Raspberry Ketone Scientific Review
Despite being such a popular ingredient for diet products and being the sole ingredient of a large amount of weight loss supplements, there are some questions about the use of Raspberry Ketone for weight loss that remain unanswered. Perhaps the most pressing reason as to why this is the case is due to the fact that, although there have been some, the clinical studies of this ingredient are hardly illuminating in terms of how the ingredient can and will affect those who take it. Most of the research has been done on rodents or in vitro (in a test tube) and so are of limited help when trying to determine the efficacy of the ingredient as a weight loss agent.
Below we will examine various research that has been advanced in support of the product and look critically to determine whether such studies are an accurate representation of how safe and effective Raspberry Ketone will be for the average user.
First we will look at the study that is most often used to portray how effective the Raspberry Ketone is for weight loss. It is reasonable to assume that this particular trial is chosen countlessly because the title includes the phrase ‘anti-obesity’ a sure way to get users thinking and believing that the product has significant weight loss properties.
In the study it is made explicit that the aim was to ‘clarify whether Raspberry Ketone helps prevent obesity and activate lipid metabolism’ in mice. This is the first important point to note; just because an ingredient can be demonstrated to have certain effects on a rodent group, it does not necessarily follow that it will have the same effects on human subjects. In fact this study has caused quite a lot of problems when scientists have looked at it objectively.
Firstly, the trial has been designed specifically for mice and therefore tells us hardly anything about how the ingredient might work on humans. Secondly, and most importantly, it also does not tell us anything about the potential safety of the ingredient or in which doses it should be taken.
As well as this it has also been explained by a credible source that this study only involved a very small amount of subjects – 6 mice.
This is not to say that it is useless however as it provides quite a strong preliminary indication that Raspberry Ketone can have weight loss effects. To test these effects the researchers split the mice into 2 groups. The first group were fed a high fat diet for a total of 10 weeks and this included either 0.5, 1 or 2% Raspberry Ketone from the outset. The second group was slightly different and the rodents in this group were fed a high fat diet without Raspberry Ketone for a total of 6 weeks and were subsequently fed this same diet but containing 1% Raspberry Ketone for a further 5 weeks.
The conclusions of the study were as follows; the Raspberry Ketone had actually prevented the mice from gaining weight on the high fat diet and also prevented the build up of fatty acids in the liver. In the second group of mice the trial demonstrated that the Raspberry Ketone did in fact decrease the weights of the mice after they had gained fat by eating the high fat, non-Raspberry Ketone diet.
More specifically it was found that the Raspberry Ketone increased something called the norepinephrine induced lipolysis in the mice and that this was related to a specific hormone that was stimulated by the Raspberry Ketone. Unfortunately this is all the information that the study gives and it does not go into any more specific details relating to how the ingredient is actually claimed to work on most diet pill sites. The overall outcome of the study was that Raspberry Ketone prevented and improved obesity and the amount of fat found in the liver of the mice.
So what research has been done on subjects other than rodents? The answer to this is hardly any, if any at all. There does not seem to be any published clinical studies that have been carried on human subjects which is surprising considering how popular Raspberry Ketone has become.
What we do have however is a study that was carried out fairly recently in 2010 in which researchers tested the effects of Raspberry Ketone on fat cells (scientifically called 3T3-L1 cells). A reference such as this may be confusing for readers because it does not explicitly tell you that these fat cells are actually also derived from mice and so you should be aware of this to avoid confusion.
The study is of some use however as it appears to be able to build on the conclusions already demonstrated by the previous study so that we have a more specific result as to how exactly the Raspberry Ketone is claimed to be able to reduce weight.
In this trial the effects of Raspberry Ketone on the expression and secretion of Adiponectin as well as its effects on lipolysis (the breaking down of fat) and fatty acid oxidation were investigated. This is especially useful as you will find this phrase a lot on various diet product websites when they explain how the ingredient affects the body.
The fat cells were treated with 10µM of Raspberry Ketone but unfortunately we do not know if this was a one off dosage or whether it was continued for a further number of days or weeks. In any event, this treatment with Raspberry Ketone is said to have significantly increased lipolysis in differentiated fat cells.
Further to this it was also shown that the Raspberry Ketone had increased both the expression and the secretion of Adiponectin which seems to confirm the explanations that have been put forward by diet pill manufacturers. It also increased fatty acid oxidation and suppressed the accumulation of liquid in the fat cells.
