What are Raspberry Ketones?
Raspberry ketone is a chemical compound found naturally in many fruits such as strawberries, cranberries, kiwi, black berries and red raspberries, which is responsible for the powerful scent of such fruits. It has been commonly used in the cosmetic and the food and beverage industry for a long time. Due to its industrial usage, this compound is synthesized commercially as well as through certain bacteria because it is present only in trace amounts in the fruits.
Recently, animal studies and trials have led to an increased use of raspberry ketones as a weight loss supplement. So, are these sweet berries really the solution to our bitter problems of overweight and obesity?
Benefits of Raspberry Ketones for Weight Loss
Raspberry ketones have been appreciated greatly by the weight loss community and are believed to accelerate weight loss if taken with the right combination of diet and exercise. The main benefits of raspberry ketones for weight loss are:
- Enhancement of the fat burning process
- Reduction in the fatty tissues of the body
- Fighting fatigue leading to better stamina
- Prevention in gain of visceral fat
- Boosting metabolism
How Does It Work?
The molecular structure of raspberry ketone is similar to synephrine – a stimulant and capsaicin which is found in chilli pepper. Because of structural similarities, it has been stipulated that raspberry ketones can boost your metabolism because the other two compounds have been proven to do so.
Ketones are naturally produced in the body during starvation or prolonged exercise. Ketones are responsible to break down fat, which releases energy to fulfill the increased energy requirement of the body in such strenuous situations. Raspberry ketones:
- Increase lipolysis – the breakdown of fat cells by increasing the sensitivity of fat cells to norepinehprine (a fat burning hormone)
- Stimulate the fat cells to release more adiponectin hormone, which regulates metabolism and sugar level in blood
Other than the above mentioned benefits of raspberry ketones for weight loss, there are many other advantages as follows:
- When applied on skin, raspberry ketones can help in combating signs of aging
- Effective for promoting hair growth
- Abundantly used as a food additive in many foods for adding flavor and aroma
- Used in cosmetics
- May lower blood sugar levels
- May decrease bleeding
There is one major thing about the effectiveness of raspberry ketones in humans: it is not backed by scientific research. Only one clinical study exists on humans while multiple on animals:
A study (www.biomedcentral.com) consisting of 70 obese but healthy subjects was published recently in which the participants were either given a combined supplement (consisting of caffeine, raspberry ketone, ginger, garlic, and capsaicin) or a placebo. The individuals were subjected to a diet as well as regular exercise routine.
At the end of the study, after a duration of eight weeks, the participants who took the supplement reported a 2.9 kg loss in body fat, while an average loss of 1.9 kg in total weight and gaining a 1.8 kg of lean body mass as compared to the placebo group. But as the supplement contained a combination of ingredients and not just raspberry ketone, it is difficult to ascertain the complete effect of raspberry ketone for weight loss in this study.
- In a study (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) conducted on mice, raspberry ketone supplement was given to mice with a fattening diet and the results were observed for weight gain in fat with and without the raspberry ketones. The mice which received the supplement gained less weight than those who did not.
- In another study (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov), 40 rats were given the same treatment as in above mentioned study. According to results, the rats who received raspberry ketones had higher adiponectin levels and were less prone to a fatty liver.
Because of lack of scientific research on human subjects, there are no clear side effects of raspberry ketones. It has been regarded as safe to use by the FDA as an ingredient in processed foods where its amount is incomparable to that present in weight loss supplements. The side effects of raspberry ketones are based on its similarity to synephrine and the effects observed in animals during trials:
- May interact with certain medications for regulation of cholesterol hormones and heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Jitters and palpitations
- Increased heart rate
A word of caution
Because nothing definite can be established about the side effects of raspberry ketones, if you are one of the following, it’s safer to avoid this supplement:
- Suffering from chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, chronic pulmonary disease, etc.
- Expectant or breast-feeding mothers
Raspberry ketone supplements are safe to use in small amounts or such which is advised by manufacturers. Before starting on this supplement, make sure to talk to your doctor if you are or are not suffering from any health conditions. Keep your age, health and weight loss goals in mind before starting on a dosage, but do not exceed the recommended amount in any case. With a proper calorie-restricted diet and exercise routine, you can speed up your weight loss process through this supplement.