Many of you have probably heard some of the buzz surrounding raspberry ketones. We were certainly surprised to see them pushed so hard on the Dr. Oz show…a physician should probably be a little more cautious in their approach, especially one with such broad influence on a large group of women.
To be fair, there’s no evidence that consuming raspberry ketone is unsafe. So it’s not particularly a health issue, at least in low concentrations. However, since there’s also little evidence that they do anything to promote weight loss in humans, it could be a self-image issue.
What are Raspberry Ketones?
Raspberry ketones are just one of many compounds in red-colored raspberries. The ketones are primarly what gives the berries their pleasant aroma. However, there’s also a strong similarity, at a molecular and chemical level, with synephrine, a powerful stimulant. A small number of university-sponsored lab studies, mostly with mice, have found that dosing mice with the ketones APPEARED to accelerate weight loss. The theory of why is similar to the reasons that the Atkin’s diet works…by accelerating the breakdown in fat. There’s also some evidence, though unconfirmed, that is can affect a specific hormone called adiponectin.
Does it Work? Is it Safe?
The interest in raspberry ketone as a diet aid was most likely the result of a study by Japanese researches in1995. The study, entitled “Anti-obese action of raspberry ketone”, claims that mice who were fed a high fat diet for 6 to 10 weeks, were protected from obesity, and in some cases, actually lost weight when given the ketones in high doses.
These studies, however, discovered only a correlation, and not direct evidence that the raspberry ketones were responsible for the accelerated weight loss. It’s very early in the lab lifecycle for this theory. Also, consider that real raspberries contain only tiny amounts of these “ketones”. Because the current products on the market are considered supplements, and not a drug, nobody is regulating the concentration levels of these substances. While no signficant incidents have been uncovered, there’s also no data or studies that confirm it’s safe to consume them in large doses.
Are there Side Effects?
While there’s no official list of side effects, the compound is chemically similar to synephrine. Thus, it seems safe to assume that they would share side effects. The side effects of synephrine include jittery nerves, elevated blood pressure, and a rapid pulse. We would recommend that anyone with heart issues, high blood pressure, as well as anyone that is pregnant, or nursing, avoid taking these supplements. It may well be safe, but that’s not been proven.
What else is it Used for?
While it’s use a diet supplement is a relatively new phenomenon, raspberry ketone has been used for years as a component of some perfumes, and is also a flavoring used by the food industry. As an interesting side note, the compound is difficult to produce in volume, and thus, is one of the highest cost flavorings. Naturally extracted compound can fetch as much as $560 per ounce…more than 10 times the cost of silver bullion.