Best Exogenous Ketone Supplements
Maintaining a state of ketosis for an entire day is not as easy as some dieticians might lead you to believe. Sure, following a strict ketogenic diet may give you all the fat you need, but what happens when your body starts working extra hard?
Sometimes you need a small boost to keep that fat burning and not dip into your carb reserves. Maybe the best exogenous ketone supplements are not a necessity for some but for others they can be very helpful.
Of course, choosing the perfect ketone supplement for your diet and level of energy consumption can be tricky. After all, these products started to hit the shelves just a few years ago.
Hopefully, this guide will shed light on some of the questions and misconceptions you might have about ketosis and the paleo lifestyle. We’ve also added five of the best ketone supplements on the market for both hardcore keto followers and average consumers so you can see the differences more clearly
Top 5 Exogenous Ketone Supplements Comparison Chart
Best Exogenous Ketone Supplement Reviews
1. Vitamonk Ketosene
This fast-acting ketone supplement is among the best exogenous ketone supplements available today, if not the best. It eases the metabolic transition and uses a highly potent formula to give you the best results as fast as possible.
This product is a ketone supplement that uses magnesium, sodium, and calcium BHB salts. It dials down a bit on the awful trademark taste of these supplements and promotes quick increases of blood ketone levels.
The powder doesn’t have any artificial sweeteners or other flavor enhancers as its main focus is to kick-start and maintain ketosis.
The container holds 255g of which you can take up to three scoops a day. It’s enough for 16 servings of 3 scoops each. Update* - Vitamonk has now also released a new bulk sized ketone supplement for those users who want a bigger 30 serving size.
What's to like about the Vitamonk Ketosene
It’s nice to see that you can reduce the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort (GID) if you cut the dosage in half. Due to the increased potency of this supplement, you can still reap plenty of its benefits with just half the recommended serving.
What's not to like about the Vitamonk Ketosene
Although the formula is potent, it is still not very impressive unless you follow a strict ketogenic diet. This is because its purpose is to jump-start ketosis and to help maintain it once you have a high enough blood ketone level.
2. Kegenix Prime
Kegenix Prime is among the best exogenous ketone supplements for the number of ingredients in its formula. It packs flavor and tries to supplement the body with everything it needs, including extra brain power and fatigue resistance, to make it the perfect ketogenic workout drink.
The Kegenix Prime supplement attempts to do a lot of things at once. The fact that it is a versatile product is granted, though it doesn’t really excel in any category other than maybe taste.
The product does a decent job of providing a small energy boost as a pre-workout supplement. It also helps maintain your state of ketosis if you wish to perform low- to medium-intensity cardio exercises.
Kegenix Prime also shows some promise in helping people improve their focus. In addition, the company claims that it can improve brain health and has anti-aging properties for its medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) content.
- WEIGHT LOSS SCIENCE FOR EVERY BODY: Kegenix Prime puts your body into a natural metabolic state called ketosis, which allows your body to burn (fat) rather than glucose (sugar/carbs) for its primary fuel. Our patented formulation delivers exogenous ketones to your body, and helps your body produce its own ketones to stimulate your own fat-burning ability, which helps you lose weight, improve mental clarity, increase energy, and make you feel and look better.
- PRODUCE YOUR OWN KETONES NATURALLY: BHB+ MCT: Prime's BHB+MCT patented formulation mimics the body's natural ketogenic process turning on your body's own fat burning ability within an hour; it delivers a combination blend of exogenous ketones to elevate and sustain ketone levels. All other ketone supplements are limited to delivering ketones (BHB), which will indeed spike your ketone levels, but will not deliver consistent ketosis by helping your body make its own ketones.
- ALLOWS FOR FLEXIBLE KETO/LOW CARB DIETING: Prime's exogenous ketone formula makes staying in ketosis much easier when keto dieting. By providing your body ketones, you have more flexibility in eating carbs because PRIME's BHB + MCT ketone combo bridges the gap to keep you in ketosis. While a few extra carbs in just a plain keto diet will throw you out of ketosis, PRIME makes keto dieting much easier, cheat day friendly, more carb flexible and worry free.
