Beneficial Effects of Exogenous Ketogenic Supplements on Aging Processes and Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases

Nutrients. 2021 Jun 26;13(7):2197. doi: 10.3390/nu13072197.


Life expectancy of humans has increased continuously up to the present days, but their health status (healthspan) was not enhanced by similar extent. To decrease enormous medical, economical and psychological burden that arise from this discrepancy, improvement of healthspan is needed that leads to delaying both aging processes and development of age-related diseases, thereby extending lifespan. Thus, development of new therapeutic tools to alleviate aging processes and related diseases and to increase life expectancy is a topic of increasing interest. It is widely accepted that ketosis (increased blood ketone body levels, e.g., β-hydroxybutyrate) can generate neuroprotective effects. Ketosis-evoked neuroprotective effects may lead to improvement in health status and delay both aging and the development of related diseases through improving mitochondrial function, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, histone and non-histone acetylation, β-hydroxybutyrylation of histones, modulation of neurotransmitter systems and RNA functions. Administration of exogenous ketogenic supplements was proven to be an effective method to induce and maintain a healthy state of nutritional ketosis. Consequently, exogenous ketogenic supplements, such as ketone salts and ketone esters, may mitigate aging processes, delay the onset of age-associated diseases and extend lifespan through ketosis. The aim of this review is to summarize the main hallmarks of aging processes and certain signaling pathways in association with (putative) beneficial influences of exogenous ketogenic supplements-evoked ketosis on lifespan, aging processes, the most common age-related neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), as well as impaired learning and memory functions.

Keywords: aging; ketogenic supplement; ketosis; learning; lifespan; memory; neurodegenerative disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid / blood
  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Alzheimer Disease
  • Diet, Ketogenic*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Epigenomics
  • Esters
  • Histones
  • Humans
  • Ketone Bodies / metabolism*
  • Ketones / blood
  • Ketosis / blood
  • Learning / drug effects
  • Longevity
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Diseases
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease
  • Proteostasis
  • Stem Cells


  • Esters
  • Histones
  • Ketone Bodies
  • Ketones
  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid