BHB Supplements and Energy

BHB Supplements

Evan Stevens

BHB Supplements and Energy

We’ve already heard about low CHO (low carbohydrate) diets and how they can hinder performance. However, the next talk went a little deeper into CHO-fasted states. More specifically how this ketogenic state increased ketone bodies – made from high-fat use.

BHB Supplements and EnergySourcing Energy

Previous studies done on ketogenic states showed that ketones in the body are converted into beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). BHB is a substrate that can enter the citric acid cycle and produce energy. Researchers hypothesize that acute supplementation of BHB may be able to better spare CHOs and protein early in exercise. As a consequence, they can be used more efficiently later in exercise. This provides a better energy source when fatigue starts to take hold. Researchers gave participants 20-30g of the BHB salt in a drink 60 and then 15 minutes before an exercise bout. An bout was 6 x 8 minutes of gradually increasing intensity, so continuous rather than interval style.

Findings

Researchers found that the BHB drink increased blood levels of BHB, slightly decreased the amount of blood glucose (which would mean that the body is perhaps using BHB in place of glucose), and no change in blood lactic acid levels. So BHB could possibly be used to help attenuate glycogen expenditure until later in exercise, meaning more energy for later in exercise. However, it should be noted that high BHB intake comes with some problems, namely that it tastes absolutely awful (reducing palatability so athletes are less likely to take it), and it can cause some minor GI issues such as diarrhea and bloating.

Takeaways 

Acute supplementation of BHB prior to strenuous exercise can ensure less glycogen is used at the onset of exercise, saving more glycogen for later in the exercise bout. However, there are some palatability and GI issues that can limit BHB’s effectiveness.

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