Raspberry Ketones: The Latest Fat-Busting Fad
With everyone always on the lookout for the latest way to lose weight, doctors on national talk shows such as Dr. Oz are buzzing about the latest diet fad: raspberry ketones. What are raspberry ketones, and what is so special about them? Simple: Raspberry ketones are compounds derived from red raspberries—a special ketone that scientists are quickly discovering could have the potential to support healthy weight loss. The research is preliminary, but real-world results are being reported by many who are already increasing their raspberry consumption, or those who are using one of the many new dietary supplements infused with the compound. Its growing popularity has led to its national notoriety, and raspberry ketones have even been discussed on various talk shows, including Dr. Oz, on a segment of his show called “Fat Busting Metabolism Boosters.”
With raspberry ketones all the rage, maybe it’s time we find out more about them. So for all of you eager health fanatics, let's talk about raspberry ketones.
What are raspberry ketones?
Thought to be “magic” by some in the medical community, raspberry ketones have the unique ability to increase metabolic efficiency and decrease the production of damaging free radicals within the body. As mentioned previously, raspberry ketones are a phenolic compound, or a class of natural compounds found in plants, that are unique to red raspberries—a fruit that already contains many bioactive constituents beneficial for health. This compound—4-(4-hydroxyphenyl) butan-2-one—is not only used as a food flavoring, but it has also been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments and conditions, increasingly coming to the attention of the medical community. Most importantly, it has the potential to support body fat reduction. As a result, this compound is finding its way into more and more dietary supplements.
Raspberry ketone is the primary aroma compound of red raspberries. It is used in perfumery, in cosmetics, and as a food additive to impart a fruity odor. It is one of the most expensive natural flavor components used in the food industry. The natural compound can cost as much as $20,000 per kg. In 1965, the Food and Drug Administration placed raspberry ketone on generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status. In plants, raspberry ketone is synthesized from coumaroyl-CoA. Extraction of pure raspberry ketone is usually 1-4 mg per kg of raspberries. Since the natural abundance of raspberry ketone is very low, it is prepared industrially by a variety of methods from chemical intermediates. One of the ways this can be done is through a crossed aldol-catalytic hydrogenation. In acetone and sodium hydroxide, 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde can form the α, β-unsaturated ketone. This then goes through catalytic hydrogenation to produce raspberry ketone. This method produces a 99% yield.
How do scientists think they work?
To test their theory that raspberry-ketones, supports weight loss and fat burning, scientists have conducted multiple experiments. In a study (Morimoto et al, 2005), mice were fed a high fat diet to induce obesity while treated groups were also fed an additional 1 or 2% raspberry ketone. The treated groups gained less body fat than the control groups. Raspberry Ketones appear to support reductions in body fat in two ways.
First, decreasing the absorption of dietary fat and secondly, increasing norepinephrine-induced lipolysis. In another study, researchers were able to demonstrate that Raspberry ketone was capable of inhibiting alpha amylase activity a dietary enzyme involved in starch breakdown and sugar absorption, helping reduce fat. Importantly other research in this area has shown that raspberry ketones can ameliorate fat absorption by inhibiting a key step in absorption, trioleoylglycerol hydrolysis. While the decreased absorption of dietary fats and sugars aid in reducing body fat by raspberry ketone, it is not the main fat reducing effect, this is mainly contributed to its effect on fat oxidation.
In the study by Morimoto et al., 2005 they demonstrated that raspberry ketone supplementation resulted in an increase in Hormone Sensitive Lipase (HSL) translocation to fat cell lipid droplets suggesting that raspberry ketone enhances norepinephrine Lipolysis. Research has also shown that raspberry ketone stimulates an increase in thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue. In a recent study (Parks, K.S., 2010) showed that a 10 micro molar concentration of raspberry ketone significantly increased cellular and secretory concentrations of adiponectin, a protein that increases skeletal muscle fatty acid oxidation and also markedly reduced the amount of lipid accumulation in fat cells. Also it increased beta-oxidation of fatty acids by 115% compared to the control.
In a field study by Tim Ziegenfuss, ten participants received a 200mg per day Razberi-KTM (raspberry ketone) supplement along with exercise. This was done to assess the effects of Raspberry Ketone on fat oxidation and blood chemistry, the results showed a trend toward enhanced fat oxidation as shown with an increase in Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER) and no adverse effects on blood chemistry were observed implying RK’s safety and efficacy.
Through further studies, it was also determined that raspberry ketones have very positive effects on hair growth and skin. Since raspberry ketone is chemically similar to capsaicins, and since previous research has shown that capsaicins increase the expression of a dermal (skin) insulin-like growth factor that increases skin elasticity and promotes hair growth, the researchers hypothesized whether raspberry ketones could have the same effect.
In a randomized controlled clinical study, the researchers applied a topical cream containing a raspberry ketone extract as the active ingredient on the skin of mice and on the facial skin and scalp of humans with alopecia. Alopecia in its broadest sense is baldness; however, forms of alopecia such as alopecia areata is a disease that affects the hair follicles and causes hair to fall out in small, round patches about the size of a quarter. It is believed to be an autoimmune disease of which there is no current cure.
What the researchers found was that in mice the raspberry ketone cream increased the expression of an insulin growth factor called “IGF-1” in the hair follicles and promoted hair re-growth in mice 4 weeks after application. In the human test subjects, the raspberry ketone extract resulted in hair growth in 50% of the test subjects with alopecia after 5 months; and, it also increased their cheek skin elasticity. The researchers concluded that their results suggest that raspberry ketone might be exerting its observed effect on hair and skin by increasing insulin growth factor-1 production via sensory nerve action. Therefore, it is possible that raspberry ketone is much more than a belly fat-busting supplement, and has the potential for use in treating aging skin and in preventing or curing baldness in some people.
How should raspberry ketones be used?
Razberi-KTM (raspberry ketones) is appropriate in a product for weight management. It can be administered in a capsule, tablet, powder or liquid. The recommended serving is 100mgs twice daily, or 200mgs prior to working out. As with any weight-management program, success depends as much on your lifestyle choices as you choice of supplement. Take Razberi-KTM daily, eat a sensible, well-balanced diet and incorporate regular exercise into your routine. Combining effective supplemental dietary aids like Razberi-KTM with healthy lifestyle choices is the right, and best, way to ensure that you lose weight as healthy as possible.
· Morimoto C, Satoh Y, Hara M, Inoue S, Tsujita T, Okuda H. Anti-obese action of raspberry ketone. Life Sci. 2005 May 27;77(2):194-204. Epub 2005 Feb 25.
· Park KS. Raspberry ketone increases both lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Planta Med. 2010 Oct;76(15):1654-8. Epub 2010 Apr 27.
· Anti-obese action of raspberry ketone. Life Sci. 2005 May 27;77(2):194-204. Epub 2005 Feb 25.