Ketones bodies are often referred to as the “4th macronutrient” (in addition to fat, carbs, and protein). But ketones are also much more than a macronutrient fuel. They are also a hormone-like signaling molecules. They have their own receptors on cells’ surfaces and regulate the activates of proteins within cells. Not only that, but a study published in one of the world’s most prestigious journals, Cell, reports that ketones directly increase the expression of particular genes.
This study showed that ketone bodies themselves can bind to the “histone” proteins around which our genic code is wrapped. In this way, ketones alter the structure of DNA and increase the expression of genes involved in a whole host of processes including protein metabolism, circadian rhythm, and mitochondrial function. This study also found that ketones targeted genes associated with many serious chronic diseases including diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and cancer.
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