Posted on: February 7th, 2023

Interest began to emerge in the field of diets on athletic performance in the early 1980s. Many studies from this era looked at how untrained and trained athletes were able to maintain or improve performance even in the absence of sufficient dietary carbohydrates. 

Since that time, numerous studies have explored the metabolic influence of diet on aerobic and anaerobic performance to determine if major shifts in substrate metabolism translate to altered performance outcomes. 

Many modern-day dietary research studies have primarily focused on ketogenic diets and the effects they may have on aerobic athletic performance. The major issue with these lifestyle modifications, however, is the difficulty of maintenance or compliance with the dietary regimen.

What is Ketosis?

Ketosis is defined as elevated circulating levels of ketone bodies. Traditionally ketosis has been achieved through fasting or a ketogenic diet.

Bodily tissues readily metabolize ketone bodies. In turn, the ketone bodies regulate metabolism and generate local, tissue-specific, and systemic signals that can have other effects. In instances of fasting, starvation, or ketogenic diets, endogenous synthesis of ketone bodies is amplified resulting in a state of natural ketosis. 

Exogenous oral ketone supplements rapidly elevate circulating ketone bodies, with the intention to mimic a metabolic state similar to natural ketosis obtained via dietary changes. Ketosis has potential effects across health, disease, and performance, which are being actively studied.

Ketogenic Supplementation & Running

One of the most popular methods of exercise is running. Ketogenic diets have been used with running and other aerobic exercise regimens to assess if there is an effect on performance. Some evidence suggests an effect, although more research is needed.  Still, recent interest has arisen to develop ketone bodies that can be exogenously administered without dietary carbohydrate restriction.  

The emergence of commercially-available exogenous ketone supplements has led to many studies focused on the effect of these supplements on running performance. One recent study reported the effects of strict adherence to a ketone supplement program on people undergoing a 5 km run. Data showed no significant effect of the supplement when administered before or close to the run.

Achieving and maintaining a state of natural ketosis is extremely difficult without professional medical oversight and assistance. While ketone supplements may not be a ‘miracle drug’ when it comes to performance, longer-term studies need to be conducted, particularly on people who strictly adhere to ketone diets or supplement administration.

Research at Biofortis

Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health worldwide by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.

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