Vaxxen Labs Keto1 Pure BHB Salts Flavor Reviews
Thaumatin: What is Katemfe Fruit Extract in Vaxxen Labs KETO-1?
The supplement industry is taking the demands of the keto world seriously. In 2018, we've seen an avalanche of new products targeting the low-carb demographic. Vaxxen Labs set out to make an energy drink mix for those that enjoy the lower carb side of life. With just four ingredients, did they hit the mark?
The Premise: A next-level BHB Salt energy drink for keto dieters
Keto 1 by Vaxxen Labs is one of those products beautiful in its simplicity. Barring additional minerals, it has four ingredients, all of which have been subjected to harsh scientific scrutiny and passed with flying colors. The purpose of the product is even simpler: powdered rocket fuel that will let those on a low-carb diet speed through their day with a surplus of good vibes and energy. This lets us set our expectations.
The road forks: stimulant and stimulant-free
In the stimulant version, Keto 1, we expect to see a well-planned energy blend (and now a stimulant-free option) that doesn't force you to rely on glucose to get through your day.
In the non-stimulant version, the brand takes a wild twist, with some extremely unique chocolate-based flavors, one of which knocked our socks off!
But at PricePlow, we're all about the ingredients here. Did they hit the mark with such a stripped down ingredient list? Let's find out, but first, you can check prices and sign up for deals and news alerts from Vaxxen Labs, as this company's been moving fast:
See our Keto-1 Review
Mike and Jill reviewed the two new chocolate flavors (caffeine-free), as well as taste-testing the caffeinated sour apple flavor.
As you'll see above, Mike's got some amazing things to say about the product, but a bit of constructive criticism also discussed below.
Next we get into the ingredients for the powder version. For the sake of this blog post, we're going to focus on the sour apple flavor which has caffeine. You can note that the front of its label says "Super Charged by Caffeine".
Keto 1 Ingredients (Super Charged by Caffeine version)
Keto 1 Performance Catalyst - BHB Salts (11.7g)
The first thing we notice about the performance blend is its status as a proprietary blend - sort of. Right off the bat, we know we're getting a true and patented 11.7g dose of goBHB by Compound Solutions.
The label doesn't state how much of each salt you're getting, but it does show the nutrition facts, and we can see that we're getting the following minerals:
- Sodium BHB providing 914mg sodium (38% daily value)
- Calcium BHB providing 240mg calcium (24% daily value)
- Magnesium BHB providing 140mg magnesium (4% daily value)
Those that follow our keto research series will recognize sodium as a primary "cure" for the keto flu that takes down so many would-be low carb acolytes, as discussed in our Sodium for Keto Dieters article. Magnesium and calcium are also easy minerals to be deficient in.[1,6] We support this trio of BHB salts. Three thumbs up.
Why use a BHB salt for energy?
For those new to BHB salts, their purpose is simple. Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), a ketone body, is an energy currency that the body's cells can use, just like glucose. That's right, we're able to adapt to a different energy source if glucose isn't around! And even better, ketone bodies are pulled out of your fat cells in the absence of said glucose.
The process of using ketones over simple sugars like glucose is known as ketosis, the metabolic state that healthy keto dieters strive for. So this is basically like a regular "carb dieter" drinking a carb energy drink… except as a keto dieter, you're using these exogenous ketones for extra energy.
Getting into ketosis occurs in two scenarios: when you've survived a prolonged "fasted" state or you've avoided dietary carbohydrates (or too much protein, which can convert to glucose in the body). The problem? It can take days for the transition to occur. Supplementing ketones, in theory, will help your body have ketones available to start using much quicker. By providing BHB to the bloodstream, the body will use the new BHB over its glucose stores for energy consumption.
So during a transition, once you've depleted yourself of carbohydrates but your body hasn't yet fully adapted to pulling ketones out of your fat cells, these are helpful to get you over the "energy hump", especially in workout situations. In addition, transitioning to ketosis pulls electrolytes out of your system, which Keto 1 gladly replaces.
Additional energy for those already into ketosis
The other use for Keto 1 is for those who are already fat adapted, but need some extra energy for a workout. This is where it really accels, especially since it has caffeine and other performance boosters discussed below!
Recover from a cheat meal with exogenous ketonesFinally, and perhaps most awesomely, exogenous BHB can help keto dieters stay in ketosis after a carbohydrate-based "slip-up." For more information on this absolute life hack, check out our keto cheat meal guide here, which relies on Keto1! Warning: you'll now have lots of blood sugar and ketones in your system, could be time to go train!!
The performance angle
BHB salts are becoming more popular in the world of research. They help endurance athletes sustain their performance during long bouts of exercise. Anecdotally, keto dieters have noticed that they help avoid typical "starting" symptoms of ketosis, like keto flu or the keto rush.
