Betahydroxybutyrate - What is BHB and Why Is It Good For You?

What Is Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB)?

BHB — also known as beta-hydroxybutyrate — is one of the three ketone bodies (energy molecules) your body produces when it’s running on fat instead of carbs.

Of the three main ketones your body produces from fatty acids, BHB is the most abundant, making up to 78% of total ketones in the blood[*].

Acetoacetate (AcAc) comprises about 20% of ketones in the blood. Acetone is the least abundant, making about 2% of blood ketones and isn’t used for energy.

Both BHB and acetone are derived from acetoacetate (AcAc). However, BHB is the main ketone used for energy since it’s extremely stable and abundant. Acetone is lost through respiration as well as through sweat.

Ketosis is the metabolic state of using ketones for energy instead of glucose.

If you’re wondering why you may want to change fuels, the answer is simple: ketones are the preferred energy source for your brain and many of your body’s processes.

Clean, More Efficient Fuel

While many people may begin taking beta-hydroxybutyrate to support healthy fat loss, you could argue that weight loss wouldn’t even be the greatest benefit. If you want more mental clarity, fewer cravings, and way more energy throughout your day, this ketone is the way to go.

BHB is a far more efficient energy source than glucose — especially for your brain. Not only does it provide as much or even more energy, but it does so while fighting oxidative stress, promoting healthy inflammation response, and supporting organ health[*].

You can optimize your production of this ketone by following a low-carb, ketogenic diet, fasting, avoiding hidden carbs, and taking exogenous ketones and MCTs (medium chain triglycerides).

Exogenous ketone supplements in the form of BHB salts boost your blood levels of this ketone in one to two hours, so you don’t have to wait 12+ hours for your body to completely switch between fuels.

If you’ve been relying on carbs for energy, but don’t feel your best, BHB can be just what your brain and metabolism are crying out for.

What Are BHB Salts or Exogenous BHB?

There are two ways to get exogenous ketones in the market: BHB salts and ketone esters.

Ketone esters are the raw form of BHB with nothing else added. However, this supplement is expensive, tastes terrible, and can cause some gastrointestinal distress.

This is where BHB salts show a clear advantage.

These salts are a supplement created to help you enter and sustain ketosis. They’re a mix of exogenous BHB and mineral salts such as potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium, and may contain amino acids like lysine and creatine.

The mineral salts added to exogenous BHB help to:

  • Buffer the intensity of the free fatty acids
  • Improve taste
  • Protect against GI symptoms
  • Make it mixable with food and drinks

What Happens When You Take BHB Salts

When you take beta-hydroxybutyrate salts, they’re broken down during digestion and release free BHB into your bloodstream. It then travels toward your organs, where it starts ketolysis (ketone metabolism) to create energy.

Basically, with exogenous ketones, you can enjoy the perks of BHB very quickly without having to wait for your body to get into ketosis.

If you’re worried about the extra sodium load, be aware that running on ketones increases the amount of electrolytes (like sodium) that you lose through your urine.

This is why people on a keto diet may benefit from consuming more mineral salts and electrolytes in general.

Since it’s recommended that people on a high-fat, low-carb diet add more electrolytes to their food — sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium — these salts can help with that supplementation.

6 Benefits of Taking Exogenous BHB Salts

If you’re on the fence about taking these salts as a fuel source, there are some notable highlights that may help you decide to make the jump.

#1: Aids in Keto Adaptation

BHB salts can raise your beta-hydroxybutyrate levels within two hours, which is at least 85% faster than the usual 12+ hours it takes your body to enter ketogenesis and start raising ketone levels on its own. This peak can last up to two hours. Even though you might not be in full nutritional ketosis, you can still get a lot of the benefits of being keto, like increased energy levels.

This accelerated ketone production can also save you from dreaded keto flu symptoms.

#2: Decreases “Keto Flu” Symptoms

When you switch to a ketogenic diet for the first time, you may experience side effects similar to the flu, including brain fog, irritability, nausea, cravings, stomachaches, and sore muscles.

This happens because it takes time for your body to adjust from burning glucose to burning fatty acids as fuel. The length and severity of the symptoms vary from person to person, but usually lasts a week or so if you’re just starting out.

Since BHB salts can cross the blood-brain barrier, you can reduce — or even eliminate — many of the side effects of this adaptation.

