But given the sheer number of headlines, many of them seem to have one glaring omission: beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), the potential miracle molecule at the center of it all. In two high-profile studies this month, the Keto BHB diet has been linked to several properties besides simply losing a few pounds.
What is Keto BHB?
BHB is one of three ketones that the body produces during fasting or on a low-carb, high-fat diet. In both cases, the body naturally changes its primary energy source from glucose (provided by carbohydrates) to stored fat. The fat is broken down to form BHB. It provides an alternative source of energy for every part of the body, including the brain.
Of the three ketone bodies produced during the best keto pills (BHB, acetone, and acetoacetate), BHB is present in the blood at significantly higher levels. In his research, Verdin found that BHB is more than just a source of energy for the body. “The classic view of beta-hydroxybutyrate was that it is an alternative nutrient that appears during fasting … It is also a signaling molecule. It launches all sorts of things in defense cells, ”he said.
“This led to a whole new dimension of the problem and made people think that perhaps BHB is more than just a nutrient.” But Verdin came to this conclusion only in 2013. This is why there is a huge amount of literature on the purported benefits of the ketogenic diet, but much less on the role that BHB plays in them. In fact, Verdin simply assumed that keto bhb pills would play a role in increasing life expectancy in 2013. This year, his research using a ketogenic diet in mice finally confirmed this idea.
Mice fed the ketogenic diet had a longer lifespan and improved cognitive and motor function. This has led to speculation that the ketogenic diet may even become a vehicle for research into Alzheimer’s disease and overall brain health. According to the researchers, the results “clearly demonstrate that the lifespan of mice consuming a ketogenic diet is increased” compared to the control group.
They believe this increase is due to the high concentration of BHB in the bloodstream caused by the ketogenic diet. “BHB has a lot to do with aging,” the researchers write. Dr. Eric Verdin, president and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, helped write this study.
“BHB has the potential to induce a protective state in cells and make them more resistant to oxidative stress, and this is right after we said: let’s try to increase bhb keto levels, so we can see if it has a lifespan.
Difficult Diet Keto BHB to Maintain
However, the claimed benefits of a ketogenic diet for humans rather than mice remain problematic. While anecdotal evidence supports many of these claims, there is still much research to be done.
The impracticality of the diet also makes longer studies difficult. Nutritionists don’t like diets. They often resist this, mainly because it is too difficult for many to do. Difficult diets can lead to a yo-yo diet, as well as multiple stoppages and resumption of the diet. This cycle of rapid weight loss and gain can be harmful to the body.
Psychological elements are also built into the diet and the subsequent feeling of failure if this is not possible. This is what makes the prospect of taking a BHB pill or supplement so intriguing.
“It’s unlikely that everyone will be on a ketogenic diet. We did it, and it is difficult to sustain, like a diet, for a long period of time, ”said Verdin. “We’re interested in BHB [if] we can replicate all the benefits we see from a ketogenic diet simply by injecting keto supplements into food or as a medicine, whatever you call it.”
Another expert contacted by Healthline says the benefits of a ketogenic diet could be more complex than just raising BHB levels. “Lowering glucose is also a hallmark of the ketogenic diet … The key could be an increase in exogenous ketones, it could be a decrease in glucose, it could be both – or it could be a critical relationship between two changes,” Susan said. A. Masino … Ph.D., professor of applied sciences at Trinity College, Connecticut.
What’s Next in Keto BHB
Verdin warns that this is still in the realm of speculation and far from proven in humans. After researching mice, Verdin and his team should now be able to show that they can replicate the same beneficial effects on cognition, memory and longevity by using supplements rather than diet.
“To date, there is no evidence that the ketogenic diet increases a person’s lifespan or health. We need to do experiments, ”said Verdin. Verdin’s team needs to accurately determine the threshold – the amount of BHB in the bloodstream – before these effects occur.