Could This Ketosis-Based Elixir Hold The Key To Weight Loss, World Record Performances, Brain Healing and More?

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

As I wrote about last month in my article on “Four New, Cutting-Edge Ways To Easily Shift Your Body Into Fat-Burning Mode & Ketosis” a special kind of compound called “ketone esters” seem to be taking the sports and biohacking world by storm.

Scientific American published the article “Ketone-Based Sports Drink Promises Edge for Athletes”, claiming an extra 2% of energy from the use of ketones, which is the equivalent of 60 yards in a 30 minute row, along with a world record broken in a lab test of ketones.

Cycling Weekly wrote “Ketones: New energy drink could be next big thing in cycling.”…
Tech and Innovation Daily featured the article “The Difference Between Sports Champs and Sports Chumps? Ketones.”…
…and Daily Mail Online reported “Could this elixir hold the key to weight loss? Experts hope it'll also treat diabetes, epilepsy and Alzheimer's”…

…I've even written about my own forays into ketosis for everything from Ironman triathlon to freediving in the article “How To Get Into Ketosis“.

In today's podcast, I take an even deeper dive into ketosis and specifically focus on a type of ketosis supplement called “ketone salts”, also known as “synthetic ketones”.

My guest is Dr. Richard Veech. Dr. Veech is one of the world’s foremost experts on ketosis, and the Senior Researcher and Laboratory Chief at The National Institutes of Health, the inventor of the ketone ester, and has worked for the last 47 years studying cellular energy and homeostasis.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-The fastest way to get into ketosis…

-Why humans are the only animal that can truly get into ketosis…

-Why Dr. Veech believes that the exogenous ketones currently on the market can be extremely dangerous…

-Why a “true” ketone ester is actually a salt free and non racemic (D-bhb) drink that replicates the actual secondary fuel that the body produces during times of starvation…

-Why a non-racemic, non-salt version of ketones so expensive ($3000+ a bottle!)…

-The truth about something called “NAD” as the next big anti-aging drug…

-Which supplements Dr. Veech would use for anti-aging…

-Whether or not coconut oil can truly work for curing Alzheimer's as some may claim…

-How Dr. Veech received DARPA funding and created a new fuel for the troops…

-Dr. Veech's most recommended method of measuring ketones…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Precision Xtra blood monitors

book – Alzheimer's Disease: What If There Was a Cure?: The Story of Ketones

Dr. Veech's NIH website

Brain Octane C8

1,3 Butane-Diol

Beyond Resveratrol: The Anti-Aging NAD Fad

Ketonix breath testing



  1. Lendvai N, Pawlosky R, Bullova P, Eisenhofer G, Patocs A, Veech RL, Pacak K. Succinate-to-fumarate ratio as a new metabolic marker to detect the presence of SDHB/D-related paraganglioma: initial experimental and ex vivo findings. Endocrinology. 2014;155(1):27-32.
  2. Nakagawa T, Ge Q, Pawlosky R, Wynn RM, Veech RL, Uyeda K. Metabolite regulation of nucleo-cytosolic trafficking of carbohydrate response element-binding protein (ChREBP): role of ketone bodies. J Biol Chem. 2013;288(39):28358-67.
  3. Kashiwaya Y, Bergman C, Lee JH, Wan R, King MT, Mughal MR, Okun E, Clarke K, Mattson MP, Veech RL. A ketone ester diet exhibits anxiolytic and cognition-sparing properties, and lessens amyloid and tau pathologies in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiol Aging. 2013;34(6):1530-9.
  4. Srivastava S, Baxa U, Niu G, Chen X, Veech RL. A ketogenic diet increases brown adipose tissue mitochondrial proteins and UCP1 levels in mice. IUBMB Life. 2013;65(1):58-66.

A Response from Dr. Dominic D' Agostino:

Veech's comments on racemic BHB salts have created confusion. Henri Brunengraber (Veech's colleague) demonstrated the metabolism of racemic ketones and BHB.  S-BHB goes to acetyl CoA and inter-converts to R-BHB. Lots of data, even tracer studies.

No data supports Veech's claim they are “dangerous” or even “ineffective”. Veech thinks dietary fat is bad and “acetoacetate will stop the heart”. Obviously that is not the case, even with a very high dose to animals
I have served in government workshops with Veech, and for these reasons much of what he says gets dismissed.

