It’s time for a serious geek out on all things ketones, ketosis, ketone esters, and more!
My guest on today’s show, Geoffrey Woo, is co-founder and CEO of H.V.M.N. – Health Via Modern Nutrition. He is also the host of the Health Via Modern Nutrition Podcast, a health & performance podcast that recently broke 4 million downloads. H.V.M.N. helped popularize ketones as a food group beyond fats, proteins, and carbohydrates and makes foods & supplements for metabolic performance and health—fueling some of the world’s top performers, athletes, and military service members.
Geoff is an avid self-experimenter who like to do 7-day water fasts, has inspired thousands under the COVID-19 lockdown to push themselves with positive challenges by completing the Crossfit Murph workout for 45 days in a row, and studies the optimization of human performance—at the individual scale, the team scale, the organization scale, and at the civilizational scale. He holds a BS with honors and distinction in computer science from Stanford University.
During this discussion, you’ll discover:
-How Geoffrey used ketone esters while doing a Crossfit “Murph” for 45 consecutive days…5:45
- Named after Michael Murphy, a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan
- Consists of a 1-mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, then another mile run
- Staying with a routine when COVID-19 became a serious issue
- Low carb diet overall
- Need for muscle and liver glycogen repletion
- Added carbs to the diet, as well as ketone esters and exogenous ketones
- Used ketones more for recovery than for performance
-Why ketogenesis is not a physiologically typical state…13:00
-The role ketones play when it comes to recovery…16:15
- Research thus far has been focused on acute performance benefits
- Trials performed on runners and cyclists; much easier to quantify than other sports
- Tour de France cyclists reported exogenous ketones were better for recovery than for pre-race fuel
- 2019 study on mimicking Tour de France training regimen with ketone esters
- Ketones plus carbs and protein upregulates mTORC1
- Anti-catabolic effects are consistent from an evolutionary perspective
- Ketogenic diet inhibits mTOR
- If you want to use a ketogenic state for recovery:
- Have adequate nutrient availability, caloric intake, and carbs (allows liver and muscle glycogen levels to be full)
- Include ketone esters with regular meals (induces anabolic pathway not present without ketone esters)
- To trigger autophagy, decrease mTOR, and enhance fasting:
- Use nutritional ketosis and/or ketone esters
- Lower amount of carb intake and calorie availability
- Open question of inquiry: Is β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) itself the signaling molecule that triggers HDAC inhibition, FOXO3, other longevity pathways, or is it the caloric restriction itself?
-Pros and cons of endogenous and exogenous ketosis…24:18
- What’s happening physiologically:
- Endogenous includes carb restriction by default (not necessarily calorie restriction)
- The brain senses lower AMPK due to a lack of glucose
- Increases lipolysis and fat mobilization
- Blood-brain barrier prevents fat from entering to provide substrate for neurons
- Increase in free fatty acids
- Fat burning lipolysis
- Exogenous ketosis: eating calories in the form of ketones
- Exogenous ketones will elevate BHB aggressively
- Inhibit lipolysis (fat burning) and free fatty acids go down
- Ketones can be used a metabolic fuel as well as a signaling metabolite
- Ketones mediate ghrelin (the appetite hormone) which signals satiety
-The difference between ketone esters and salts…35:15
- Ketone salt: BHB bound to a mineral (a salt)
- Pros and cons of salts:
- Cheap and available
- Often too much mineral in a ketone salt product
- Ketone esters: Organic molecule that has an oxygen double bond between different components (monoesters and diesters)
- Future research will reveal a “family” of esters, similar to carbohydrates, fats, etc.
- H.V.M.N. focuses on a monoester: BHB esterified with R1,3-butanediol
- This ketone ester delivers 100% of BHB vs. ~50% with ketone salts
- Another ketone ester is acetoacetate diester, that Dom D’Agostino has worked on.
