Many people know of the Ketogenic diet as primarily a weight-loss diet. For those completely new to Keto, it's a high fat / low carb diet that puts your body in a natural and highly-efficient state called Ketosis in which fat is used for fuel instead of glucose. As someone who's been on it for almost half a year, I can say one of this lifestyle's biggest benefits for me has been less on the waist for me and more on the brain. For the first time in life, I've felt a distinct clear-mindedness that's helped me to better navigate the proverbial “game of life”. I'm able to better think through different decisions whether they be mundane or monumental. Keto practitioners, especially those starting out, often have a hard time staying in Keto. Even though the rewards are well worth the sacrifice, it still takes a lot of discipline. This being the case, a new market of products has emerged called keto supplements.
One company called TruBrain specializes in such products along with a host of other brain-enhancing offerings which we'll cover in this review as well. The company has been around for 7 years which by this industry's standards is a very long time.
They offer an assortment of Keto-enhancing products designed by UCLA-trained neuroscientists to help customers reach their Keto goals with less work. I was intrigued by this idea. Was it just a gimmick or was this a legitimately natural, safe, and healthy way to support my Keto lifestyle? I needed to find out so I reached out to them and they agreed to send me their products in exchange for an unbiased TruBrain review. The following article is not intended to be medical advice. Rather, it documents my personal and unedited experiences with these products. I specifically reviewed three different TruBrain products [click links below to skip directly to each review].
Before diving right in, let's go over a few basic things. When your body is in a state of Ketosis, you effectively change your fuel source from sugars and carbs to fat and protein. This results in ketones being produced which are like little packets of highly efficient energy. These Ketones actually pass through the blood brain barrier very easily and thus, supply readily available energy to the brain. This fact explains why many people in ketosis feel extra clear-headed and free of brain fog.
For this TruBrain review, we'll cover each product one at a time.
Exogenous Ketones Review: Keto Supplements
Exogenous ketones (ketones from an external source) as opposed to endogenous ketones (made by the body) infuse your body with added ketones. These can serve as an effective keto supplement for those looking to reap the benefits of Ketosis without actually having turn their existing diet up-side-down. However, as someone in Keto, this product was the perfect keto supplement to help me stay in ketosis rather than reach ketosis. As was mentioned earlier, the body naturally makes ketones when it's in a state of Ketosis. But anyone who's done Keto will know that it can be easy to “fall off the wagon” when our willpower is low or a sugar craving hits. I've knock myself out of Keto more times than I'd like to admit. This is where I personally think the use of exogenous ketones really shines.
It's almost like a safety-net that can be used to support those like me who haven't been the most disciplined at doing what they say.
Having said all this, I wouldn't suggest using these ketones as an excuse to cheat. In other words, I don't recommend having carb-heavy cheat meals all the time with plans to offset them with exogenous Ketones. Instead, use these as they were meant to be used: as a supplement and not a “get out of jail free card” 🙂
Exogenous Ketones come in two forms:
- ketone salts: Ketone salts are commonly available in retail markets. These ketones are bound to a salt such as sodium, calcium, or magnesium.
- ketone esters: Unlike ketone salts, these ketones esters are linked to a compound called ester ultimately making them more efficient and more readily available to the body. Exogenous ketone esters are primarily used in research, and thus are harder to come by in commercial retail markets.
TruBrain offers their exogenous ketones in the form of raw premium esters which are absorbed instantly. Ketone esters are hard to come by so the fact that TruBrain even offers them already speaks volumes in my opinion. The product I received was chocolate flavored which really helped to mitigate the natural ketone ester flavor. Per the instructions, I put a single scoop into an 8oz cup of coffee. In full transparency, I wasn't very keen on the flavor but that's in no way a mark against the company. Exogenous ketones across the board aren't known nor bought for their taste.
But as someone with definitive Keto goals, I'm not taking this for flavor. I care far more about effectiveness than taste and TruBrain exogenous ketones did everything I had hoped for and more.
