Behind the Surgical MaskBy | On Jun 25, 2012
As adults, I have been told, we are to put away childish things. However, I do not believe this means the lessons that we learned as children. I do believe it involves shelving delusions of mythical clinics where youthful looks are made eternal and philosopher stones of super-foods that reverse the aging process. While you are at it, forget about magic potions, pills and foods that instantly remove unwanted flab. The only miracle about miracle diets is that people keep buying into them.
Want to get rid of flab? Eat less crap and more wholesome food. And exercise. Sexy? No. Trendy? No. Easy? No. Reality? Yes.
I am also certain adult conversations involve discounting the incantations of self-proclaimed mages and wizards. Remember The Wizard of Oz? You either know the story, watched the movie, read the book or some combination of the above. What lesson did you take home?
Was it that the Wizard couldn’t give the Tin Man a new heart? It wasn’t because he was uninsured; it was because a healthy heart is ultimately a personal responsibility and dealing with what you were dealt from the genetic pool. The Tin Man had a fine heart and you can’t give someone something they already have.
Was it that the Wizard couldn’t give the Scarecrow a brain? Fancy packaging is just that, a fancy package and a label; a piece of paper does not buy common sense. There’s no pill or procedure to fix stupid. The key is to know what you don’t know.
So when major talk show personalities abdicate any sense of responsibility and say that whatever the Wizard of Oz tells them to do, they do; they are idiots. And they influence millions to jump like lemmings into the idio-sea with them.
Case in point: The Doctor of Oz proclaimed in a show that aired in February 2012 that raspberry ketone is a “miracle fat-burner in a bottle.”
Raspberry ketone, 4-(4-hydroxyphenyl) butan-2-one, is an aromatic compound naturally found in raspberries (Rubus idaeus). It is a common ingredient used for flavoring of foods and drinks; it is also one of the most expensive flavoring agents in the food industry So far, so good-if a bit pricey.
In an animal model study, ingesting raspberry ketone along with a high fat diet significantly reduced weight gain, visceral fatty tissue, and liver triglyceride content. It’s thought that raspberry ketone might increase lipid metabolism and reduce obesity by increasing norepinephrine-induced lipolysis and thermogenesis. In vitro evidence (in a test tube, not a living system) also suggests that raspberry ketone might decrease secretion of adiponectin, which is involved in lipid and glucose metabolism and in body weight. Even better.
It may also play a potential role in cancer prevention, increasing skin elasticity (make you look younger) and even regrow hair. Starting to sound too good, in a snake oil kinda way?
Nature is all about balance, as I have mentioned on many occasions. What She giveth, she may taketh away or otherwise extract. The chemical structure of raspberry ketone shares some significant similarities with synephrine. This is another naturally occurring compound found in the bitter orange. Synephrine is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) when applied topically (for said hair restoration) and when ingested in amounts normally found in food. Now here’s the rub when do more than rub it on; it may be unsafe when consumed orally for medicinal purposes. Bitter orange juice and extract have been safely used, short-term in healthy adults in small controlled trials. The concern is that bitter orange can cause potentially severe adverse effects in some patients due to its stimulant effects. There are case reports of ischemic stroke (a type of stroke), and cardiotoxicity (untoward effects on the heart) including tachyarrhythmia (fast heart rhythms), cardiac arrest (sudden death), syncope (passing out), angina (chest pain), myocardial infarction (heart attack), ventricular arrhythmia (potentially lethal heart rhythms), and death in otherwise healthy patients who have taken bitter orange extract alone or in combination with other stimulants such as caffeine.”1
There are now several reports suggesting raspberry ketones may have the same potentially serious side effect profile, including feelings of shakiness and cardiac palpitations.2
This miracle moniker was distributed with no reliable information about adverse reactions to raspberry ketone when used in humans. Point of fact, there are no reliable clinical studies that have even evaluated safety or adverse reactions of medicinal dosages like those recommended. So remember, Dorothy defeated the sugary witch all by herself, because she knew intuitively what she had to do, did it and accomplished the task because she believed in herself, not in what the Doctor behind the surgical mask told her:
No matter where you have heard it
Or who has said it
Even if I have said it
If it does not agree with your own experience
And your own common sense
1Penzak SR, Jann MW, Cold JA, et al. Seville (sour) orange juice: synephrine content and cardiovascular effects in normotensive adults. J Clin Pharmacol 2001;41:1059-63.
Nykamp DL, Fackih MN, Compton AL. Possible association of acute lateral-wall myocardial infarction and bitter orange supplement. Ann Pharmacother 2004;38:812-6.
Keogh AM, Baron DW. Sympathomimetic abuse and coronary artery spasm. Br Med J 1985;291:940.
Nasir JM, Durning SJ, Ferguson M, et al. Exercise-induced syncope associated with QT prolongation and ephedra-free Xenadrine. Mayo Clin Proc 2004;79:1059-62.
Firenzuoli F, Gori L, Galapai C. Adverse reaction to an adrenergic herbal extract (Citrus aurantium). Phytomedicine 2005;12:247-8.
Gange CA, Madias C, Felix-Getzik EM, et al. Variant angina associated with bitter orange in a dietary supplement. Mayo Clin Proc 2006;81:545-8.
Jordan S, Murty M, Pilon K. Products containing bitter orange or synephrine: suspected cardiovascular adverse reactions. Canadian Adverse Reaction Newsletter 2004;14:3-4.
2Adverse Event Report. Raspberry Ketone. Natural MedWatch, April 27, 2012.