Michael Brandt is the Founder-CEO of HVMN, a company that makes exogenous ketones. In this clip from our interview on the Singletrack Podcast, he answers the question: "What are ketones?".
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I was listening to a podcast that you were on recently and alongside proteins, fats and carbs, you declared ketones the fourth macronutrient. And I think that, to set the table for the rest of the conversation, even though you've touched on it a little bit there, we should define what ketones are.
The reason it's a macronutrient, when we think about the macronutrients - fats, proteins, carbohydrates, they all contain calories as opposed to micronutrients, which are, you know, your vitamin B, vitamin D, those are acaloric. They do not contain calories. They do other things to support different functions and aspects of your metabolism in your body.
But when you think about what has a calorie inside of it, those are the macronutrients. Ketones are interesting. The reason I consider them, and many consider them to be a fourth macronutrient is because of what they have inside of them.
A gram of ketones has seven calories and that caloric content provides your cells with energy. So it's not a micronutrient supporting player. If people remember their high school biology class, you have the Krebs cycle. You have inputs into your mitochondria - mitochondria is the power plant of the cell - you have inputs into your mitochondria. There's something that's called the krebs cycle that goes turns macronutrients into ATP, which is really the cellular currency, that you need to flex a muscle or create a thought in your neurons - you need energy to do that.
Ketones contain energy and they have these novel characteristics where in order to turn, say, sugar into, ATP - cellular energy - it requires a certain amount of oxygen. Ketones can create the same amount of ATP, but with less oxygen. So that's where it starts getting interesting when you're talking about hypoxia or you know, late in a marathon or ultramarathon, when your, your body is strained and stressed to its limits, that the ability to create cellular energy with less oxygen starts being really efficient and advantageous.
So what is a ketone? A ketone is a macronutrient with some interesting properties to it.
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