Raspberry ketone skyrocketed to fame when Dr. Oz dedicated a special episode of “The Dr. Oz Show” to exploring the weight loss potential of this raspberry compound.
The primary aroma compound of red raspberry, raspberry ketone is said to stimulate fat burning and even suppress the appetite. Over time, this should translate to weight loss.
Dietary supplements have since jumped on the raspberry ketone bandwagon, full of promises of smaller dress sizes and washboard abs. But hardly anyone is talking about potential side effects of raspberry ketone. Is raspberry ketone safe? Let’s find out.
How Raspberry Ketone Works
To know whether or not raspberry ketone is safe, we first have to know how it works. Biologically speaking, raspberry ketone works in two ways to promote weight loss.
First, raspberry ketone increases the release of the hormone norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is the same hormone released when you’re in stressful situations. It causes your heart rate to speed up and your body to release more glucose, combining to give you greater energy and physical performance.
The second weight loss mechanism works through a protein called adiponectin. Found in fat cells, adiponectin regulates insulin function and reduces inflammation in the circulatory system. This prevents weight gain and risk for type 2 diabetes. One study even found adiponectin increased weight loss by between 18 and 48 percent. Raspberry ketone promotes this process by increasing the secretion of adiponectin.
Both mechanisms of action promote weight loss, but they also involve side effects. Here’s a look at a few of the most common raspberry ketone side effects and the reasons why they occur.
Jittery Feelings and Rapid Heartbeat
As a stimulant, raspberry ketone triggers faster reactions in the central nervous system and elsewhere in the body. As we already established, part of this process involves releasing higher levels of norepinephrine.
Norepinephrine is typically reserved for stressful scenarios in which you need a great deal of energy quickly. Imagine you’re being chased by a bear. With greater norepinephrine production, you’ll start to feel nervous and your system will be thrown into overdrive. While you have more energy and focus, you also feel sick to your stomach, your body begins to shake, and your heart pounds.
On paper, this is a great way to suppress the appetite and burn fat. However, it’s also a great way to feel jittery and nervous all day.
Increased Blood Pressure
Along these same lines, raspberry ketone can increase blood pressure. While energy levels increase as more blood pumps through your body, blood pressure will also increase. This is fine in the short term, but if you’re taking a raspberry ketone-based supplement every day over a long period of time, permanent damage can occur.
With high blood pressure, you’re more at risk for health problems like heart attack and stroke. You even raise your risk for dementia because blood flow to the brain is limited.
Like most supplements that increase metabolism, raspberry ketone poses some threat to the thyroid. Because the thyroid gland normally controls metabolism, manipulating it—and especially putting it under duress—can cause hypothyroidism.
An underactive thyroid requires prescription medication to control and over time, can actually cause fatigue—the very opposite of what you want with raspberry ketone.
However, it’s important to point out that there haven’t been any conclusive studies on raspberry ketone’s effects on the thyroid. This side effect is merely speculation from some in the healthcare industry.
So, Is it safe?
While raspberry ketone side effects may worry you, generally they’re only seen when it is taken in large doses over a long period of time. Most of the time, you may notice some mild jitters or nausea, which often disappears after the first week of supplementation.
To use raspberry ketone safely, moderate your intake and try not to become overly reliant on your supplement. To ease any nausea-related concerns, you may want to take raspberry ketone on a full stomach with 8 to 10 glasses of water daily.
The bottom line is raspberry ketone is nearly always safe, provided you supplement responsibly.