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Raspberry Ketones

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Raspberry ketones show promise as a natural supplement to help combat obesity and related side effects like fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease.

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We’ve all enjoyed the delicious, juicy, red fruits that we know as raspberries whether it was because we love to eat them for a snack or because of the vitamin C, magnesium, antioxidants and other healthy nutrients they provide.

Did you know that that isn’t all that raspberries can provide our bodies with?

According to Burton-Freeman et al. (2016)1 “red raspberries contain phytochemical components with documented biological activity.”

They go on to say that “some of these compounds are now recognized for their ability to influence cell signaling pathways that affect receptors, transporters, gene expression, and other cellular events. The package of nutrients and bioactive components that red raspberries deliver suggest their important protective role in human health.”

Researchers aimed to find the one compound in raspberries responsible for their bountiful health benefits, and they singled out raspberry ketone.

What Are Raspberry Ketones & How Do They Work?

Raspberry ketone is actually a fragrant chemical compound extracted from red raspberries and various other fruits and berries. This extract is used in fragrances and as a flavoring in foods.  Chances are pretty high that you have already eaten raspberry ketones without ever meaning to or maybe even knowing it.

Researchers found that raspberry ketone is molecularly similar to capsaicin, which is known for aiding in fat metabolism, and to synephrine, a stimulant found in bitter orange that also helps with fat metabolism. So, they started testing raspberry ketone to see if it had the same capabilities.

Here is what research has uncovered about using raspberry ketones as a supplement for weight loss, battling obesity, fatty liver disease, and a number of other health concerns.

Weight Loss & The Battle Against Obesity

In 2013, the American Medical Association officially recognized and declared obesity a disease because they wanted more attention devoted to solving this ever-growing epidemic. Synthetic drugs have such adverse side effects that researchers are looking to natural, safer remedies.

Because raspberry ketone is structurally similar to capsaicin and synephrine, researchers began testing it to see if it had anti-obesity properties. Research started in vitro, growing fat cells from mice in test tubes, and testing raspberry ketones on those fat cells. Park 20102 found two key things from this experiment.

One, that raspberry ketones increased the breakdown of fat, also known as lipolysis.

Two, that the fat cells released more adiponectin, a hormone stored in fat cells.

Therefore, it was concluded by Park that treatment with raspberry ketones holds great promise as an herbal medicine to combat obesity due to its ability to alter biological activities. From here more studies emerged.

In a study by Morimoto et al. (2005)3,  raspberry ketone was used on high-fat diet mice to determine if it helps prevent obesity and to see if it activated fat metabolism. What they found was that raspberry ketone helped prevent additional body weight gain in the mice and it helped control the weights of the liver and visceral fat tissues. It did so even when the high-fat diet of the mice was increased. Their conclusion was that raspberry ketone prevents and improves obesity and fatty liver.

Even after very little research had been conducted, raspberry ketone supplements basically went viral because of a daytime TV show in which a doctor called them “a miracle fat burner.” Raspberry ketone supplements were literally flying off of the shelves because people wanted (and still want) a “miracle cure” for weight loss.

However, when this statement was made, there were no human studies to back up the claim, and there still aren’t any on raspberry ketone alone, however, there are combination supplement studies with human subjects.

Combination Supplements

A very recent animal study conducted by Attia et al. (2019)4 combined garcinia cambogia and raspberry ketones to see if the two could help combat obesity and fatty liver disease.  Researchers reported the combination of the two supplements “leads to a pronounced loss in body weight and correct the metabolic pitfalls of obesity, namely hyperglycemia/hyperinsulinemia through the profound restoration of insulin sensitivity.”

Can A Supplement Change Fat’s Properties?

You may have heard about white fat, or bad fat, and brown fat, or good fat.  Humans have both types.

Excessive white adipose tissue, or WAT, accumulation is caused by an imbalance between caloric intake and energy expenditure. The result is obesity. However, brown adipose tissue, or BAT, is highly specialized for the dissipation of energy in the form of heat. Recent evidence indicates that the activation of BAT and the induction of WAT browning might be promising approaches to combat obesity by increasing energy expenditure and regulating glucose and lipid metabolism according to Zhou et al. (2019)5.

In other words, if scientists can figure out how the body turns white fat into brown fat, we could solve the obesity crisis.

There are natural substances that can trigger this changing of white adipose tissue to acquire brown-like characteristics, and researchers believe raspberry ketones are one such natural source.

Leu et al. (2018)6 assert that raspberry ketone has been reported to possess anti-obesity activity. However, they wanted to test its effects on the formation of brown-like adipocytes, or fat cells, in obese rats.

At the end of the 8-week study in which obese rats were treated with raspberry ketones, the results showed that the rats had significantly reduced body weight, a reduced food intake, and the amount of fat tissue decreased as did the size of white fat cells.

Therefore, the researchers claimed that their study “elucidated the mechanism associated with raspberry ketone induced WAT browning and thus provides evidence to support the clinical use of raspberry ketones for obesity treatment.”

