TeaCrine's Energy vs. Caffeine's Energy

Kelsey Olanoff - Monday, April 16, 2018


What makes TeaCrine's energy different from caffeine's?


Well, both modulate adenosine, which is what signals fatigue. 


But, caffeine hits adenosine head-on. Adenosine can no longer fire the fatigue signal.


TeaCrine, on the other hand, "unlocks" adenosine through the side door. It isn't as aggressive as caffeine's signal, so adenosine can still fire - just to a lesser degree.


Because of this, feelings of fatigue are reduced when you take TeaCrine. And even after 60 days of taking it, your body hasn't produced more adenosine. Your body has not habituated.


With caffeine, the feelings of fatigue are blocked for a time, making you feel more awake.  After 4-5 days of caffeine, your body makes more adenosine. Translation: you're becoming dependent on caffeine.



How to Formulate a Pre-Workout

Matt Titlow - Thursday, October 26, 2017

The pre-workout category booms in January. Are you ready for it? Read on for insider tips on how to formulate your next pre-workout and how to differentiate with new ingredients at effective doses for your target audience.

How to Formulate a Pre-Workout

Questions for formulating a pre-workout:

1. Who is my target market?
2. Does this market want a stim-pre, non-stim pump pre, or fully-dosed pre?
3. Why do muscles fail? Which of the four verticals listed below do I want to attack?
4. Does my target market want a beta-alanine tingle, no tingle, or effective beta-alanine dosing?
5. What new trends, ingredients* or research exists?

Why do muscles fail? It's best explained by these 4 verticals:

1. Depletion of ATP and/or glycogen
2. Accumulation of hydrogen ions from lactate
3. Muscle contraction failure due to ATP-dependent calcium release/uptake
4. Oxidative stress (excess free radicals) causing muscle damage

Trends to Consider:

1. Full-dosed: it's no secret that 20 serving fully-dosed PWOs are on a tear and selling well
2. Noops: nootropics/cognitive/focus continue to loom large as we consider the mind's role in physical performance
3. Regulatory compliance/research: every year, GNC, Vitamin Shoppe and others become more stringent about the ingredients used, how the product is labeled and more...
          a. These large retailers are also reviewing claims, so ensuring the products' dosing is right is much more important than in the past
          b. While GNC and Shoppe are ahead of others regulatorily, look for Amazon to slowly develop the capability to enforce its own regulatory rules
4. Internet: Amazon is responsible for ~80% of all online supplement sales, and online supplement sales growth far exceeding offline growth; thus, an online strategy is more important than ever

*Call us regarding new ingredients and research on TeaCrine, VASO6, PeakO2, Dynamine, goBHB and more.


How To Disrupt the CrossFit (Endurance) Category

Matt Titlow - Thursday, October 26, 2017


There is no “GNC” for CrossFit. If endurance athletes go to, they don’t see themselves. Targeting thousands of CrossFit boxes individually is incredibly expensive, and exhibiting at endurance races across the country is also prohibitively expensive. So, how do you target this large market without a physical retail partner? Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) advertising. 

Before we expand on DTC advertising, it’s valuable to review the past and future. Below are 11 opportunities that CrossFit/endurance market largely missed.

11 Past “Misses”

1. When the world started eating and supplementing with far more protein, endurance largely stuck with carbs.

2. While ingredient innovation has accelerated over the past decade, the endurance market is opting for new branding, new sizes, new flavors, non-GMO, non-allergenic, “green” (recycled), clean-label, natural, vegan, gluten-free.

3. When beta-Alanine became popular, the endurance market skipped it. Hey, I agree with you: I wouldn’t want that tingling sensation either while getting through my WOD.

4. When adaptogens caught fire, the endurance community largely stuck with carbs.

5. When nut butters exploded, the endurance community left those in the grocery store.

6. Knowing the link between high osmolality carbs and GI distress, the endurance community has mostly kept to the same carb sources despite longtime innovations in this category.

7. To avoid GI distress, we know we’re limited to roughly 100 calories at a time using classic carbs. Formulation innovation beyond 100 calories has largely been silent.

8. Knowing of the potentially damaging long-term effects of repeated insulin spikes from carbs, the endurance community has stuck with very similar carb-based formulas for decades.

9. When we all realized that Ancel Keys led us down a tragic low-fat path, we awoke to the value of fat for overall health, as well as athletic performance. But CrossFit and endurance formulas have largely remained the same.

10. When Dr. Jeff Volek debunked the myth that carbs are needed for endurance athletics, formulations stayed the same.

11. When some of the most successful global brands embraced “lifestyle” branding, CrossFit and endurance stuck with a product focus.

When you look at the CrossFit and endurance category, it’s dominated by carbs; namely maltodextrin, fructose and dextrose. The carbs are packaged in products with cool labels, and various formats including gels, dissolving tablets, add-to-water powders and gummies/chews. They add electrolytes, but it’s all basically the same stuff since the ‘80s.

4 Future Opportunities

1. Protein: This giant category is not relenting. Consumers are looking for large containers of basic whey isolate or concentrate with at least 20 grams of protein. Consumers who identify with you and your lifestyle want your protein, even if it’s a little more expensive than a bodybuilding protein. If the market wants vegan, that’s fine. Use our Smooth Protein™ for superior taste and texture. Contact us if you’d like a differentiating factor to add to the protein.

