Effects of an Exogenous Ketone Supplement on Five-Kilometer Running Performance

J Hum Kinet. 2020 Mar 31;72:115-127. doi: 10.2478/hukin-2019-0114. eCollection 2020 Mar.


Numerous oral ketone supplements are marketed with the claim that they will rapidly induce ketosis and improve exercise performance. The purpose of this study was to assess exercise performance time and related physiological, metabolic and perceptual responses of recreational endurance runners after ingestion of a commercially available oral ketone supplement. Recreational endurance runners (n = 10; age: 20.8 ± 1.0 years; body mass: 68.9 ± 5.6 kg; height: 175.6 ± 4.9 cm) participated in a double-blind, crossover, repeated-measures study where they were randomized to 300 mg.kg-1 body weight of an oral β-hydroxybutyrate-salt + Medium Chain Triglyceride (βHB-salt+MCT) ketone supplement or a flavor matched placebo (PLA) 60 min prior to performing a 5-km running time trial (5KTT) on a treadmill. Time, HR, RPE, affect, RER, VO2, VCO2, and VE were measured during the 5-km run. The Session RPE and affect (Feeling Scale) were obtained post-5KTT. Plasma glucose, lactate and ketones were measured at baseline, 60-min post-supplement, and immediately post-5KTT. Plasma R-βHB (endogenous isomer) was elevated from baseline and throughout the entire protocol under the βHB-salt+MCT condition (p < 0.05). No significant difference (58.3 ± 100.40 s; 95% CI: -130.12 - 13.52; p = 0.100) was observed between the βHB-salt+MCT supplement (1430.0 ± 187.7 s) and the PLA (1488.3 ± 243.8 s) in time to complete the 5KTT. No other differences (p > 0.05) were noted in any of the other physiological, metabolic or perceptual measures.

Keywords: beta-hydroxybutyrate; dietary supplements; ergogenic aid; ketosis.