And the Cancer Benefits Remain Unproven
It’s been a little over two years since I last looked at raspberry ketones, also referred to as the “miracle weight loss” supplement (you can refer back to Issue #245). I don’t have much interest in weight-loss pills, but I do perk up when I hear a plant extract may help fight cancer.
At the time, ketones looked promising thanks to a possible connection between weight loss and the termination of flawed fat cells that could lead to cancer.
A few more studies have surfaced since, so I want to bring you up to speed. But first, let’s look at how all the hype got started. . .
This Doctor Blunder is
Condemning Millions of
People to Joint Pain
…maybe including you!
Stanford University scientists have made a startling new discovery about the true cause of joint pain – and it’s turning the medical world upside down.
Everything doctors thought they knew about joint pain is DEAD WRONG! And they’ve been treating it in the wrong way.
That’s the bad news. The GOOD NEWS is that the actual cause of most joint pain is easy to treat. You just have to know what it is.
Ketone craze part of long list of fat burners
We all recognize the delectable, smell of fresh red raspberries – a scent that’s easily reproduced in other products, like ice cream and cosmetics. Ketones are the force behind that wonderful scent. They’re natural phenolic compounds and the source of aroma in fruits like raspberries, cranberries, and blackberries.
Natural ketones are made organically in the raspberry plant, but they’re difficult and expensive to extract. The same ketone can be manufactured through a variety of chemical methods. The process produces a raspberry aroma that’s then injected into raspberry-flavored foods or products like cosmetics.
Interest in raspberry ketones ballooned a couple of years ago when Dr. Oz – who else? — mentioned it on his show as the “number one miracle in a bottle that burns real fat.” After his endorsement, people swarmed supplement stores, pushing retailers to order more, more, more. Small wonder when you consider that Dr. Oz stated the natural supplement could burn fat and boost energy.
It also came as no surprise that marketers seized the initial claims Dr. Oz and similar practitioners made and bent them all out of shape. After all, everyone’s looking for a quick fix to lose weight.
It’s interesting that ketones weren’t even a new supplement. They’ve been recognized by the FDA since 1965 and are regarded as generally safe with no known side effects.
The ketone-cancer connection
So whence came the idea that ketones have cancer-fighting benefits? Animal studies caused researchers to believe that raspberry ketones give your metabolism a boost by affecting adiponectin levels. Adiponectin is a hormone that helps regulate glucose levels and the breakdown of fatty acids.
Without a doubt, you want more adiponectin in your body. Along with controlling blood sugar levels, it increases your lean body mass. Both of those factors indirectly affect how likely you are to develop cancer. So as the theory goes, more adiponectin means less cancer risk – along with lower risk for diabetes, heart disease, and obesity-related diseases. And if ketones can get you there naturally, bring them on.
Of course, adiponectin levels are affected by a lot more than ketones. Diet, genetics, exercise, and the size of the spare tire around your middle all play a role in adiponectin levels. Even if we could assume that raspberry ketones drastically raise your adiponectin levels, you’d still need to follow a healthy diet and exercise regimen to get the most from the supplement.
Though the animal studies that tied raspberry ketones to weight loss were promising, we’re still waiting for reliable proof that ketones are worth the weight-loss hosannas they’ve been awarded for the past few years, or that they have a significant impact on adiponectin levels.
More telling even than that, Dr. Oz was grilled by the Senate’s consumer protection panel last year and effectively scolded over his pro-weight loss endorsement of raspberry ketones. Under pressure, he admitted they “don’t pass scientific muster” as weight loss drugs, and thinks of them only as “short-term crutches” for assisting weight loss efforts.
Admittedly, part of Dr. Oz’s testimony before Congress was aimed at addressing a different problem altogether. He was probably trying to clear his name and image from the illegal use of his endorsement by specific supplements and supplement companies. The hype over ketones was largely driven by the Dr. Oz connection.
Stick with the real thing for now
(and reap even more benefits)
There’s no harm in making raspberry ketones part of an overall get-healthy, lose-unwanted-fat strategy – as long as you consider them a very small slice of the whole pie.
You’re much better off with regular servings of real raspberries. After all, they’re packed with anthocyanins, beta carotene, and Vitamin C. Plus, real raspberries contain ellagic acid, a phytonutrient with specific anti-inflammatory properties that helps prevent the over-activity of certain enzymes and has the ability to halt mutations within a cell’s DNA. Ellagic acid is also considered to be a cancer inhibitor and promotes apoptosis and normal cell death in cancer cells.
The anticancer benefits of anthocyanins and ellagic acid are well-established. They provide plenty of good reason for upping your intake of raspberries, rather than taking ketone pills. However, eating a therapeutic dose of raspberries is hard, so consider ellagic acid and anthocyanin supplements, which are readily available and enable you to consume much larger doses of the “active ingredients.”
If weight loss is your primary concern, there’s simply no substitute for diet and exercise. And the best diet is to eat the lowest level of carbohydrates you can tolerate. Raspberry ketones may help you lose weight, but they’re not a cure-all – and, if Dr. Oz’s Senate testimony was on the level – the benefit is modest.
What’s more, ketone pills aren’t cheap. I think you’ll be better off spending your health dollars somewhere else.
Lee Euler, Publisher