One of the questions we get asked quite often is to explain the difference between an exogenous ketone supplement and MCT oil and if you can take both supplements at the same time. In order to best answer this question, let's first take a closer look at what each supplement is, and then look at how they can be used together to achieve the most effective results.
What are Exogenous Ketones?
Exogenous ketones, also known as ketone salts or BHB salts, are beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) ketones that are bound to a salt, typically sodium, calcium, magnesium, or potassium, to improve your body's absorption of the external ketones.
Exogenous means external, referring to the ketones that are created outside of the body, that you can ingest. This is in contrast to the ketones your body produces naturally when you're in a state of ketosis due to carb restriction.
What are the Benefits of Exogenous Ketones?
The purpose of ketone supplements is to provide your body with extra ketones and to aid in the transition to achieving a state of ketosis. If you're fasting, exogenous ketones can help alleviate the headaches, low energy, and cravings that typically accompany a fasted state.
If you've eaten too many carbohydrates, exogenous ketone supplements can help you get back into ketosis quicker than carb restriction alone. Ketone supplements can also be taken before meals to reduce cravings or before a workout for a boost of energy.
Exogenous ketones, when paired with a low-carb ketogenic diet, can also provide the following benefits:
- Increased mental focus
- Quicker weight loss
- Reduced hunger
- Enhanced cognitive performance
- Lower inflammation
- Less risk of disease
- Better regulated blood glucose levels
What is MCT Oil?
MCTs, or medium-chain triglycerides, are made up of fatty acids (i.e., the building blocks of fat),and they prompt our bodies to produce more ketones. Having more ketones is essential to becoming keto-adapted! Unlike long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), MCTs are used quickly by the body and are not stored in fat cells.
MCTs are broken down in the liver,and through this process, ketones are produced. MCT oil is a supplement containing high concentrations of MCTs, preferably C8 and C10.
Many also ask what the difference is between MCT oil and coconut oil. Well, MCT oil happens to be much more concentrated than coconut oil,and approximately ninety percent of the fats that are found in coconut oil are saturated. This is a high percentage when compared to the short chain MCTs that contain far fewer carbons. Lauric acid, for example, only contains twelve.
What are the Benefits of MCT Oil?
Supplementing with MCT oil can have many of the same health benefits as supplementing with exogenous ketones. Here are some of the benefits of adding MCT oil to your diet:
- Reduced hunger
- Increased energy
- Enhanced cognitive performance
- Increased metabolism
- Greater heart health
Why You Should Use MCT Oil for Ketosis
MCTs often have a lower caloric effect than usual long-chain fatty acids. The difference between them comes out to about nine calories per gram for long-chain fatty acid and only 8.3 calories per gram of MCT oil.
MCTs can also cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and can then be oxidized, so it provides a direct and indirect fuel source for the brain. This is especially helpful for those that suffer from Type 1 diabetes because it helps preserve brain function and doesn’t raise their blood glucose levels.
What About Ketones for Ketosis?
Ketones, on the other hand, can effectively activate proteins in the brain and can help repair, enhance, and protect our brain cells as well as our brain’s neurological networks.
For a good level of ketosis to achieve weight loss, you want to achieve 1.5 to 3.0 mmol/l and this level is also recommended for full nutritional ketosis.
Benefits of Ketosis
Ketosis and a low-carbohydrate diet can help suppress your appetite, lead to increased weight loss, increase your good levels of HDL Cholesterol, and lose a good amount of fat from your abdomen. You will also find that your triglyceride levels go way down. The triglycerides are fat molecules in the body, and if our levels are too high, we are at higher risk for heart disease.
Low carb ketogenic diets lead to greater weight loss because this type of diet also gets rid of excess water from the body because the insulin levels are much lower, the kidneys get rid of any extra sodium, and all this culminates to a good amount of weight loss over the first two weeks of the low-carb diet.
However, like with most diets, you may begin to plateau after a few months. If you plateau during a low-carb diet, then intermittent fasting can be used to kickstart your diet and fat burning and get you back to shedding the pounds in no time.
How Long Does it Take to Enter Ketosis?
Our bodies are only capable of storing two days’ worth of glucose in the form of glycogen. Following those two days of stored glucose, we can find ourselves in a state of ketosis if we consume less than twenty grams of carbohydrates during this time.
What's the Difference Between Exogenous Ketones and MCT Oil?
The difference between exogenous ketones and MCT oil is that when you take exogenous ketones, the body is able to use them for energy immediately. In contrast, MCTs must be broken down first before they can be used for energy. Therefore, the energy from MCT oil is quicker than foods with longer chain fatty acids but slower than the energy provided by exogenous ketones.
Additionally, MCT oil is a source of fats and is calorie heavy, meaning you’re getting a larger dose of calories compared to ketone salts which have minimal calories and no fat.
Can You Use Both Exogenous Ketones and MCT Oil?
Yes! You can definitely use both as they serve different purposes.
People typically use exogenous ketones to transition into or maintain ketosis. They are instant ketones for the body to use as fuel and when you burn through them, your body looks for other sources of ketones which it will create from metabolizing stored fat.
Generally speaking, the more often you are in ketosis, the more fat you will burn. The ketone powder also helps you more easily transition into ketosis after eating carbs & can minimize symptoms of the keto flu.
MCT oil also provides energy, but it has to be processed by the body first and converted into ketones. It's also a source of fat, whereas the ketone powder does not contain fat. Anyone can benefit from taking MCT, even if they aren't following a low-carb diet, as it provides long-lasting energy and is not likely to get stored as fat in the body.
Most people will use exogenous ketone powder at the beginning of their keto diet, anytime they eat carbs, or as a mental and physical energy boost. MCT can be taken daily to increase fat consumption, reduce cravings, and provide that long-lasting mental and physical energy.
The most important thing is to make sure the supplements you're buying are of good quality. You don't want added fillers, binders, artificial flavors, or any other junk added to your exogenous ketone powder. That's why we created IGNITE KETO with 12g BHB per serving and the cleanest label on the market.
Our MCT Oil Softgels are made from 100% organic coconuts and contain both C8 and C10 to give you quick & sustained performance. We promise that you will never find unnecessary additives in our supplements, it's just one way we help you to function at your best in keto.