2. New functional ingredients: No, we don’t supply all of these below. But we want to partner with you to formulate for and disrupt the category. This is a partial list.

a. Carb10™ - low glycemic and low osmolality prebiotic starch

b. Isomaltulose (Palatinose™) - low glycemic sugar

c. Cluster Dextrin™ - low osmolality carb

d. Allulose - zero glycemic sweetener

e. PeakO₂™ - power and endurance ingredient from mushroom adaptogens

f. Sensoril™ and KSM-66™ Ashwagandha - adaptogenic energy and focus

g. Nut butters

h. goMCT™ - healthy fat for clean, ketone fuel

i. goBHB™ - ketone for endurance and cognition

j. MCT and coconut oils from Compound Solutions

k. TeaCrine/caffeine combination - for improved time-to-exhaustion, and to lead the way in “Cognitive Sports Nutrition”

3. Formulate based on why muscles fail:

a. Depletion of ATP and/or glycogen

b. Accumulation of hydrogen ions from lactate

c. Muscle contraction failure due to ATP-dependent calcium release/uptake

d. Oxidative stress (excess free radicals) causing muscle damage

4. Market direct-to-consumer with up-to-date content marketing that we could jointly create.

Give us a call at +1 760-443-8768 to discuss formulation, disruption, and arguably the most bonk-proof formula created to maximize human potential.  

How To Formulate for Crossfit & Other Endurance Sports

Matt Titlow - Thursday, October 19, 2017

This is part II of a two-part series on CrossFit & endurance sport formulation. In Part I we discussed what has been missed and potential opportunities. Now we touch on potential formulations.

CrossFit is unique because it requires both power and endurance. The endurance category (running, cycling, ….) do require quick power at certain points of races, but not as constantly as the CrossFit world. So, how do you formulate for power and endurance? Here are some ideas below.

Want to start formulating? We're available to discuss formulation, disruption, and how to create arguably the most bonk-proof formula to maximize human potential.

Fat as Fuel in Sports Performance

Matt Titlow - Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The basis for a high-carbohydrate lifestyle is due more to agri-business pushing their products than it is due to good science. Our health should be based on causation, not imaginary correlations. It’s time for a change.

Sports Performance

It is widely believed that carbohydrate is essential for high levels of performance. This is a myth.

Dr. Tim Noakes is a forefather of carbohydrate loading and a high-level endurance athlete. That was until he developed type 2 diabetes himself. Yes, an expert dietitian and ultra-marathoner became diabetic. To his scientific credit, he didn’t just toss his hands up and say, “I don’t know why, I did everything right.” He identified that his previous practices were wrong and started a revolution, not just for sports performance, but lifestyle around the world.

The Math Behind Fueling for Endurance

The revolution is shifting from a high-carb to a high-fat diet. For endurance athletes, this is invaluable, as humans can only hold about 400-500 grams of carbohydrate (1,600-2,000 Calories). Any idea how much energy is required to run a marathon? About 3,000 Calories. Thus, even if it were possible to tap into all 2,000 Calories stored as muscle glycogen (glycogen is the body’s form of stored carbohydrate), another 1,000 Calories (250g carbohydrate) would still be required. To administer such an amount within a ~2-4 hour window is nigh impossible without cramping, diarrhea, or other GI distress. To cope with this, the body does not rely 100% on carbohydrate, rather about 40-50% of required energy comes from carbohydrate.

That is, unless the athlete is fat-adapted. In this scenario, 90% of required energy comes from fat, and very little fat, if any, need be ingested during exercise, suggesting the source being drawn upon is body fat, which is virtually unlimited. Humans with a high-carbohydrate intake are unable to access their fat stores at this level, no matter their level of fitness or intensity of their exercise.

Using Fat as Fuel in Endurance Sports

Even a lean individual would have about 60,000 Calories stored as body fat, 30-fold the amount of energy compared to carbohydrate. Clearly, this benefits the endurance athlete, especially the ultra-endurance and triathletes who can expend over 10,000 Calories in a single event. In practice, fat-adapted ultra-endurance athletes, such as Zach Bitter, are shattering previously-held records in the sport.

The Case for Using Fat as Fuel in Sport

In other sports, such as mixed-martial-arts, weightlifting, or CrossFit, a low-carb, high-fat diet also appears superior to a low-fat diet. A ketogenic diet has been researched on two occasions in weight lifters and once in CrossFit, and each time it has produced more dramatic decreases in body fat and equal increases in muscle mass and strength compared to a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. This has an immediate and obvious benefit to weight-class restricted sports. When considering the benefits of a low-carb diet for traumatic brain injury, it can be of enormous benefit to contact sport athletes.

Fat as Fuel in MMA

A case study on two mixed-martial arts athletes beginning a ketogenic diet shows the same reduction in body fat and maintenance of muscle mass while the athletes experienced a maintenance of strength, increase in power output, improvement in fatigue resistance, and a faster reaction time. The same holds true when researching the diet in Taekwondo athletes and gymnasts. Anecdotally, several team sport athletes have also reported success on a high-fat or ketogenic diet, such as basketball stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwight Howard, linemen Geoff Schwartz, Brian Winters, Willie Colon, and Weston Richburg, bodybuilders Toney Freeman, Brandon Curry, and Ben Pakulski, fighters Brandan Schaub and Kyle Kingsbury, and an entire soccer club from Norway, team Strømsgodset, who won the Norwegian Premier League Championships in 2013 and were runner-up the year prior and following since beginning carbohydrate restriction.

Final Statements

Surely if a high-fat diet were unhealthy, it would negatively impact performance, but athletes assuming such a diet seem to be winning more and more victories as the diet takes root. The evidence overwhelmingly confirms that low-carb, high-fat is the road to optimal health and performance – we only need to overcome our pride, admit to our wrongdoing, and stop this crisis before it becomes the undoing of our species. Food products designed to have minimal impact on blood sugars with high fat and/or protein content are growing in popularity, and they will undoubtedly help in correcting our societies’ health.


This is the third article in a three-part series about fat, brought to you by Compound Solutions.
Part 1 – What are Fats? A Scientific Approach to Dispelling Confusion Around Fat
Part 2 – The Truth About Fat
Part 3 – Fat as Fuel in Sports Performance


Click here for a complete list of references supporting this 3-part fat series.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

What Are Fats? A Scientific Approach to Dispelling the Confusion Around Fat

Matt Titlow - Monday, July 10, 2017


You may have heard from someone before, “healthy fats include chocolate and coconut oil." But the same person who told you that also said saturated fats were unhealthy. Those saying "healthy fats" are confused because all fats, apart from the very few exceptions, are healthy. Those with a confusing, mixed message about fat are stuck in the past and trying to reconcile the observed benefits of a high fat intake with an aged rhetoric.