When serving on an panel for FDA GRAS, there was NO scientist or toxicologist that could find a study consistent with Veech's claim that racemic BHB salts are dangerous, unless consumed in very high amounts.  Of course ALL things are dangerous if dosed high enough.. caffeine, tylenol, etc. will kill you if dosed high.

Many studies show racemic BHB salts are safe in high doses, even in kids given pure sodium BHB over periods of years. Treating MADD is a good example. Check out the following studies:

Highly efficient ketone body treatment in multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency-related leukodystrophy.
Gautschi M, Weisstanner C, Slotboom J, Nava E, Zürcher T, Nuoffer JM.
Pediatr Res. 2015 Jan;77(1-1):91-8. doi: 10.1038/pr.2014.154. Epub 2014 Oct 7.
PMID: 25289702

-Favorable outcome after physiologic dose of sodium-D,L-3-hydroxybutyrate in severe MADD.
Van Rijt WJ, Heiner-Fokkema MR, du Marchie Sarvaas GJ, Waterham HR, Blokpoel RG, van Spronsen FJ, Derks TG.
Pediatrics. 2014 Oct;134(4):e1224-8. doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-4254. Epub 2014 Sep 22.
PMID: 25246622 Free Article

-D,L-3-hydroxybutyrate treatment of multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MADD).
Van Hove JL, Grünewald S, Jaeken J, Demaerel P, Declercq PE, Bourdoux P, Niezen-Koning K, Deanfeld JE, Leonard JV.
Lancet. 2003 Apr 26;361(9367):1433-5.

A note/correction from Mary Newport, who wrote:

Dr. Veech said that Steve started taking the ester two months after he started the coconut oil because it was no longer working. Actually it was two years. Steve improved steadily and very significantly over the first year and stabilized the second year but then began to have new problems after he was on a clinical trial drug for 5-7 months that turned out to accelerate Alzheimer's disease.  He started coconut oil in May 2008 and the ketone ester at end of April 2010.

Do you have questions, comments, or feedback about ketone salts or anything else that Dr. Veech and I discuss? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply.


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47 thoughts on “Could This Ketosis-Based Elixir Hold The Key To Weight Loss, World Record Performances, Brain Healing and More?

  1. Mark says:

    Hi Ben so would you suggest to take or not to take the salts for health benefits?

    1. Yep, I am still a fan, although researching ways to deliver ketone salts effectively with fewer salts. Stay tuned. ;)

  2. Audrey says:

    Thanks for share this article, it very useful for me.

    I look forward to your new article.

  3. Daniel Miccolis says:

    I think if you can get fat adapted or in ketosis it’s best to go natural…….why not go natural if you can….no free lunch in nature is my opinion…I hear ketosis isn’t for everyone anyway but to be more fat adapted….especially for a lot of women and hormones….greens, veggies and some berries aren’t terrible…..the part of the podcast that I keyed in on was the NAD and Q discussion…. not sure I can go against Veech on what he says. Thanks for all your great info out there Mr. Greenfield, truly enjoy the podcasts!

    1. You're welcome Daniel!

  4. Brian Stewart says:

    I’m wondering what Dr. Dominic D’ Agostino’s own business interests are here. He seems to have patents as well as business relationships with some of the companies marketing ketone salts. He implied that Dr. Veech was biased toward his own ester, but what about Dom? I’ve never seen him make such disclosures. Ben, can you get to the bottom of this?

  5. Ed DeBolt says:

    I thought he was a bit off base about Vit C(AA). I thought the study from Europe that tied AA to Kidneys stones was questionable association.

    Maybe regular AA is tough on the kidneys but lipo encapsulated AA is better absorbed into the blood and really helpful for many.

    Many Ben can followup on that issue.


    1. I am indeed doing a follow up podcast. Stay tuned!

  6. Christopher Kelly says:

    L-BHB form is also metabolised and it converts to acetoacetate and back to D-BHB.


    Metabolism of S3-Hydroxybutyrate in the Perfused Rat Liver

    The conversion is less efficient from the L-form:

    Metabolism of R- and S-1,3-butanediol in perfused livers from meal-fed and starved rats

    And relatively more of it is used for lipid synthesis and direct oxidation:

    Utilization of L( +)-3=Hydroxybutyrate, D( -)-3- Hydroxybutyrate, Acetoacetate, and Glucose for Respiration and Lipid Synthesis in the 1 Day-old Rat

    So 100% D-BHB would be better than a 50:50 mixture, but it’s not harmful or inhibitory.

