There seem to be many different ways in which the ingestion of exogenous ketone esters can aid in recovery after strenuous exercise.
o Firstly, muscle damage is mitigated when there is ample amount of BHB available in the blood stream. There are a couple main reasons for that:
§ Certain inflammatory markers, like IL-6 and creatine kinase, are minimized
§ Once glycogen levels are emptied, the body will begin its process of gluconeogenesis, the creation of glucose from various areas of the body – protein and muscle breakdown are one of the ways in which this is done. The presence of ketone bodies will help inhibit much of this process.
o Secondly, the ingestion of carbohydrates along with ketones increases glycogen resynthesis, the restoring of glycogen stores. Without ketone supplementation, the high number of fatty acids present in the blood after strenuous exercise could blunt efficient glycogen resynthesis from taking place – ketone bodies mitigate that increase in fatty acids. Also, when ketones and glucose are present, glucose uptake within the body appears to be higher.
o Next, the ingestion of protein and carbohydrates (the combination that seems to have the most data behind its recovery benefits) along with ketones will activate MTOR to a degree that will assist in tissue regeneration and protein synthesis – both processes that aid in muscle recovery. When taken alongside protein and carbohydrates, ketones do not promote glycogen resynthesis to a higher degree, unlike when it is taken with carbohydrates alone.
o Lastly, fatigue has been an interesting area of study using ketone bodies. Per the initial research, the blunting of fatty acids by BHB after strenuous exercise will inhibit a usual increase in the free fatty acid tryptophan in the brain – one of the main reasons why people feel mentally fatigued after a workout.