Nutrition

Everything You Need to Know About Raspberry Ketones

Everything You Need to Know About Raspberry Ketones

Raspberry ketone is a naturally occurring compound found in raspberries that gives them their unique aroma. Some other fruits, berries, and food flavorings also contain small amounts of Raspberry ketones. It gained its popularity after being labeled as a Miracle fat burner in a bottle” in Dr.Oz’s show 2012. Despite the name, raspberry ketones have nothing to do with the ketogenic diet, and they’re not the same as exogenous ketones either.


What Are Raspberry Ketones?

Raspberry ketones, as stated above, are naturally occurring chemical compounds of raspberries that gives them their authentic smell. They’re also found in blackberries, cranberries, and some other fruits. Ice cream manufacturers, some soda companies, and cosmetic companies use raspberry ketones for their flavor and smell.

Although they’ve existed for some time, raspberry ketones gained their true popularity after being labeled as the “Miracle fat burner in a bottle” in the February 2012 episode of Dr.Oz. Anything Dr.Oz considers as a miracle weight loss supplement like Garcinia and Green coffee beans, for instance, will rise to fame from that very second.

It’s also worth mentioning that garcinia also has limited evidence to support the weight loss claims and has reports of liver damage cases. Therefore it’s no surprise why raspberry ketones took off in 2012. A lot of dieticians have rejected the claims behind raspberry ketones from the moment it gained its sudden popularity.

Their reason for doing so is that there is no reliable evidence and indeed no human trial evidence to support the miraculous weight loss claims.


Everything You Need to Know About Raspberry Ketones_infographic_1

What Are Raspberry Ketones Made Of?

Raspberry ketones are often advertised as all natural weight loss supplements; however, that’s not the case. Only 1-4 mg of raspberry ketones can be obtained from 1 kg of raspberries.

Wikipedia states that it can cost up to $20 000 to obtain 1kg of natural raspberry compound. So it’s near impossible for manufacturers to go with the natural route. Hence raspberry ketones you see in supplement form are synthetically manufactured because it’s cheaper that way. 


How Does Raspberry Ketones Work?

These are the claims of how raspberry ketones work.

Similar structure to capsaicin and synephrine

One of the major theories behind the weight loss claims of raspberry ketones is that it shares a similar chemical structure as capsaicin and synephrine, which are also known as weight loss compounds.

Adiponectin hormone:

Another widely circulating theory is that raspberry ketones help burn body fat by increasing adiponectin, a protein hormone involved in regulating glucose levels and fatty acid breakdown. A 2007 research paper states that adiponectin is surprisingly lower in obese than lean individuals. It also says that women tend to have more adiponectin than men [6].

Adiponectin tends to increase with weight loss. Low level of adiponectin has been associated with diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.

Regulating autophagy

A recent 2017 study conducted on rats states that raspberry ketones inhibit fat accumulation by regulating autophagy [4].


Are Raspberry Ketones Safe?

The FDA has approved it as “generally safe” as a food additive but other than that, and there is no reliable scientific evidence to say that raspberry ketones are safe for humans.

The current recommended dosage by manufacturers is 100-400 mg, twice a day, but no scientific evidence to support this due to the lack of human trial studies.

Weight loss expert Lisa Lynn said on the Dr.Oz’s show that she recommends taking 100-200 mg raspberry ketone supplements with breakfast and lunch every day. She also said that it’s the chemical equivalent of 40 kg of fresh raspberries.

Another safety concern is that raspberry ketones are chemically related to synephrine; hence it may cause similar side effects such as rapid heartbeat and increased blood pressure.


bowl-with-raspberries-and-raspberries-on-white-wood-background

Raspberry Ketones Health Benefits

Topical benefits

Hair loss & Male Pattern Alopecia

There is some limited evidence done on rodents and humans that says that raspberry ketone solution might help increase hair growth in those suffering from hair loss and androgenic alopecia. A 2008 study found out that 0.01% of raspberry ketone solution helped hair regrowth in mice and promoted hair growth in humans with alopecia after five months of application [1].


Skin elasticity

The same study above also concluded that raspberry ketones helped increase cheek skin elasticity in 5 females after two weeks of application.


Claim: Speeds up weight loss

We’re going to look at some of the recent weight loss related studies of raspberry ketones because it’s the number 1 reason why most people are interested in this supplement.


Study 1: 2017 conducted on mice [2]

What they did: The mice were individually housed and fed a high-fat control diet for two weeks to induce weight gain. They were then divided into three groups: high dose raspberry ketone (HRK), low dose raspberry ketone (LRK) or a pair-fed group that took similar foods to the LRK mice. The results were analyzed after five weeks of feeding.

Results: No change in plasma adiponectin in all three groups and limited adipose loss benefit. According to many raspberry ketone experts, rk is supposed to increase adiponectin to speed up weight loss, but that didn’t happen in this study. They also concluded the need for reliable study designs before validating weight loss supplements.


Study 2: 2018 study conducted on obese rats [3]

What they did: groups of obese rats were divided into three groups: normal, high fat diet control group and raspberry ketone (250-500 mg/kg) group. The duration hasn’t been mentioned.

