, and other factors like whether it's consumed during a fasted or fed state can impact the level to which ketones rise.
However, in general, some of the benefits you may experience when using a quality exogenous ketone like Keto Activate are:
- Accelerated fat loss
- Appetite suppression
- Improved mood
- Increased energy
- Quicker return to ketosis after eating carbs
- Improved cognition and focus
- Better sleep
Remember, the fundamental takeaway is to source a supplement without genetically-modified ingredients or toxic dyes and colorings.
Above all, look for an exogenous ketone supplement with as many organic and high-quality ingredients as possible and use it as a compliment to a balanced keto protocol.
As we mentioned, unlike ketone esters, ketone salts are bound to minerals. A ketogenic diet is unique in that it transforms the body's energy source and increases the communication and function of all physiological systems.
As we deplete our glycogen stores by removing carbohydrates from our diet, there's an increased release of fluid, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes from the body, making it essential to replenish nutrients diligently.
Fortunately, Keto Activate is an excellent ketone option as a single serving provides 100% of the body's daily recommended intake of magnesium.
Aside from binding to ketone bodies to produce ketone salts, magnesium is a vital mineral and responsible for the healthy function of different systems in the body.
Magnesium consumption is especially beneficial on a ketogenic diet as it magnifies some highly nutritive benefits, like boosting energy, regulating glucose levels and fortifying our immune system.
Consuming adequate amounts of magnesium is particularly important because the mineral is responsible for preventing symptoms of the keto flu—the dreaded symptoms some experience when transitioning to keto if electrolyte or fluid intake is insufficient.
Besides, having sufficient magnesium intake is known to produce a calming effect and keeps the brain, muscles, and heart at ease and nimble.
Not only is it vital to protein synthesis, which is directly related to healthy muscle tissue development and repair it also optimizes glucose regulation and increases energy offered via nutritional ketosis.
Include the following into your meal plan regularly to ensure adequate magnesium on keto:
- Spinach (1 cup cooked) – 157mg
- Avocado (1/2 medium) – 30mg
- Oysters (3 oz) – 80mg
- Swiss Chard (1 cup cooked) – 154mg
- Pumpkin seeds (1/8 cup) – 90mg
- Yogurt (plain) – 50mg
Exogenous Ketone Salts
There are three ketone bodies: beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), acetoacetate (AcAc), and acetone. Exogenous ketones are ketones we do not make, but those provided through an external source—while endogenous ketones are those produced naturally by the body through a process called ketogenesis.
From expedited muscle tissue recovery to increased physical performance or the suppression of appetite, increased ketones can act as a powerful tool to those transitioning into ketosis—or anyone needing to return quickly to ketosis, after eating a few too many carbs.
The efficacy of endogenous ketones is something studied since the 1920s, with its offerings varying from accelerated weight loss to the mitigation of epileptic seizures in children.
Note that studies of the benefits of exogenous ketones are still becoming known, and that most life-changing testimonials come directly from ketone users, mostly those following a ketogenic diet, whose life has changed while incorporating BHBs into a well-rounded ketogenic regimen.
The positive anecdotal evidence emerging within the keto community is quite hopeful as the scientific community catches up via peer-reviewed examination.
As more data appears about the helpfulness of ketone salts, it's exciting to discover what research will establish regarding the effectiveness and best uses of exogenous ketone salt supplements.
Consuming adequate electrolytes, minerals and vitamins is vital. Whether it's adding a dash of Himalayan salt to each meal or sipping on a bowl of bone broth to soothe the gut on a chilly evening, a ketogenic diet is reliant upon keeping carbs low and making sure we stay nourished and hydrated.
Certain keto-friendly foods like dark leafy greens and nuts or seeds, are excellent sources of potassium and should be your first line of nourishment as the body can quickly assimilate nutrients from food-based sources, best.
To your advantage, the proprietary mineral and electrolyte blend found in Keto Activate helps support overall health and aid in the absorption of nutrients we consume—with adequate levels of potassium being responsible for supporting a boost in energy.