#3: Normalizes Blood Glucose Levels

BHB salts can lower blood glucose within the first 30 minutes of taking them and maintain that drop for hours[*][*].

People with lower blood glucose levels tend to be more insulin sensitive, which can reduce insulin resistance and the incidence of some medical conditions that stem from it (obesity, type I diabetes, metabolic syndrome).

#4: May Support Weight Loss

BHB supplementation may support healthy weight loss in a couple of ways. First, some research shows that ketones can activate brown adipose tissue, or BAT, which is responsible for burning calories.

High blood ketones can also suppress appetite, which means no more pizza cravings. And the more you suppress appetite, the more likely it is that you’ll start to drop pounds.

#5: Reduces Inflammation

Systemic inflammation is known for contributing a number of chronic diseases, from heart disease to autoimmune diseases to type 2 diabetes[*][*].

But ketones help to block specific inflammatory pathways, which can help lower overall inflammation[*]. Another theory claims that ketones help shuttle glucose down a totally different metabolic pathway that helps your body produce more glutathione — one of your body’s most powerful antioxidants[*].

#6: Protects Your Muscles

Research shows that the ketogenic diet is “muscle sparing,” meaning that you can lose a lot of weight on keto without losing muscle mass, despite eating fewer calories in most cases[*].

You can thank ketones for this effect. When ketones are available as fuel, your body doesn’t need to worry about breaking down muscle proteins for additional energy.

Ketosis also activates muscle protein synthesis — the process of making more muscle proteins to fight any breakdown of muscle proteins during, say, exercise. While this has only been shown in animal models so far, it deserves more research.

Increased Effectiveness With MCT Oil 

Studies find that supplementing with a mix of BHB salts and MCTs helps to increase this ketone production even more. You can get MCT in its oil form or a convenient powdered form.

Taking BHB salts with MCTs raises blood BHB higher than salts or MCTs alone.

Take a look:

Chart illustrating levels of betahydroxybutyrate (BHB)

Source

This graph, taken from a patent by keto experts and researchers Dominic Paul D’Agostino, Patrick Arnold, and Shannon Kesl, shows that supplementing with a mix of BHB salts and MCTs drove blood BHB to a maximum of 1.33 mmol/L in just one hour.

If you want to run on beta-hydroxybutyrate, you can get there effortlessly by adding some MCTs to your exogenous ketones — how easy is that?

A great way to combine the two is in your morning coffee or in fat bombs like Perfect Keto Mocha Fat Bombs.

What to Look For 

A high-quality supplement maximizes the exogenous BHB and adds only the amount of mineral salts that is absolutely necessary.

The most popular mineral salts used in the market are: sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Most supplements use three of them, although some still use only two.

Check the label and make sure the quantity of each mineral salt is below 1 gram. A BHB salt blend rarely needs more than 1g per mineral to be effective.

For example, the three minerals salts used in Perfect Keto Exogenous Ketones provide less than one gram each (0.68g sodium, 0.59g calcium, and 0.32g magnesium).

If a product contains salts above 1 gram, it usually means the blend is unbalanced.

Next, look for a proportionate balance of mineral salts. You don’t want one mineral doing all the heavy lifting.

Avoid fillers and additives. Fillers and texture enhancers like guar gum, xanthan gum, and silica (also named silicon dioxide) are common in commercial exogenous ketone salts, and are also completely unnecessary.

To get the purest BHB salts, simply look for the part of the nutritional label that says “other ingredients” and get the product with the shortest list.

For instance, Perfect Keto Exogenous Ketones in the coffee flavor has only three extra ingredients: stevia, citric acid, and ground coffee powder.

Flavored salts are a delicious way to boost ketones, but manufacturers can cut corners by adding high-carb sweeteners and artificial flavors.

Look for a blend flavored with real ingredients (avoid artificial flavors) and sweetened with natural zero-carb sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit.

Perfecto Keto Exogenous Ketones come in five flavors: Chocolate, Peach, Coffee, Salted Caramel, and Vanilla — and none of them have artificial flavors or high-carb sweeteners.

There’s no doubt that keto BHB allows you to tweak your metabolism in a way that just wasn’t possible a few years ago. It can give you a boost of energy and mental clarity and elevates your blood ketones so you won’t feel those keto flu symptoms during fat-adaption. And now exogenous ketones even taste good.

Grab this power for yourself today. Pick a flavor or start with the Keto Essentials Bundle for more energy and support for your healthy keto lifestyle.