Results: This study says that raspberry ketones improved hyperlipidemia, oxidative burden, and insulin sensitivity. It also states that RKs improved the condition of the adipose tissue, liver indices, and reduced the adipocyte diameters.


Study 3: Raspberry ketone multi-ingredient human study [7]

This is the only human trial weight loss study which also contains raspberry ketones.

What they did: 70 obese participants without any significant health problems were divided into two groups. One group would have METABO supplement daily, a calorie restricted diet, and exercise training for eight weeks. The other group would have a placebo supplement along with everything else.

The METABO supplement consisted of raspberry ketones, caffeine, capsaicin, garlic, ginger, and aurantium.

Results: 45 of the 70 participants completed the study. The study concluded that the METABO supplement was safe and effective for weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and exercise program.

The big problem: It’s hard to determine what exactly had a positive impact on weight loss in the obese participants. Was it the caffeine, garlic, or ginger? Or was it the diet and exercise? Or was it all of them combined as the study concluded? Thus it’s unfair to use this study as valid human trial evidence to say that raspberry ketones help with weight loss.

99% of the weight loss studies related to raspberry ketones have been conducted on rodents at super high dosages that may never be safe for humans. So it’s impossible to draw a conclusion from these studies on the safety and dosage recommendations of raspberry ketones for humans.


Raspberry Ketones Risks & Side Effects

Lack of human trial studies

The majority of studies done so far to prove the effectiveness of raspberry ketones were done on rodents. There are no human studies to show the famous claim that “raspberry ketones can melt away your fat.”

As stated earlier, the only study human trial study done on raspberry ketones had RK as one of the multi-ingredient weight loss supplement, and the participants also had to follow a proper diet and exercise program.


Higher dosages from rodent studies

The limited evidence collected to prove the benefit claims of raspberry ketones done on rodents had higher dosages that would not be recommended or considered safe for humans [5].


Unclear dosage

Keeping the above points in mind, you’d never know the accurate dosage needed to experience the benefit claims of raspberry ketones. No experts can recommend you the “right dosage” when there is no human trial scientific evidence to support their claims.


What you hear is what you know

Since there are no human trial studies done on raspberry ketones, you’re left with whatever positive and negative effects you hear from blog articles and YouTube video testimonies. Keep in mind that some people exaggerate the claims to increase their views and compensation from raspberry ketone sellers.

Also, remember that people who’re singing praises to a health product only for the sake of monetary purposes will often hide any side effects they’ve experienced from it.

Lack of human trial studies means that you don’t know any potential minor or dangerous side effects that raspberry ketones could have on your health.


High-risk individuals

People with diabetes, heart conditions, high blood pressure, asthma and pregnant or breastfeeding women are at higher risk to experience any adverse effects from raspberry ketones.


Takeaways

In a nutshell: Raspberry ketones are synthetically produced weight loss supplements that claim to burn body fat rapidly but has no reliable scientific evidence to prove that it’s safe for human consumption. It rose to fame from a 2012 episode from Dr.Oz’s show after being labeled as a “Miracle fat burner in a bottle.”

The lack of human trial evidence also means that you don’t know what the official right and safe dosage are and if there are any potential minor and significant side effects to be aware of.

Raspberry ketones also have nothing to do with ketones or ketosis even though a lot of people associate it with keto diet because of its name. We recommend holding off from raspberry ketones and going for a more sustainable healthy diet approach.

If you’re still keen on experimenting with it, we strongly recommend seeking advice from your physician before doing so, and thorough health check up to compare any before and after effects.


References:

  1. Harada N, Okajima K, Narimatsu N, Kurihara H, Nakagata N. Effects of topical application of raspberry ketones. 2008 August - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18321745
  2. Cotten BM, Diamond SA, Banh T, Hsiao YH, Cole RM, Li J, Simons CT, Bruno RS, Belury MA, Vodovotz Y. Raspberry ketone fails to reduce adiposity beyond increasing food intake in mice fed a high fat diet. 2017 April - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28378858
  3. Mehanna ET, Barakat BM, ElSayed MH, Tawfik MK. An optimized dose of raspberry ketones controls hyperlipidemia and insulin resistance in male obese rats. 2018 August - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29787773
  4. Leu SY, Chen YC, Tsai YC, Hung YW, Hsu CH, Lee YM, Cheng PY. Raspberry ketones reduced lipid accumulation in wistar rats by regulating autophagy. 2017 December - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29164883
  5. Bredsdorff L, Wedebye EB, Nikolov NG, Hallas-Moller T, Pilegaard K. Raspberry ketone in food supplements: A cause for safety concern?. 2015 October - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26160596
  6. Garaulet M, Hernandez-Morante JJ, de Heredia FP, Tebar FJ. Adiponectin, the controversial hormone. 2007 October - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17903323
  7. Lopez HL, Ziegenfuss TN, Hofheins JE, Habowski SM, Arent SM, Weir JP, Ferrando AA. Eight weeks of supplementation with a multi-ingredient weight loss product in overweight men and women. 2013 April - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23601452

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