|December 7, 2023

What is BHB and Should You Be Taking It on Keto?

By Bulletproof Staff
Reviewed by Emily Gonzalez, ND for Scientific Accuracy

What is BHB and Should You Be Taking It on Keto?

  • Beta-hydroxybutyrate, or BHB, is one of the three types of ketone bodies that your body produces naturally.
  • Exogenous ketones are available to supplement your fat-fueled lifestyle, but ketone salts and ketone esters do have drawbacks.
  • Bulletproof Brain Octane C8 MCT Oil is a terrific BHB supplement that can help control cravings and improve cognitive performance without changing the flavor of your drink or dish.

If you’ve been researching the keto diet or if you’ve been restricting your carbohydrates for a while, chances are you’ve come across beta-hydroxybutyrate, or BHB supplements. These powders, pills and drinks promise to make keto easier and boost your results if you’re already in ketosis.

But did you know that your body actually produces BHB on its own? Still, exogenous ketones can be a useful way to get you into ketosis faster. Or, you can even use a BHB supplement as part of your daily keto meal plan.

After all, Bulletproof Brain Octane C8 MCT Oil delivers the brain-boosting, fat-burning benefits of ketones, and can be utilized in a number of different ways, from cooking delicious, low-carb meals in the kitchen to doing keto on the go.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the world of ketones and BHB supplements, including why MCT oil makes for a great source of exogenous ketones.

What is BHB and how does it relate to ketones?

Your body can use two main fuel sources: glucose and ketones. Glucose is what you get when you break down sugar and carbs. When you have more glucose than you can use, your body stores the excess in your liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. When those tanks are full, however, glucose gets stored as fat.

Ketones come into play when glucose and glycogen aren’t available, which is the purpose of using fat as your primary energy source. When you’re low on glucose, your body produces three types of ketone bodies: acetoacetate (AcAc), acetone and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB).

In fact, out of the three types of ketone bodies found in your blood, BHB is by far the most abundant. [1]

Overall, BHB is the primary energy-producing ketone body. AcAc and acetone are produced in much smaller amounts.

Measuring BHB ketone levels is one way to check to see if your ketogenic diet is effective. In addition, BHB levels are also used to monitor hypoglycemia and diagnose insulinoma (pancreatic tumors).

Overall, you feel all the amazing benefits of nutritional ketosis when your body is making—and using—BHB efficiently.

Is it a good idea to raise your BHB ketones?

While glucose can be an effective fuel source, it does have its drawbacks. In some cases, relying on ketones for energy can be a more pleasant overall experience. After all, when you burn glucose, you feel energetic and alert right after you eat. But, it doesn’t take long for the dreaded “blood sugar crash” to hit before your belly starts grumbling again for more carbohydrates. Not exactly the best feeling!

On the other hand, when you’re burning more ketones, your energy is much steadier, and you don’t get the hunger, cravings and distraction like you get when you burn just glucose.

When your BHB ketone levels rise, hunger runs in the background, instead of in the limelight. Because you’re able to go hours without thinking about food, you can focus on your work, your kids and anything that matters to you—instead of looking for ways to satisfy your cravings.

The appetite-controlling effect of ketones can also help with weight management. Ultimately, caloric restriction can occur naturally, rather than through a concerted effort to only eat less.

Additional reasons you may want to raise your BHB ketone levels

As your body gets deeper into ketosis, you can experience increased cognition and mental acuity. So if you’re like me, and you have a lot of creative work to get done, being in a state of ketosis puts your brain in an advantageous position.

Moreover, there can be a situation where you can have too many ketones in your blood, otherwise known as ketoacidosis. The most common form is diabetic ketoacidosis, which results from the body’s inability to produce adequate insulin.

Ultimately, though, it’s a good thing to have ketones in your bloodstream at therapeutic levels, as long as the levels stay below those that cause ketoacidosis. (Keep in mind that ketoacidosis is a state typically experienced by those with uncontrolled diabetes, so be sure to work with your health care provider if you are in a situation where your ketone levels need extra support and medical oversight.)

And, while your body does produce BHB on its own, there’s also another way to change your blood ketone levels.