- BEST TASTING KETO SUPPLEMENT & QUALITY INGREDIENTS GUARANTEED: Our two delicious flavors are formulated with key nutritional ingredients not found in other ketone supplements. We added 4 balanced electrolytes calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium with Kegenix Prime Energy blend and a proprietary Bio-Enzymatic blend to ensure the most balanced ketosis experience & performance potential. Kegenix Prime is allergen free, and is 100% non-GMO.
- MAXIMIZES BRAIN FUNCTION: Ketones are scientifically shown to enhance brain function, improve sleep, and increase energy without causing jitters or nausea that come from taking other "stimulant" supplements; Ketones provide the missing natural energy your body prefers for you to perform your best, with enhanced mood, better memory, and less cellular damage than glucose.
What's to like about the Kegenix Prime
Kegenix Prime uses all four major BHB salts: potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium. Because of this, the absorption and conversion timing is off the charts.
What's not to like about the Kegenix Prime
The actual effect of the Kegenix Prime is not as impressive as advertised. You can perhaps blame it on additional ingredients and flavors. It’s OK for the casual consumer but not enough for the hardcore paleo lifestyle consumer.
3. Zhou Nutrition Keto Drive
This is an exogenous ketone supplement that’s available in three flavors. It’s designed to maintain ketosis and provide the energy that those on a low-carb diet need to function properly.
This unique formula is aimed at people who want to sustain their energy production while following a strict ketogenic diet.
Keto Drive does a decent job of increasing athletic endurance and burning fat at an accelerated rate from exercising.
It can also help provide a bit of leftover energy to combat post-workout muscle fatigue, even though it is low on carbs. The magnesium BHB salt content also helps to speed up the process of muscle recovery.
- ACCELERATE PERFORMANCE - This keto friendly complex of patented beta-hydroxybutyrates (BHB) was designed for the specific needs of the ketogenic lifestyle to help you achieve ketosis and still perform at your peak. Keto Drive is formulated to help support increased blood ketone levels, athletic endurance, mental performance and sustained energy. Get the physical and mental drive you need to power through your day and conquer your workouts.
- REFRESHING FLAVOR - Finally, a BHB drink that actually tastes good! If you've tried other exogenous ketone supplements, you'll agree that most taste horrible. That's simply because the ketones themselves have a very strong taste that's difficult to mask. Zhou's team of experts spent countless hours crafting a refreshing tropical flavor so you can truly look forward to both the taste and benefits of Keto-Drive. You'll just have to taste it to believe it.
- KETO CLEAN - No carbs, no caffeine, no sugar, NO GUILT! Just the highest quality exogenous ketones and a delicious matcha lemonade taste you'll crave.
- CONVENIENT & MIXES EASILY - Keto Drive tastes great with only water, but feel free to add it to shakes, too! The powder mixes easily into cold beverages, and is convenient for travelling or your daily trip to the gym. You won't want to be without it!
What's to like about the Zhou Nutrition Keto Drive
Although the taste shouldn’t really be a factor with exogenous ketone supplements, it’s worth mentioning that the three flavors in the Keto Drive are quite tasty. You can choose between lemon, orange, and black cherry. The black cherry flavor also contains caffeine – that’s the one to get if you have to give up energy drinks because you’re now on a keto diet.
What's not to like about the Zhou Nutrition Keto Drive
Although there are plenty of servings in one container and the price per gram is quite reasonable, the initial investment for Keto Drive may be a bit steep for the average consumer.
4. iThrive Keto-Kickstart
This formula makes use of calcium, magnesium, and sodium BHB salts. It works quickly, usually in no more than 30 minutes if you’re on a low-carb ketogenic diet.
Although it doesn’t have the highest potency on this list, Keto-Kickstart by iThrive Nutrition does a good job of stimulating fat burning.
It also tastes far better than most such products on the market. The formula is fast-acting so you don’t need to wait more than 30-40 minutes to feel its effects.
The raspberry flavor helps offset this formula’s high content of BHB salts. Because of this, it could function as a decent pre- or post-workout exogenous ketone supplement if you’re on a strict keto diet.
