How it works

How it works

What’s all this talk about raspberry ketones? Well, Dr. Oz has inherited the “Oprah effect,” and if he mentions it everyone wants it; or at least wants to know what it is.

Since his episode aired earlier this week announcing the new “miracle” weight loss supplement raspberry ketone, the Internet has been ablaze with searches. Stores are already back-ordered, and pharmacists are having to become experts on the subject almost over night.

“The amount of questions that came pouring in to my pharmacy about raspberry ketones just hours after Dr. Oz’s episode about them makes me think I need to start DVRing the show,” said Dr. Sarah G. Khan, our resident pharmacist at She explains that the raspberry ketones have a weight loss effect because they increase “the metabolism by increasing the release of a hormone called norepinephrine.” Dr. Khan further explains that the other mechanism at play is “a protein that is found on fat cells called adiponectin… [which] decreases glucose levels and has been found to be very successful in lab tests with mice regarding weight loss.”

While she thinks long-term use of such a metabolism-boosting supplement could have effects on your thyroid, she also advises against their use by diabetics.

She’s not the only one speaking out against the new it-pill of the moment. Our resident dietitian Mary Hartley suggests that these raspberry ketones are nothing more than TV hype. She describes them as “compounds that give red raspberries their aroma.”

Where has Dr. Oz found support for his shining recommendation? Mice.

“That fat-blasting claim rests on two small mice studies that show when mice are fed a high-fat diet supplemented with raspberry ketones they gain less body fat than expected,” explained Hartley. “But be clear: raspberry ketones have not been studied in humans and they have not been proven to work.”

The dose, as directed by Dr. Oz’s assistant on the show, Lisa Lynn, is 100mg for breakfast and then 200mg at lunch. Hartley notes this dosing regimen will cost you “$20 to $60 a month, for a still unproven product.” She and Dr. Oz agree on one thing, you couldn’t possibly eat enough fresh raspberries to match the concentration in a dose of raspberry ketones, which would require about 90 pounds of berries.

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