Fueling recovery is arguably as important as fueling performance. It’s the first step toward optimizing your next session–while heads-down in a difficult training block, optimal nutrient intake is key for repairing and refueling. H.V.M.N. Ketone, the world’s first ketone ester, could expedite the resynthesis of glycogen and protein which allows for faster recovery.
When you drink H.V.M.N. Ketone, you raise blood levels of the ketone body, beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). Researchers have started to look at how BHB can synergize with other important nutrients for recovery, such as protein and carbohydrates. Here are the top four ways ketones can help with recovery.
Glycogen is the form of carbohydrate stored in the muscles, and it’s broken down during exercise; when glycogen is depleted, athletes have to stop or slow down.1 Sometimes, this is called “bonking” or “hitting the wall.” Taking H.V.M.N. Ketone + carbs before exercise reduces the amount of glycogen used during exercise,2 so this should help delay bonking.
Going out and exercising again requires the replenishment of glycogen stores in the muscle.
Currently, nutritionists recommend consuming post-workout drinks that contain carbohydrate, which provide the raw material that can build glycogen. However, there are several steps in converting carbs from the diet into glycogen, and all are subject to regulation within the body. The many-layered controls of the process means there is a limit to the rate and amount of glycogen made, even if when consuming plenty of carbs.
Evidence suggests that raising BHB using H.V.M.N. Ketone can help boost the rate of muscle glycogen synthesis post-exercise. In one experiment, cyclists participated in two exercise tests where they depleted their glycogen in a long, intense workout.3 After one test they took H.V.M.N. Ketone, and for the second test they took a placebo drink. Then, glucose was infused directly into their bloodstream for a recovery period lasting several hours.
Researchers adjusted the amount of glucose infused to keep the concentration in the blood at 10 mM. Small muscle samples were collected both before and after the drinks, and then after the recovery period to analyze the amount of glycogen. Taking H.V.M.N. Ketone increased the amount of glycogen made inside the muscle by about 50%.
The evidence isn’t equivocal though. Another set of researchers gave H.V.M.N. Ketone mixed into a typical protein and carbohydrate post-workout shake drink.4 The experiment compared the amount of glycogen in the muscle with the H.V.M.N. Ketone shake or a shake without ketones. In this experiment, there was no boost in glycogen recovery with the ketone shake.
Maybe results were impacted by the lower amount of carbohydrate in the ketone shake , compared to when glucose was infused directly into the blood. Further research is needed to completely understand what went on.
Protein isn’t a major fuel source for contracting muscle. But during exercise, a little muscle protein gets broken down, to top up substrates that are depleted by exercise.5
Measuring the level of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) inside the muscle can provide an idea as to how much protein was broken down. Taking H.V.M.N. Ketone + carbs before exercise decreased the amount of branched chain amino acids released into the muscle, indicating that ketones decreased protein breakdown.
The muscle sparing effect of ketosis has been seen in other experimental models,6 in people following the ketogenic diet7,8 and is consistent with the role of ketones in starvation physiology–making sure we delay breaking down our precious muscle when we can’t eat: if we did that, we would die pretty fast!
But ketones don’t only slow down muscle breakdown during exercise; they also increase the signals for protein resynthesis after exercise.
In a study of highly-trained cyclists, athletes either took a shake containing H.V.M.N. Ketone, carbs, and protein after a workout, or a shake without ketones. The researchers took muscle samples and measured the activation of a protein called mTOR, which is a key driver of muscle protein synthesis. Results illustrated that H.V.M.N. Ketone boosted the activity of mTOR (by measuring its downstream targets).4
This boost in mTOR means that post-exercise protein synthesis is higher when taking H.V.M.N. Ketone plus protein and carbohydrate compared to a standard post-workout shake.
During exercise, muscles use a high amount of oxygen. Energy stored in food is converted into energy that our muscles can use (in the form of ATP) through the complex processes of metabolism. But there’s a downside to making energy using oxygen.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are chemically reactive molecules released as an unavoidable by-product of oxygen-dependant energy production during exercise (which uses oxygen). These ROS can be harmful if they remain inside the cell or accumulate at high levels. ROS react with crucial molecules inside the cell, like DNA, RNA, lipids, and enzymes, affecting cell health.
There are various antioxidant systems that cells use to clean up ROS. For these antioxidant systems to work, they need to be “reduced” (in chemistry and biochemistry, reduced is the opposite of being oxidized).
Ketones can reduce the antioxidant systems of the cell,9 so it has more capacity to clear up potentially harmful ROS. Boosting BHB using H.V.M.N. Ketone could help to decrease oxidative stress. Keep in mind, this effect needs to be formally tested in humans before we are sure that it takes place in a meaningful way.
Another consequence of exercise is disruption to muscle structure. This leads to the release of the intracellular contents of muscle cells into the extracellular space. The process triggers the influx of immune cells into the muscle and an inflammatory response, which can eventually lead to soreness.