A family of molecules

Fats, also called lipids, is a very general heading for a family of molecules – much more complicated than unsaturated or saturated. Most dietary fats in our food come as triglycerides, and a triglyceride is a glycerol backbone attached to three fatty acids.

These fatty acids can be either saturated (SFA), monounsaturated (MUFA), or polyunsaturated (PUFA), thus earning the triglyceride its respective title of saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, or polyunsaturated fat that we see on food labels.

Structurally speaking, the difference between each of these 3 types is probably not as profound as you’ve imagined.

SFAs are simple. They are a straight line of carbons bonded to hydrogens, and all bonds are “single bonds,” permitting their straight orientation.

MUFAs are the exact same thing except 1, just 1, of the single bonds between two carbon atoms becomes a “double bond,” and this puts a little kink in the line. The MUFA starts off straight until the double bond when it changes direction and continues in that direction until it runs out of carbons and hydrogens.

Similarly, PUFA is like a MUFA, but with 2 or more double bonds, or “bends.”

How fat functions

As with most things, “function follows form,” and this is precisely why so much attention is given to things like saturated or unsaturated fats. So let us take a look at their different shapes in the image below. The SFA is straight, MUFA bends once, while PUFA bends twice (PUFA can bend two or more times). Note that the PUFA basically takes the form of saturated fat, just slightly wider, in this example.

These fatty acids serve many processes, including

hormone production, vitamin absorption, cell composition, second messenger signals, myelination (the destruction of myelin causes multiple sclerosis), regulate inflammation, and regulate cell death, to name a few. 


Now, a theory behind the negativity of saturated fat is linked to “cell fluidity.” Fatty acids make up our cell membranes, and we must transport other molecules in to and out of the cell. Saturated fats are kind of like wooden planks forming the broad side of a wall – not very porous, there are just a few gaps between the boards. If the board bends a bit, it creates a big hole for things to slip through. Bad for houses – good for cells (generally). Moreover, cholesterol (yes that cholesterol) increase cell fluidity when cell fluidity is low but decreases cell fluidity when it is too high, and our fats in the cell membrane are constantly moving around.

However, fatty acids are used for much more than forming cell membranes and regulating what goes into the cell.
So are saturated fats still “bad?” Not exactly. Increasing dietary saturated fat can actually lower circulating saturated fats (a risk factor for heart disease). Collectively, fats actually help to protect our cells, and that includes the cells of the heart. This is why a diet very high in fat in conjunction with a diet very low in carbohydrate will improve cardiometabolic health. The problem with the so-called “high-fat diet” that we’ve been told is so deadly is that it contains just as much or more carbohydrate than it does fat. Why? Because the outdated nutritional community believes carbohydrates are the base of human nutrition. They’re wrong – they don’t know how to let them go. It is our cultural, historical dependence on carbohydrate that keeps them in power (lobbyists for the big grain companies don’t help either). Fats can easily replace carbohydrate in the human diet. 

Fats are fuel!

At this point we, as a species, have been tricked into thinking that carbohydrates are the most important macronutrient for fueling the body, but we were wrong! For decades, we have searched for the reason for our ailments and rapidly rising rates of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and the like, not knowing the answer has been right under our noses all along. We’ve pushed carbohydrate-based diets, and they’ve let us down tremendously. The research used to support this agenda has been weak, and the restriction of dietary fat has never outperformed the restriction of dietary carbohydrate in the human clinical research setting. As scientists, we very rarely get to speak in absolutes because there’s always a small chance to the contrary, but in this case, at this time, and to the best of our knowledge we can repeat, dietary fat restriction has never outperformed dietary carbohydrate restriction. In fact, when total dietary saturated fats are replaced with carbohydrate, cardiometabolic risk factors are exacerbated or unchanged, but replacement with medium-chain saturated fats, MUFA, or PUFA will lower these risks.
What are these sub-classifications of fats?

Fats are not unlike carbohydrates in that both have sub-classifications for “digestion speed.” SFAs are metabolized more easily than MUFAs which are metabolized more easily than PUFAs because every double bond requires more steps to break them down. There are also more bonds to break for every pair of carbons present in the fatty acid, so their “length” is also a factor (the above examples have 16 carbons and will go through 9 metabolic cycles. If it had 8 carbons, it would undergo only 5 metabolic cycles, and the unsaturated fats would require additional steps when breaking the double-bond).

Based on the number of carbons, we can classify fatty acids by their size: short-chain, medium-chain, or long-chain. Short-chains are less than 6 carbons, medium-chains are 6-12 carbons, and long-chains are greater than 12 carbons. Shorter chains are easier to metabolize. Thus, our new hierarchy from easiest to most difficult to metabolize goes a little more like this:

4-carbon SFA
6-carbon SFA ----[INSERT EXAMPLES]
8-carbon SFA
all the rest of the SFAs in ascending order
4-carbon MUFAs
6-carbon MUFAs ----[INSERT EXAMPLES]
8-carbon MUFAs
all the rest of the MUFAs in ascending order
4-carbon PUFAs
6-carbon PUFAs ----[INSERT EXAMPLES]
8-carbon PUFAs
all the rest of the PUFAs in ascending order

Odd numbers of carbons do exist and this also requires additional steps… but that is a whole other level of biochemistry.

Here is another thing that doesn’t make sense. We label unsaturated fat as “healthy,” but there’s one in particular which is generally frowned upon, and that is arachidonic acid. Its PUFA arrangement makes a U shape, and that is very unusual. Arachidonic acid is associated with inflammation and other unfavorable symptoms, but for perspective, this is just one very specific fat… at least 2/3 of individual carbohydrates (glucose and fructose for example) are definitely worse!

