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Ergo-Log

18.08.2023


EPO level increase by ketones similar to altitude training

If cyclists take ketones after an intensive training session, their muscle recovery is faster. We wrote that 5 years ago. According to a more recent human study, there are even more benefits associated with post-workout supplementation with ketones. Ketone supplementation also increases EPO production.


EPO level increase by ketones similar to altitude training


Study
British physiologists, affiliated with the University of Bath, got 9 well-trained cyclists to cycle for an hour on 2 different occasions. This session consisted of consecutive cycles, in which the cyclists cycled for 2 minutes at 50 percent of their VO2 peak and then at 90 percent of their VO2 peak.

After the session, the cyclists received shakes for 2-3 hours to recover. One time the shakes only contained carbohydrates and proteins [CONTROL], the other time they also contained ketones [KETONE].

The ketone doses were hefty. A 70 kilo rider received 20 grams of ketones.

In the first 4 hours after the session, the researchers took small amounts of blood from the riders and determined the concentration of EPO, among other things.

You can see the test setup in the figure below.


EPO level increase by ketones similar to altitude training


Ketone monoester
The researchers used ketone monoester or (R)-3-hydroxybutyl-(R)-3-hydroxybutyrate [chemical structure at top of page]. If you don't remember what that is, read our crash course on ketone supplementation. The passages on D-BHB-Mono-Ester are about the ketone monoester used in the study we are discussing.

Incidentally, this research was not funded by the industry. A co-author is an ex-employee of TdeltaS, the company behind ketone monoester. TdeltaS made the ketones available to the researchers.

Results
The concentration of the ketone BHB in the cyclists' blood rose as a result of ketone monoester supplementation.


EPO level increase by ketones similar to altitude training

EPO level increase by ketones similar to altitude training


In addition, ketone supplementation increased the concentration of EPO in the blood. There have been studies in which administration of ketones via an IV increased the amount of EPO, but this is the first time that ketones via oral administration have had such an effect.

The increase is quite significant. The researchers would have seen the same increase if they had had their cyclists cycle at an altitude of 2 kilometers.

Conclusion
EPO stimulates the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen from the lungs to the muscles. Long-term supplementation with ketones could therefore lead to more red blood cells - and therefore to better performance in endurance sports such as cycling and running.

Whether this is really the case cannot be deduced from this study. This requires a trial that lasts longer. And a sponsor who is willing to put an unusual amount of money on the table. Ketones are damn expensive...

Source:
Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2023 Jan 1;324(1):E56-E61.

More:
You need to know this before you buy ketones 24.08.2019
Sports drink with ketone ester and carbs works better than carb-only sports drink 01.09.2017
Sports drinks with ketones speed up muscle recovery 20.06.2017

Archives:
Endurance Supplements
Ketones


Danggui Buxue Tang: spectacular performance improvement in runners Sauna has same effect as EPO Alpha-lipoic acid combined with training boosts EPO levels

Danggui Buxue Tang: spectacular performance improvement in runners
In vitro studies already suggested that Danggui Buxue Tang is interesting for athletes - and now Taiwanese researchers show that the preparation allows recreational runners to perform spectacularly better.

Sauna has same effect as EPO
Endurance athletes can shave 1.9 percent off their 5K time by spending half an hour in the sauna after every running training session for a period of three weeks.

Alpha-lipoic acid combined with training boosts EPO levels
Endurance athletes probably synthesise much more EPO if they take 1200 mg alpha-lipoic acid daily.