Is This Hope In A Bottle,
Or Is It Hype In A Bottle?
By Nurse Mark
Raspberry Ketones. My email box is full to overflowing with spam advertising raspberry ketones, and I’ll bet yours is too.
There seems to be no end to it, and we are getting questions about this subject from a lot of people who saw the mighty Dr. Oz promoting this new supplement on his television show. A “miracle in a bottle” was one of the glowing endorsements that Oz gave the stuff.
So, what’s the truth?
Is raspberry ketone a miracle fat burner in a bottle? Hardly.
Here are a few things you need to know about raspberry ketones:
Up until recently raspberry ketone was one of the most expensive food additives available. You see, it takes about 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of raspberries to make just 1 to 4 mg of raspberry ketone. Now, with most raspberry ketone supplements claiming to provide between 100 and 500 mg per capsule, that means that each capsule represents many hundreds of pounds of raspberries – and a full bottle might be the end result of a whole crop.
Obviously, this really isn’t possible – there just aren’t that many raspberries out there to fill the needs of all the mass-marketers who are hyping this stuff. There must be something else going on, and here are two possibilities…
The first possibility is that there really isn’t any “raspberry ketones” in the bottle of pills being offered. Or at least not very much.
The second and more likely possibility is that advances in the chemical industry have allowed manufacturers to produce synthetic forms of this substance cheaply. And indeed, it turns out that chemical manufacturers have recently perfected ways of persuading bacteria, fungus, and yeast to make this chemical far more inexpensively than was ever possible. Mass marketers and hucksters can now afford to buy it, encapsulate it, and make huge profits on it.
You may also be interested to know that some of these new processes involve Genetically Modified Organisms – GMO’s – to produce this synthetic compound. (The Wizard of Oz meets Dr. Frankenstein perhaps?)
For those who must know, (and you are probably the same folks who want to know all about how sausages or laws are made – eww!) this synthesis occurs through a crossed aldol-catalytic hydrogenation. In acetone and sodium hydroxide, 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde can form the α,β-unsaturated ketone. This then put through catalytic hydrogenation to produce raspberry ketone, also known as 4-(p-Hydroxyphenyl)-2-butanone. This method is said to produce a 99% yield. But has it ever seen a raspberry? Nope, not unless one of the chemists had one in his lunch bag.
Another consideration is that many of these “raspberry ketone” products contain other ingredients that may actually be far more responsible for any weight loss – green tea, caffeine, capsaicin are just a few examples. Read the labels and know what you are getting!
Even Dr. Oz isn’t so sure about this stuff
Though Oz during his television interview with “expert” Lisa Lynn appeared to be persuaded by her non-answers to his questions about any research behind raspberry ketone, his website tells a conflictingly different story.
In one article on his website, Oz claims that raspberry ketones are the answer to losing “all over” fat – while on another page he admits that there have never been any human studies on raspberry ketone use, and that the single study performed on mice in the lab could not be relied on to provide much that would be useful to humans.
On the other hand, his picture and name is being used prominently on a number of ads for raspberry ketone pills – it’s possible that this is unauthorized, but I doubt it – my guess is that he is making a tidy sum for his endorsement.
And “expert” Lisa Lynn? Well, even though in the land of Oz she’s a “weight loss expert” she really isn’t. She does have certificates for exercise training and she sells raspberry ketone supplements on her website – but she’s not a dietitian, doesn’t have a nutrition degree, and she is certainly is neither a nurse or a medical doctor.
Real World, Real Research – Toto, We’re Not In Kansas Any More:
There have been a grand total of three studies published regarding raspberry ketones.
The most recent, published in the Journal of Med Food in May 2012 and titled “Raspberry ketone protects rats fed high-fat diets against nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.” was authored by L Wang, X Meng, and F Zhang of the “College of Food” at Shenyang Agricultural University in China. This study says that rats that were fed a diet designed to give them a fatty liver were “protected” when they were also fed very large doses of raspberry ketones – not that the raspberry ketones made them slim, but just kept them from getting fatty livers.
In 2010, a test-tube study titled “Raspberry ketone increases both lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.” and authored by KS Park of Nutrition & Functional Food Research Team, Korea Food & Drug Administration, in Seoul, Korea demonstrated that raspberry ketones, when applied to a particular kind of fat cell in a test tube, would cause the cells to break down and oxidize. In a test tube.
