Raspberry Ketone: What Science Says
Learn what current research has to say about raspberry ketone, a compound that has been found to help burn fat more efficiently in animal studies.
What is raspberry ketone?
Raspberry ketone is an aromatic component present in raspberries and other fruits. It can also be produced synthetically in a lab.
Why has raspberry ketone been targeted for weight loss?
Scientists had previously shown that pungent compounds with similar chemical structures, such as capsaicin and synephrine, had lipolytic activity – causing fat breakdown – in rats fed a high-fat diet and in in vitro fat cells.
What did scientists do in the lab?
In one experiment, to test the effect on obesity, mice were fed a high-fat diet plus raspberry ketone for about 10 weeks. Other experiments were carried out in vitro (in test tubes, petri dishes, etc.).
What did scientists learn about fat cells?
Researchers observed that, compared to controls, raspberry ketone decreased the amount of fat in the liver and visceral adipose (abdominal fat) tissues of mice. It also significantly increased norepinephrine-induced lipolysis (the decomposition of fat) in some rat fat cells.
Researchers also tested in vitro fat cells with raspberry ketone and found that they showed greater evidence of breakdown when compared to controls.
What did scientists find out about the relationship between raspberry ketone and adiponectin?
Adiponectin is a protein used by the body to regulate metabolism. Higher levels are associated with fewer fat stores. Scientists studied the effects of raspberry ketones on in vitro fat cells and observed a higher secretion of adiponectin when compared to controls.
What did scientists conclude?
They concluded that raspberry ketone prevents and improves obesity and fatty liver in certain animal models. While the exact mechanism has not been thoroughly understood, these effects appear to stem from the action of raspberry ketone in altering the lipid metabolism, or more specifically, in increasing norepinephrine-induced lipolysis in white adipocytes (fat cells).
Scientists speculate that raspberry ketone stimulates the energy metabolism via a mechanism similar to that of capsaicin. Capsaicin, a compound found in chili peppers, has been looked at in humans for weight loss.
In another study, the effect of raspberry ketone on energy metabolism was examined by measuring metabolic markers in brown fat tissue, a special kind of fat that generates heat in a process called thermogenesis. These results reportedly indicate that raspberry ketone activates the brown fat thermogenesis and enhances energy metabolism. In any case, more detailed studies are called for to determine a mechanism for raspberry ketone.
What do the animal data on raspberry ketone mean for humans?
Mice and rats are the most widely used animal models in biomedical research. It is important to note that besides being non-human mammals, these animals are housed under standard laboratory conditions, and the use of overweight and unstimulated animals as standard controls may bias the measured experimental outcomes.
Animal models and test tube experiments are important parts of scientific discovery and innovation, especially at early stages. Positive early results in the lab can be promising, but these do not always mean the same outcomes will occur in humans.