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Do You Know Nutrition: Are raspberry ketones safe?

By By Phylis Canion
Sept. 11, 2012 at 4:11 a.m.

Phylis Canion

Can you please explain the truth about red raspberry ketones and weight loss? I have heard about this on Dr. Oz, but wonder how safe it is and if it can interact with medication? Are there additional health benefits?

Red raspberry ketones are the compounds within the raspberries that give the fruit its characteristic aroma.

Raspberry ketone has a similar structure to capsaicin, an extract from hot peppers that is associated with improved fat metabolism, according to researchers. More importantly, studies indicate that people who are thin have higher levels of adiponectin than overweight individuals.

Raspberry ketones naturally increase the production of adiponectin, a protein hormone produced and secreted exclusively by fat cells, known as adipocytes, that regulates the metabolism of lipids and glucose and in turn, boosts the body's metabolism. Having high levels of this fat-burning protein can significantly lower your body's fat component, thereby benefiting in weight loss.

Because adiponectin also reduces inflammation in cell tissue inside blood vessels, higher blood levels of adiponectin have also been associated with a reduced risk of heart attack, said Ray Sahelian, M.D.

In a recent study by Dr. Rob Van Dam, of the Harvard School of Public Health results indicated that increasing adiponectin was associated with almost a 30 percent reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Red raspberry ketones are rich in phytochemicals, particularly ellagic acid, which has anti-carcinogenic properties. Because red raspberry ketones come from a natural source, this compound is safe and has no known side effects.

In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has placed this ingredient in the "generally recognized as safe" category. While there are many studies that indicate the benefits of red raspberry ketones and its safety, I always recommend discussing taking any supplements with your physician.

Also, it is important to remember that the quality of the product will determine the benefits.

Thought for the week: Life is change - growth is optional. Be careful how you choose.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, email her at doc.phyl@yahoo.com. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.

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