Here is a list of potassium-rich, keto-friendly foods to consider adding to your meal plan:
- Spinach (2 cups) – 330mg
- Salmon (3 oz) – 326mg
- Beef (3 oz) – 315mg
- Avocado (1/2 medium) – 320mg
- Broccoli (1/2 cup) – 230mg
- Asparagus (1/2 cup) – 202mg
It's best to eat a ketogenic diet comprised of organic, whole foods to ensure adequate micronutrient intake. Top mineral-rich foods like sautéed kale or a creamy avocado, with a sprinkle of high-quality sea salt of your choice, and you'll keep sodium and electrolyte levels in an ideal range, with ease.
Are Exogenous Ketone Salts Safe?
There's some controversy surrounding ketone salts and their efficacy, and we advise always using critical thinking when adding elements to your wellness plan to make sure any given item is a good fit for you.
But the emerging positive benefits of using exogenous ketones seem to outweigh the assertions of those concerned with their potential (yet unfounded) adverse effects.
The bottom line: people are getting desired health results while using BHBs appropriately, and it appears that these ketosis-inducing salts are here to stay.
Although detractors of ketone salts like Dr. Richard Veech caution against their use, due to a lack of extensive research on its long-term effects, other well-respected opinions support the positive research.
Alternative perspectives like that of Dr. Richard D'Agostino, a professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida, whose research on ketosis is endorsed by the Office of Naval Research at the Department of Defense, had the following to say regarding the efficacy and safety of ketone salts:
Dr. D’Agostino disagrees completely with Dr.Veech, saying, “Across the board [as it relates to consuming ketone salts] everything is positive there’s no negative thing.”
He also explains that 24 to 48 hours after ingesting a racemic mixture of ketone salts, about 80% turn to the right-handed—more bioavailable—form and the remaining 20% of left-handed beta-hydroxybutyrate gets metabolized for energy, just like fats do.
Most importantly, Dr. D’Agostino points out that racemic mixtures of ketones, like Keto Activate, have been used since the late 1950s, amounting to millions of doses taken by humans to-date, with no evidence of harm.
Let's be clear, getting all of our nutritional needs from internal and food-based sources is optimal and the easiest way for the body to assimilate nutrients for fuel and sustenance.
But if we're shooting straight, and that's always our motto, we should admit that many of us find it a challenge to manage work, family, staying social and keeping abreast of current events, while eating a perfect keto diet to the letter, each and every day.
Even if approaching the ketogenic diet with the purest of intentions, eating a perfectly balanced keto diet is a discipline that some find hard to maintain long-term.
So, it's essential to find ways to make the eating style practical and prepare meals in advance to set ourselves up for success—along with including helpful supplements as needed.
Remember, if venturing into supplementation, use quality exogenous BHBs like Keto Activate as a tool in your dietary arsenal to maintain ketosis—an effort that should be lead by the consumption of nutrient-dense foods and beverages and supported by ketone salts.
Having a second serving of ribs at a family gathering—if the sauce contains hidden sugars, and most of them do—can kick you out of ketosis pretty quickly, which can leave you discouraged, sluggish and lugging around extra weight.
Luckily, ketone salts can help get you back on track without fretting about imperfection.
And although we don't advise relying solely on exogenous ketones to establish ketosis, while eating large amounts of sugar or carbohydrates, know that you can reach for well-crafted BHBs like Keto Activate to get you back on track safely and swiftly, if you should ever veer off course.
- Gautschi, M., Weisstanner, C., Slotboom, J., Nava, E., Zürcher, T., & Nuoffer, J. (2014). Highly efficient ketone body treatment in multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency–related leukodystrophy. Pediatric Research, 77(1), 91-98. doi:10.1038/pr.2014.154
- Gormsen, L. C., Svart, M., Thomsen, H. H., Søndergaard, E., Vendelbo, M. H., Christensen, N., . . . Møller, N. (2017). Ketone Body Infusion With 3‐Hydroxybutyrate Reduces Myocardial Glucose Uptake and Increases Blood Flow in Humans: A Positron Emission Tomography Study. Journal of the American Heart Association, 6(3). doi:10.1161/jaha.116.005066
- Richard L. Veech, Britton Chance, Yoshihiro. (2001). Ketone Bodies, Potential Therapeutic Uses. IUBMB Life (International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Life), 51(4), 241-247.