-The ketone esters developed by the DARPA program…38:45
- Beginning in the 1960s, various studies conducted to determine the efficacy of ketones
- Fasting study at Harvard by George Cahill – studies on starvation
- Dr. Richard Veech, one of the earliest researchers of ketones and understanding the metabolic implications of ketones
- At the start, a lot of people thought of ketones as metabolic waste products for type 1 diabetics, did not realize the broader implications as a fuel substrate as well as a signaling metabolite
- Early 2000s, DARPA program headed by Dr. Joseph Bielitzki initiates project to determine the human factor in fighting wars
- Quercetin, cooling glove out of Stanford and ketone esters were part of the program
- DeltaG is the code name for a ketone monoester developed in the program
- Last 4-5 years, performance-enhancing aspects of ketones have been studied as part of the program
- Geoffrey’s podcast with Dr. Joseph Bielitzki of the DARPA program
-Gold standard usage for dosage and frequency of ketone esters…44:45
- Dosage is based on body weight
- High amounts needed for pre-exercise (for Tour de France cyclists)
- Aim for a threshold of BHB in the blood
- Body becomes more efficient when more adapted to ketones
- Blood BHB is the most important variable—dependent on body weight, metabolism, and keto adaptability
- Ketones uses:
- Cognitive use (military and sports decision making)
- Used prior to and after fasting
- Transition to ketogenic diet minus the “keto flu”
- Blood is the best way to measure ketone levels
- You don’t excrete as many ketones when you become keto-adapted
-Whether or not ketones break a fast…53:35
- What is the purpose of the fast
- Which metabolic pathways do we care about
- Ketones are mildly insulinogenic at best
- They do not upregulate the mTOR pathway (only happens when stacked with carbs and protein)
- Ketosis shifts NAD+ and NADH ratio to enhance sirtuin activation
-How a process called lactylation enhances the expression of longevity genes…57:11
- BHB binds histones through process called β-hydroxybutyrylation
- Same thing happens with lactate
- “Biology is a study of snapshots”
- Lactic acid builds up during exercise
- Lactate crosses the blood-brain barrier
- Possible use in treating TBI, concussions, etc.
-Parallels between lactate and ketones…1:02:15
- Not insulin-mediated; substrates for metabolic health
- Cognitive and TBI repair
- No glucose can be utilized by the brain after a concussion or TBI
- Potential for use treating Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.
- HBOT chamber (use code BEN to save $500)
- Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is the best way to buffer lactate
-Stacking sodium bicarbonate with ketone esters pre-workout…1:07:15
- Water, tip of teaspoon (microdosing) leading to the workout helps with potential diarrhea
- Lactigo transdermal carnosine applications (use code BEN to save 20%)
-Ketones used in place of alcohol in cocktails…1:10:15
- 1,3-butanediol can give the buzz minus the toxicity of alcohol
- Anti-anxiety effect demonstrated in animal models
- Butanediols combined with alcohol is highly discouraged
- Minimal sleep disruptions with use of ketones rather than alcohol
- CBD and ketone combinations
-And much more…
Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.
Resources from this episode:
– Geoffrey Woo:
– BGF podcasts and articles on ketones and ketosis:
- All Of Your Burning Keto Questions Answered: Fasting On Keto, Keto For Fat Loss, Keto Nootropics & Supplements, & Much More!
- Ketosis vs. Carnivore Diet, Why Ketosis Isn’t For Everyone, & How To Do Ketosis & Carnivore “The Right Way.”
- KetoFasting: The Dark Side of Fasting & Ketosis (+How To Use Cyclic Ketosis To Fix The Issues).
- Building Muscle On A Ketogenic Diet, Little-Known Keto Mistakes, The Best Supplements For A Ketogenic Diet & Much More!
- The Biggest Common Keto Mistakes (& How to Fix Every Metabolic Problem With A Low-Carb Diet In Just 7 Seconds).
- Why A High-Fat, Ketogenic Diet Chock Full Of Saturated Fat, Coconut Oil & Butter Could Be Destroying Your Brain (& What To Do About It).
- The Keto Reset Diet: Reboot Your Metabolism in 21 Days and Burn Fat Forever.
- Building Muscle & Testosterone On A Ketogenic Diet, Food Combining, Psychedelic Experimentation, Natural Depression Remedies & More!
- How To Maximize Ketosis, Should You Have Sex Before Competition, Do Power Poses Really Work & More.
- Cyclic Ketosis, “Thinkitating,” Bad-Ass Meditation, Morning Routines & More With Quest Nutrition Founder Tom Bilyeu.
- Six-Egg Breakfasts, Ketosis For Bodybuilders, Resetting Weed Tolerance, Kratom Experimentation & Much More With The Mindpump Guys!
- Everything You Need To Know About How To Use Amino Acids For Muscle Gain, Appetite Control, Injury Repair, Ketosis And More.
- Could This Ketosis-Based Elixir Hold The Key To Weight Loss, World Record Performances, Brain Healing, and More?
- A Deep Dive Into Ketosis: How Navy Seals, Extreme Athletes & Busy Executives Can Enhance Physical and Mental Performance With The Secret Weapon of Ketone Fuel
- Which Ketone Supplement Works Best: Ketone Salts vs. Ketone Esters With Dr. Dominic D’Agostino.
- How To Get Into Ketosis In 60 Minutes Or Less (& Which Vitamins, Minerals, Nutrients & More To Fill In The Holes Of A Ketogenic Diet)
- The Official “Ask Me Anything About Ketosis & Ironman” Premium Podcast with Ben Greenfield
– Gear and supplements:
– Other resources:
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–Thrive Market: Organic brands you love, for less. Your favorite organic food and products. Fast and free shipping to your doorstep. Receive a gift card up to $20 when you begin a new membership using my link.