Related: MCT and Keto: How to Boost Ketones With Quality Fat

What are exogenous ketones?

women doing push-ups at the gym

For keto dieters, the goal of making fat their primary fuel source is to produce endogenous ketones (inside the body). However, you can also use exogenous ketones (outside the body) to support your fat-fueled lifestyle.

Ultimately, that means ketones found in supplements fall into this category.

So, while your body does make BHB on its own, you can take BHB supplements to help you reach a state of ketosis quicker, or as an overall part of your ketogenic lifestyle.

There are three main types of ketone supplements on the market. However, they do feature some downsides:

  • Ketone esters are a BHB molecule bound to an alcohol molecule (1,3 butanediol, not ethanol, so don’t worry about getting tipsy!). Ketone esters do raise your ketones, but they’re fairly new to the market, and we’re still learning what they do—both good and bad. Plus, they’re expensive and are not enjoyable in the flavor department.
  • Ketone salts are bound to a mineral, which makes them taste a little better than ketone esters. Ketone salts are also new to the supplements market, and the full range of side effects hasn’t been established yet. Still, some people report digestive trouble, which isn’t a fun payoff for ketone supplementation.
  • Raspberry ketones do zippo for your ketone levels. If you see a modest rise in ketones, it’s because the manufacturer included a little fat in the formula.

Side effects aside, consuming exogenous ketones may come in handy if you’re experiencing symptoms of the keto flu. Once your body starts transitioning from burning glucose to burning fat, you may start to feel a bit icky, but exogenous ketones can help reduce the time it takes for your body to reach nutritional ketosis.

A 2016 study [2] also revealed that you can induce nutritional ketosis without a low-carb diet through exogenous ketone supplementation. And, beyond raising BHB levels, supplementing with ketones also resulted in a reduction of glucose.

But when it comes to supplementing with exogenous ketones, what’s the best source?

Brain Octane C8 MCT Oil—the best way to raise your BHB ketones

A hand pouring Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil Softgels from the bottle

BHB supplements, like ketone esters and ketone salts, have some associated drawbacks that may not make them the best choice.

Newsflash… There’s an efficient way to raise your BHB levels using a supplement that fits in perfectly with the ketogenic diet: Brain Octane C8 MCT Oil.

Brain Octane C8 MCT Oil is a medium-chain fat that skips a few metabolic steps and converts directly into ketones that your body can use almost immediately. It’s made of triple-distilled caprylic acid, which is a fat that allows ketones to rise faster than low-carb dieting or fasting alone. Studies show that caprylic acid raises ketones more efficiently than any other type of MCT. Additionally, caprylic acid gives you four times more ketones than coconut oil. [3][4][5]Lucky for you, Brain Octane C8 MCT Oil just so happens to be 100% caprylic acid. Score!

How Brain Octane C8 MCT Oil Works

Your body recognizes Brain Octane C8 MCT Oil as a fat, and knows what to do with it—unlike the chemical compounds containing BHB that have hit the market in the last few years.

And, unlike other sources of exogenous ketones, Brain Octane C8 MCT Oil is flavorless, which makes it easy to incorporate into low-carb recipes, smoothies, and of course, a cup of Bulletproof Coffee. No time to make your morning fat-fueled cup of joe? No problem. Just pop two Brain Octane Oil Softgels as you head out the door to start the day. (Or, if you have plans to brew a cup of Bulletproof Coffee at work, grab a Brain Octane C8 MCT Oil travel bottle or a box of to-go packs!)

So, if you want to experience the health benefits of nutritional ketosis, you’ll definitely want to make this form of BHB supplementation a part of your routine.

The bottom line: BHB is the most abundant ketone body in your blood, so it is mightily important in achieving the health benefits of ketosis. While BHB salts and esters do exist, MCT oil can provide brain-boosting, fat-burning effects and can be utilized in a variety of ways.

Wondering how to incorporate more Braine Octane C8 MCT Oil into your daily diet? Check out these 11 ways to integrate beneficial MCTs into your routine, so you can boost those ketones, stat!

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This article has been updated with new content.