Raspberry ketone weight-loss supplement sells out after Dr Oz endorsement – but does 'miracle' product live up to the hype
20:43 GMT, 5 April 2012
A new 'miracle' weight-loss supplement has become a sellout after it was endorsed on the Dr Oz show.
Raspberry ketone, which is a fruit extract and claims to 'burn body fat', has become almost impossible to find in stores across the U.S. since the episode first aired in early February, and repeated again last week.
Dr Mehmet Oz told viewers that the compound, which is typically added to food, 'regulates adiponectin, a hormone that causes your body too boost metabolism.'
Miracle weight-loss solution Shoppers are rushing to buy raspberry ketones after the diet supplement was endorsed on The Dr Oz Show
He added: 'I never understood how powerful it could be.'
The former cardiothoracic surgeon is not the only high-profile figure to publicly endorse the product. Celebrity fans also include Oprah Winfrey and Kim Kardashian.
Endorsement: Dr Mehmet Oz told viewers on his show that raspberry ketone 'boosts metabolism'
Many experts have
doubts about the effectiveness of raspberry ketone though, particularly given that there have been no clinical trials on humans to prove its claims.
Mary Hartley, a
registered dietitian and clinical nutritionist in New York, told ABC News: 'It's amazing how many people look
for a miracle instead of looking at what they're eating and how much
they're moving and fixing whatever is broken.'
The message was much the same from registered dietitian
Joan Salge Blake, clinical associate professor at Boston University.
'There is no magic bullet for weight loss,' she said.
'People are spending billions of dollars on the next miracle pill or
patch or cream.'
Others, however, are adamant that raspberry ketone is safe and works well.
Lisa Lynn, a personal trainer who was promoting the supplement on The Dr Oz Show, said she has seen positive results in clients in as few as five days.
She says raspberry ketone is 'very
healthy' and has 'no side effects'.
WHAT IS RASPBERRY KETONE
Raspberry ketone refers to the aroma compound of fresh raspberries.
It is used in both the food and cosmetics industries for a fruity scent and flavour.
Approximately one kilogram of the fresh fruit is required to produce just 1-4mg of pure raspberry ketone. This makes it one of the most expensive natural food flavourings, at around $20,000 a kilogram.
Though raspberry ketone has been on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safe list since 1965, it has only been marketed as a weight-loss supplement since 2004 after a study in Japan found it prevented weight increases in mice on a high-fat diet.
No similar studies have been conducted on humans, and critics believe one would need to consume huge quantities of the product to see the same kind of results as the study with mice.
This was enough to send viewers
rushing to health food stores where the product typically sells for $12-20 a bottle,
and it was not long before stocks were depleted across the country.
Following the repeat of The Dr Oz Show last week, the General Nutrition Center in Santa Monica Place, California, sold out. The same was true of a pharmacy in Augusta, Kansas, according to a report in the local paper.
The frenzy has even extended to Canada, where television networks have reported on 'local scrambles' for the supplement.
Even online stockists are putting warnings alongside raspberry ketone product listings that 'this is a product that sells out very fast'.
While the jury is out on whether raspberry ketone delivers on promises, it seems any users disappointed by the dietary claims could try putting it to other uses.
In a five-month study on bald people who applied raspberry ketone to their heads, half began growing hair again.
Another study, from Japan, that was conducted in 2008, reported positive changes to the skin of women who applied raspberry ketone to their faces for two weeks.