- REFRESHING FLAVOR WITH LITTLE TO NO AFTER-TASTE: Unlike other brands, Keto Kickstart has a pleasant taste. BHB salts are known to taste horrible. But our team of flavor scientists worked for months to create a powder that has little to no after taste. Plus, the blue raspberry flavor pairs well with low glycemic and high fiber fruits (i.e. blueberries) to make delicious keto smoothies. Or mix with water for a Gatorade-like taste that you'll look forward to.
- 🔥BURN MORE FAT: No more struggling to get through workouts. No more feeling guilty because you cheated on your diet plan. Keto Kickstart makes burning fat easier by decreasing your appetite and cravings, switching your body's energy source from carbs to fat, and giving you the energy you need to finish your workouts strong*
- 📈KICKSTART KETOSIS: In just 30-40 mins KetoKickstart raises blood ketone levels. You'll quickly experience the benefits of ketosis including improved mental clarity, cognition, and increased fat burning. You will feel more alert like you had a good night's rest. No more dragging and tiredness in the mornings*
- 🔑EASY 1-WEEK KETO MEAL PLAN ACCESS INCLUDED: Your purchase includes lifetime access to the iThrive Nutrition Easy One-Week Keto Meal Plan. This PDF includes a breakdown of keto diet benefits, a keto friendly food list, 7 days of keto meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner and "no cook" snacks, an accompanying grocery list and recipes.
- 🌱WHO WE ARE: In a world that aims to be reactive to health problems and disease, iThrive Nutrition is dedicated to helping people be proactive in their health. Surviving what life throws at us is not enough. It's our mission to help people thrive at life through education and by providing high quality, research-backed products like Keto Kickstart
What's to like about the iThrive Keto-Kickstart
The flavor is by far the best feature of this nutritional supplement. The blue raspberry flavor overpowers the nasty taste of BHB salts and makes the powder good enough to drink with plain water.
What's not to like about the iThrive Keto-Kickstart
Unfortunately, a strong good-tasting flavor leads to a low concentration of BHB salts. Therefore, the effects of the Keto-Kickstart, albeit quick, are not overly impressive or long-lasting.
5. Keto Function Ignite Keto
Last but not least, the Ignite Keto is another formula designed for the average consumer. It has three flavors to make it appealing and a secret ingredient that helps boost other body functions.
The Ignite Keto powder is a lot tastier than you think. That being said, you may have to use a lot more of it in order to reap its benefits.
Because there’s a lot of emphasis on taste and extra benefits such as increased focus and brain power, you’d think that the ketosis aspect might be a bit left behind. But that’s not the case at all. Each serving of 15g contains 12g of BHB salts.
Still, adding stevia as an extra ingredient does offer this particular formula a bit of versatility. It may not be as cost-effective as others, given that you might need to use more of it, but it is easier to swallow.
- 🚀BOOST ENERGY and WEIGHT LOSS - IGNITE KETO BHB Salts are a highly effective, pure, and great tasting source of ZERO CARB keto energy to fuel your keto diet - Beta Hydroxybutyrate Salts increase physical and mental performance, suppress appetite, and decrease cravings so you can function at your best in keto - If you're looking for the best exogenous ketones supplement to fuel your keto diet then get IGNITE KETO exogenous ketones today to experience increased energy and reduced cravings
- 😋 MIXES EASILY and TASTES GREAT - Our BHB ketones drink tastes great with just water but can easily mix into shakes and other drinks too - Enjoy IGNITE KETO with hot or cold beverages - The convenient powder mix is great for in the office, at the gym or while traveling - Now you'll always have a clean and delicious source of ZERO CARB ketones to boost energy, raise blood ketone levels, and fuel ketosis
- NO RISK GUARANTEE - Love it or Your Money Back - IGNITE KETO is backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you're not 100% satisfied we'll be bummed but just let us know and we'll refund your money straight away - Everything we do at keto function is to help you function at your best in keto - Have any questions? Just send us a message - We would love to hear from you
- GET IN AND STAY IN KETOSIS - IGNITE KETO helps your body shift into ketosis by providing you with pure and instant ketones that boost ketone levels within 30 minutes - Our Performance Blend Exogenous Ketones Supplement is designed to raise blood ketones, increase energy, improve mental and physical performance, & help you burn fat for fuel - Our convenient ketone powder supplement is designed to support your low carb ketogenic diet and reduce effects of the keto flu to keep you at your best!
