If you always have thoughts on losing throughout the day, you’re not alone. Losing weight is the undisputed number one health goal with quitting smoking coming in a close second. If you’re in the US, you must be pretty used to seeing people overweight day in and day out and that’s because over 30% of Americans are literally too heavy for their own good. That’s one in every three people and makes being overweight a common sight.
Naturally, people are looking for ways to shed the extra pounds and among them include plenty of weight loss programs, coaches, and lots of strict dieting in between. The problem is, most weight loss methods are so difficult that more than 85% of people fail or temporarily succeed and gain back the weight eventually.
This is why people turn to supplements to help them propel their weight loss efforts through the roof but not every supplement works. Some are just trendy but lack the empirical evidence to back up the hype. Speaking of trendy, Raspberry Ketones are pretty popular in weight loss blends but do they work? Let’s find out!
The Lowdown on Raspberry Ketones
Raspberry Ketones are a natural substance that give red raspberries their powerful aroma. Before it was used as a fat burner, raspberry ketones were used in cosmetics, softdrinks, ice cream, and even in processed food as a flavour enhancing compound.
Since raspberry ketones are a natural compound, surely you can just eat a lot of it and get the benefit of the whole fruit, right? It’s possible but definitely impractical. Extracting raspberry ketones from raspberries is insanely expensive since you need 90 pounds (41 kg) of raspberries to get the amount needed for a single dose or roughly 150-200 mg. This is why the raspberry ketones found in supplements are synthetic and are anything but natural.
Despite a standard dose of 200 mg, current research suggest the following doses when correlated to the effective doses on rats:
- 870-3,700 mg for a 150lb person
- 1,100-5,000 mg for a 200lb person
- 1,500-6,200 mg for a 250lb person
This makes raspberry ketones too impractical (not to mention dangerous) to use as a standalone fat burner.
How do Raspberry Ketones promote weight loss?
Raspberry ketones have become red-hot due to some studies suggesting that they may specifically target and burn visceral fat reserves — aka belly fat. raspberry ketones have also been suggested to initiate fat-burning, skyrocket metabolism, improve oxidation of fatty acids and block the storage of fat.
Some animal evidence suggests raspberry ketones work in part by stimulating the hormone-neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which in turn triggers lipolysis (fat-burning activity) in fat cells. A later, more comprehensive study found that 10µM raspberry ketone increased the activation of several genes involved in lipolysis.
“In conclusion, the results of this study show that exposure of RK inhibits the process of adipocyte differentiation, as confirmed by a reduction in the expression of adipogenic and lipogenic genes. Also RK enhanced the expression of genes involved in lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation pathways. These findings might help to explain the underlying mechanisms for the anti-obesity actions of RK at gene expression levels.”
The caveat, though, is raspberry ketones are not exactly guaranteed to work on its own through oral supplementation. Most studies that report success have either been done on rats or in test tubes.
The only human study we found that shows raspberry ketones as a fat burner – where there was a reported fat loss of 7.8% compared to 2.8% in placebo – was done with raspberry ketones as part of a blend of other fat burners. The blend was METABO.
“The combination of ingredients with potentially complementary and interactive mechanisms of action may account for the favorable changes observed in many of the clinical endpoints in the METABO group. Razberi-K® contains Raspberry ketone (4-(4-hydroxyphenyl) butan-2-one), which is a naturally occurring phenolic compound in red raspberry (Rubus ideas) that has been shown to enhance norepinephrine-induced lipolysis in adipocytes, prevent high-fat diet-induced body weight gain in mice, and increase adiponectin gene expression and secretion in adipocytes in culture.”
So we can’t exactly give credit to raspberry ketones alone. There may have been some synergy or single contribution but that remains to be proven.
Increased secretion and cellular levels of adiponectin were also noted after 4 days of incubating fat cells with raspberry ketones. Adinopectin is a hormone released by fat cells and is believed to be a factor in the maintenance of blood sugar levels and metabolism.
“An immunoassay showed that raspberry ketones increased both the expression and the secretion of adiponectin, an adipocytokine mainly expressed and secreted by adipose tissue. In addition, treatment with 10 µM of raspberry ketones increased the fatty acid oxidation and suppressed lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.”