The unsaturated fats are also the only ones that can be trans fat. This comes from the chemical nomenclature for the type of double-bond the unsaturated fat has – it can either be cis or trans. Most are cis, and that is what is shown in the example above. Cis = Same, both hydrogens around the double bond are on the same side. Trans fat is when those hydrogens are on opposite sides of the double-bond (they would appear diagonal across the double-bond in the diagram). Ipso facto, trans fat (and arachidonic acid) can inadvertently receive the healthy fat classification. It definitely doesn’t make sense! Keep an eye out for “partially-hydrogenated” in your ingredients. If you see that, it contains trans fat – just not enough for the FDA to make them type in a number greater than 0 on their nutrition facts panel. Partially-hydrogenated oils are also much more harmful than natural trans fats, such as those found in meat and dairy.

Short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids

The last unique fat to discuss are short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids. These are always saturated fats, and they are very easily metabolized and readily form ketone bodies. Typically blood ketones are associated with diabetic ketoacidosis, and that can be true, but there is also nutritional ketosis, which is totally non-life-threatening (very much the opposite, in fact). Nutritional ketosis is highly associated with healthier body composition and lower inflammation.

When talking about ketones, we’re mostly concerned with butyrate. Butyrate becomes the ketone beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), which means there was a hydrogen molecule and an oxygen molecule added to the butyrate. BHB is water-soluble and very useful, as it can cross the blood brain barrier to fuel the brain, stimulate our peripheral tissues to absorb glucose out of the blood (yes, this fat can reduce blood glucose*), and it can quickly (very quickly as far as fats are concerned) be converted into fuel for muscle tissues as well.
*Lower blood glucose is associated with longer, healthier lives.

The final word

Remember – All Fats Are Healthy. Fats like fish oil or coconut oil are the healthiest fats.



Click here for a complete list of references supporting this 3-part fat series.

The Truth About Fat

Matt Titlow - Sunday, July 09, 2017

On the global scale, we have failed to promote accurate dietary guidelines for improving our health. We can’t necessarily be blamed for initially thinking fat would make us fat – it is called fat, after all. However, after 40-50 years of climbing death rates and incidence of lifestyle diseases, we absolutely must be more critical of our ways. More people are adhering to the low-fat recommendations, but more people are succumbing to sickness and death. The basis for a high-carbohydrate lifestyle is due more to agri-business pushing their products than it is due to good science. Our health should be based on causation, not imaginary correlations.

It’s time for a change.

Dissecting the Disconnect

Dietary recommendations, in some form or another, have been commonplace in the United States for the better part of 100 years. Early on, the recommendations were actually to eat more to prevent deficiency diseases and general malnutrition. The recommended foods (meat, eggs, and dairy) were in complete contrast to those of our current system.

Graphics from the 1940s and 1950s said to eat plenty of “The Basic 7,” which consisted of:

1. green and yellow vegetables
2. oranges, tomatoes, grapefruits, and salad greens
3. other (starchy) vegetables and fruit
4. dairy
5. meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and beans
6. bread and cereal products, and
7. butter.

Oh yeah, and “eat any other food you want.” There were no upper limits, and butter was its own required category (heck yes!).Eat the Basic 7 - 40s Dietary Recommendations

From 1950’s – 1992, the “eat to your heart’s content” motto remained in place with only a small change, reducing from 7 to 4 categories:

1. fruit and vegetable
2. dairy
3. meat
4. bread and cereal

For each category, it was recommended to eat a number of servings “or more” each day. In essence, each of these maintained a recommendation to eat plenty of protein, fats, and carbohydrates in relatively equal quantities.

Of course in 1992, the food guide pyramid came about. The Food Guide Pyramid was a complete disaster.

The Food Guide Pyramid of 1992

Through 12 years of back and forth between the USDA and food interest groups, we were finally limited in our overall food consumption (which the food industry did not want). Originally, fruits and vegetables were intended to form the base of the pyramid, but the grain industry would not make enough money that way, and they managed to get that changed. It’s too bad that the meat, dairy, and egg boards did not have as much power for reasons that we will discuss.

Realizing the error of their ways, the USDA reduced the recommendation for grains and incorporated exercise into the MyPyramid guide of 2005 until 2011, when MyPlate basically said the same thing, but it also demonstrated how to arrange food on a plate.

It is interesting to note that the Food Guide Pyramid began its formation in 1980, and this is the exact time we began to reach an unprecedented trajectory for increasing rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other preventable diseases. Although the infographic was not yet released, the messages it contained were still beginning to be broadcast throughout the US.

Effects of the (Mis)guidance
Could it be that the messages of the Food Guide Pyramid and its revisions actually fueled the obesity epidemic?

In fact, yes.

In the 1970’s, Dr. Ancel Keyes published the infamous Seven Countries Study, which indicted dietary fat as the “cause” of death. Interestingly enough, data for 15 other countries were excluded from his analyses. Not for any valid reason, but because they did not fit his hypotheses. This is about as unethical a “scientist” can possibly be. The 7 countries selected by Keyes did actually correlate dietary fat to mortality. However if we include all available data (the right way to conduct science), there is no relationship. Similarly, the Framingham Heart Study preceded the Seven Countries Study and also “adjusted” the conclusions of the study so that they did not reflect the truth.

Figure 1A shows what Dr. Keyes reported. Figure 1B shows what data was available. Look between #7 and #14. Finland and Mexico ate about the same amount of fat (~23%; a healthy amount by USDA standards), yet the two points are nearly as far away as can be. If there was a correlation, all points would be near the line. Clearly, there is no correlation here.

The truth is, there is not, and there never was, a correlation between fat intake and heart disease, death, or any other major preventable disease.

