University of Oxford develops new super-expensive ketone energy drink that provides body with an alternative source of energy. Ketones have already been used by pro riders to win 'significant internationally famous events'

Reporting by Richard Abraham

Ketone drinks are already being used in the professional peloton and could be the next big thing in performance cycling nutrition, despite an unpleasant bitter taste and a cost of around £2000 per litre.

Ketones are a naturally occurring range of chemicals produced by the body when it breaks down fat and are understood to preserve glucose stores, encourage the burning of fat and preserve skeletal muscle during exercise.

They were developed by researchers at the University of Oxford, and used as a drink they enhance performance in elite endurance athletes by providing an additional energy source to glucose. Researchers believe the greatest benefits are for long-distance efforts in very fit individuals.

“There are professional cycling teams and world famous professional cyclists in those teams, or in that team, who have used ketones for significant internationally famous events, which they’ve won,” explained Dr David Holdsworth, who leads current research into the drinks. “So yes, it has been used with considerable success.”

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed to Cycling Weekly that ketones are not currently on its prohibited substance or monitoring list. UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) head of science and medicine Nick Wojek added in a statement: “Athletes are advised to assess the risks associated with using any supplements, including those where synthetic ketones are listed as an ingredient.”

Dr Holdsworth confirmed that ketones were given to professional athletes only after clearance from anti-doping authorities. He believed ketone drinks should be considered like existing energy drinks.

A spokesperson declined to comment on whether ketone drinks are being used by riders on Team Sky and Great Britain when contacted by Cycling Weekly.

Read more about ketones in the January 8 issue of Cycling Weekly magazine

  • Jandene

    I’m taking keto-os. Exogenous ketones.
    Very tasty, like a cream cickle. It’s an amazing product. Ketosis in under an hour.
    Msg me for more Info.

  • Julie

    Ketone esters have recently been made into an available, stable form. mojo.experienceketo.com

  • Belgium Bike

    Most of the new products don’t contain real Ketone’s they just stimulate the production.
    The real deal has been tested 10 years on navy seals in the US. The production will start soon in the US as well. After trials they used it in the olympic games on rowing and other endurance sports in London 2012. Froom just tweeted that he is not using it. But then again people say in Belgium there is a guy that brings it from house to house to the riders front door for 2700 euro a bottles. The athletes had to take it togheter with MTC and on a Keto diet. Its all or nothing. Also because its about 200 kcal per small serving. So they need to save those kcal in their food.
    Using it gives you up to 30 % more energy. But its difficult to say how that converts into speed and winning races.
    The other big thing during 2012 olympics was the red beet juice. Giving 10-14% endurance gain drinking 500 ml for 30 days.
    Combining a lot of legal products in the right way can give you the same effect as what is not allowed.

  • Claudine

    There is a Ketone drink available that tastes great and works. I have tested my blood and have seen increases. The ketostix show increases within an hour. Feel free to contact me and you can get some too! clodhopr1@gmail.com

  • Steve Welch

    There’s a new product about to hit the market called Keto-OS and I’ve been beta testing it for the past month. Given my experience I’d say ketones are very useful in intense training and exercise. I feel like I’m on rocket fuel and it seems to decrease lactic acid buildup.

  • gwhilts

    Rather than take a ketone supplement, ingesting a good amount of MCT oil on race day will have a very similar effect. If you’re used to being in a state of ketosis, your body will quickly transform the MCT into keytones and begin using them. It is seriously like the best of both worlds.

  • Desiree Christensen

    I’m breastfeeding my baby and she is eating ketones right now. She loves it. Sleeps through the night and is in the 99 percentile. If my baby can have it why not an athlete? It’s natural.

  • Desiree Christensen

    I’m breastfeeding my baby and she is eating ketones right now. She loves it. Sleeps through the night and is in the 99 percentile. If my baby can have it why not an athlete? It’s natural.

  • Desiree Christensen

    They should not be banned. You pee ketones if you are on atkins or low carb diet diet. I’m on Atkins and my milk (I’m nursing a baby) has ketones in it. Is human milk a banned supplement? Promise I won’t charge 2000 lol.

  • Desiree Christensen

    They should not be banned. You pee ketones if you are on atkins or low carb diet diet. I’m on Atkins and my milk (I’m nursing a baby) has ketones in it. Is human milk a banned supplement? Promise I won’t charge 2000 lol.

  • Patrick Arnold

    I have tasted the straight ester but not the formulated drink. It is very harsh stuff. I know people that have tasted the formulated drink and although its tolerable its nothing you look forward to consuming

  • Ben Bradley

    hi, does that imply you have tried the drink mentioned here. i would like to discuss if so.

  • Big D

    Ketosports has a ketone salt product that called KetoCaNa. Its a ketone salt product versus a ketone ester and it does not taste terrible it tastes good. Its also not that expensive. 75 bucks for 16 servings

  • Patrick Arnold

    KetoCaNa is on the market and supplies 11.7 grams beta-hydroxybutyrate per serving. Doesnt taste like Diesel Fuel either

  • littlegloves

    But if you train at altitude you produce more EPO, no? But synthetic ways of getting the same effect are banned.

  • gwhilts

    How could they ban ketones? If you’re on a ketogenic diet (like many of us are) you’re body naturally produces very high levels of ketones, and they are your primary energy source.

  • nortonpdj

    brilliant! I wish I had thought of that one 😉

  • David Chadderton

    Sports science never stops.

  • Dave M

    If they became banned, would that make WADA the ‘Ketone Cops’?