We’re all familiar with that stiff, achy feeling the day after a trying out a new exercise at the gym. Ketones can help to suppress inflammatory processes directly, as well as decrease triggers for inflammation (i.e., ROS).
Recently, several research studies have shown BHB can inhibit a protein at the center of inflammation, called the NLRP-3 inflammasome. Injecting or feeding BHB to animals even helped improve clinical conditions characterized by inflammation.10
It’s not yet clear exactly how this might work for athletes, but elevating ketones by following a ketogenic diet has been shown to decrease inflammation11 and improve well-being.12 Professional cyclists who have tried H.V.M.N. Ketone have reported feeling much better recovery and less soreness.
The great thing about H.V.M.N. Ketone is that the effects are additive on top of your normal nutrition.
So, if you only take post-workout protein, mix it with carbs, or even throw in some electrolytes, you can’t go wrong by adding in a serving of H.V.M.N. Ketone. You should be looking to get in your post-workout nutrition within 30 minutes of finishing exercise, especially if you will be working out again within eight hours.13
Adding H.V.M.N. Ketone to your recovery regime can supercharge recovery and begin the fueling process for your next workout.
Learn the best ways to train and recover with our upcoming guides for athletes. When they're published, be first to know.
|1.||Bergström, J., Hermansen, L., Hultman, E., and Saltin, B. (1967). Diet, muscle glycogen and physical performance. Acta physiologica scandinavica 71, 140-150.|
|2.||Cox, P.J., Kirk, T., Ashmore, T., Willerton, K., Evans, R., Smith, A., Murray, Andrew J., Stubbs, B., West, J., McLure, Stewart W., et al. (2016). Nutritional Ketosis Alters Fuel Preference and Thereby Endurance Performance in Athletes. Cell Metabolism 24, 1-13.|
|3.||Holdsworth, D.A., Cox, P.J., Kirk, T., Stradling, H., Impey, S.G., and Clarke, K. (2017). A Ketone Ester Drink Increases Postexercise Muscle Glycogen Synthesis in Humans. Med Sci Sports Exerc.|
|4.||Vandoorne, T., De Smet, S., Ramaekers, M., Van Thienen, R., De Bock, K., Clarke, K., and Hespel, P. (2017). Intake of a Ketone Ester Drink during Recovery from Exercise Promotes mTORC1 Signaling but Not Glycogen Resynthesis in Human Muscle. Front. Physiol. 8, 310.|
|5.||van Hall G, van der Vusse GJ, Soderlund K, Wagenmakers AJ. Deamination of amino acids as a source for ammonia production in human skeletal muscle during prolonged exercise. J Physiol 1995;489 ( Pt 1):251-61.|
|6.||Thompson, J., & Wu, G. (1991). The effect of ketone bodies on nitrogen metabolism in skeletal muscle. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B: Comparative Biochemistry, 100(2), 209-216. doi:10.1016/0305-0491(91)90363-i|
|7.||Paoli, A., Grimaldi, K., D'Agostino, D., Cenci, L., Moro, T., Bianco, A., and Palma, A. (2012). Ketogenic diet does not affect strength performance in elite artistic gymnasts. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 9, 34.|
|8.||Volek, J.S., Sharman, M.J., Love, D.M., Avery, N.G., Gomez, A.L., Scheett, T.P., and Kraemer, W.J. (2002). Body composition and hormonal responses to a carbohydrate-restricted diet. Metabolism 51.|
|9.||Veech, R.L., Valeri, C.R., and VanItallie, T.B. (2012). The mitochondrial permeability transition pore provides a key to the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury. Iubmb Life 64, 203-207.|
|10.||Youm, Y.-H., Nguyen, K.Y., Grant, R.W., Goldberg, E.L., Bodogai, M., Kim, D., D'Agostino, D., Planavsky, N., Lupfer, C., Kanneganti, T.D., et al. (2015). The ketone metabolite [beta]-hydroxybutyrate blocks NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated inflammatory disease. Nat. Med. 21, 263-269.|
|11.||Volek, J.S., Phinney, S.D., Forsythe, C.E., Quann, E.E., Wood, R.J., Puglisi, M.J., Kraemer, W.J., Bibus, D.M., Fernandez, M.L., and Feinman, R.D. (2008). Carbohydrate Restriction has a More Favorable Impact on the Metabolic Syndrome than a Low Fat Diet. Lipids 44, 297-309.|
|12.||Caryn Zinn, Matthew Wood, Mikki Williden, Simon Chatterton, and Ed Maunder.|
|13.||Burke, L. M., Hawley, J. A., Wong, S. H., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2011). Carbohydrates for training and competition. Journal of Sports Sciences, 29(Sup1). doi:10.1080/02640414.2011.585473|
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