Raspberry Ketone

Raspberry ketone is a molecule marketed as a fat burning compound. Oral doses of this supplement are not effective.

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Raspberry ketone is the compound responsible for many flavoring and aromatic qualities of cosmetics and processed foods.

When present in high doses, raspberry ketone can exert fat burning effects on various areas of the fat cell. These effects may be similar to those of Ephedrine and Synephrine.

It should be noted that all evidence for the effects of raspberry ketone has only been observed in vitro (in a test tube). Though researchers are able to raise the concentrations of ketones in a single cell during studies, these same concentrations cannot be replicated in the human body, particularly through oral supplementation.

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Also Known As

4-(4-hydroxyphenyl) butan-2-one, p-hydroxybenzyl acetone

Things to Note

  • Raspberry ketone is said to be non-stimulatory, but this has not been properly addressed by research
  • Raspberry ketone has a slightly artificial raspberry aroma and taste

Is a Form of

Caution Notice

Examine.com Medical Disclaimer

There is no human evidence for the effects of raspberry ketones. Studies on rats have used a dosage range of .545-2.18g/kg, which correlates to a human estimated dose of 80-340mg/kg for humans. This dose is very high compared to other fat burning compounds, so for that reason the standard supplemental dose of raspberry ketones for humans is in the 100-200mg range. There is no solid evidence for the effectiveness of the doses listed below. Rat dosages correlate to the following human doses:

  • 870-3,700mg for a 150lb person
  • 1,100-5,000mg for a 200lb person
  • 1,500-6,200mg for a 250lb person

There is no human evidence for the effectiveness of raspberry ketones. Raspberry ketones cannot be concentrated in the human body the same way they are concentrated during studies done outside the body, on single cells.

The concentration which is required to have fat burning effects is astronomically high, and the oral doses used in the rat studies similarly high. Low oral doses of raspberry ketones really need to be tested, but I honestly don't expect much from them.

They make your burps taste nice-ish though

Kurtis Frank

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (excluding animal/petri-dish studies) to tell you what effect Raspberry Ketone has in your body, and how strong these effects are.
GradeLevel of Evidence
ARobust research conducted with repeated double blind clinical trials
BMultiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
CSingle double blind study or multiple cohort studies
DUncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
Magnitude of Effect Size
Scientific ConsensusComments
DSkin Elasticity


Appears to benefit the skin when topically applied as part of a cream

DHair Regrowth


May induce hair growth when topically applied

Studies Excluded from Consideration

  • Confounded with the inclusion of other fat burners[1]

Disagree? Join the Raspberry Ketone Discussion

Table of Contents:

Edit1. Structure and Sources

1.1. Sources

Raspberry ketone (also known as 4-(4-hydroxyphenyl) butan-2-one) is a compound extracted from red raspberries that is usually used as a scenting and flavoring agent in foods and cosmetics.[2].

It is found naturally in many foods, most notably raspberries (in which case it is synthesized from coumaroyl-CoA) but also in Rheum officinale.[3] Most raspberry ketone used commercially is synthesized[4] or produced via bacteria[5][6], however, due to its high demand in cosmetics and as a flavoring agent. It has been estimated that dietary intake for an average human is around 0.42mg/kg bodyweight,[7] mostly consumed through processed foods which have raspberry ketone added as a flavoring agent.

1.2. Structure

Raspberry ketone has a vaguely similar structure to Synephrine and Ephedrine, where the butanone-substituted phenyl group of raspberry ketone replaces ethylamine group of synephrine or ephedrine. There is also some structural similarity to Capsaicin, with para-substituted phenolic and ketone functional groups in common.[8]

Edit2. Pharmacology

2.1. Metabolism

After oral ingestion, raspberry ketone is targeted for sulfation and glucuronidation and is also metabolized by the hepatic P450 enzyme system in animal models.[9]

Raspberry ketone (4-(4-hydroxylphenyl)butan-2-one) can be metabolized via ring conjugation (resulting in 4-(4-hydroxylphenyl)butan-1,2-diol) or via side-chain oxidation (resulting in 4-(4-hydroxylphenyl)butan-2,3-diol).[9] Raspberry ketone and its aforementioned oxidized metabolites are excreted in urine, sometimes conjugated to either sulphate or glucuronide.[9]