  7. I want to make a small correction to some information in the podcast. Dr. Veech said that Steve began taking the ketone ester two months after he started the coconut oil because it was no longer working. Actually it was two years!! Steve improved steadily and very significantly over the first year and stabilized the second year, but then began to have new problems after he was on a clinical trial drug (semagacestat) for about 5-7 months that turned out to accelerate Alzheimer’s disease. Steve started coconut oil in May 2008 and the ketone ester at end of April 2010. My daughters and I are deeply grateful to Dr. Veech for allowing Steve to receive the ketone ester which no doubt extended his life and quality of life very significantly.

  8. Debra says:

    i will have to listen again but I did hear something about “Q” – as in CQ10?

    bad? or not as good as I think it is – plz clarify as I do take Ubiquinol daily 100mg.

    thinking it’s good for me. thanks

    1. CoQ10 is good and necessary.

    2. AWF says:

      I’m confused… doesn’t he say (around 45:30) that “Britton Chance showed that the biggest source of free radicals is Q semiquinone, a half-oxidized form of Q – so if you are feeding someone Q, you are essentially increasing free radicals. And that Q is synonymous with COq10.”

  9. bob says:

    Great podcast from Ben as always & very good dialogue! Goes to show that as in most things, there is likely not a free lunch.

    Wanted to weigh in on Ketoforce (liquid) and KetoCaNa (powder). Have been taking both for a couple of years now, and benefit greatly when I take them – both in sports & mental clarity.

    Take them several times a week – the liquid at work or home and the powder when travelling.

    The improved performance is almost instantaneous, and magnified if i have been fasting or going generally low carb.

    Great at work before big meetings, when working to beat jet lag or to keep a fast going.

    Do have occasional GI issues as Ben mentioned (mostly diarrhoea), but have found that the incidence & severity has decreased over time – though not completely gone away.

    But net, these 2 supplements work incredibility well in my case.

    So very interested in Ben’s thoughts on relative safety of them or if you’re short-changing the long run for short-term benefit from them…as this debate continues.

  10. Jacks says:

    My question for Dr. Veech is this: I have Type 1 Diabetes. I’ve had it for 30+ years and I have controlled it about as well as is possible. I’m in very good shape (exercise diet optimization strategies always in play) and I’m a science nerd, rancher, geologist and citizen scientist, which has saved me many times from the AMA/ADA. I know the ketogenic approach really works to an even greater extent for my condition. I have had two draw-backs though when in ketosis: 1) I lose too much fat, and become quite thin and not so sexy…smile (face/lips lose fat and become more aged looking esp, neck also, as well as breasts, other parts of body look better or okay); and 2) I can’t think as fast or as well. I know men tend to be cognitively improved, women not so much, I really notice a down side mentally and I’m sure there is a hormonal female component effect. So all of this a Catch 22 for me… I would love therefore to use something like an NAD sup that really works, and to be able to use exogenous ketone/beta-hydroxybutyrate ester supplement(s) to keep me in ketosis while maybe using a few more carbs so I can still think well and look great. Any thoughts out there from Dr. Veech? Or Bill his protege/patient? Or you Ben? Or anyone? All very intriguing…plus, I know ‘right’ and ‘left’ hand (mirror images) in chemistry is really a big deal Dr. Veech!

    1. Chris says:

      Niagen (nicotinamide riboside) is a calorie restriction mimetic supplement that is supposed to help with diabetes but it’s pretty new and the science is still being explored.

  11. Jamie says:

    Within the context of what Dr. Veech is trying to achieve, I don’t think he is saying anything contradictory to what Dom or the other researchers are saying. I believe that Dr. Veech mostly, or even only, cares about curing diseases in a very passionate and deeply personal way. I think one needs to listen to both this podcast and the one Dr. Veech did with Mark Asprey ( to start to read between the lines a bit about what Dr. Veech is trying to say.

    I’m still a little befuddled as to why he is not more excited about MCT’s, and his friend Bill is obviously benefiting from them, but I suspect it has to do with the challenge Dr. Veech has taken. I believe he really wants to see an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer and others in his lifetime and I think he truly believes that his preferred from of Ketone’s in the right dosage is the best option and anything else is wasting valuable time, and even if everyone got on board his still skeptical of whether our government or industry will embrace the solution fast enough for him to see his life’s work concluded in changing the progress of these diseases in our society before his time is up.

    I think he hopes he is wrong about some things, but can bring himself to believe it.

