Myth or Reality, The Truth About Raspberry Ketones

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When Raspberry Ketone tablets first burst onto the health market they promised every dieters dream, that dieting would be made “easy”. Quite quickly this ‘lie’ seemed to unravel and Raspberry Ketones quickly lost their health status. Why is this? Why did they promise so much and deliver so little?

What is a Raspberry Ketone?

Raspberry Ketones are extracted from the raspberry plant, or to give it its scientific name Rubus Idaeus. The Raspberry shrub is an evergreen plant that grows to around six feet. It's native to Europe but has also been found to grow in Iceland and Asia. It’s a typical woodland plant that best grows in light forestry and shaded areas. It blooms in small white flowers and red bulbous berries. As a nation we are very familiar with the Raspberries particularly for culinary use. However, we are less familiar with its use in health[1].

You may ask “What is a Ketone?”, Without getting too scientific, the word ‘ketone’ describes a chemical structure of a molecule. A molecule is considered a ketone when the central carbon has two hydrocarbon groups attached to it, e.g. a group made up of only carbon and hydrogen. Carbon can hold 4 molecule groups, called its “valency”, the other arm holds an oxygen connected by a double bond, this is called a carbonyl group. Typically, ketone names are easily recognisable as they end in ‘-one’ [2]. The scientific name for a Raspberry ketone is 4-(4-hydroxyphenyl) butan-2-onep-hydroxybenzyl acetone. Raspberry Ketones have been shown to have a very similar structure to Capsaicin (found in chilli peppers) and Synephrine (found in oranges, known as bitter orange) which have both been marketed and proven to be beneficial in lipid metabolism and weight loss[3].

What do they claim to do?

News headlines such as “I got rid of my ‘mummy tummy’ and lost 3st in four months” and “Raspberry Ketones Help Fat Cells Shrink”caught the attention of dieters worldwide, here is what they claim to do:[4,5].

Fat Burning

When first released its greatest claim was that it was going to be the most effective method of weight loss. Requiring only a few pills a day to to lose numerous pounds.

An animal study conducted on rats found reduced obesity and fatty liver deposits in those subjected to daily Raspberry Ketone intake. The rats were fed a high fat diet for 6 weeks, then they were split into 2 groups with varied degrees of Raspberry Ketone intake. They found that Raspberry Ketones prevented increased body weight and ill-health of the liver [6].

Appetite reduction

This claim was less publicized but scientists found that Raspberry ketones targeted the brain areas responsible for hunger and satiety in order to control appetite. The ketones found within Raspberries have been shown to target the hunger hormone Adiponectin [4]. It stated that Raspberry ketones reduced the expression and secretion of this hormone [7].

Is there any scientific evidence to support this?

Yes, and No. Yes, there have been studies conducted on Raspberry Ketones, and No, because they have only been effective in rats. Animal studies are hard to generalise to humans. Yes, we are mammals and in some ways very similar to rats, but our biological mechanisms are far more advanced than a rat. Any studies that have been conducted on humans have failed to demonstrate the claims made as a result of the animal studies.

What are the side effects?

The side effects of this pill have also become a talking point as they are moderately common. They include:

  • Anxiety
  • Rapid Heart beat
  • Jitters
  • Insomnia
  • High Blood Pressure

The Chemical Makeup of a Raspberry Ketone is very similar to a stimulant such as caffeine, it acts by stimulating the nervous system. It is important to monitor symptoms when taking a new tablet to track how your body responds to it. Symptoms such as these are not normal, nor are the healthy, and if experienced, should be reported to a Doctor immediately. In one very sad and shocking case Raspberry Ketones killed a 24 year old woman due to the side effects of over-stimulation and the strain this put on the heart [8].

So, what is the verdict Myth or Reality?

The blatant fact is that of the few human studies conducted on Raspberry Ketones they showed to be nothing but a myth. All studies that support the use of Raspberry Ketones are only conducted on animals. In addition to this the extensive list of frightening symptoms Raspberry Ketones have been deemed a ‘Fad’ unsupported by scientific fact.

This is why we at Oxford Vitality do not sell Raspberry Ketones. Unlike many companies we will not condone the sale of ‘Fad’ products with no scientific merit.

“Your Health is Our Science!”

  1. PFAF. (2007). Rubus idaeus-L. Available: http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rubus+idaeus.
  2. Clark, J. (2015). INTRODUCING ALDEHYDES AND KETONES. Available: http://www.chemguide.co.uk/organicprops/carbonyls/background.html.
  3. Morimoto.C, et-al. (2005). Anti-obese action of raspberry ketone.. Life Sciences. 77 (2), Pg. 194-204.
  4. Therapeutic Research Faculty . (2009). RASPBERRY KETONE. Available: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1262-raspberry%20ketone.aspx?activeingredientid=1262.
  5. Innes.E. (2013). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2291989/I-got-rid-mummy-tummy-lost-3st-FOUR-MONTHS-thanks-raspberry-diet-pills.html. Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2291989/I-got-rid-mummy-tummy-lost-3st-FOUR-MONTHS-thanks-raspberry-diet-pills.html.
  6. Rosenberg.M. (2011). Raspberry Ketones Help Fat Cells Shrink.Available: http://www.foodtrients.com/news/raspberry-ketones-help-fat-cells-shrink/.
  7. Park,KS. (2010). Raspberry ketone increases both lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.. Planta Medica. 76 (15), Pg. 1654-1658.
  8. Allen,V. (2014). Woman, 24, died after taking overdose of raspberry ketone slimming pills - which each had the same amount of caffeine as TWO cans of Red Bull . Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2866843/Woman-died-taking-overdose-raspberry-ketone-slimming-pills.html.

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