What’s the Deal with Butanediol and Will It Put You In Ketosis?
By: Dave Asprey
July 30, 2019
- People have been using keto supplements containing 1,3 butanediol, a chemical that’s used to make solvents, as a way to raise ketones.
- The idea is that it breaks down into BHB, which is the ketone body you make when you’re in deep ketosis.
- It does raise your blood ketones, but there are downsides to it.
- Read on to find out why I don’t use butanediol or other ketone esters, and what I do to boost ketones instead.
People have been using keto supplements containing 1,3 butanediol, a chemical that’s used to make solvents, as a way to raise ketones. The idea is that it breaks down into BHB, which is the ketone body you make when you’re in deep ketosis. But does butanediol work?
I’ve experimented with exogenous ketones, and I actually looked into developing my own ketone supplement. As I understood more about exogenous ketones, I decided against it. In this article, I explain why I’m not a fan of butanediol and what I use instead to boost ketosis.
Quick note: the butanediol that’s in keto supplements isn’t the same thing as 1,4 butanediol, which is used as a street drug and converts to gamma hydroxybutyrate. That stuff is dangerous.
Four reasons why I do not use butanediol as a keto supplement
1. It tastes terrible
And I mean, really terrible.
I’ve never tasted jet fuel, but my guess is it’s comparable to that. Or a strong antiseptic. Or paint thinner.
It’s hard to get it down. When I tried ketone esters in the past, my body’s instincts kicked in and my gag reflex went into overdrive. My body really didn’t want me to swallow it. Humans aren’t meant to drink things that taste like solvents.
There are better ways to raise your ketones. For example, Bulletproof Coffee is delicious, creamy, and craveable. You’ll look forward to your ketone hit every morning — not dread it.
2. I didn’t notice a difference in my performance
What I saw on my keto meter didn’t match what I felt. After I took butanediol, my blood ketones went up, but I didn’t get the energy and brain power that I get by getting into ketosis other ways.
Something was missing. Until the scientists figure out what that is, I’m going to trust what I feel. Actually, I’m going to trust what I feel even when scientists disagree. You know your own body better than anyone does.
3. Butanediol is new to the keto supplements game
Butanediol isn’t widely studied and hasn’t been around for very long. It’s too early to tell what the effects are, good and bad. Since it’s not regulated, the only way to tell whether there are adverse effects from using butanediol is to wait for people to report adverse events when they have them.
There are plenty of times when I’m more than willing to be the guinea pig. This isn’t one of those times. When you have a hard time getting something down, there’s a reason. Listen to your body.
Instead, I’ll opt for Brain Octane Oil. A UCSD study showed that caprylic acid, the medium chain fat that makes up Brain Octane Oil, raises ketones more efficiently than diet alone. You’ve been eating medium chain triglycerides since you were born (it’s in breastmilk), and your body knows what to do with them.
4. Butanediol is crazy expensive
I’m talking $20-40 a week, if you’re using it every day.
That’s insane, especially since ketosis is free and ketosis with a boost is super cheap, less than $1 a day. There are more useful ways to spend your money.
Truth is, it’s not that difficult to get into ketosis, and after you get over the hump of keto flu, it’s easy to slip in and out of ketosis as needed. Here’s a guide to get started with a ketogenic diet.
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