Dr. John Yudkin rejected the fat-theory of disease at the time of its promotion. In any case, even if the information presented in these two “landmark” studies were true, they were correlational studies and are, therefore, incapable of determining causation. For example, the per capita consumption of mozzarella cheese is over 95% correlated with doctoral degrees awarded in civil engineering over time. Did mozzarella cheese cause an increase in the earning of PhDs in civil engineering? We could make such an argument, but it’s pretty unlikely. To make a true determination, a scientist would need to give mozzarella cheese to students studying civil engineering and measure graduation rates compared to a homogenous group given a placebo cheese. Given that the two are correlated, such an investigation would be justified. That is the exact purpose of correlational research – to direct causative research, not instruct a nation on what should be considered good practice. If this were to occur in the pharmaceutical industry, heads would roll (possibly literally) with such little validation for the putative therapeutic recommendation.

Since the publication of these two studies, numerous other pieces of research, both causative and correlational, have indicated that dietary fat and saturated fat pose no risk to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, or any other common disease. The data actually suggest that high-fat diets are superior to low-fat diets. High-fat diets improve cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, glucose, body weight, body fat, waist circumference, and several other markers when compared head-to-head with low-fat diets. THIS is the truth, and to believe anything else is a detriment to the advancement of our species.

All fats are healthy

The truth extends to indicate that not only were we mistaken about fats, but carbohydrates are more likely the cause of our worldwide plight.

In a review, Volek and Feinman boldly postulate within the title of their paper that “Metabolic Syndrome may be defined by the response to carbohydrate restriction,” with metabolic syndrome being cardiovascular disease & diabetes simultaneously. Basically, they’re stating that metabolic syndrome will undoubtedly be improved if dietary carbohydrate intake is reduced. It has been shown that even modest reduction of carbohydrate intake by 15% produces a dramatic reduction in several risk factors, such as insulin and triglycerides. Moreover, replacing dietary fat with carbohydrate has a negative impact on cholesterol ratio two-fold greater than isocaloric amounts of butter and four-fold greater than isocaloric amounts of palm-oil, while coconut fat, mayonnaise, and rapeseed oil improved markers of heart health, suggesting carbohydrate is far worse for human health than any fat.

Figure from Volek et al. (2008) comparing the health effects of a very-low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet (VLCKD) and a low-fat diet (LFD).

The latest research goes on to implicate low-carb, high-fat diets for beneficially affecting more than obesity and diabetes. Specifically, this dietary intervention has the potential to help those with cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetic neuropathies, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, autism, epilepsy, polycystic ovarian syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, ischemic brain injury, depression, headaches and migraines, narcolepsy, McArdle disease, cardiac ischemia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; Lou Gehrig’s disease), enzyme-deficient metabolic disorders, acne, infantile spasm syndrome, attention-deficit disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, infertility, chronic pain, psoriasis, respiratory deficiencies, oxygen hypertoxicity, mitochondrial myopathy, fatty liver disease, and stroke.

Several of these diseases are positively impacted by ketones, like BHB. Ketones are generated when individuals restrict carbohydrate and increase fat consumption to a point where they become ketogenic (i.e. the ketogenic diet). Many people inappropriately associate ketones with diabetic ketoacidosis, but this is a byproduct of failing organs, and it is impossible to reach ketoacidosis levels of ketones through dieting (or even by extended fasts) in healthy individuals. Research in this area is relatively novel, but already there are clear implications for the ketone bodies themselves, irrespective of diet alone, in diabetes, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, myopathies, free radical toxicity, muscle wasting, hypoglycemic episodes, and certain genetic enzyme deficiencies.

In sum, excessive and consistent carbohydrate intake prevent the adaptation to effectively metabolize dietary fat. Dietary fat does not prevent adaptation to effectively metabolize carbohydrate, and the body can switch back with relative ease. Therefore, it is the carbohydrate content of the diet which produces illness, possibly in part due to the suppression of ketone bodies. Human diets should be based primarily on fat and protein to prevent maladaptation to a carbohydrate-dependent metabolism leading them down a road to illness and malaise.

All Fats Are Healthy.

Final Statements

The low-carbohydrate, high-fat lifestyle might seem counter-intuitive, but it was common treatment for diabetes prior to 1970 and the invention of injectable insulin. Surely if a high-fat diet was unhealthy, it would negatively impact performance, but athletes assuming such a diet seem to be winning more and more victories as the diet takes root. The evidence overwhelmingly confirms that low-carb, high-fat is the road to optimal health and performance – we only need to overcome our pride, admit to our wrongdoing, and stop this crisis before it becomes the undoing of our species. Food products designed to have minimal impact on blood sugars with high fat and/or protein content are growing in popularity, and they will undoubtedly help in correcting our societies’ health.

This is the second article in a three-part series about fat, brought to you by Compound Solutions.
Part 1 – What are Fats? A Scientific Approach to Dispelling Confusion Around Fat  
Part 2 – The Truth About Fat
Part 3 – Fat as Fuel in Sports Performance


Click here for a complete list of references supporting this 3-part fat series.

The Definitive Guide to Micronutrients in the Ketogenic Diet

Matt Titlow - Monday, February 20, 2017

When excluding particular foods, food categories, or macronutrient groups from the diet, the opportunity for deficiency to present itself increases. Therefore, it is no surprise that pushback against the ketogenic diet cites vitamin, mineral, or other nutrient deficiencies as a reason to think twice before restricting carbohydrate content in the diet.


However, a close examination of our foods and their contents strongly supports the consumption of animal products. In fact, removing animal products from the diet poses more of a risk to the development of nutrient deficiencies than removing carbohydrate-rich products. This is particularly true when looking beyond the nutrient content of the food to how the nutrients are absorbed and metabolized.

In general, meat and other animal products do not limit or may promote nutrient absorption, while plants can often contain antinutrients like phytates, oxalates, or glucosinolates which reduce nutrient absorption, nullifying any benefits associated with their contents.

So... what nutrients are lacking in a ketogenic diet?



National Institute of Health, Daily Values

National Institute of Health, Recommended Intake

Vitamin A

Cruciferous vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli), dairy (cheese), and meat (beef liver, fish) are rich in vitamin A. Interestingly, 1 ounce of beef liver would provide nearly 100% of the DV for vitamin A (a tablespoon of butter can also provide over 5%). Vitamin A is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet.