It was specifically noted that these results suggest that the Raspberry Ketone ‘holds great promise’ as an herbal medicine for obesity since its biological activities alter the lipid metabolism of the fat cells. In short, this study provides evidence that Raspberry Ketone does help activate Adiponectin which in turn plays a role in the regulation of the breaking down of fat. Having said this, it must not be forgotten that this study still relates to rodents.
Whilst clinical studies concerning human subjects are extremely hard to find there is mention of a possible study that has taken place but not yet been published. In a very informative document concerning the proof and effectiveness of the Raspberry Ketone it has been suggested that a manufacturer of a particular type of Raspberry Ketone product had in fact conducted an unpublished preliminary trial into the ingredient’s effects on human beings. Obviously the main limitation here is that this was one brand of Raspberry Ketone in particular and that different brands contain different dosages and even other additional ingredients etc. However this can definitely be seen as a step in the right direction in terms of bridging the gap between human and rodent research.
The brand at issue here was ‘Razberi-K’ that had been made by ‘Integrity Company’. It is said that this unpublished trial actually consisted of a double blind study and was carried out by an Ohio research group including Dr. Ziegenfuss who is said to be highly respected in terms of his research academia on sports nutrition. This is actually a very important fact as since the study has not actually been published we will have to rely on the credibility of this man and his group to be truthful in their analysis as we have no way of checking the details of the trial.
The study involved human subjects but more specifically ‘highly trained’ athletes. This leads us to the first limitation of this study; although it will give us some idea as to the actual effects that the Raspberry Ketone will have on humans, it will be quite limited in its application to the normal users of diet products containing this ingredient as these people will be wanting to lose weight and will not be highly trained athletes.
These athletes were split into 2 different groups; one group that received the Raspberry Ketone and the other that did not.
In the first group it was noted that the subjects had an increased oxygen consumption for 30 minutes after they had done a work out. It is explained that what this means in terms of Raspberry Ketone’s weight loss effects is that the ingredient had increased the metabolism of fats in these subjects for half an hour after they had been subjected to a work out. Moreover the concluding statement for this pilot study explained that the ‘Razberi-K’ had actually increased the fat oxidation in the human subjects in the late stages of exercise.
This might seem like a major breakthrough in terms of the available human studies on Raspberry Ketone but unfortunately it is very limited and also appears to potentially contradict some of the claims that have been advanced in favour of the ingredient. As mentioned above the specific category of subjects already provides one limitation to the usefulness of this study but there is also a second qualification; the Raspberry Ketone effects were only tested after a work out had been done. Since there was no comparison between those who took the Raspberry Ketone and did a work out and those who took it but refrained from any exercise we cannot make any assumptions as to whether the ingredient would have the same effects in the latter case.
In fact, the conclusion itself actually suggests that exercise might be necessary for the Raspberry Ketone to have these effects and, if this is the case, it goes against the many claims put forward by diet pill manufacturers relating to the consumption of Raspberry Ketone alone as a weight loss aid.
The third, and last, limitation that can be seen from this study is linked to the fact that it is, as yet, unpublished. Although informative, the summary of this study does not actually give any information as to the specific dosages of Raspberry Ketone that were taken by the subjects and more importantly we are also not told whether the particular brand of Raspberry Ketone product that underwent the testing contained any other ingredients as well as this.
Apart from the 3 main studies that have been discussed above there appears to be little other research that proves the effects of Raspberry Ketone on weight loss. It appears as though this ingredient is still in the preliminary stage of testing which is disappointing given how celebrated it has become recently.
Also worth noting is that 2 out of the 3 studies here have been carried out in Asia. Whilst it might be deemed irrelevant, our experts feel that you should still consider that US/UK diets and Asian diets are very different and even if this is not accepted, the diet of mice is significantly different from that of a human being making these studies even more limited in their application.
In summary then, although some might argue that we have come a (very!) short way from the significant lack of information surrounding this ingredient and its effects on humans, there is still a huge way to go in terms of proving its effectiveness for the ordinary user. Whilst the preliminary research obviously does suggest good things about the ingredient there is still a lack of evidence relating to not only effectiveness but also the safety of this ingredient when it is used by individuals over a long period of time.
For this reason we cannot make any assumptions as to the effectiveness of the Raspberry Ketones on average human beings with the results demonstrated in the above studies. We will have to wait for more specific and rigorous testing to be done on human subjects before anything can be said in concrete about this issue.
To learn more about Raspberry Ketone Brands please read our Which is the Best Brand of Raspberry Ketone to Buy article.
You can find a list of dietpills that contain Raspberry Ketone below:
– Raspberry Ketone Blast
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