It is always recommended to weigh potential side effects of raspberry ketones or any other weight loss supplement. The considerations become more important if there are existing medical conditions.
Further concerns are appropriate and wise for people on prescription medication. Drug interactions may be unknown and can result in serious consequences.
The Science Behind Raspberry Ketone
The bottom line is raspberry ketone has not been subjected to medical or scientific scrutiny concerning side effects in humans. However, synthetic raspberry ketone has been used for decades in products consumed by humans. Keep in mind the amounts used were extremely small compared to what is found in supplements.
To err on the side of safety, raspberry ketone manufacturers advise against its use during pregnancy and breast-feeding. There is no scientific information to support safe use in those conditions.
Safe Dosage Recommendations
The current diet craze with raspberry ketones presents new concerns with safe dosage. There is little credible information on human consumption of the substance for amounts taken in supplement form. Supplement dosages can range from less than 100 mg up to 500 mg.
Higher amounts of 500 mg can be found in raspberry ketone supplements sold in the US. In fact, US-based websites encourage taking the supplement at higher dosages. The most popular raspberry ketone brands in the UK and Europe recommend concentrations of 100 mg to 200 mg. The UK independent organization Institute for Optimum Nutrition recommends limiting daily raspberry ketone daily dosage to 200mg.
Chemical Properties and Effects in Humans
Raspberry ketone shares chemical similarities to synephrine which is a stimulant. And this has important implications for many people with existing medical conditions or who are susceptible to the effects of stimulants.
There is a possibility for raspberry ketone use to produce elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure and other related side effects. A good way of thinking about this is to consider how coffee affects people in different ways.
Some people can drink coffee all day without unpleasant side effects. Then others can drink one cup of coffee and feel jittery with a noticeably higher heart rate and possibly upset stomach. Clearly, some people are more sensitive to stimulants.
There are informal reports on the internet from people who have experienced unpleasant side effects after taking small amounts of raspberry ketone. Common effects include increased anxiety, shaky and jittery hands, tremors and profuse sweating.
Raspberry ketone increases norepinephrine levels and this is what can produce discomforting side effects in some users. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that increases heart rate among other effects. The term is often used interchangeably with noradrenaline or adrenaline. Norepinephrine can also be given as a drug that will increase blood pressure.
The flight-or-flight response is well known, and norepinephrine is the primary stress hormone involved in the process. Along with increased heart rate, other effects include increased blood flow to muscles while producing more glucose (blood sugar) availability. It is the latter effect that should be noted by diabetics.
Concerns for Existing Medical Conditions
The potential side effects of raspberry ketone must be considered by people taking medication for heart disease, diabetes, anxiety conditions, asthma and certainly other conditions. Other serious concerns are drug interactions with prescription medication for the above conditions and those for regulating hormones and heart rate.
People with existing medical conditions are strongly encouraged to consult with their physician before taking any weight loss supplement containing raspberry ketone.