Sources of Vitamin A in the Keto Diet

Vitamin B Complex

Here we say B “complex,” as this group includes thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folate, and cobalamin. The B vitamin complex is an interesting one because we’re told to eat grains and cereal to get B vitamins. Grains and cereal don’t actually contain much B vitamins naturally – they’re added in as supplements in a process called fortification. B12 (cobalamin) is actually not found in plant sources and can only be obtained from meat. As for the rest, a diet containing red meats, seafood, dairy, nuts, and seeds will meet all recommended intakes for the B vitamins. Vitamin B Complex is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C’s best known sources are the citrus fruits – definitely not on a ketogenic diet. While they are abundant in citrus fruits, red peppers actually take the cake, containing 158% DV per half cup. Green peppers also rank highly at 100% DV per half cup. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, cauliflower, and cabbage all contain ample amounts of Vitamin C. However, Vitamin C is not abundant in animal products. Therefore, a ketogenic dieter whom skimps on their vegetable intake is susceptible to a low Vitamin C intake. Vitamin C is POSSIBLY lacking in a ketogenic diet.

Sources of Vitamin C in the Ketogenic Diet

How to resolve Vitamin C deficiencies: by supplementing with ascorbic acid or increase consumption of the vegetables listed above.

Vitamin D

This is another interesting one. The RDA for Vitamin D is 600 IU (15 mcg), but some experts believe it should be double to quadruple that amount for optimal bone, endocrine, and organ health. This may be a contributing factor to the health benefits of a ketogenic diet, as plant sources (except for mushrooms) are devoid of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet. In reality, keto- dieters are very likely better off than non-ketoers.

Vitamin E

Of all whole foods, nuts/legumes and seeds reign supreme for Vitamin E content. Spinach and broccoli are two of the most abundant vegetable sources as well, indicating that Vitamin E is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet.

Vitamin K

Plants dominate Vitamin K. Luckily, the highest concentrations are found in cruciferous vegetables like collards and turnip greens, spinach, kale, and broccoli – all of which contain over 100% DV per serving. The keto-friendly, non-vegetable sources of Vitamin K are of relatively low concentrations, not containing over 20% per serving, but they include pine nuts (19% DV/ounce), chicken breast (17% DV/3 ounces), ground beef (8% DV/3 ounces), and olive oil (10% DV/TBSP). While it is unlikely, Vitamin K is POSSIBLY lacking in a ketogenic diet. However, an abundance of beef, chicken, and olive oil could remedy a deficiency if a keto-dieter forsakes vegetables (which they should not).

How to resolve deficiencies of Vitamin K – increase consumption of the vegetables listed above or supplement. Supplementing Vitamin K is not straight-forward, as bioavailability comes into play. There are 2 forms of Vitamin K – 1 and 2 or phylloquinone and menaquinone, respectively. Most of the diet consists of K1, but the menaquinone with 7 prenyl side chains (aka MK-7) appears to be the most efficacious for increasing blood levels of vitamin K.



Dairy! Calcium is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet. However, this nutrient may need to be increased during adaptation to a ketogenic diet, as the diet can flush the body of electrolytes, causing cramping and malaise. For argument’s sake, let’s say a keto-dieter is also sensitive to dairy. This individual could obtain adequate amounts of calcium from fish (like salmon and sardines), kale, bok choy, and/or broccoli. Other than those, the only other efficient way using food is with calcium- fortified carbohydrate products like orange juice or cereals. If supplementing, it is efficient to take calcium itself or Calcium Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (CaBHB). Supplementing with CaBHB can rapidly induce ketosis and can be used to accelerate the transition period between one’s “normal” diet and the ketogenic diet or induce a deeper state of ketogenesis for those already adapted.

Calcium Sources for the Ketogenic Diet


Chloride is a major component of salt (table or sea), and therefore, it is not likely lacking in any diet. Chloride is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet. However, this nutrient may need to be increased during adaptation to a ketogenic diet, as the diet can flush the body of electrolytes, causing cramping and malaise.


Chromium is not found in large quantities in very many foods. The most abundant food only contains 11 mcg per serving (half cup of broccoli), which equates to about one-third of daily needs, but there is a steep drop off after broccoli with grape juice, wheat muffins, and potatoes having 8, 4, and 3 mcg of chromium per serving, respectively. Although reports of chromium deficiency are rare, its scarcity in the diet makes it more likely that a ketogenic diet could produce a deficiency. Chromium is POSSIBLY lacking in a ketogenic diet.

How to resolve Chromium deficiencies – consume more broccoli or supplement. Chromium is easily excreted, so several small doses throughout the day are most effective, but the best form of chromium is yet to be adequately defined.


Copper is another nutrient very abundant in a ketogenic diet. Seafood, beef, seeds, legumes, nuts, dark chocolate, and green veggies lead the pack for copper content. Copper is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet.

Copper Sources for the Ketogenic Diet


Fluoride is actually most abundant in water. There is also a high content in avocado, greens, and dairy. Fluoride is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet.


Iodine presents a case similar to that of Vitamin D, although less pronounced. Some believe its consumption should be greater for optimal health. Interestingly, seaweed can contain anywhere from 10-2,000% DV of iodine. Seafoods (such as the more typical fish, particularly white fish), dairy, and eggs are also rich in iodine. Iodine is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet.


Iron is tricky because there is heme and non-heme iron. Essentially, heme iron is desired, because it is absorbed much better than non-heme iron. While plant sources may be high in iron, they contain non-heme iron as well as many other compounds, such as oxalates or phylates, which inhibit iron uptake. Animal sources, however, are rich in heme iron, and contain a “meat protein factor” which promotes iron absorption. Iron is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet.


