STAK Study

Strategies to Augment Ketosis (STAK)

Variations in Ketone Metabolism (VKM) [STAK-VKM]

How age and metabolic health affects an individual’s responses to ketone drinks


Variations in Ketone Metabolism (VKM) [STAK-VKM]

This study is being done to see how individuals respond to a ketone ester  across different age groups and health statuses. With the ketogenic diet becoming more popular, research on ketones (a molecule created when fat is broken down in the body) has grown as well. It is now possible to increase blood levels of ketones by ingesting them directly instead of decreasing the carbohydrates you eat or fasting for a long time.  When ketones are consumed, they are quickly absorbed and increase blood levels of ketones, even in those who are not eating a very low-carbohydrate diet.  Since they are so new, very little work has been done to show what level of ketone supplements are best for individual people.  These findings will be used to help develop future research studies and help others to pick the right doses of ketone supplement.

Fill out our recruitment form if you're interested in participating. 

Participants: Adults ages 20-70

Location: The Buck Institute, Novato | The Ohio State University

Dates: Study starts at The Buck in October 2023 and will run through October 2025 (planned)

Duration: Participation in the study will last approximately 1-2 weeks

Compensation: Compensation of up to $50 is offered for the completion of this study

Status: Recruiting beginning soon

Sponsor: The Department of Defense


ID: NCT05924295

Study type: Open label, single-arm, observational study

Participants: 400 total (100 at the Buck, 300 at OSU)

Last updated: September 6th 2023


Number of visits

  • One screening visit in clinic
  • 1 study visit

List of study procedures:

  • Medical history
  • Height, weight, waist circumference
  • Body composition testing using electrical impedance
  • Fingerstick blood testing
  • Submaximal, 6-minute bicycle test
  • Study questionnaires
  • Urine collection
  • Consume standard meals before testing
  • Consume study product during testing

IV cannula inserted for repeated blood sampling

You can join if you…

  • are between ages 20-70 years
  • do NOT smoke or have diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, or any form of endocrine dysfunction
  • have not experienced >10% weight loss in the last 6 months
  • do not currently consume a low carbohydrate diet
  • do not consume alcohol more than 3 drinks daily or 18 drinks weekly
  • do not suffer from food allergies or gastrointestinal disorders

You can’t join if…

  • you live in a setting where you receive assistance with your activities of daily living
  • your medical history, medication/supplement list or screening blood tests show a condition or recent changes that means that the medical officer decides it is not safe for you to participate
  • you have a cognitive condition that means you cannot give informed consent to take part
  • you have an allergy to milk or soy
  • you follow a strict diet (such as ketogenic diet)

John Newman, MD, PhD

John Newman, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and an Associate Professor in the Division of Geriatrics at University of California San Francisco (UCSF). His career goal is to translate our expanding understanding of aging biology to improve the care and help maintain the independence of older adults. His research at the Buck Institute studies the molecular details of how diet and fasting regulate the genes and pathways that in turn control aging, focusing on the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate and how its molecular signaling activities involving epigenetics and inflammation regulate aging and memory in mice. 

Dr. Newman is also a geriatrician who cares for hospitalized older adults at UCSF and the San Francisco VA Medical Center, focusing on preserving mobility and preventing delirium.


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