Exogenous Ketones Show Potential to Reduce Ketogenic Diet Restriction

  Dr. Dominic D’Agostino serves as a tenured associate professor at the University of South Florida, where he studies metabolic-based therapies such as the ketogenic diet. He also shares information about the topic through his blog KetoNutrition. Much of Dr. Dominic D’Agostino’s ketone research has focused on exogenous ketones, and he has published numerous peer-reviewed papers and articles on it.

A high-fat, low-carbohydrate (carb) eating regiment introduced in the 1920s, the ketogenic diet (keto diet) was originally used as a dietary method of seizure control for people with epilepsy. The diet’s success rate prompted further scientific inquiry, and medical professionals have since developed variations as effective treatments for other conditions with an underlying metabolic dysregulation. The diet switches the body’s primary fuel source from glucose to fats and ketones, which can offer health benefits by supplying the brain with energy and lowering blood sugar and insulin levels.

However, adherence to strict eating habits is required for the keto diet to work and not result in muscle loss. This has facilitated investigations on the possibility of reducing its restrictive nature through ketogenic supplements called exogenous ketones. This would remove dietary limitations by allowing a person to ingest ketone in pill form instead of producing it within the body. The supplementations can come from synthetic or naturally derived ketones, and there are three types: ketone esters, ketone salts, and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).

Although research into exogenous ketones is new and ongoing, studies are providing promising results that include new technologies. For instance, all three supplement types have displayed anti-seizure effects in different seizure and epilepsy models.

Applications of Nutritional Ketosis Discussed at CrossFit Conference

  The recipient of a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Dominic D’Agostino is a University of South Florida associate professor and scientist who tests metabolic-based therapies and is heavily interested in ketone research. Consequently, he is well-versed in ketone ester and ketone supplementation, and discusses both on his KetoNutrition blog. Recently, Dominic D’Agostino took part in the annual CrossFit Health Conference, where he delivered a presentation on the health benefits of ketones.

The 2019 CrossFit Health Conference was held this past July in Madison, Wisconsin. During his presentation, Dr. D’Agostino shared the story of how he first became interested in therapeutic ketosis during a study designed to enhance the performance and safety of Navy SEAL divers. As part of the study, test rats were placed in a high-pressure oxygen environment. Under normal circumstances, the rats would experience seizures within 5 minutes, but those that fasted between 24 to 36 hours were capable of withstanding the environment for as many as 20 minutes.

This discovery, along with the observation that cancer cells in rats exploded under hyperbaric oxygen conditions, led him to pursue potential medical applications for nutritional ketosis, and has since defined his career trajectory. He also expressed the notion that healthy mitochondria are among the most effective tumor suppressors, and the ketogenic diet in conjunction with regular exercise and intermittent fasting can enhance mitochondrial function. In other words, “Nutritional ketosis or therapeutic ketosis targets all the hallmarks of cancer.”

Pursuing Health Podcast Features Dominic D’Agostino

An associate professor at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Dominic D’Agostino is an experienced neuroscientist and researcher who is particularly interested in metabolic-based therapies like calorie-restricted and ketogenic diets. His ketone research (some of which can be explored on his KetoNutrition blog) involves areas such as ketone ester, ketone supplementation, and ketone technologies that can help in building muscle mass. In September 2019, Dominic D’Agostino was featured on the Pursuing Health Podcast with Julie Foucher.

Appearing on episode 120 of the CrossFit-affiliated podcast, D’Agostino discussed his latest research on nutritional ketosis, as well as his experience speaking about the subject at the 2019 CrossFit Health Conference. He also speaks about his diverse background, which encompasses areas such as neuroscience, pharmacology, and nutrition, and how it has given him a unique perspective on the ketogenic diet and its application. While it is more commonly being used to promote good health, it also has the potential to be used in treating cancer, according to D’Agostino.

Other topics discussed during the 90-minute podcast include the necessity of actually measuring ketones, the physiological affects brought about by being in a state of ketosis, how keto can affect women and men differently, and populations for whom the diet may not be a good fit. To listen to the audio or watch a video of the podcast, visit http://juliefoucher.com/2019/09/ep-120-keto-dom-dagostino.

