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Side-effects: Antidepressants & Levothyroxine, heart, metabolic disorder.
on 27 January 2014
I had read some information on the Web about raspberry ketones are supposed to work - by increasing levels of adiponectin (which cannot be taken as a supplement) and some other related effects, dietary fat should be oxidised and converted to glucose more quickly, giving greater energy. Levels of the hormone are inversely correlated with body fat percentage in adults. It plays a role in the suppression of the metabolic derangements that may result in type 2 diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Adiponectin in combination with leptin has been shown to completely reverse insulin resistance in mice. (Thanks, Wikipedia.)
I am considered at risk for these conditions, especially since developing illnesses that make me sedentary through permanent exhaustion. If raspberry ketones actually can increase blood adiponectin, I thought, they could do me a lot of good. Best of all, it seemed they might give me some energy.
Of course, I made the classic numpty mistake of reading all the good stuff without looking for the bad! It should have been obvious that, if they can perform the above feats, raspberry ketones are a powerful drug. And, if they can speed up the metabolism like this, there's a good chance they're putting stress on the metabolic processes.
It emerges that raspberry ketones also increase levels of norepinephrine (noradrenalin), a stress hormone responsible for 'vigilant concentration'. As the main driver for the fight-or-flight response, this hormone triggers energy surges from glucose release, suppresses the appetite and increases the heart rate. Again, pretty good for a healthy body looking to lose some weight ... but not for patients taking norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors. I'm on the SNRI antidepressant Venlafaxine, which already raises norepinephrine levels; it is known to increase risk of heart disease. On top of that, stressing the metabolism in this way can have permanently harmful effects on the thyroid (it can fool the nervous system into thinking there's more than enough thyroid hormone in the system - reduced thyroid activity over an extended period leads to dormancy in the gland, with potentially severe effects.) I have an underactive thyroid, for which I take levothyroxine. This medication is also a risk factor for heart problems.
If raspberry ketones work, then, they shouldn't be taken for more than a few weeks due to the thyroid danger. They shouldn't be taken at all by patients on thyroxine or SNRIs, or anyone with heart problems. I'm afraid I can't tell you if they work, as I'm experiencing tachycardia and palpitations and don't want to take the risk! There is some peer-reviewed work suggesting raspberry ketones can help with weight loss and protect against Type 2 diabetes. But with increased risk of heart attack and thyroid disorder? That's quite a price - either they don't work or, if they do, they're dangerous. I'm afraid we should all cut down on carbs instead!