    1. Jacks says:

      Jamie, Great thoughts, I’m with you. I don’t think Dr. Veech’s main emphasis is helping the athlete or even the military. He is going much deeper than that, where the help will be in the form of recoveries from even a death scentence for those with chronic diseases and not just an additional 1 to 5% increase in power, strength, fast recovery etc. It’s a very noble cause. However, that said, I’m glad for the discussion, as I was hoping for NAD to really be a player in anti-aging as well. I plan on looking more deeply into the science. So many claims are just wrong in the end… Ben, great podcast!!! I loved the deep science and Dr. Veech and his protege/patient were great! Very eye opening. You also do a fabulous job of always summing things up and making sense of what has been said…

  12. Randy says:

    Nicotinamide Riboside has gotten a lot of press lately as an anti aging suppliment based on it’s ability to increase NAD levels but based on Dr. Veech’s comments I’m guessing those claims are false? Can he/ you clarify?

    1. Yep, it appears it may not be all it's cracked up to be but I have a podcast on it coming soon.

      1. Randy says:

        Oh, great. I’m looking forward to that. I’ll hold off re-ordering my Niagen till I listen!

        1. Jennifer Greenhall says:

          Hi, I have an M.D./Ph.D. and did my Ph.D. on the aging brain in mice. I skimmed the recent NAD paper. I weigh 120 lbs. I’d have to take 22g of Nicotinamide Riboside a day to equal the dose they used on the mice in the study. I haven’t had time yet to make sure the reviewers assessed whether the mice were basically calorically restricted from having to consume such a large amount, but that could be the case. Caloric restriction alone could produce the longevity advantage they show. There could be harm to taking such a gigantic dose as well in humans, and considering the dose I currently take is 100 mg/day, it might be cost-prohibitive as well.

  13. Chris says:

    Here is a link to research showing that survival with Glioblastoma is extended by treatment combined with a CMV vaccine which Dr Veech’s co-presenter Bill mentioned.

    The benefits of vitamin c could be in inhibiting epstein barr rather than in the krebs cycle…

  14. Mary says:

    Hi Ben,

    This is the first time I’ve listened to you- great podcast, thank you! But it left me a little lost. I do take Elysium and have noticed a considerable difference in athletic recovery and over all energy. BUT if it’s bad for me I’ll give it up.

    And can you please summarize what the takeaway was? Dr Veech seems very knowledgable but didn’t like many people’s research, other than his own. The only thing I got out of it was YES take C8, MCT oil in your coffee in the morning with no other food. Did I miss any other takeaways?

    Thanks so much!


    1. Takeaway I'm still chewing on. See Dom's comments at end of shownotes. I'll talk more with Dom and keep u posted.

  15. Caleb says:

    Hey Ben, I was curious of the timing of consuming MCTs and eating. It was discussed that they should not be done simultaneously, but how much time should I leave in between? Say I drink some MCT coffee is an hour sufficient before my B. A. Salad?

    1. You'll need to test your postprandial blood glucose because it highly varies, but generally you should wait 90-120 minutes…

  16. Tony says:

    Hi Ben, great podcast, very informative. As somebody interested in both performance and the therapeutic benefits of exogenous ketones (relative with Alzheimer’s) I’d love some more info on the questions raised about supplements like KetoCaNa as I’ve recommended them and the ketogenic diet as therapy and would hate to have made things inadvertently worse…

  17. Man I would love to hear Dr Ray Peat on this episode. I would not want to live in Ketosis or Low Carb. Glucose is preferred and Dr Peat sees PUFA as one of the major players in the body not being able to process SUGAR. Gosh…we can deep on this one…good show..! I see Dom responded. +))…

  18. Marty Kendall says:

    The most Ketogenic diet foods……

  19. Maddie says:

    I had the same question/concern. Thank you Ben for looking into it this! Love the podcast, I really appreciate the effort you put in to dive into this really dense science and provide some clarity for those of us whose expertise is not in this field. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

  20. Ryan says:

    My understanding from companies such as Elysium Health (not affiliated, but considering using it), is that they use *precursors* to NAD, not NAD itself.

    Dr. Veech’s “thumbs down” commentary seemed to be around taking NAD directly (large quantities). Whereas the product by Elysium Health contains no NAD.

    So in my read this makes it seem a little more on the side of what Dr. Veech would approve of — two precursors that let your body produce the actual NAD…

    I’m not familiar with any other NAD companies, but at least for Elysium it seems to be a slightly different animal than what was brought up in the podcast.

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