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Research groups

Adam Isherwood

DPhil Student

Exogenous Ketosis and Exercise

Endogenous ketosis’ is characterised by natural hepatic ketone body synthesis, primarily triggered by a chronically low insulin-to-glucagon ratio, as occurs during caloric-deprivation or a very low-carbohydrate/high-fat diet.

ΔG, a ketone monoester drink developed at the University of Oxford, acts to bypass the impracticalities and laborious time commitments of dietary interventions via which ketosis can otherwise be achieved. After consumption, it rapidly and safely elevates blood ketone body levels, providing prolonged ‘exogenous ketosis’ - a novel physiological state of elevated circulating ketones concurrent with replete tissue glycogen stores.

Adaptively, ketones provide a glucose-surrogate fuel source for vital tissues - e.g. the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle, directly contributing to maintaining optimal ATP-turnover as an oxidisable substrate. They also act as regulatory signalling molecules, altering oxidative fuel selection - sparing carbohydrate stores and reducing protein catabolism.

‘Exogenous ketosis’ has potential utility for enhancing physical activity capacities, as well as conferring additional metabolic benefits, in a breadth of populations spanning the entire spectrum from elite athletes to patients. My research looks to investigate these potential ergogenic effects on exercise performance - exploring who might benefit, at what intensities, and what underlying metabolic changes are being induced. As exercise can be used as an acute metabolic stressor mirroring many disease states, this work also has the potential to be translated into the clinical field - for example in ‘Long Covid’ and Parkinson’s Disease.