- CLEAN INGREDIENTS ZERO FILLERS - IGNITE KETO BHB is formulated with pure Exogenous Ketones, ZERO carbs, ZERO gums, ZERO fillers, and ZERO sugars - Just PURE Ketones - Boost Ketosis and Feel Great knowing you're getting 12g of patented beta hydroxybutyrate salts and pure natural flavors in each drink - Experience for yourself why our customers rate us the best tasting clean ketones supplement - Our product is made in a GMP certified facility and lab tested for purity and quality you can feel
What's to like about the Keto Function Ignite Keto
The use of stevia comes as a nice surprise. Although it has a good amount of BHB salts, this doesn’t affect the overall taste too much. And, more importantly, it helps boost brain power by keeping the mind sharp for you to tackle challenging tasks.
What's not to like about the Keto Function Ignite Keto
It seems to contain quite a bit of malic acid, so the taste is on the side of sour.
Before you start buying ketone supplements to improve your physical condition you should first know what they are and how they work.
Ketones are simple organic compounds produced from fatty acids in the liver. They act as a source of energy, an alternative to glucose if you will. They are the basis of the keto diet and more recently the building blocks of a new type of dietary supplement.
Types of Ketone Supplements
There are three types of ketone supplements you should be aware of.
The ketones are supplied by calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium BHB salts. These salts are soluble and have excellent absorption rate.
As far as the effect goes, ketone salt supplements are known to provide a rapid energy boost. They also taste a bit better than the alternatives.
These supplements are usually based on MCT oil.
Ketone oils work differently than salts and esters. The body cannot process and use the ketone bodies for energy conversion immediately; it takes a while to break down the compounds so the powder of MCT oil powder is slower acting than fatty acids from food.
The effect is also considerably lower than from the other two supplements since MCT oil powder doesn’t increase the ketone blood levels by much. There’s also a minor drawback in that MCT oil is fat, so these products have high caloric contents. In most calculations, 1g of fat is worth twice as many calories as 1g of sugar or protein.
Ketone ester supplements are generally made of pure BHB instead of BHB salts, which means the rate of absorption is even faster. They’re not as common as salts and minerals for the average consumer just yet, but there are a few such products on the market.
One of the biggest problems with ketone ester supplements is that they taste really bad. They also seem to cause some minor inconveniences in the digestive tract.
The main ingredients of most ketone supplements are BHB salts. The best exogenous supplement for the money usually contains a combination of BHB salt and MCT powder along with sweeteners to improve the taste.
Whether or not you consider the taste as an important factor is up to you. Usually, the most efficient ketone supplements taste poorly because they don’t have many additional ingredients to speak of.
The list of extra ingredients is quite large as brands always come up with different formulas to compete with each other. Some focus more on improving the taste while others focus on adding extra benefits to an otherwise simple supplement of exogenous ketones.
Here’s a short list of common additional ingredients for you to have a rough idea of what to expect.
- Amino acids
- Stevia extract
- Cocoa powder
- Artificial flavoring
- Natural sweeteners
- Citric acid
- Malic acid
- Green tea extract
You get the idea.
Whether your ketone supplement is in the form of liquid spray, liquid, or powder, each product tends to have specific dosage recommendations. These are put in place by the manufacturers based on the amounts of BHB salt per gram.
Sometimes the additional ingredients are also factored into the equation. The form of BHB is also important in determining the right dosage.
The weight also varies. However, most exogenous ketone supplements come in a container that has enough for about two weeks of servings.
For some products, it is possible to feel the effects even when taking just half a dose. After all, it’s in the manufacturer’s interest to recommend a high amount of product per serving. In fact, it is sometimes advised that casual followers of the ketogenic diet don’t start out with the full recommended serving of potent formulas.
These products are not easy to swallow and may cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Lowering the dosage often helps prevent that.
No matter what you see or hear, ketone supplements don’t taste good. Ketone ester supplements are the worst but luckily, there aren’t that many of them on the market for you to try out.
Whenever you eat or drink a ketone supplement that you think tastes very good, you should double check the list of ingredients. Often times this means a low ratio of BHB salts to filler ingredients.
