Butanediol ingredient may boost ketosis: Pilot study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

The new study used beverages containing 11.5 g of (R)-1,3-butanediol at 0, 30, and 60 minutes to give a total dose of 34.5 grams.  Image © Sam Edwards / Getty Images
The new study used beverages containing 11.5 g of (R)-1,3-butanediol at 0, 30, and 60 minutes to give a total dose of 34.5 grams. Image © Sam Edwards / Getty Images

Related tags ketosis ketones ketone ester Cognitive function exogenous ketones

Acute supplementation with (R)-1,3-Butanediol could raises beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) levels associated with increased mental clarity and endurance, says a new study.

Data from an open-label, acute clinical trial indicated that consuming 34.5 grams of (R)-1,3-butanediol over 60 minutes in a beverage increased BHB levels.

“This study demonstrates the feasibility of administering oral (R)-1,3-butanediol to achieve blood BHB levels typical of physiologic ketosis,” wrote researchers in Frontiers in Physiology​.

“There is a high likelihood of creating regimens for chronic administration which could potentially sustain a desired level throughout the day. Next steps require testing of such regimens in patients with measurable disease or performance endpoints.”

Ketosis

The study supports other cognitive health benefits linked to ketosis. The study used the Avela branded (R)-1,3-butanediol from San Diego-based Genomatica Inc., a liquid ingredient at room temperature purified from microbial fermentation.

(R)-1,3-butanediol is considered a ketogenic ingredient, with the data showing that one dose of Avela converts to BHB in healthy adults.

Avela was launched by Genomatica in the US in November 2022 for incorporation into functional foods and beverages, especially in the keto, energy, and fitness and wellness categories. According to the company, the ingredient is self-affirmed GRAS (generally recognized as safe) for use in beverages, bars, and gels.

Commenting on the new study, James Lowder, MD, lead author on the paper and affiliated with San Diego-based Impact Science Alliance, said: “In this study, Avela demonstrated good tolerability when taken in accordance with GRAS guidelines. The results tell us we can consider (R)-1,3-Butanediol effective at producing blood ketone levels comparable to those achieved through the diet alone.”

Study details

 The new study included 26 healthy adults who, after a 12 hour fast, consumed beverages containing 11.5 g of (R)-1,3-butanediol at 0, 30, and 60 minutes to give a total dose of 34.5 grams. The results showed that blood BHB levels increased to 2.10 mmol/L one-hour post consumption. Levels remained elevated for four more hours, said the researchers.

Elevated BHB levels are linked to increased energy, mental clarity and support for improved athletic endurance, but the researchers did not assess such parameters in this study. They did however assess sleepiness, with no effects observed at any point during the study

“Some scientists suggest that consumption of a ketogenic diet or exogenous ketones can improve sleep patterns, cognition and outcomes in neurologic conditions,” explained Lowder and his co-workers.

“The study reported herein was an acute feeding study; longer-term feeding trials in patients with measurable disorders may be more appropriate for assessing the neurocognitive effects of ketones and effects on sleepiness.”

Source: Frontiers in Physiology
2023, Volume 14, doi: 10.3389/fphys.2023.1195702
“An open-label, acute clinical trial in adults to assess ketone levels, gastrointestinal tolerability, and sleepiness following consumption of (R)-1,3-butanediol (Avela™)”
Authors: J. Lowder et al.

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