Reaching and maintaining ketosis — the main goal of the keto diet — is no easy feat. You need to consistently restrict carbohydrates to ~ 20g per day for weeks or months on end to be in this “fat-burning” state. In a world where carbs are the mainstay of most diets, this level of carb restriction can seem almost unachievable.

And that’s why so many either give up keto altogether or they turn to an alternative: keto pills.

So, what are keto pills?

They are keto supplements that come with promises of easy ketosis. These products may raise ketone levels almost instantaneously or block your body’s absorption of carbs. But what they will not do is enhance your body’s ketosis process. That’s where ketosis enhancers can help.

The problem with most keto supplements

You’ll likely come across two types of keto supplements on the market: exogenous ketones and carb blockers.

Exogenous ketones are synthetic ketones, mostly β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) salts, that raise blood ketone levels [1]. The main problem with them is that they also happen to suppress ketone production.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise when you think about it: when you raise blood ketone levels with these supplements, it signals your body to stop burning fat to make more ketones. This happens because a healthy body aims to keep ketones within safe levels. That also means less body fat being burned and less weight loss.

The second class of popular ketosis enhancers is carb blockers. Also known as starch blockers, these are herbal.extracts that “block” the intestinal breakdown of carbohydrates. White kidney bean extract and alpha-glucosidase inhibitors (AGIs) are the two main types of carb blockers on the market that work by inhibiting carb-digesting enzymes.

These supplements help with diabetes management and obesity [2], but they’re really of little use on keto. The reason being that they only block complex carbs, which keto already eliminates to a large extent, and not simple carbs. And besides, there’s more to reaching optimal ketosis than blocking carbs.

How to enhance ketosis instead

Following a strict ketogenic diet is a sure way to support optimal ketosis. But for easier success, try herbal extracts tested in diabetes research and that target the following:

Glucose entering into muscle cells

Compounds that enhance the transport of blood glucose into muscle (but not fat) cells help lower circulating glucose and insulin levels. This, in turn, leads to greater ketone production. Magnolia Bark Extract and α-lipoic acid can do these things [3, 4].

Glucose production in the liver

No matter your carb restriction, your liver is busy producing glucose from other nutrients (e.g. protein). For easier ketosis, you want to target this metabolic pathway with α-lipoic acid [4].

Intestinal carb absorption

Supplements that can block the breakdown of starch and simple sugars can make a big difference on keto, especially after cheat meals. Apple stem cell extract was found to help with this [5].

Reabsorption of glucose by the kidneys

One of the jobs of your kidneys is to reabsorb glucose back into your bloodstream. The above-mentioned extract from apples also happens to make your kidneys get rid of glucose instead [6].

By taking advantage of these targets with the right compounds, you could get into ketosis and stay there until you easily reach your goals. Ketosis can be tough when you rely on diet alone; trust science to make your journey easier.


1. Stubbs BJ, Cox PJ, Evans RD, et al. On the Metabolism of Exogenous Ketones in Humans. Front Physiol . 2017;8:848.

2. Preuss HG. Bean amylase inhibitor and other carbohydrate absorption blockers: effects on diabesity and general health. J Am Coll Nutr . 2009;28(3):266-276.

3. Atanasov AG, Wang JN, Gu SP, et al. Honokiol: a non-adipogenic PPARγ agonist from nature. Biochim Biophys Acta . 2013;1830(10):4813-4819.

4. Golbidi S, Badran M, Laher I. Diabetes and alpha lipoic Acid. Front Pharmacol . 2011;2:69.

5. Schulze C, Bangert A, Kottra G, et al. Inhibition of the intestinal sodium-coupled glucose transporter 1 (SGLT1) by extracts and polyphenols from apple reduces postprandial blood glucose levels in mice and humans. Mol Nutr Food Res . 2014;58(9):1795-1808.

6. Ehrenkranz JR, Lewis NG, Kahn CR, Roth J. Phlorizin: a review. Diabetes Metab Res Rev . 2005;21(1):31-38.

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