Author Interviews, Diabetes, Supplements / 08.01.2020 Interview with: Jonathan P. Little PhD Associate Professor Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar Faculty of Health and Social Development School of Health and Exercise Sciences The University of British Columbia Syilx Okanagan Nation Territory Kelowna, BC  Canada What is the background for this study? Response: Ketones are energy-yielding molecules that are bodies naturally produce during periods of starvation or when we restrict carbohydrate intake. Recently, scientists from Oxford and the NIH have created exogenous ketone supplements, which now enable us to be able to drink ketones. This puts our body into a unique state – we can consume a drink that raises blood levels of ketones without having to starve or restrict carbohydrate intake. Some are even touting ketone supplements as a “fourth macronutrient”. Ketone supplements are primarily marketed for athletes to provide an alternative fuel for improving endurance exercise performance. We were actually studying how ketone supplements impacted exercise performance when we noticed that they consistently lowered blood glucose after participants consumed them. We went to the literature and found some classic papers where it was shown that infusing ketones did in fact lower glucose and the mechanism seemed to involve reducing liver glucose output. This was very exciting to us because we also study type 2 diabetes, a condition where blood sugars are too high and elevated liver glucose output is one of the major reasons. So we came up with the hypothesis that ketone supplements might be a unique strategy to help with blood glucose control. In the recent study, we tested this out in a randomized crossover experiment in 15 participants with overweight/obesity who were at risk for type 2 diabetes. Participants drank the ketone monoester supplement or a placebo and 30 minutes later they consumed an oral glucose tolerance test drink containing 75 grams of sugar. Blood samples were collected for 2 hours after the glucose test drink. (more…)