Rob Rogers: goBHB is Back! Business, Baseball, and BHB

Rob Rogers: goBHB is Back! Business, Baseball, and BHB

For Episode #131 of the PricePlow Podcast, we sat down with Rob Rogers from Axcess Global, the parent company of Ketone Labs, Real Ketones, Vault, and many others. Ketone Labs is best known for selling goBHB, the patented exogenous BHB dietary supplement ingredient — which is the main topic of this podcast.

Rob and his business partner Gary Millet recently marked their 10th anniversary working together. This was filmed on a morning before the doors of Expo West started, and Rob brings a strong message:

Rob Rogers of Axcess Global and Ketone Labs: goBHB is Back!

Rob Rogers of Ketone Labs joins PricePlow for Episode 131 to explain the story behind goBHB, and how they’re BACK on the market for supplement formulators!

After a wild few years in the late 2010s, where BHB supplements were seemingly everywhere, things shifted with the new decade. This conversation dovetails into the end of Episode #106 with Mike McCandless, who had a BHB-based supplement company heading into pharmacies that was devastated in spring of 2020.

Ketone Labs was forced to pull back on the sales of goBHB, taking this time to remove infringing products from the market. They never stopped conducting research, however, and sold BHB-based products in their Real Ketones brand.

The big announcement here and at Expo West 2024 is that Ketone Labs has brought goBHB back into the market for other brands, and some incredible new applications outside of weight loss.

Rob, Mike, and Ben get into Rob’s background, his sports career, the genesis story, and then talk about the incredible ways goBHB can be used in supplements for performance, nootropics, mood/stress relief, concussion prevention, and even sleep. We also learn a few things about the L-BHB isomer that is oft-neglected lately!

This is a good one, so get ready for a nice long conversation with Rob Rogers on YouTube or the podcast app of your choice:

  • 0:00 – Introductions

    goBHB Logo

    goBHB was consumed during this podcast

    The episode starts with introductions, including Rob’s main businesses. He and his business partner Gary Millet own Axcess Global, the holding company for Real Ketones, Ketone Labs, Vault Energy, and others. Ketone Labs and its dietary supplement ingredient goBHB is the main topic of conversation in this podcast.

    Rob shares his journey from skepticism to belief in the potential of ketones after meeting scientist Dominic D’Agostino, leading to the acquisition of a pivotal patent and the challenging but successful commercialization of BHB (Beta-Hydroxybutyrate) ketones, despite initial struggles with product development.

    Their discussion also touches on the strategic decision to move away from traditional retail to direct-to-consumer sales through platforms like Amazon, although they eventually expanded into Walmart and other retailers, significantly increasing their brand presence.

  • 7:15 – Startup Challenges: How to Harness BHB Before Keto Goes Big

    Despite facing severe financial challenges, including burning through millions of dollars without a product due to flavoring and manufacturing hurdles, and nearly losing everything due to a tied-up lawsuit, a serendipitous resolution allowed them to make a crucial payment just in time. This turnaround story highlights the importance of persistence and luck in the entrepreneurial journey, especially in a rapidly evolving market like the ketogenic diet craze.

  • 13:45 – Brand Protection

    goBHB Logo (Axcess Global)

    goBHB is a registered trademark of Axcess Global

    During the 2017-2020 period, Rob discusses the evolution and challenges of the ketone market, particularly emphasizing the misconceptions about the decline of keto products in major retailers. Despite a saturated market with many similar products, Ketones Labs aimed to protect the integrity and uniqueness of their goBHB brand. This came through strategic patent enforcement and getting sales and distribution control back after an incredibly fruitful relationship with Compound Solutions.

    This effort involved addressing infringements and misuses of the goBHB trademark, ultimately leading to a significant cleanup on Amazon by removing 4000 violating SKUs, turning patent enforcement into a profitable endeavor.

  • 21:30 – Ketone Mafia?

    Vault Energy Benefits

    Rob addresses the “Ketone mafia” label attributed to his efforts in enforcing patents and controlling the distribution of the goBHB brand, understanding why some may view it negatively but explaining his intention to open up the market rather than monopolize it. He reflects on the early days of ketone products, emphasizing their potential beyond just keto diets for appetite suppression and energy. Rogers highlights the success of incorporating BHB into performance products, validated by various studies showing its benefits for weight loss, brain function, anxiety reduction, and overall health.

    Despite being tied to the keto label, Rogers and his team are working to showcase BHB’s broader applications, including in longevity and performance enhancement, supported by partnerships with medical professionals like Dr. Michael Wool, who has been utilizing BHB in his practice for a wide range of health benefits.

    The point of this episode is clear – Ketone Labs is now very excited to have trusted dietary supplement brands formulate goBHB into their products — and the prices are not as high as you’d think!

  • 31:15 – Ketones Beyond Keto

    The group discusses the underappreciated potential of ketones beyond the keto diet, emphasizing their utility in enhancing performance for a wide range of individuals, from gamers to athletes, by serving as an additional energy source alongside glucose. The conversation highlights a shift in perception, where exogenous ketones like BHB are now being explored for their benefits outside strict keto dieting, offering alternatives to stimulants like caffeine for energy boosts without the drawbacks.

    goBHB Productivity

    goBHB is not just a “keto” supplement — one of the best benefits is in fact productivity from improved mental clarity and stimulant-free energy!