Dominic D’Agostino Featured on Fundamental Health Podcast


Dominic D'Agostino pic
Dominic D’Agostino
Image: ketonutrition.org

A strong proponent of ketone research, ketone supplementation, and the ketogenic diet as an effective metabolic therapy for weight loss, Dominic D’Agostino is a neuroscientist who works as an associate professor at the University of South Florida and conducts research at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. In addition, Dominic D’Agostino shares his insights on topics such as ketone esters on his KetoNutrition blog. He recently discussed the benefits of ketones and the ketogenic diet on the Fundamental Health podcast with Paul Saladino, MD.

On the podcast, Dr. D’Agostino details how he became interested in ketones and how they affect brain energy metabolism. During an Office of Naval Research-funded study on oxygen-toxicity seizures, he described that the ketogenic diet is an effective therapy for drug-resistant epilepsy, also known as refractory epilepsy.

This led him to revisit carbohydrate metabolism and how insulin facilitates glucose metabolism. Although he originally had been interested in the ketogenic diet’s application for seizures, by 2009, he had become interested in providing an alternative energy substrate in the form of exogenous ketone supplementation, including ketone ester and ketone salts.

Today, several effective, low-carb ketogenic diets are designed to expedite fat loss by putting the body into a state of ketosis, a metabolic process wherein the body burns fat as a substitute fuel source. There are a number of emerging applications for the ketogenic diet, including management of numerous neurological disorders, as an adjuvant to cancer therapy, and for glucose regulation for those with type 2 diabetes. More information on these applications and others can be found at ketonutrition.org

Real Ketones Product Line Driving Keto Diet’s Popularity

Dominic D'Agostinopic
Dominic D’Agostino
Image: ihmc.us

A Florida-based scientist who focuses on physiological performance and human resiliency in operational environments, Dr. Dominic D’Agostino is particularly interested in the ketogenic diet, operating the KetoNutrition blog. As part of his extensive keto research, Dr. Dominic D’Agostino has received grants to complete studies such as “Optimizing ketone metabolic therapy and identifying biomarkers for mitigation and prediction of CNS oxygen toxicity”, “Ketogenic Diet for Reduction of CNS Oxygen Toxicity Symptoms in Working Divers”, and “Testing Cancer Cachexia Therapy with Ketone Ester Supplementation.” He also works in product development with the co-founders of Real Ketones and with working on the development and testing of exogenous ketones through his company Ketone Technologies LLC, which partners with the University of South Florida.

WFLA-TV in Tampa Bay recently profiled Real Ketones and the role it has played in driving the keto diet craze, not only at the local level, but on a global scale. In recent years, the ultra-low-carb diet, which could help people to lose weight and preserve muscle mass, has been endorsed by celebrities such as Halle Berry, Kim Kardashian, LeBron James, and Tim Tebow.

The formula utilized by Real Ketones was developed six years ago by D’Agostino, following which the company began rolling out products designed to ease the body’s transition into a state of ketosis without abiding by the no-carb demands of the usual keto diet.

According to Real Ketones founders, the company’s signature product includes a combination of MCT and beta hydroxybutyrate, and is the only one of its kind on the health-and-wellness market. The technology in the formula aids the body in entering therapeutic ketosis, that not only improves a variety of metabolic biomarkers, but may help aid in body composition alterations and optimize physical and cognitive performance and resilience. Additional studies are being done to evaluate how this formula compares to ketone esters and several other ketogenic agents.

For more information or to purchase one of its products, visit realketones.com.

Testing the Ketogenic Effects of KetoManna Chocolate Treats

Serving as assistant professor at the University of South Florida (USF), Dominic D’Agostino, PhD, focuses on ketone research and strategies of ketone supplementation and ketone technologies. Experienced in building muscle mass through ketone ester, Dominic D’Agostino, PhD, reviewed the keto chocolate KetoManna on his blog at ketonutrition.org.

With low-carb ketogenic diets requiring careful planning, a number of companies have created packaged foods that make adhering to the diet simpler. The ketogenic chocolate treat KetoManna is completely plant-based and contains 10 grams of medium chain triglcyerides (MCTs). Although MCTs are abundant in coconut oil and butter fat, pure MCT oils are not found in nature. They allow relatively high intake levels of carbs and proteins, while keeping the body in ketosis.

