With a PhD in neuroscience and physiology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Rutgers University, Dominic D’Agostino is now an associate professor at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. Dominic D’Agostino’s research is focused on areas such as nutritional ketosis, ketone supplementation and a wide range of metabolic-based therapies.
The ketogenic diet has become popular for its ability to help people lose weight and maintain muscle through supporting the body’s ability to remain in a state of nutritional ketosis. In ketosis, the body’s metabolic system gains its energy primarily from fatty acids, which the liver converts fast into molecules called ketones. Ketones also serve as powerful signaling molecules to boost antioxidant gene expression and reduce systemic inflammation.
Taking ketone supplements, often referred to as “exogenous ketones”, can play an important role in pursuing a optimizing your metabolic health. These supplements function in one of two ways: they augment energy levels for those already in ketosis, or they help push the body into nutritional ketosis. Ideally the ketone supplement (ketone salt) should be mixed with ketogenic fats, like medium chain triglycerides (MCT oil), which also stimulates endogenous ketogenesis.
Eating a ketogenic diet and taking supplements may not be enough to reach your goals, however. If you continue to gain weight, you may need to further decrease your carbohydrate intake to start ketosis, or you may need to decrease your overall calories (most important) to ensure you take in less than your body requires to maintain your current weight so that you can burn stored fat. Interestingly, things like nutritional ketosis, ketone supplementation and intermittent fasting make it easier for people to create a calorie deficit through appetite suppression effects.