Probably the best example of this is any raspberry ketone supplement. They’re often considered easy to swallow or even pleasant. However, they require quite a bit of sweetener and souring agent to taste like this.
Interestingly enough, the manufacturers manage to come up with very unique formulas of ketone supplement even when they use the same primary and secondary ingredients.
As you’ll soon come to realize, most of the brands choose BHB salts over esters and oils. The oils are not as effective and the esters are still in the research stage.
Here are some of the brands that are constantly in competition to produce the best exogenous ketone supplements on the market:
- Zhou Nutrition
- Perfect Keto
- BPI Sports
- Keto OS
Exogenous Ketones Supplements F.A.Q.
What are exogenous ketones?
First of all, you should know the basic information about ketones.
Ketones are a group of small organic molecules known as carbonyl compounds. Their monofunctional group, carbonyl, consists of a central carbon atom which is double bonded with an oxygen atom. The entire group is attached to two carbon-based radicals, R.
Three types of ketone bodies are produced in the human liver, each carrying its own specific properties. Contrary to popular belief, BHB or beta-hydroxybutyrate is not a ketone but it breaks down in the body to become ketone bodies. In fact, beta-hydroxybutyrate is considered one of the three aforementioned types of ketones, together with acetoacetate and acetone.
Exogenous ketones are compounds that you ingest with a nutritional supplement. The term ‘exogenous’ refers to a source outside of the body.
The vast majority of these supplements rely on BHB as the main source of ketone bodies.
Do exogenous ketones work?
The simple answer is yes. But how they work and why are another matter. The BHB found in exogenous ketone supplements coverts into acetoacetic acid (acetoacetate).
BHB is the go-to choice because at the moment it has the most efficient energy conversion rate. It’s also easier to formulate and introduce BHB salts into a supplement.
Because the human body is efficient in converting BHB into acetoacetic acid, we can easily get our necessary amount of fuel.
How to use exogenous ketones
The best way to use exogenous ketone supplements is to couple it with a strict keto diet. Even the most concentrated formulas are not enough to sustain ketosis if your diet doesn’t cut off the carbs, as your body will immediately switch back to sugar as the main fuel.
Depending on the recommended serving size on the label of your supplement bottle or bag, you could spread it out throughout the day; that should ensure constant ketosis.
You could also alternate and use exogenous ketones before and after a workout if you feel you might need the extra boost.
Taking these supplements before you go to bed has little to no effect. Not to mention your liver and kidneys shouldn’t have to work overtime while you’re asleep.
Are ketone supplements safe?
Yes and no. One of the major concerns surrounding ketone supplements is whether or not they could lead to weight gain if taking too much.
Although there’s still much to be discovered about ketones, as it turns out the kidneys do a good job at filtering out extra ketones through the urine. This means that they are not likely to be turned into adipose tissue.
There are a few concerns about combining ketone supplements with a non-ketogenic diet as it could lead to overloading the liver or kidneys if your body already gets its energy from something else.
Halitosis or bad breath is one potential side effect, although it’s hardly something you can consider dangerous. It’s more of a nuisance and it’s usually temporary when your body first switched to using ketones or fat as its main energy source.
Hypoglycemia is another concern if you’re not eating enough carbs while on a low-carb keto diet. However, there are counter indications that high enough ketone levels will keep you functioning properly even with low blood glucose levels.
How to take exogenous ketones
The method of ingestion may be different, but for the purpose of this write up they’re all drink mixes. You’d want to mix the powder with something that can offset the taste.
Alternatively, if you’re using the nastiest and purest BHB supplements, then you might want to make sure to stretch them out with a very tall drink. You always have the option of holding your breath and gulping it down.
Although the Vitamonk Ketosene is not the first name to come to mind in most discussions about the best exogenous ketone supplements, things are about to change. This ketone supplements offers superior potency and a very fast absorption rate.
While it may not taste like much, in fact it is quite awful at times, it is what most diehard ketogenic diet followers need. If you’re looking for maximum boost, there’s nothing that maintains its effects for longer than the Vitamonk Ketosene.
The formula comes without filler ingredients in its quest to satisfy the basic ketogenic dietary needs. What you find here is an emphasis on maintaining ketosis and ensuring good energy consumption throughout the day.