Here is another example of a nutrient with relatively low quantities in any single food item. However, magnesium content meets or exceeds 10% of DV in over 15 unique foods. Of these exist almonds (20%), spinach (20%), cashews (19%), peanuts (16%), black beans (15%), avocado (11%), and yogurt (11%). With lower amounts found in meats and seafoods, magnesium is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet. However, this nutrient should be increased during adaptation to a ketogenic diet, as the diet can flush the body of electrolytes, causing cramping and malaise.

Magnesium in the Ketogenic Diet


To resolve a potential deficiency in Magnesium, you can supplement with magnesium itself or Magnesium Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (MgBHB). Supplementing with MgBHB can rapidly induce ketosis and can be used to accelerate the transition period between one’s “normal” diet and the ketogenic diet or induce a deeper state of ketogenesis for those already adapted.


Manganese is similar to magnesium (in more than just the name!). They both have a +2 charge and can be used somewhat interchangeably in the body’s chemical reactions/stabilizations. It is found in surprisingly large amounts in teas and spices, but also in seafood, nuts, seeds, and beans. Manganese is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet.


Here’s one we don’t hear about very much. This is probably because average Americans consume about double the RDA for molybdenum (~45mcg). However, animal products and vegetables are relatively low in the nutrient, but nuts, beans, and peas are some of the richest sources. Thus, a ketogenic diet is likely lower in molybdenum than a non-keto diet, but that might not be so bad. While molybdenum deficiencies have not been observed in any healthy individuals, overconsumption can promote copper excretion and increase oxidative stress. Collectively, molybdenum is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet.


Meats, dairy, nuts, seeds, and beans are all high in phosphorus. Phosphorus is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet.


Potassium is found in high concentrations in meats, dairy, many keto-friendly vegetables, avocado, beans, and seafood. Potassium is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet. However, this nutrient may need to be increased during adaptation to a ketogenic diet, as the diet can flush the body of electrolytes, causing cramping and malaise. To resolve this potential deficiency, you can supplement with potassium itself, but Potassium Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (KBHB) is not available in powder form. Those supplementing with CaBHB, MgBHB and/or NaBHB often supplement with potassium to balance the minerals. When supplementing with Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium, you need to balance those minerals in these ratios 12:5:57:18, respectively. In other words, 1mg of Potassium is needed for every 0.21mg of Calcium, 0.09mg of Magnesium, 0.32mg of Sodium (reference: NIH).


Each Brazil nut has about 100% DV of selenium. Yellowfin tuna ranks second with 131% DV in 3 ounces, and all of the other foods high in selenium are predominantly animal products. Selenium is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet.

Sources of Selenium in the Keto Diet


Sodium is the other major component of salt, and it is not lacking in just about any diet. Although it was previously thought that sodium exacerbated cardiovascular disease, this is slowly being disproven (reference 1, reference 2). Sodium is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet. However, much like the other electrolytes, sodium can be expelled due to the diuretic effect of ketogenic diet adaptation and may need to be increased during this time.

To resolve this potential deficiency, you can sprinkle table salt on your food, or supplement with Sodium Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (NaBHB). It is common to see people on ketogenic diets liberally applying salt to their food to combat higher rates of excretion. If supplementing with NaBHB, you can rapidly induce ketosis and some use it to accelerate the transition period between one’s “normal” diet and the ketogenic diet or induce a deeper state of ketogenesis for those already adapted.


Most sulfur comes from animal products (like eggs!). Moreover, the majority of sulfur-containing vegetables are keto-friendly as well. Sulfur is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet.


Again, meats and seafoods contain the most zinc followed by dairy, legumes, and nuts. Zinc is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet.

Other Nutrients

Omega 3's

Omega 3 fatty acids should not be lacking in a ketogenic diet. By far and away, the richest source of omega 3’s are oily fish. Second, third, and fourth place belong to seeds, nuts, and beans. The fish sources contain the better sources of omega 3’s, EPA and DHA, while the latter 3 contain the inferior ALA. Beef (particularly grass fed beef) and eggs also contain smaller amounts of omega 3’s (mostly ALA, though). Thus, the omega 3’s are NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet. However, eating larger amounts of the pro-inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids can still negatively affect health, and without adequate omega 3 consumption to counter-balance, a ketogenic diet can quickly spur an unfavorable omega 3 to omega 6 ratio.


The recommendation for fiber intake is 25-30g/day not from supplements. The latter portion of this statement is particularly revealing. Fiber in and of itself is useful, but not as healthful as we’re lead to believe. Rather, fiber is an indicator of plant consumption since it is not found in animal products. Hence, high fiber equates to high plant consumption equates to less “bad” food, but its unique value does not live up to its hype. ...but it is useful. Fiber is actually fermented into fat by human gut bacteria, so any health benefits of fiber can be due in large part to its conversion to fat (specifically, short-chain fatty acids). Is it lacking? Even 30g of fiber per day is possible with a little conscious effort. Staple ketogenic foods like avocados, nuts, and seeds are quite high in fiber. Add in green vegetables and one is easily over 20g of fiber per day. The last 10g are where effort comes in. Incorporating “specialty” foods like cacao, flax, chia, hemp, and low-carb flours (i.e. flax, almond, and coconut) can quickly and easily provide 10-20g of fiber per day. Fiber is NOT lacking in a ketogenic diet ...if you do it right.

Supplementing with Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB)

Ketogenic Diet Supplementation with goBHB from Compound Solutions

BHB can be thought of as the “goal” of a ketogenic diet; it is the ketone body that is most elevated when nutritional ketosis is successfully induced and carries its own therapeutic properties. BHB is not stable on its own, so when it is in supplement form, it is most commonly found in powder form bound to the minerals Calcium, Magnesium or Sodium. For those supplementing with Calcium BHB (CaBHB), Magnesium BHB (MgBHB), or Sodium BHB (NaBHB), it is common to see all three in combination to ensure balanced mineral intake. Some also add Potassium Citrate, Potassium Chloride or Potassium Bicarbonate to the mix, as well, to keep Potassium levels optimal. Supplemental BHB accelerates fat adaptation and reduces the symptoms of “keto flu” for those who are new to the diet. For those already keto-adapted, BHB can be used as a carbohydrate-alternative fuel source before, during, or after exercise, and BHB can quickly return one to a state of ketosis when it would just be rude to refuse a slice of birthday cake.

