Can a Raspberry a Day Keep the Doctor Away?
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Actually, this is a misleading question, as a single raspberry provides miniscule amounts of raspberry ketones, but the premise is still valid. Can raspberry ketones provide enough benefits to keep you healthy?
The jury is still out on this one. There is scant scientific evidence to support the health benefit claims of raspberry ketones. The research does show promise for the compound, but there is not enough solid research to say yea or nay about the product. However, empirical evidence may provide enough data for the alternative medical world to continue its use.
What is a Raspberry Ketone?
Raspberry ketones are a natural phenolic compound, and are the primary aroma compound in the red raspberry fruit. The chemical compound is found not just in raspberries, but in cranberries and blackberries as well. They exist in minute quantities in the berries, so the cost of true natural raspberry ketones is exorbitant. The compound is easily synthesized in a lab, and has been known about for decades. The FDA approved raspberry ketones as a food additive back in the sixties, with the “Generally Recognized As Safe” label. This label applies only to raspberry ketones used in food, as the quantities ingested are quite small.
What Does a Raspberry Ketone Do?
In nature, the raspberry ketone provides the aroma found in red raspberries. The synthesized compound is used in a variety of products, to produce the aroma of red raspberries, in candles, soaps, perfumes, air fresheners – anything with “Red Raspberry” listed on the label.
Lately, the raspberry ketone has garnered a lot of attention in the medical field, as a potential weight loss treatment. Existing research indicates the raspberry ketone to function similarly to capsaicin. Capsaicin is the compound found in peppers, and has been looked at for potential weight loss therapy as well. The research on the raspberry ketone shows an increase in norepinephrine-induced lipolysis. This process breaks down fat cells and converts them to energy. The existing research also shows an increase in the production of adiponectin, a protein used by the body to regulate metabolism. Lower levels of adiponectin have been associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Is it Real, or is it Memorex?
Just like the product in this ad, the hype about raspberry ketones raises the question – are the benefits of raspberry ketones real?
There is not enough scientific evidence to say they are with any level of confidence. However, the alternative world does not rely on scientific evidence to determine if a product or a procedure is viable. Too often, the allopathic world uses scientific studies to disprove treatments known to work in the alternative world. Scientific studies are a form of statistics, essentially, and as Mark Twain said so eloquently: “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” The result of a study can be easily skewed by how it’s performed, so the lack of results from studies is not necessarily a deal-breaker. That said, the research for raspberry ketones is all from animal models or in vitro test tube studies, so keep that in mind.
The alternative world is more open to raspberry ketones as a viable weight loss tool. Because of the hype produced by the Dr. Oz show, shop carefully when you purchase the product, and keep caveat emptor firmly in mind. The only way to know if raspberry ketones will work for you is to try them, but do your homework first. If you have existing health problems, find out if raspberry ketones will interact with your existing medications, and if you experience a rapid heartbeat or shakiness while using the supplement, stop taking it and consult with a holistic physician, a naturopath, or a knowledgeable health food store.
The potential benefits of raspberry ketones are high, and the corresponding side effects are low. Hard to see any down side here, but do talk to someone you trust in the alternative medicine field before you take the plunge.