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(R)-3-Hydroxybutyl (R)-3-hydroxybutyrate (ketone monoester) has been developed as an oral source of ketones, which may be utilized for energy. In a 28-day toxicity study, Crl:WI (Wistar) rats received diets containing, as 30% of the calories, ketone monoester (12 and 15 g/kg body weight/day for male and female rats, respectively). Control groups received either carbohydrate- or fat-based diets. Rats in the test group consumed less feed and gained less weight than control animals; similar findings have been documented in studies of ketogenic diets. Between-group differences were noted in selected hematology, coagulation, and serum chemistry parameters; however, values were within normal physiological ranges and/or were not accompanied by other changes indicative of toxicity. Upon gross and microscopic evaluation, there were no findings associated with the ketone monoester. In a developmental toxicity study, pregnant Crl:WI (Han) rats were administered 2g/kg body weight/day ketone monoester or water (control) via gavage on days 6 through 20 of gestation. No Caesarean-sectioning or litter parameters were affected by the test article. The overall incidence of fetal alterations was higher in the test group; however, there were no specific alterations attributable to the test substance. The results of these studies support the safety of ketone monoester.

Original publication




Journal article


Regul Toxicol Pharmacol

Publication Date





196 - 208


Animals, Diet, Dietary Carbohydrates, Dietary Fats, Energy Intake, Energy Metabolism, Esters, Female, Hydroxybutyrates, Ketones, Male, Maternal Exposure, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Reproduction, Toxicity Tests, Subacute