According to 2010 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 70% of Americans are either overweight or obese, a number which has increased dramatically from just 13% of the population in 1962. But the fact of modern life is that most of us lead very busy lives, and often don’t eat or exercise as we should. As a result, we’re always on the lookout for something that can give us a little extra edge in our ongoing collective battle with weight loss.
Because of this never-ending search, a full 15% of the U.S. population regularly uses nutritional supplements, and while much of this is associated with multi-vitamins, an ever-growing segment is related to weight loss. With this in mind, along with Garcinia Cambogia, Raspberry Ketone has been recently touted as yet another “miracle weight loss” supplement. In fact, it was even featured on the popular Dr. Oz daytime television shown in February 2012, which resulted in a huge buying frenzy, however, it was later taken down due to controversy.
Fast forward two years, and countless supplement manufacturers have appeared on the scene, each one claiming to offer the best raspberry ketone product available. But how much is true, and how much is hype?
Let’s take a closer look.
What is Raspberry Ketone?
According to WebMD, raspberry ketone is an aromatic compound found not just in raspberries, but in cranberries and blackberries as well, and is what makes them smell so delicious. Because of these aromatic qualities, raspberry ketone has been used as an ingredient in perfumes and cosmetics for years, and even as a food flavoring. More recently however, due in no small part to Dr. Oz’s endorsement, raspberry ketone has made its way into a wide variety of nutritional supplements.
Here’s the catch though: Natural raspberry ketone is only found in trace amounts, and as a result is very expensive (≈$20,000 per kilogram). Because of this, many manufacturers will produce supplements using synthetic ketone, which can cost as much as one-fifth the price. So while you may think that this supplement is natural, and therefore wholesome or safe, this may not necessarily be the case.
Before going any further though, let’s investigate how raspberry ketone is claimed to help you lose weight.
How Can Raspberry Ketone Help You Lose Weight?
Most supplement manufacturers claim that raspberry ketone increases the production of adiponectin in your body, which is a protein hormone responsible for several metabolic processes, including the regulation of lipids (e.g. fats) and glucose (e.g. sugars). As a result, obese individuals often have lower levels of adiponectin in their body, while thinner individuals have higher levels.
In layman’s terms, this basically means that an increased level of adiponectin in your body may help boost your metabolism and burn fat.
How Often Should Raspberry Ketone be Taken? Are there Any Side Effects You Should be Worried About?
As we’ll see in the following section, there is no universally agreed upon dosage for raspberry ketone, nor for how frequently it should be taken. And while the FDA has classified raspberry ketone as a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) ingredient, this only accounts for daily consumption of 2mg or less. To put this in perspective, Dr. Oz recommended 100-200mg daily doses, while most supplement manufacturers include daily dosages ranging anywhere from 500mg to 1,000mg or more.
Furthermore, nearly all manufacturers will claim that there are no side effects related to raspberry ketone, though this may not necessarily be the case. As noted by WebMD, “there are some concerns about the safety of raspberry ketone because it is chemically related to a stimulant called synephrine. Therefore, it is possible that raspberry ketone might cause feelings of jitteriness, increase blood pressure, or rapid heart beat. In one report, someone who took raspberry ketone described feelings of being shaky and a pounding heart beat (palpitations).”
Now you may be thinking to yourself, “Well, this doesn’t seem very scientific at all! I thought raspberry ketone was proven to reduce fat. Why do we not know how much to take?”
Great question. Let’s peer a little deeper.
What Does the Research Have to Say About Raspberry Ketone?
At HighYa, we know you want to get right to the heart of the matter, so let’s dig right in: While Dr. Oz may have been convincing with his inflating and deflating balloon demonstration, there is absolutely zero scientific or clinical evidence showing the efficacy of raspberry ketone for weight loss in humans. Period. So how are supplement manufacturers making these claims?
If you search for raspberry ketone on the National Institutes of Health website, you’ll receive more than 40 results. However, taking a closer look, very few of them have anything to do with weight loss. In fact, all of the hype surrounding raspberry ketone basically hinges on three clinical studies:
- This Japanese study from 2005. In it, researchers fed two groups of mice fatty diets while also administering 0.5%, 1%, or 2% raspberry ketone. The results appeared to show that mice who were given high levels of raspberry ketone burned more fat.
- This study from 2010 appeared to show that mice given raspberry ketone increased their production of adiponectin.
- A third study completed in vitro (e.g. inside a test tube) that appeared to show raspberry ketone increased the production of adiponectin.
It should be noted that in 2013, a new study was conducted on humans, which at first may appear to back up the claimed benefits of raspberry ketone. However, raspberry ketone was only one ingredient in the supplement given to participants, which also included “caffeine, capsaicin, garlic, ginger, and Citrus aurantium.” In addition, participants also were subjected to a “calorie-restricted diet and exercise training.” Because of these factors, there was no conclusive evidence that raspberry ketone had any measurable effect on the outcome of the study.
When taken together, these results present the case that raspberry ketone may increase adiponectin production. However, there is insufficient evidence that this increase has any beneficial effects, including assistance with weight loss.
So What’s the Bottom Line: Does Raspberry Ketone Really Help You Lose Weight?
The short answer is this: There simply isn’t enough information available to say with any certainty. But even if raspberry ketone is one day conclusively shown to impact weight loss, it almost certainly isn’t the “miracle in a bottle” most supplement manufacturers make it out to be. In other words, while weight loss supplements may give you a boost, the most effective way to lose weight and keep it off is through a combination of regular exercise and a balanced diet.
In conjunction with lack of efficacy, keep in mind that raspberry ketone also hasn’t been sufficiently shown to be safe in any dosage. And as we mentioned in our Complete Guide on How to Buy a Nutritional Supplement, just because a supplement sounds natural (e.g. using the word “raspberry”) doesn’t imply that it’s safe. In fact, nearly all raspberry ketone supplements are manufactured using synthetic ketone – the exact opposite of “natural.”
Finally, as with most supplements, the number one complaint associated with raspberry ketone is failure to work, regardless of the manufacturer. Lack of evidence notwithstanding, it’s highly probable that this is due to overzealous claims by the manufacturers moreso than it is any users’ physiologies.
Bottom line: While we can’t say that raspberry ketone doesn’t work as a weight loss supplement, there isn’t enough clinical evidence available to support those who do. And as always, be sure to consult with your physician prior to beginning any nutritional supplement. Also, to help you in your search, we’ve reviewed a number of raspberry ketone supplements here at HighYa, including:
- Research Verified Raspberry Ketones
- Whole Body Raspberry Ketones
- Genesis Today Raspberry Ketones
- SlimQuick Raspberry Ketone