Ketone Supplements Worsen Performance In Trained Endurance Athletes

In the world of sports and athletics, many athletes turn to supplements to potentially enhance their performance and gain a competitive edge. Among these supplements, ketone supplements have gained significant popularity and become one of the most widely used choices among athletes. These supplements are claimed by their manufacturers to have the ability to improve athletes’ performance and provide various benefits.

Our focus will be on athletes, particularly those involved in cycling, as they are often keen on finding ways to boost their endurance and overall performance. We will examine the benefits of ketone supplements, such as improved endurance capacity, enhanced energy levels, and potential cognitive advantages during exercise.

In this article, we aim to investigate whether the claims made by ketone supplement manufacturers are indeed supported by scientific evidence and research. We will delve into the existing studies and literature to understand the potential effects of ketone supplements on athletic performance.

What Are Ketone Supplements

Ketone supplements are a type of dietary supplement that many people use in their daily lives. These supplements are also known as exogenous ketones, and they have become quite popular, especially among those following the ketogenic diet. These supplements have become increasingly popular as potential performance enhancers in sports. They are believed to have a biological basis for improving exercise performance and cognition. Additionally, they might positively impact cognitive function during physical exertion and aid in muscle glycogen synthesis after exercise.

Ketone Supplements Worsen Performance In Trained Endurance Athletes

Exogenous ketones are named as such because they are ketones produced outside the body. They are designed to increase the presence of ketones in the bloodstream, offering an alternative energy source for the body. This alternative fuel source may lead to various physiological effects, which is one of the reasons why they have gained popularity in the health and fitness community.

Benefits Of Ketone Supplements

These supplements offer numerous benefits, some of which are as follows:

  1. Improve Weight Loss: Exogenous ketone supplements aid in more efficient weight loss. They promote fat burning while preserving muscle, which sets them apart from other diets that may cause muscle loss. Additionally, using ketones as a fuel source instead of glucose can lead to a decrease in appetite, making it easier to control food intake.
  2. Potential Cancer Prevention: It may have anti-cancer properties. Unlike healthy cells, cancer cells cannot effectively use ketone bodies, making these supplements a potential preventive measure against cancer.
  3. Enhance Cognitive Function and Anti-Inflammatory Effects: As we age, our brain becomes more vulnerable to neurodegeneration, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Exogenous ketone supplementation can help improve cognitive function by reducing inflammation and hyperexcitability in the brain, which often occur with age. These supplements have also been associated with reducing inflammation by inhibiting specific proteins known as inflammasomes.

Overall, exogenous ketone supplements offer a promising array of benefits, weight management to potential cancer prevention and enhanced brain health. Incorporating these supplements into a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle may yield valuable positive effects.

Ketone Supplements’ Impact On Endurance Athletes’ Performance

Researchers at McMaster University conducted a study to explore the effects of ketone supplements on the performance of well-trained endurance athletes. These supplements have gained popularity among athletes who hope these supplements will help them perform better in races.

The study aimed to address conflicting findings from previous research on the effectiveness of ketone supplements. Some studies suggested that these supplements can improve performance, while others reported no effect or even a negative impact on performance.

Ketones are natural compounds that can provide fuel for both the brain and muscles. They are usually produced when the body follows a ketogenic diet, which involves eating very few carbohydrates and mostly high-fat foods. This diet prompts the body to produce more organic ketone compounds and use them for energy. Ketone supplements are designed to speed up this process without the need for a strict diet.

Study Findings: Are Keton Supplements Effective?

The researchers recruited well-trained endurance athletes who regularly cycled for at least five hours per week. These athletes were chosen because their performance remained consistent from day to day, making them suitable for observing the effects of ketone supplements.

During the study, each participant completed two trials involving a 20-minute cycling time trial that closely predicted 40-km race performance. Before each trial, they were given either a ketone supplement or a similar-tasting placebo drink. The study was double-blind, meaning neither the researchers nor the athletes knew which drink was provided.

Ketone Supplements Worsen Performance In Trained Endurance Athletes

The findings of the study revealed that the cyclists’ speed during the test was lower after drinking the ketone supplement compared to the placebo. This means that the ketone supplement did not improve their performance and, in fact, seemed to worsen it.

The researchers also noted that their previous work had found that ketone supplements increased cardiorespiratory stress during exercise. They are continuing to investigate how different doses of ketone supplements at varying exercise intensities may affect performance and exploring the potential underlying mechanisms.

Overall, this study provides valuable insights into the impact of ketone supplements on endurance athletes’ performance and suggests that they might not provide the perceived benefits some athletes hope for. More research is needed to fully understand how ketones may influence performance and to determine the appropriate use of these supplements for athletes seeking a competitive advantage.


While ketone supplements have gained popularity and are claimed to offer various benefits, including improved athletic performance and weight loss, scientific evidence is still inconclusive. A recent study on well-trained endurance athletes found that ketone supplements did not enhance performance and might even have negative effects.

Further research is needed to fully understand the impact of ketone supplements on athletic performance and to determine their efficacy for athletes seeking a competitive edge. As with any supplement, it’s essential to approach their use with caution and consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating them into your routine.

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