The granddaddy of all the “studies,” the one that started this whole craze for raspberry ketones and is widely (but usually indirectly) referred to by the hucksters is titled “Anti-obese action of raspberry ketone.” It was authored by a team of 6 researchers from the Department of Medical Biochemistry, at Ehime University School of Medicine, in Japan in 2005. It found that mice fed very high-fat diets along with massive doses of raspberry ketones (doses equaling 2% of their total diet!) were “protected” against fat gains and fatty livers and showed some increased fat oxidation (burning). But that came with giving the mice raspberry ketones at a rate of 2% of their total dietary intake. Hardly a practical solution for humans – you would be eating raspberry ketone pills by the bottle…
Raspberry Ketones for Weight Loss? Only In The Land Of Oz…
In “The Land Of Oz” raspberry ketones are a “miracle in a bottle” – but in the real world the evidence is sorely lacking despite the man behind the curtain, pulling the levers, blowing smoke and shouting “The Great and Powerful Oz Commands You to buy raspberry ketones!”
So, Now I’ve dashed your hopes and popped your bubble. There is no weight loss miracle in a bottle. What can you do?
Actually, you can use ketones!
And you can get your ketones for free!
You can make your own natural healthy ketones, and you will lose weight!
Ok, now I can hear you out there saying to yourselves “Nurse Mark has lost it – his chain has jumped the sprocket, he’s been under too much strain, he’s going crazy!”
No, I’m not crazy – we have been recommending ketones – or, more precisely a Ketogenic Diet, to our patients for many years. And that diet works – our patients lose fat like crazy!
It works so well that Dr. Myatt has been asked to lecture to other doctors about it at major medical conferences.
Here is the abstract to one of those lectures: Dietary Ketosis in the Treatment of Overweight, Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome
She also has a book detailing the diet: Get the skinny on Dr. Myatt’s Super Fast Diet here
For those who just want the “short-course” here are some recommendations for what you can do with the money you’ll save by not falling for the raspberry ketones hype:
First, remember that the only safe way to lose weight is to use stored body fat for energy. You might lose weight by restricting fat and protein from your diet, but doing that puts your heart, muscles, and other body functions at risk.
Remember too that many toxins are stored by our bodies in fat cells – where they less likely to harm us. When we burn fat we also release those toxins and put our body to the work of safely eliminating them. So, every weight loss diet must be accompanied by a detoxification plan. For more details on detoxing, please see Dr. Myatt’s recent HealthBeat article Dr. Myatt’s Guide To Detoxification
A basic detox strategy includes increasing dietary fiber intakes. Besides helping to provide a feeling of satiety for not much carbohydrate intake, fiber helps to bind and remove toxins from the system.
Flax seed is another form of fiber with added health benefits.
A very special kind of fiber, Chitosan, is useful for blocking the absorption of fat from the diet. Some people use this in advance of a high-fat meal (say, that “Triple-Cheese Heart-Attack Burger” you were looking at…) to achieve the same effect – protection – that the scientists were trying for in their rats with raspberry ketones. Just remember that Chitosan will bind up fat soluble vitamins too…
Anyone who is trying to lose weight (and thereby detoxing too) needs to ensure that they are getting their full compliment of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The B-vitamins are especially important for energy – they are vital to the cellular mitochondrial energy processes that are involved in burning fat. Minerals are likewise vital to cellular processes, and also to maintaining healthy bones. Antioxidants are needed to provide protection from the toxins that are released from fat during weight loss.
Maxi Multi and Maxi Marine O3 are our most basic and important recommendations to any weight loss dieter. Maxi Greens provide important flavonoids and phytonutrients to give an additional level of protection.
(Here’s a hot tip – get these three supplements together and save a bunch of money – check it out here: Maxi Health Foundations Bundle)
CoQ10 is also essential for mitochondrial energy production and hence is required for burning fat for energy.
Alpha Lipoic Acid has been described as “the universal antioxidant” since it has the property of being both fat-soluble and water soluble. It improves mitochondrial function (the “energy producing units” of the cell) and works well in combination with CoQ10 and Acetyl-l-Carnitine to enhance energy production. Lipoic acid is also involved in the conversion of carbohydrates to energy.
Acetyl-l-Carnitine is important in the treatment of overweight and obesity – because it increases fatty acid oxidation (fat metabolism) and insulin sensitivity.
Because these two substances work so well together, Dr. Myatt has a product that combines them: ALA-ALC combines these two energy powerhouses in one high-potency formula.
So – Are we “down” on ketones? Not really – we just don’t think you need to buy them in a bottle, ’cause they just don’t work that way. You can make your own by following a ketogenic diet and you’ll watch your fat fall away, your weight normalize, and your health improve.
And that’s life in the real world – not in “the land of Oz!”
2012 rat study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22551412
2010 test tube study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20425690
2005 mouse study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15862604
microbial fermentation (from both bacteria and yeast)
Dr. Oz isn’t convinced: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/rasberry-ketone-what-science-says?page=2#copy
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