Keep in mind that intense cardio fans may want to stick to a carbohydrate fueled diet,[3-5] unless they're willing to suffer 6-12 months of lower performance before they get truly fat adapted. At that point, it's wise to become metabolically flexible, and use both glucose and ketones for a race time "double rocket fuel" performance boost.
BHB salts will help keto dieters with common mineral deficiencies, improve their endurance, and help them get into and maintain ketosis much easier.[1,2,6] What's not to love?
Where's the potassium?
Our only problem here is that there's very little potassium in this product. Our readers and YouTube viewers know that we're adamant about keeping a quality sodium/potassium ratio, and Keto-1 used alone will unfortunately throw that out of whack if you're not on top of it - especially as a keto dieter avoiding many of the foods naturally high in potassium.
For that reason, we suggest checking out our Potassium for Keto Dieters article for some ideas on keeping potassium higher.
Anyway, we've seen all this before. Now here's where things get interesting:
Supercharged Matrix (2.4g)
The "supercharged matrix" is the energy drink part of KETO 1, at least for the labels that say "Super Charged" on the front, like the sour apple flavor. Unfortunately, it's hidden behind a prop blend, Vaxxen Labs has disclosed that there's 130mg caffeine in this blend!
Taurine is the poster child of 2017-2018 endurance supplements. Even low doses (500mg) of taurine improve endurance during exercise. The "organic acid" (it's not technically an amino acid) will also keep you better hydrated.
The positives don't end there. Taurine is not dose dependent, meaning low doses are as effective as high doses. And it works acutely - right off the bat from the first use - unlike supplements like creatine. You can dose it when you need it to get the effect you're looking for. This was a great move on Vaxxen Labs' part.
Since this is first in a four-panel 2.4g proprietary blend, in front of an ingredient with 130mg caffeine, we know we're getting at least 2.01g taurine - quite a huge dose! It probably doesn't hurt that the ingredient tastes good, which helps with the natural flavoring system!
Can you even have an energy product without caffeine? Absolutely not! While 130mg is a lower dose these days, it's still an effective dose. Caffeine will, as usual, wake you up and keep you awake. It will also improve your gym performance in both anaerobic and aerobic exercise. The introduction of BHB salts is interesting here, as it may help you "feel" the energy behind Keto 1 long after caffeine tolerance takes over.
Note that the chocolate mint and chocolate raspberry flavors are caffeine-free.
Think of L-Tyrosine as a small bonus here. We love the ingredient, but don't love the low dose.
Tyrosine is a precursor to the catecholamines, which include dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. The more tyrosine you have, the more catecholamines you have. The catecholamines manage that bad-ass "on-edge" feeling that energy products impart you with. Expect perhaps a dash of enhanced focus and energy from the catecholamine boost that tyrosine is providing here.
Tyrosine is also great for squashing stress.
Issue is, we generally like about 500mg or more to start feeling it, and this can't possibly be that high. This could be for the better though, since it may be glucogenic, which means it can spikes your blood sugar if the liver converts it to glucose.
This guy again. Glucuronolactone is an oddity, but clearly a mainstay in the energy drink world, so it makes sense here from that standpoint.
The research pool is shallow on it and comes out of Japan. The bit of research available shows it may improve "exercise capacity" — which means how much exercise you can handle before hitting exhaustion. How does it do this, you may ask? Turns out science is clueless right now. The main theory at the moment is that it may be synergistic with caffeine.[12,13] It also improves memory, reaction time, and heightened concentration in energy drink formulations.[14-17]
So let's call it a nootropic (cognitive enhancer). It's been well-tolerated, so we'll let this slide as a "maybe it's awesome" ingredient for now, but at this point in the game when it's been in energy drinks for well over a decade now... we are starting to wonder why there isn't more research!
This is where things get really fun.
Sour Apple for Crisp Energy
The Sour Apple flavor (whose energy profile we discussed above) is absolutely crisp and refreshing - the best natural sour apple we've had.
Even better - it warms up incredibly well and is fantastic at night. Microwave 1.5 cups of water for a minute, mix in sour apple Keto-1, and you've got yourself an incredible nighttime or winter-time energy boost.
But it gets better - if you're willing to ditch the caffeine, then get ready for Mint Chip and Chocolate Raspberry!
Don't forget that chocolate raspberry was the star of the show in our Keto-1 Review, and sour apple went over way better with Jill than with CJ, who isn't high on the salts.
What is "Katemfe Fruit Extract"?!
One thing you'll notice is that this product is not only stevia sweetened! There's no artificial sweeteners, but there is something known as "Katemfe Fruit Extract". What is this?!
Sometimes known as thaumatin, katemfe fruit extract is a calorie-free sweetener from the Thaumatococcus daniellii bush in West Africa. It's supposedly 2,000 times sweeter than sugar!
This brings a slightly different flavor profile (and clearly one that we love), and also has a longer-lasting mouthfeel, so the sweetness hangs in there longer than the salts or stevia!