Are you formulating for the ketogenic health market? Let's talk about goBHB.

How to Formulate with Carbs

Matt Titlow - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Carbs are quickly becoming the “new bad guy” in the American diet. We're just a few years away from anti-carbohydrate campaigns, and the popularity of low-carb and ketogenic lifestyles are only growing. In this shifting environment, how do you formulate products with carbs? 

Carb Considerations

There are four key things to consider before you formulate with carbs: glycemic index, carbohydrate types, tolerability and health impacts.

The Glycemic Index is a measure of a food's impact on post-prandial blood glucose. In other words, “how much will this food increase my blood glucose after I eat it, on a scale from 0 to 100?”

Increasing blood glucose by consuming a high glycemic carb is a desirable quality of a carbohydrate source during or immediately prior to certain types of athletic activity – namely those that require a quick burst of semi-sustained energy substrate, such as soccer. High-glycemic carbs may also be utilized post-activity to quickly replenish glycogen stores, but this tactic is only appropriate if the athlete is going to be using the same muscle groups again within 24 hours, such as in tournament-style competitions.

For ALL other times, a low-glycemic food item is more desirable.

Carbohydrate types are classified as monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides. In the supplement world, we primarily deal with monosaccharides (like glucose or fructose) and polysaccharides (starches). Although they are technically different types of carbohydrates, they are not always so different in their biological effects. Of particular interest is maltodextrin. Maltodextrin is classified as a starch, but its biological behavior mimics that of pure glucose in many regards. In effect, this starch is a sugar and carries with it all of the negative aspects of a sugar.

The tolerability of a carbohydrate powder is linked to its gastrointestinal (GI) effects. In this regard, we must consider osmolality and molecular weight. The two are inversely related, meaning as one increases, the other decreases. Low osmolality (and high molecular weight) are associated with rapid gastric emptying time and minimal, if any, GI distress.

Health impacts related to carbohydrates are, most notably, glucose and insulin levels. Although carbohydrates are still purported to be the foundation of a healthy diet, more sophisticated research is soon to dethrone them. The reasoning behind this is as follows:

• elevated post-prandial blood glucose drastically increases risk for cardiovascular disease1
• dietary carbohydrate restriction is superior to dietary saturated fat restriction for improving diabetes and heart disease2
• and glucose is the major fuel source for many cancer cells3

These are also the underlying reasons for the relevance of the Glycemic Index.

6 Rules of Thumb for Formulating with Carbs

1. Be cautious about formulating with anything labeled as maltodextrin or “glucose polymers” (euphemism for maltodextrin). The reasons are (1) it is known as a cheap filler (2) it disrupts the gut microbiome4,5 and (3) consumers are gaining knowledge about the negative health impacts of elevated insulin6. 
2. Lower glycemic carbs providing sustained energy should be used in most applications, particularly meal replacements, pre- and intra-workout products.
3. Higher glycemic carbs should only be used proximal in time to athletic activity.
4. Use “cleaner” carbs that are non-gmo, non-allergenic, organic, and that minimally impact blood sugar.
5. Remain wary of the negative health impacts of carbohydrates and formulate to reflect the purpose of the product.
6. Pay attention to osmolality. This is often forgotten, but so critical in preventing GI distress.

Applications for Carbohydrate Powders such as Carb10™

Clean Gainer (i.e. Optimum’s Gold Standard Gainer)

Click here to learn more about Carb10™, our clean, easy-to-digest, low-glycemic solution.

How do Carbohydrates Compare?

[1] Goulas, A. K., Cooper, J. M., Grandison, A. S., & Rastall, R. A. (2004). Synthesis of isomaltooligosaccharides and oligodextrans in a recycle membrane bioreactor by the combined use of dextransucrase and dextranase. Biotechnology and bioengineering, 88(6), 778-787.

[2] Although osmolality is often linked to GI distress, fibers can be an exception. Their molecular weight is often low to very low, but have little disturbance or sometimes “calming” effect on the gut.

[i] There are low Dextrose Equivalent (DE) versions that are low insulinemic.



1. Glucose tolerance and cardiovascular mortality: comparison of fasting and 2-hour diagnostic criteria. Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(3):397-405.
2. Volek, J. S., & Feinman, R. D. (2005). Carbohydrate restriction improves the features of Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome may be defined by the response to carbohydrate restriction. Nutrition & metabolism, 2(1), 1.
3. Seyfried, T.N., & Shelton, L.M. (2010). Cancer as a metabolic disease. Nutrition & Metabolism, 7(1), 1.
4. Nickerson, K. P., Chanin, R., & McDonald, C. (2015). Deregulation of intestinal anti-microbial defense by the dietary additive, maltodextrin. Gut microbes, 6(1), 78-83.
5. O'Brien, W. J., & Rowlands, D. S. (2011). Fructose-maltodextrin ratio in a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution differentially affects exogenous carbohydrate oxidation rate, gut comfort, and performance. American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, 300(1), G181-G189.
6. Blaak EE, Antoine JM, Benton D, et al. Impact of postprandial glycaemia on health and prevention of disease. Obesity Reviews. 2012;13(10):923-84.

Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (as goBHB) Infographic

Kelsey Olanoff - Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Our goBHB (beta-hydroxybutyrate) is attracting more and more attention because it's tapping into a huge marketplace demand for non-carb energy. goBHB is a ketone body--free of carbs--that when consumed can be used to fuel mind and body. It's a performance fuel.

But what exactly is beta-hydroxybutyrate and how does it function in the body? Here's a breakdown of this almost-too-good-to-be-true ingredient.


Looking to formulate with goBHB? Let's talk. Email us:



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