Adinopectin also happens to be a hormone associated with thin people as they show higher levels of this hormone than those who are overweight. It is also increased the more people lose weight.
Other health benefits
As mentioned, raspberry ketones may have cosmetic/aesthetic benefits.
Raspberry ketone, used topically as a 0.01% solution applied once daily for 5 months, has been found to increase IGF-1 production in the skin and may lead to increased hair growth. IGF-1 stands for Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 and is a protein encoded by this gene is similar to insulin in function and structure, and is a member of a family of proteins involved in mediating growth and development.
Raspberry ketone has also been linked to increased skin elasticity when administered topically as a solution of 0.01% in human females.
What kind of experiences do users have with Raspberry Ketones?
We browsed several forums and product reviews on raspberry ketones-only supplements and it was all mixed. Some people report weight loss, others don’t. Some even end up heavier than they started with. These reviews have to be taken with a grain of salt, though, as no one person has the exact same body which means raspberry ketones may or may not work on you.
That said, supplements aren’t some sort of magic pill that zaps the fat out of your body if you swallow the whole bottle. You have to marry supplementation with healthier choices if you want to maximize your product.
How safe are Raspberry Ketones?
Animal testing with massive doses didn’t report any sort of side effects, we can’t be too sure what would’ve happened had those mice been fed raspberry ketones for months longer. Some anecdotes report of jitters, palpitations, and elevated blood pressure but that remains to be confirmed on paper.
If it means anything, the FDA labeled raspberry ketones as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). It’s the same label they use on high fructose corn syrup and soybean oil, two controversial food substances with potential health implications.
Final thoughts on Raspberry Ketones
With a lot of miracle weight loss ingredients popping out everywhere, it’s hard to determine if they truly work or the science behind their weight loss properties have all been ballooned for marketing purposes. What we do know is raspberry ketones have potential in being part of a weight loss regiment and would most likely work best as part of a fat-burning blend. Raspberry Ketones show promise in rat studies but whether it’s capable of similar functions in humans is still up for debate.
Now that we’ve established raspberry ketones’ weakness as a solo fat burner, we would now offer a few product recommendations that utilizes this underrated fat burner in an efficient manner. Since we’re here to focus solely on the impact raspberry ketones can make in one serving in a blend, we recommend products that rely on raspberry ketones’ synergy. One of these products is called Green Coffee Bean Extract by Bauer Nutrition.
Unlike other blends, this product contains only two ingredients: Raspberry ketones and Green coffee bean extract, (GCBE) a reputable fat burning ingredient. GCBE is present in green or raw coffee. It is also present in roasted coffee, but much of the GCE is destroyed during the roasting process.
GCBE is another trend-survivor that still remains to be included in both low and high priced fat burning formulas. The one thing that made it stay? Careful research and human studies.
GCBE works through its active ingredient called Chlorogenic acid (CGA). CGA helps ignite the fat burning process, improves energy metabolism, and even helps improve insulin sensitivity by balancing blood sugar levels.
“We conclude that chlorogenic acid enriched instant coffee appears to have a significant effect on the absorption and utilization of glucose from the diet. This effect, if the coffee is used for an extended time, may result in reduced body mass and body fat when compared with the use of normal instant coffee.”
Having a blood sugar imbalance triggers hunger so naturally, balancing blood sugar levels will simultaneously help in reducing appetite.
Another product that comes close is Raspberry Ketone also by Bauer Nutrition. It again focuses on two ingredients with the other being African Mango Extract, an ingredient that works mostly as an appetite suppressant.
African Mango Extract, as a form of fiber, helps a lot in terms of blood sugar control and suppressing appetite. One study even goes and declares it an ingredient that “significantly reduces body weight” at 300 mg a day.
“In conclusion, Irvingia gabonensis extract administered twice a day to healthy, overweight and obese individuals resulted in both weight reduction (body weight, body fat, waist size) and an improvement in metabolic parameters associated with insulin resistance.”
Since the supplement has a 1000 mg per serving, it’s not hard to believe that you’ll not only get good dosage for raspberry ketones but also for African Mango Extract.