This is a very unique play, and clearly adds a little "something extra" to the flavors that we love so much here. We hope to see more of it in the future.
Conclusion: Keto-1 is the bomb, but could be even bombier
Keto-1 is fantastic, but has us a touch confused.
- The flavors are indeed awesome, especially sour apple and chocolate raspberry. But...
- The prop blend is unnecessary, yet we love everything included on the label! The caffeine disclosure is appreciated.
- We want all flavors to come "supercharged" with caffeine. The "SuperCharged" call-out on the label should be bigger so users know the differences.
- We wish it had potassium
But long story short? If you understand those points - and that's why we're writing this article, then we recommend our low-carb followers give it a shot and draw their own conclusions.
Our fans that live the high-carb life won't find much benefit here (save for an interesting 130mg caffeine and perhaps some cognitive benefits), as the body will continue to use glucose for energy if BHB salts are just pulsed through supplementation.
We see an amazing niche this product can target: low carbohydrate endurance runners… and anyone who misses chocolate on the stimulant-free side of it. The keto diet is gaining a lot of clout in the marathon world. This product could be at the forefront of that new movement, especially with that chocolate raspberry flavor.
- Carter, J, et al; "The effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on bone turnover"; Osteoperosis International; 2006; 17(9):1398-403; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16718399
- Stubbs BJ, Cox PJ, Evans RD, et al. On the Metabolism of Exogenous Ketones in Humans. Frontiers in Physiology. 2017;8:848; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5670148/
- Clarke K, Cox P. Ketone bodies and ketone body esters for maintaining or improving muscle power output. United States Patent Application. June 18, 2015; 20150164855 A1; https://patents.google.com/patent/WO2013150153A1/ru
- O'Malley T, Myette-Cote E, Durrer C, Little JP. Nutritional ketone salts increase fat oxidation but impair high-intensity exercise performance in healthy adult males. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab = Physiol Appl Nutr Metab. 2017;42(10):1031-1035; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28750585
- Cox PJ, Clarke K. Acute nutritional ketosis: implications for exercise performance and metabolism. Extreme Physiology & Medicine. 2014;3:17; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4212585/
- Calton, J. B. (2010). Prevalence of micronutrient deficiency in popular diet plans. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 7, 24; https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-7-24
- Waldron, M., Patterson, S. D., Tallent, J., & Jeffries, O. (2018). The Effects of an Oral Taurine Dose and Supplementation Period on Endurance Exercise Performance in Humans: A Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29546641
- Zhang, M., Izumi, I., Kagamimori, S., Sokejima, S., Yamagami, T., Liu, Z., & Qi, B. (2004). Role of taurine supplementation to prevent exercise-induced oxidative stress in healthy young men. Amino acids, 26(2), 203-207; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15042451
- Coso, J. D., Salinero, J., González-Millán, C., Abián-Vicén, J., & Pérez-González, B. (2012). Dose response effects of a caffeine-containing energy drink on muscle performance: A repeated measures design. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1), 21; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3461468/
- McCormack, William P, and Hoffman, Jay R; "Caffeine, Energy Drinks, and Strength-Power Performance"; Strength and Conditioning Journal; August 2012; Volume 34, Issue 4, 11–16; https://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/Fulltext/2012/08000/Caffeine,_Energy_Drinks,_and_Strength_Power.3.aspx,%20full-text%20at
- Pietz J, Landwehr R, Kutscha A, Schmidt H, de Sonneville L, Trefz FK. Effect of high-dose tyrosine supplementation on brain function in adults with phenylketonuria. J Pediatr. 1995; 127(6):936-943; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8523192
- Tamura, S. (1965). Glucuronic Acid Metabolism in Fatigue due to Physical Exercise in Children. Pediatrics International, 7(2), 33-33; https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jphs1951/16/2/16_2_138/_article
- Tamura S, Tsutsumi S, Ito H, Nakai K, Masuda M. Effects of glucuronolactone and the other carbohydrates on the biochemical changes produced in the living body of rats by hard exercise. Japanese journal of pharmacology. 1968; 18(1):30-8; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/5302458
- Reyner LA, Horne JA. Efficacy of a 'functional energy drink' in counteracting driver sleepiness. Physiol Behav. 2002 Mar;75(3):331-5; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11897259
- Horne JA, Reyner LA. Beneficial effects of an "energy drink" given to sleepy drivers. Amino Acids. 2001;20(1):83-9; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11310933
- Alford C, Cox H, Wescott R. The effects of red bull energy drink on human performance and mood. Amino Acids. 2001;21(2):139-50; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11665810
- Seidl R, Peyrl A, Nicham R, Hauser E. A taurine and caffeine-containing drink stimulates cognitive performance and well-being. Amino Acids. 2000;19(3-4):635-42. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11140366