Edit3. Fat Mass and Obesity

3.1. Mechanisms

There is mixed evidence as to whether raspberry ketone can stimulate lipolysis. One study in an adipocyte cell culture model noted that 10µM of the compound tripled glycerol release, an indicator of lipolysis.[8] Another study using primary fat cells from a rodent model failed to show any lipolysis-stimulating effects with raspberry ketone alone. This study did note that concentrations in the range of 1-10mM did stimulate lipolysis in the presence of norepinephrine, however, suggesting that raspberry ketone may augment norepinephrine- mediated lipolysis.[10] There is no detectable binding of raspberry ketone to β-adrenergic receptors.[10]

Increased secretion and cellular levels of adiponectin were also noted after 4 days of incubating fat cells with raspberry ketone.[8] It has been noted to be protective against steatohepatitis in a rat model while also attenuating a rise in leptin levels.[11]

Raspberry ketone appears to increase lipolysis by augmenting the effects of norepinephrine. This occurs at a very high cellular concentration and may not be practically relevant.

Rats fed 0.5-2% raspberry ketone (bringing the total daily intake to 0.545-2.18g/kg) during periods of high fat overfeeding noted dose-dependent anti-obesity actions in preventing body weight gain, although the group fed 2% raspberry ketones still gained more weight than the control group fed a normal diet.[10]

Toxicological studies also noted decreases in body weight associated with raspberry ketones at 1% of the diet.[7]

3.2. Interventions

The one human study to investigate the effects of raspberry ketone found a fat loss of 7.8% relative to the 2.8% in placebo, and weight loss of 2% relative to 0.5% in placebo, without detectable differences in caloric intake. This study was highly confounded, however, as raspberry ketone was co-administered with several other supplements in a "METABO" formulation (raspberry ketone paired with Caffeine, Capsaicin, Garlic, Ginger and Citrus aurantium as a source of Synephrine), so the benefits cannot be traced back to raspberry ketone per se.[1] This study also noted an elevation of serum leptin (but no influence on resistin nor adiponectin) associated with intervention.[1]

Human evidence for the efficacy of raspberry ketones in promoting fat loss is highly confounded. There is no evidence to support the idea that raspberry ketone in isolation can induce fat loss.

Edit4. Interactions with Hormones

4.1. Testosterone

In vitro studies with breast cancer cell lines suggest that raspberry ketone can inhibit the androgen receptor, with an IC50 value of 252uM.[12]

Rasberry ketone can block the androgen receptor, but this occurs at high concentrations that may not be physiologically relevant. Oral ingestion of standard (low) doses is unlikely to affect androgen receptor signaling.

Edit5. Interactions with Organ Systems

5.1. Liver

A study conducted in rats noted that 1-2% of the diet as raspberry ketone was able to attenuate increases in liver fat associated with a high fat overfeeding diet, with the 2% group not being significantly different than control (control at 10.7+/-1.6mg/g triglycerides in the liver, high fat control at 35.6+/-6.8mg/g, and 2% raspberry ketone at 17.9+/-1.9mg/g).[10] These doses were later tested in another rat model of steatohepatitis,[11] and decreases in liver triglycerides and cholesterol were noted with normalization of serum HDL-C and LDL-C. Liver enzymes were beneficially influenced, although to a minor degree.[11]

It is thought that this is due to a preservation of PPARα and LDL receptors in the livers of rats fed both raspberry ketone and an obesogenic diet.[11]

Rat studies suggest that raspberry ketone may have beneficial effects on liver fat buildup, but there is no evidence to support this effect in humans. Impractically high doses of raspberry ketone were used to achieve these effects in rats.

Raspberry ketone may have some beneficial influences on liver fat buildup, although this has only been tested in rat models, and may not be true in humans. Also, high, impractical doses of raspberry ketone were used to acheive these effects.

Edit6. Interactions with Aesthetics

6.1. Hair

Raspberry ketone, used topically as a 0.01% solution applied once daily for 5 months, has been found to increase IGF-1 production in the dermis (skin) and may lead to increased hair growth.[13] These effects seem to be mediated through vanilloid-receptor 1 (VR1) activation, similar to Capsaicin, a compound with a similar structure but a longer tail.