Maintaining a low-carb, non-keto diet, Dr. D’Agostino tested the effects of eating a packet of KetoManna through measuring blood ketone and blood glucose levels semi-fasted (before) and 45 minutes after ingestion. The results showed the product was ketogenic and kept both levels well within optimal ranges. His colleague, following a modified ketogenic diet, also had successful results.

In terms of taste, KetoManna was described as having a delicious nut butter texture. It can be hardened and eaten like a chocolate bar when refrigerated.

A Brief History of the Ketone Diet

Ketogenic Diet pic
Ketogenic Diet
Image: thetruthaboutcancer.com

Nutrition expert Dominic D’Agostino serves as an associate professor at the University of South Florida, where his work centers on metabolic therapies, including ketogenic diets, restricted diets, and exogenous ketogenic agents. As a result of his ketone research, Dominic D’Agostino regularly shares insights into the ketone diet with the media, including Men’s Health magazine and the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

The ketone diet traces its roots to the 1920s, when Russel Wielder of the Mayo Clinic began to use the diet to treat epilepsy. Dietitians started recommending ketone supplementation in the 1970s, inspired by the ability of ketosis to efficiently burn fat.

In 1976, the Last Chance Diet used ketosis by instructing practitioners to drink a protein- and fat-rich mix until they’d lost the desired weight. The diet, devised by osteopath Robert Linn, stipulated a physician’s supervision, but it wound up causing heart complications that resulted in at least 60 deaths.

MIT-trained nutritional biochemist Stephen Phinney continued to work on the ketone diet, developing methods of delivering minerals that would protect against heart problems. Embracing ketone technologies, the Optifast diet emerged in the 1980s, and Oprah Winfrey’s support made it an immediate sensation.

Ketone research continued in the 1990s. Scientists and dietitians began to scale up ketone in 2013. The Gladstone Institute discovered that beta-hydroxybutyrate, a ketone body, activates anti-inflammatory genes and antioxidants, potentially slowing the aging process.

Today, the ketone diet’s potential to help people lose weight and reduce the signs of aging has turned ketone into an industry estimated at $5 billion. You can learn more about the emerging science and application of nutritional ketosis at Dr.Dom D’Agostino’s website KetoNutrition.org

Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet May Treat Breast Cancer, According to Studies

Ketogenic Diet pic
Ketogenic Diet
Image: thetruthaboutcancer.com

Dr. Dominic D’Agostino holds a PhD in neuroscience and physiology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Focusing on areas like ketone supplementation and ketone technologies, Dr. Dominic D’Agostino is currently an associate professor at the University of South Florida College of Medicine’s molecular pharmacology and physiology department. He is also a research scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC).

Dr. Angela Poff, a research associate from the same department at USF, recently commented on studies to cover the science supporting the ketogenic diet as an adjuvant treatment for breast cancer. Dr. Poff discussed that since tumor cells rely primarily on glucose and glutamine, a low-carbohydrate diet keto diet may indeed deprive the cancer of its preferred source of fuel, also emphasizing the suppression of insulin signaling. She also emphasized, however, that further ketone research is needed to fully understand the cancer-suppressing characteristics of this diet. The preclinical work is compelling, but human clinical trials are needed.

The ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet that places the body under the metabolic state of nutritional ketosis. Carbohydrate restriction shifts the body’s metabolic physiology from a carbohydrate and glucose dependent metabolism to a fat and ketone-based metabolism. This process also suppresses may of the signaling factors that are driving the growth and proliferation of cancer.

According to studies, particularly one by Professor Thomas Seyfried of Boston College, the ketogenic diet may be capable of revolutionizing the treatment of breast cancer, even contending that cancer can be investigated as a metabolic disease rather than a genetic one. Evidence supporting the theory of cancer as a metabolic disease has major implication on how we treat and prevent cancer. It is likely that metabolic-based approaches will also synergize with other mof=dalities and further augment the cancer-killing effects of radiation, chemotherapy and newly evolving immune-based therapies.

