Decreases in energy metabolism following traumatic brain injury (TBI) are attributed to impairment of glycolytic flux and oxidative phosphorylation. Glucose utilization post-TBI is decreased while administration of alternative substrates has been shown to be neuroprotective. Changes in energy metabolism following TBI happens in two phases; a period of hyper-metabolism followed by prolonged hypo-metabolism. It is not understood how different cerebral metabolic states may impact substrate metabolism and ultimately mitochondrial function. Adult male or female Sprague Dawley rats were given sham surgery or controlled cortical impact (CCI) and were assigned one of two administration schemes. Glucose, lactate or beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) were infused i.v. either starting immediately after injury or beginning 6 h post-injury for 3 h to reflect the hyper- and hypo-metabolic stages. Animals were euthanized 24 h post-injury. The peri-contusional cortex was collected and assayed for mitochondrial respiration peroxide production, and citrate synthase activity. Tissue acetyl-CoA, ATP, glycogen and HMGB1 were also quantified. Sex differences were observed in injury pattern. Administration based on cerebral metabolic state identified that only early lactate and late BHB improved mitochondrial function and peroxide production and TCA cycle intermediates in males. In contrast, both early and late BHB had deleterious effects on all aspects of metabolic measurements in females. These data stress there is no one optimal alternative substrate, but rather the fuel type used should be guided by both cerebral metabolic state and sex.Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.