6.2. Skin

Raspberry ketone has also been linked to increased skin elasticity when administered topically as a solution of 0.01% in human females.[13]

Edit7. As Raspberry leaf tea

Raspberry leaf tea is a herbal medicine traditionally recommended to pregnant women, and contains various compounds such as 'gallo- and ellagitannins, flavonoids, Vitamin C, various alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, organic acids, terpenoids, carbohydrates, and glycosides'.[14] The ketones this list refers to are the raspberry ketones, most notably 4-(4-hydroxyphenyl)butan-2-one.

7.1. Interactions with pregnancy

Raspberry leaf tea is often recommended to pregnant women to shorten labor[15][16] The mechanism of this is not yet elucidated, but does not appear to be mediated by uterine contractility.[17]

Adverse effects are not usually seen at dosages of 1.2-2.4g raspberry leaf daily, but neither are statistically significant benefits on labour length.[18][14][16]

In regards to safety during pregnancy, a recent review suggested that not enough information exists to draw a conclusion due to small sample sizes.[14]

Edit8. Safety and Toxicity

There is not much evidence on the safety threshold for raspberry ketone in humans due to its relatively new status as a supplement.

Fat cells show no cytotoxicity, however, at doses up to five times (100μM) the effective dose noted above.[8] In rats, intake of up to 100mg/kg bodyweight does not cause any short-term alterations in markers of blood health[7], and the LD50 is established at around 1.3-1.4g/kg bodyweight.[7]


  1. Lopez HL, et al. Eight weeks of supplementation with a multi-ingredient weight loss product enhances body composition, reduces hip and waist girth, and increases energy levels in overweight men and women. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2013)
  2. Yurle S. The application of raspberry ketone to successful body care. Fragr J. (2003)
  3. Lin CH, et al. Evaluation of in Vitro and in Vivo Depigmenting Activity of Raspberry Ketone from Rheum officinale. Int J Mol Sci. (2011)
  4. Tateiwa JI, et al. Cation-Exchanged Montmorillonite-Catalyzed Facile Friedel-Crafts Alkylation of Hydroxy and Methoxy Aromatics with 4-Hydroxybutan-2-one To Produce Raspberry Ketone and Some Pharmaceutically Active Compounds. J Org Chem. (1994)
  5. Beekwilder J, et al. Microbial production of natural raspberry ketone. Biotechnol J. (2007)
  6. Feron G, et al. Microbial production of 4-hydroxybenzylidene acetone, the direct precursor of raspberry ketone. Lett Appl Microbiol. (2007)
  7. Gaunt IF, et al. Acute and short-term toxicity of p-hydroxybenzyl acetone in rats. Food Cosmet Toxicol. (1970)
  8. Park KS. Raspberry ketone increases both lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Planta Med. (2010)
  9. Sporstøl S, Scheline RR. The metabolism of 4-(4-hydroxyphenyl)butan-2-one (raspberry ketone) in rats, guinea-pigs and rabbits. Xenobiotica. (1982)
  10. Morimoto C, et al. Anti-obese action of raspberry ketone. Life Sci. (2005)
  11. Wang L, Meng X, Zhang F. Raspberry ketone protects rats fed high-fat diets against nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. J Med Food. (2012)
  12. Ogawa Y, et al. Effect of essential oils, such as raspberry ketone and its derivatives, on antiandrogenic activity based on in vitro reporter gene assay. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. (2010)
  13. Harada N, et al. Effect of topical application of raspberry ketone on dermal production of insulin-like growth factor-I in mice and on hair growth and skin elasticity in humans. Growth Horm IGF Res. ()
  14. Holst L, Haavik S, Nordeng H. Raspberry leaf--should it be recommended to pregnant women. Complement Ther Clin Pract. (2009)
  15. Parsons M, Simpson M, Ponton T. Raspberry leaf and its effect on labour: safety and efficacy. Aust Coll Midwives Inc J. (1999)
  16. Parsons M, Simpson M, Wade K. Labour and the raspberry leaf herb. Pract Midwife. (2000)
  17. Jing Zheng, et al. The effects of commercial preparations of red raspberry leaf on the contractility of the rat's uterus in vitro. Reprod Sci. (2010)
  18. Simpson M, et al. Raspberry leaf in pregnancy: its safety and efficacy in labor. J Midwifery Womens Health. (2001)
  19. Harada N, et al. Effect of topical application of raspberry ketone on dermal production of insulin-like growth factor-I in mice and on hair growth and skin elasticity in humans. Growth Horm IGF Res. (2008)

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