Keto Chocolate (KetoManna) Product Review

Following a ketogenic diet is not always easy, so it is pretty awesome that there are companies out there providing us with packaged foods that may make adhering to the diet a little less complicated, and likely more enjoyable.  The cool thing about the ketogenic diet is that you can easily see how something is affecting you by testing your blood glucose and blood ketone levels.  We love testing which foods and products keep us in ketosis so we can recommend the ones we ACTUALLY trust.

This time around, we tested out something extra delicious – KetoManna.  A ketogenic chocolate treat, with minimal ingredients, 10g of MCTs per serving, and is 100% plant-based! When warm, the texture is comparable to a nut butter, but can harden very quickly in the fridge/freezer and be eaten like a chocolate bar.     

This is an honest review we really do like KetoManna and any sales through our affiliate link go towards supporting our research   

Dr. Dom D’Agostino and myself tested our blood glucose and blood ketones, to give different perspectives, after consuming 1 packet (34g) of KetoManna.


Context: Week of eating low carb (<75g carbohydrates/day), but not keto

Before (semi-fasted): 

Glucose: 3.5 mmol/L

Ketones: 1.0 mmol/L

Glucose Ketone Index: 3.5

45 minutes later: 

Glucose: 3.8 mmol/L

Ketones: 1.2 mmol/L

Glucose Ketone Index: 3.2

1.5 hour later: 

Glucose: 3.5 mmol/L

Ketones: 1.4 mmol/L

Glucose Ketone Index: 2.5

3 hours later: 

Glucose: 3.2 mmol/L

Ketones: 1.2 mmol/L

Glucose Ketone Index: 2.6



Context: Following modified ketogenic diet (<40g carbohydrates/day)

Before (fasted): 

Glucose: 4.6 mmol/L

Ketones: 1.2 mmol/L

Glucose Ketone Index: 3.8

45 minutes later: 

Glucose: 5.0 mmol/L

Ketones: 1.8 mmol/L

Glucose Ketone Index: 2.7

2 hours later: 

Glucose: 4.5 mmol/L

Ketones: 1.2 mmol/L

Glucose Ketone Index: 3.7

Turns out KetoManna is well suited for a ketogenic diet.

DSC04259 2.jpg

Besides being ketogenic, KetoManna tastes good… like really good.  It comes in individual packets (great for travelling), and depending on how creative you are, it can be used in a variety of ways. Rip the corner off and enjoy straight from the package, blend it into warm milk/nut milk for a keto hot chocolate, or let it harden in the fridge to be eaten like a chocolate bar (my personal favorite –>)

Use this link to support our research and enjoy a keto chocolate treat!

How Vegans Can Follow a Ketogenic Diet


Ketogenic Diet pic
Ketogenic Diet
Image: theketogenicdiet.org

Associate professor at the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine, Dominic D’Agostino focuses his work on metabolic-based therapies, including ketogenic diets, and their potential for treating seizure disorders, muscle-wasting diseases, and other health problems. His lab oversees research on ketone technologies and ketone supplementation using ketone esters. Dominic D’Agostino’s work in the area of ketone research has also focused on following a vegan ketogenic diet.

The goal of someone on a ketogenic diet is to enter a state called ketosis, which occurs when the metabolism switches from burning glucose to burning ketones for fuel. In order to produce ketone bodies, a person must carefully manage their macronutrients so they are consuming much more fat than carbohydrates or protein. Although this can be a difficult task when following a plant-based diet, it certainly isn’t impossible.

A vegan or vegetarian interested in following a ketogenic diet must understand they will have to remove or severely limit their intake of fruit, grains, legumes, and some vegetables. They should replace these items with healthy plant-based fats, low-carb nuts and seeds, and low-carb vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms, and cabbage.

It’s important for anyone wishing to reach and maintain ketosis to monitor what they’re eating to ensure 65 to 85 percent of their daily caloric intake comes from fat, 15 to 35 percent from protein, and 5 to 15 percent from carbohydrates. The exact nutrient ratio needed to adapt to ketone burning varies. Those who become “keto-adapted” report numerous benefits, including weight loss, increased energy and endurance, improved cognitive function, and reduced hunger.