Can raspberry ketones really help burn fat?

2012-11-14T03:05:00Z 2012-11-14T07:39:33Z Can raspberry ketones really help burn fat?Kelly Cleason-Kelly, Special to The Citizen Auburn Citizen

Over the past six months, I have had numerous inquiries about raspberry ketones. This supplement has gained popularity recently, and is available through several major vendors. These supplements have been popularized following the endorsement of Dr. Oz and other health professionals. These supplements claim to assist with the loss of excess body weight and the ability to target body fat specifically. Little research has been done on this supplement at this time, and the majority of research done has been with laboratory animals.

Ketones, or ketone bodies, are water-soluble compounds formed as waste products when fatty acids are broken down by the liver for energy. Raspberry ketones are an enzyme derived from red raspberries. This aromatic compound has traditionally been used in the cosmetic and perfume industry.

Several studies have shown that this supplement is helpful with weight loss; again, these studies have been conducted on rodents. While humans and rodents have similar metabolic processes, this does not mean that humans will produce similar results. As with all supplements, it is important to discuss with a licensed medical professional prior to use, as they are aware of your individual constitution and needs.

Raspberry ketones increase the secretion of adiponectin, an adipocyte-specific protein that has been shown to be lower in obese individuals. Low levels of adiponectin are seen in insulin resistance and type II diabetes. Adiponectin is a protein that the body uses to regulate body metabolism. A higher amount of adiponectin is associated with fewer fat stores, or less body fat. While the exact mechanism is not understood, there seems to be a correlation of the action of raspberry ketone in altering the lipid metabolism, or more specifically, in increasing norepinephrine-induced lipolysis in white adipocytes, more commonly known as fat cells. Individuals who are considered to be “thin” generally have a higher concentration of adiponectin, as opposed to heavier individuals.

Excessive body weight has been associated with a higher risk for specific health conditions, including hypertension and other heart conditions, type II diabetes and certain cancers.

This supplement is regarded as safe, with the exception of individuals who may be allergic to raspberries. As with all supplements, it is most effective when used in conjuncture with proper diet and exercise. Raspberries have long been considered to be one of the “super foods,” and eating a diet high in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables decreases the chance of weight gain and other health complications.

It is always beneficial to supplement with whole foods when available. Supplementation allows the individual to obtain nutrients that they may be lacking in the diet. Proper lifestyle adjustments can ensure weight loss, especially when used in conjunction with a nutritionist or qualified health professional.

Kelly Cleason-Kelly M.A., MACN, is a clinical nutritionist and graduate of New York Chiropractic College. Email her at with any questions or article suggestions, or visit

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