    Rogers reflects on the importance of making BHB more known in the nutrition and supplement industry, recounting a meeting with Gatorade scientists interested in BHB as a sugar alternative for energy, signifying mainstream interest in ketones’ broader applications.

  • 38:00 – The Science Behind BHB

    Rob discusses the benefits and upcoming studies on BHB, emphasizing its potential beyond the keto diet for applications such as athletic performance, concussion prevention, and as an adjunct to pharmaceuticals like semaglutide. They highlight BHB’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, potentially reducing the severity of concussions and offering an alternative energy source without the side effects of traditional stimulants like caffeine.

    The conversation also touches on the legal considerations of marketing supplements alongside pharmaceuticals, with interest in BHB’s role in reducing semaglutide dosage and side effects, underlining the growing intersection between dietary supplements and medical treatment.

  • 46:45 – Introduction to BHB

    Rob recounts his journey from professional baseball, touching on his encounters with steroid use among peers and his decision against it due to a lack of understanding at the time. He shares a pivotal moment in his life when he met Patrick Arnold through a mutual connection, which led to his introduction to Dominic D’Agostino and the world of BHB.

    Arnold, known for his innovative work in the supplement industry and beyond, was instrumental in creating BHB salts for Navy SEALs to prevent seizures caused by rebreathers, marking the beginning of BHB’s development. This was D’Agostino’s main area of research at the time.

    Rogers discusses the evolution of BHB products, from DL racemic mixtures to the more effective D/R form and the recent advancements in BHB salts and liquids, emphasizing their enhanced efficacy and bioavailability.

  • 52:45 – BHB in an RTD

    BHB Applications

    There are tons of applications to consider with BHB, and Mike and Ben dream a few up in this very episode

    The group touches on the development of ready-to-drink (RTD) BHB products, highlighting how BHB’s association with electrolytes, like potassium, can address common deficiencies while offering an energy boost without the drawbacks of caffeine.

    Rogers shares an anecdote about collaborating with Patrick Bet-David to launch an RTD product, overcoming initial reservations about the crowded market space. They also explore BHB’s impact on magnesium levels, with Rogers confirming that magnesium BHB does indeed raise magnesium levels, underscoring BHB’s role as a macro-nutrient beyond its electrolyte component.

    During the podcast, the guys drink two cans of Vault Caffeine-Free Energy Drink, which contains free acid BHB for use in drink applications.

  • 1:00:00 – BHB as Medicine and the Untapped L-Isomer?!

    Rob discusses the advancements and research surrounding BHB, including the discovery of its L-isomer’s significant effects on cognitive enhancement, likened to experiencing a “flow state” similar to the one portrayed in the movie “Limitless.” This is interesting because the D/R isomer is what has been chased for its ability to increase BHB in blood ketone meters more, but new data and testing is showing that the L-isomer is what brings many of the feel-good cognitive effects.

    BHB Supplements: NNB Nutrition

    All along behind the scenes, NNB Nutrition has been innovating the BHB salt manufacturing process, and is the sole producer of goBHB, licensed by Axcess Global.

    Rogers recounts the involvement of NNB Nutrition and their efforts in isolating specific isomers of BHB for more efficient and targeted uses, highlighting their collaboration on developing a new BHB product that promises unparalleled focus and mental clarity.

    You can read the NNB Nutrition portion of this story in our article titled “Innovating BHB: NNB Nutrition and the Brains Behind Ketone Supplements.

    Additionally, Rogers shares a story about Mount Sinai Hospital‘s use of BHB to treat a rare disease in infants, MAD deficiency, which inhibits the metabolism of fat and protein. This unexpected application of BHB not only underscores its potential beyond athletic and cognitive performance but also its life-saving capabilities in medical contexts. The conversation reveals ongoing explorations into BHB’s broader implications for metabolic health, including possible benefits for liver function and systemic diseases, with Rogers advocating for continued research and experimentation to uncover the full spectrum of BHB’s health benefits.

    Rob Rogers of Axcess Global and Ketone Labs: goBHB is Back!

    Rob further highlights the distinctions between the D and L isomers of BHB. He explains how different ratios of these isomers can be tailored for specific benefits, such as performance, cognitive enhancement, anxiety relief, and sleep improvement. Rogers shares insights into ongoing research and anecdotal evidence suggesting that L-BHB, in particular, may offer significant cognitive benefits, likening the experience to enhanced visual clarity and being in a “flow state.” Additionally, he mentions working with hospitals to use BHB for treating rare diseases in infants, underscoring BHB’s broad therapeutic potential.

  • 1:12:00 – Wrap Up

    Rob lets listeners know how they can connect with him and learn more about BHB and its various applications. He is on LinkedIn and encourages people to visit the Ketone Labs Instagram (linked below) for more information, but really isn’t active on social media himself. Rob expresses his intention to collaborate with knowledgeable partners in the field, including PricePlow, to disseminate high-quality content about BHB.

    He praises Mike and Ben for their content on BHB and outlines plans to produce blogs and collaborate with experts to further educate the public on BHB’s benefits beyond the keto diet. Rogers mentions working with Joey Savage (see Joey on Episode #129, as we drank some of the free acid BHB), a formulator recognized for understanding BHB’s potential in performance enhancement and other areas.

    He emphasizes his openness to communication, stating that he is readily available through Ketone Labs and is committed to responding promptly to inquiries.

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