I regularly use One Earth Ketone Strips to test my ketone levels. After more than 5 months of doing Keto, the highest level of 4.0 – 7.0 mmol/L (moderate). About an hour or so after taking these exogenous ketones in my coffee, I was higher than I'd ever been at 8 – 16 mmo/L. Believe it or not, I could actually feel an extra clarity and energy source immediately after taking these keto supplements. As someone who's accustomed to the length of time it takes to get into keto, I was blown away by just how fast-acting the ketone esters were.
It was fitting that the week I tested out this product was one where I was especially active. For 5 out of the 7 days, I played hours of basketball and tennis. While playing tennis, I felt like it was easier to focus on making contact with the ball. I felt like I also had an extra storehouse of energy reserves and credit taking these ketones as having played a major role in that.
Below is a list of the main active ingredients in both TruBrain's snack bars and drinks.
- Caffeine + L-Theanine
Focus and Clarity
- Uridine + Centrophenoxine + Noopept
Cognition and Memory
- Magnesium + Tyrosine
stress reduction, lowered anxiety
- Carnitine + Citicoline
Neural Energy and Mood
TruBrain Snack Bar Review
The TruBrain snack bar is flavored with dates, cocoa, and sea salt for an incredible taste that in my opinion justifies its price tag. It has a very dynamic yet natural flavor. I could see myself eating these for a very long time without ever being tired of them. I was also very pleased with the consistency of these TruBrain snack bars. They are firm on the outside but just chewy enough on the inside. I only bring this up because I've tried snack bars in the past that tasted good, but were simply inedible for me because of their unfamiliar consistency.
I tried these bars for a week. By the first hour of the first day, it was apparent that these bars were making a difference in my overall cognition. I found myself experiencing an extra clarity that allowed me to critically analyze different situations throughout the day. As a result of this, I made better decisions. While I'm sure there were many factors that played into my experience, I can say for certain that these bars had a major influence.
These bars contains 80mg of caffeine was a good amount for me. The extra mental kick was appreciated as I went on throughout the day.
The one issue I had with this bar was that it had 20g of total carbs (5 dietary, 7 sugars). One might naturally ask, how can something with so many carbs be considered a product to help you STAY in Keto. Truth is, there are different levels of strictness with the Keto diet. For many who are less strict, they can more than afford to trade 20g of carbs for the nutrients gained while still maintaining their goals.
TruBrain Nootropic 1oz Shots Review
Like their snack bars, TruBrain's nootropic drinks are delicious and deliver a very natural sweetness that I think would have near universal appeal. It's sweetened with both monk fruit, natural cane sugar, blue agave, mangosteen, and nopal cactus. These shots contain 7g of sugar which while being relatively high for keto, still give you the mental boost and energy needed to go through your day. For those who are coffee lovers looking to get more nootropics into their system, Kimera Koffee is worth checking out.
Whether you're talking about the snack bar or the 1oz shot, these products give you an energy, clarity, and focus that ultimately translated for me into more will power. When you're feeling sluggish or carb-loaded, it's really easy to slack on fulfilling your goals. For the last week or so, I've been much more efficient at doing the things I say I'm going to do or want to do. This includes work-related task, personal responsibilities, and even social obligations.
Drinking these shots delivered an immediate burst of energy that I really appreciated. It's an energy I'd describe as being quick, clean, and sustainable. Admittedly, these drinks have more sugar content than I'd like. With 7g of carbs / sugar, it takes up a decent portion of my daily allotment of carbs. However, as mentioned above, it's all dependent on how strict of a keto lifestyle you're living. Personally, I could see myself taking these daily as a mental boost of clarity.
In conclusion, I was thoroughly impressed by all of TruBrain's products. The exogenous ketone esters did what was promised and then some. The snack bars and nootropic shots were as appetizing as they were effective. There's really not much more I could ask for. All said and done, I was very pleased with my TruBrain experience and the products I've tried easily rank as some of the best keto supplements and nootropic products on the market.