I have recently been experimenting with beta-hydroxybutyric acid supplements (commonly known as ketone salts) and I wanted to share the results. I know that a lot of people have experimented with low-carb diets (although I’m not sure how many experimented with a proper ketogenic diet which is low carb, moderate protein and very high fat) and while a few have had some improvements, the majority don’t seem to gain anything from it, with some people even getting worse. I, myself, have experimented with a low carb (but not strictly ketogenic) diet years ago to no avail. The reason why I got interested in ketone salts is that with the glycolysis cycle, the final step before the entrance in the mitochondria is pyruvate, but we can’t supplement pyruvate directly. On the other hand, with the ketogenesis cycle the final step is a ketone body, like beta-hydroxybutyric acid, which we can ingest as an oral supplement. This is obviously an oversimplification, but it’s just to give an idea of the reason for my interest in this. Knowing that there are probably roadblocks somewhere in our energy creation cycles, I was curious to see what would happen if instead of relying on my body to produce ketones (which I have a feeling is something it doesn’t do very well), I could provide it with the final product ready to go. Also worth mentioning is that ketone bodies can cross the blood brain barrier and can be utilized directly by the brain. So, I bought some ketone salts. I chose the Nutricost brand because it’s just pure beta-hydroxybutyrate salts (Ca, Mg, K, Na salts). Another possible option is Perfect Keto, which is flavored. I would avoid all the other stuff, especially generic “raspberry ketones”. Now, I will warn you, these ketone salts are NASTY! It’s kind of like consuming solvents, so if you are taste-sensitive, maybe the Perfect Keto version is a better option for you. I, on the other hand, would rather suffer the horrible taste but not ingest any unnecessary “natural flavors”. So here are the results: The first day, on empty stomach, I took 16g of Ketone salts. Within 30 min I started feeling a noticeable stimulation and energy, which lasted 2-3 hours and slowly faded. But, I also got a pretty strong attack of diarrhea. These ketones can be quite upsetting to the GI tract so that’s something to keep in mind if you are prone to GI upset. The next day, I tried taking 8g, still on empty stomach, and noticed that the increase in energy was much milder, bordering on placebo, but I got no diarrhea. Most importantly, when I tried doing some light activity I noticed I was not getting as tired as usual. Next, I tried taking the Ketones on full stomach, and noticed that there was no effect. Next, I tried multiple dosing, with an initial 8g dose on empty stomach in the morning, and subsequent 5g and 4g boosters around noon and 4pm. I skipped breakfast and had a lunch that was mostly fat with some protein, and zero carbs. This experiment was the most successful, as I then proceeded to intentionally overdo with an amount of activity that would 100% result in PEM and didn’t experience PEM or a crash! Next, I experimented with eating a Keto diet for 4 days while taking the Ketone salts in the morning. I wanted to see if maybe the Ketones would jumpstart something, but they didn’t. My energy levels were improved after taking the Ketone salts and would decrease after a few hours, which told me that the diet was not doing anything. Urine ketone testing was inconclusive as to whether my body started producing ketones or not and if yes, how much. The bottom line was that the effect that I was getting was solely from the Ketone salts. Lastly, I experimented with taking a dose of Ketone salts in the afternoon after getting a mild-medium exhaustion crash. One of the symptoms I consistently experience (along with nausea, headaches, etc) is a feeling of my arms being dead weights. After 30-40 min from the ingestion of Ketone salts I started feeling better and the “dead weight” feeling in my arms almost entirely disappeared. When I say “feeling better” I don’t mean feeling like I could do more stuff, just feeling more like normal tired instead of crashing tired. So, what did I learn? It seems like Ketone salts can be useful in gaining some extra energy in high doses, but that is at the expense of pretty bad diarrhea. The most useful application, on the other hand, seems to be as something to take on days when I know I have stuff to do that has a very good chance of making me crash if I’m not careful. In this situation, coupled with skipping breakfast and a medium-protein/high-fat/no-carb lunch, and with boosters as needed, it seems to be useful in warding off PEM and crashes. Besides the diarrhea from the initial high dosage, side effects have been fairly minimal: some excessive urination (so hydration and proper electrolyte intake is important) and headache was all I experienced. However, between this and the issue with meals, it’s not something that I would do every day. My wife, @Basilico offered herself as test subject number 2. Unfortunately, she did not experience any improvement in energy, and taking Ketone salts during a mild crash did nothing to ameliorate the symptoms. She is definitely a non-responder. I have a hunch, based on the results of the Naviaux study and the differences between male and female CFS patients, that this is not a coincidence, and I have a feeling that these Ketone salts supplements might be more useful for male CFSers rather female. If you decide to experiment yourself, please post the results!