Fatty Liver Disease

Obesity increases one’s risk of developing fatty liver disease which means you have extra fat in your liver. If the fatty liver disease changes from simple fatty liver to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, you have a problem. At this stage, the liver has both cell damage and inflammation that can lead to fibrosis, or scarring, of the liver. Even worse, it can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer according to Medline Plus7.

Just as researchers are battling obesity, they are also trying to prevent fatty liver disease.

Wang et al. (2012)8 attests that the incidence of high-fat diet-induced fatty liver is increasing, making it the subject of intense research because current drug treatments are not highly effective.

This team of researchers tested raspberry ketone for its protective effect against fatty liver disease in high-fat diet mice. However, they used three different dosages on the mice and also tested all of the following blood lipid parameters:

  • total cholesterol
  • triglycerides
  • high-density lipoprotein cholesterol
  • low-density lipoprotein cholesterol

The following liver function parameters were tested:

  • serum alanine aminotransferase
  • aspartate aminotransferase
  • alkaline phosphatase
  • leptin
  • free fatty acid
  • tumor necrosis factor α
  • blood glucose
  • insulin along with calculated INS resistance index and INS-sensitive index

At the end of the study, researchers concluded that raspberry ketone was an effective intervention for NASH in rats. They attested that “raspberry ketone had a dual effect of liver protection and fat reduction, and the mechanism was probably mediated by alleviation of fatty degeneration of liver cells, decreased liver inflammation, correction of dyslipidemia, reversal of LEP and INS resistance, and improved antioxidant capacity.”

These were also the findings in the above study by Morimoto et al. (2005)9.

Even with all of the above research using raspberry ketones to lose weight, battle obesity, and combat fatty liver disease, there is not sufficient evidence that it works due to a lack of human studies. The only human studies are those that tested using combinations of supplements.

Raspberry Ketones & Anti-Diabetic Properties

Obesity is the major cause of type 2 diabetes and both diseases are running rampant across the world’s population. Researchers are constantly looking for safe ways to treat type 2 diabetes.

Xiong et al. (2018)10 attest that the “inhibition of α-glucosidase is directly associated with treatment of type 2 diabetes.” They designed a study in which they conducted enzyme kinetics integrated with computational docking simulation to assess the inhibitory effect of raspberry ketone on α-glucosidase.

Their study indicated that raspberry ketone’s structure interacts with the active site of α-glucosidase which means that it could be a possible inhibitor thus helping in the treatment of those with type 2 diabetics.

More studies are needed in this area to further investigate these findings.

Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in both men and women. Researchers are constantly looking for ways to prevent cardiovascular diseases.

In one study, Khan et al. (2018)11 wanted to assess if raspberry ketone had cardioprotective properties. They used rats. For 28 days they pre-treated them with either raspberry ketones or fenofibrate, a prescription drug for lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Then the rats were given isoproterenol (ISO)-induced cardiotoxicity, or basically they were forced to have cardiovascular events similar to those caused by cardiovascular disease.

After 28 days of treatment researchers concluded that the raspberry ketone pretreatment (using 100 and 200 mg/kg) significantly protected rats against oxidative stress, inflammation, and dyslipidemia which was comparable with the prescription drug, fenofibrate.

This study suggests that raspberry ketone may be a natural way to be proactive against cardiovascular disease.

Is It Safe & How Much Should I Take?

Safety is always a concern. Raspberry ketone seems like it would be a safe and natural substance, but you must know where the supplement comes from.

The Lee et al. (2016)12 study has shown that it is possible to produce raspberry ketone in labs which provides an economical alternative to raspberry ketone derived from plant sources. So, the raspberry ketone you purchase may be 100% man-made. Check the label to see how the product was produced.

In Science Direct, Lee (2016)13 asserts that  the amount of raspberry ketone in dietary supplements (currently sold in the US) is well above the maximum concentration recommended for food and fragrance products, so additional toxicology work is needed to ensure that such concentrations of raspberry ketone are safe.

Think about it this way. If you ate raspberries, you would only get a few milligrams of raspberry ketones from the fruit. Dietary supplements provide a wide range of concentrations of raspberry ketones in a couple of pills. It could be anywhere from 100 to 1,400 milligrams in a serving. Taking high doses has not been evaluated or deemed safe. More does not always mean better.

Bredsdorff et al. (2015)14 highlighted these important factors for consideration:

  • There are no published safety evaluations of raspberry ketone
  • There is little toxicological data on raspberry ketone
  • Use of raspberry ketones as a supplement is considered novel

Keep in mind that in the majority of animal studies, researchers fed the rats diets containing approximately 1–2% raspberry ketones. Therefore, if you decide to take raspberry ketone, start with a lower dosage and work up if it is not working for you.

There isn’t a miracle pill for weight loss. However, with diet and exercise, there are supplements that can make your progress faster and/or your results better.

Raspberry ketone looks very promising as a natural supplement to help combat obesity and related side effects such as fatty liver disease. It is also being tested for anti-diabetic properties and as a preventative measure for cardiovascular disease.

Supplement Facts

Serving Size: 2 capsules Servings Per Container: 30

IngredientAmount Per Serving%DV
Raspberry ketones500mg*

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