Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "
Sports drink with ketone ester and carbs works better than carb-only sports drink
Endurance athletes perform better if just before - and probably during - lengthy and high-intensity sessions they drink a combination of a ketone ester and fast carbohydrates than if they only drink carbohydrates. Physiologists at the University of Oxford wrote about this in 2016 in Cell Metabolism. The researchers are the inventors of the ketone sports drink DeltaG, which we've written about before.
On one occasion, before starting, the cyclists were given a sports drink containing glucose, fructose and maltodextrin, all fast carbohydrates. On the other occasion they were given a sports drink containing glucose and a ketone ester.
This is what the researchers write about the ketone ester:
In the hour that they cycled at 75 percent of their maximal capacity, the blood glucose levels decreased slightly more in the cyclists who had drunk the ketone ester. Halfway through that hour the blood concentration of free fatty acids rose when the cyclists had drunk carbohydrates, but it did not when they had the drink that contained ketone ester.
At the same time the lactate concentration increased less after drinking the product that contained ketone ester than it did after drinking carbs only.
These facts suggest that ketones do not function as fuel but do help muscles to use glucose more thriftily and therefore don't have to go over to burning fat reserves so quickly. That makes ketone supplementation interesting for endurance athletes who have to do intensive exercise over long periods of time.
"What may be happening is if you are doing something that isn't a sprint, like going on a 26-mile run, you won't hit the wall as quickly. Not only that, but it stops you from aching afterwards."