The Raspberry Effect – Is There Such a Thing?

Raspberries contain many nutrients. Some of these nutrients are polyphenols, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and to promote healthy cholesterol levels. These phytochemicals have also been found to inhibit the growth of tumor cells. These properties have led to a number of studies that have looked into whether raspberry effect may help treat a variety of health conditions.

One study looked at whether consuming raspberries helped people with metabolic disturbances. 59 subjects who were overweight or obese and had slight hyperinsulinemia, hypertriglyceridemia or both were randomized to either consume 280 grams of frozen red raspberries daily or maintain their normal diet for eight weeks. The raspberry group had a significant decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as total WOMAC score (which measures pain, stiffness, and difficulty performing daily tasks) compared to the placebo group. This reduction in systolic and diastolic pressure was accompanied by a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the raspberry group compared to the control group.

Another study looked at whether raspberry leaf extract had a positive impact on women in labour. 108 mothers were divided into two groups, and one group was given raspberry leaf extract while the other was not. The results of the study showed that those who took the raspberry leaf had a shorter second stage of labour and a lower rate of forceps births. The researchers believe this is due to the uterine relaxing effects of the raspberry leaf.

Raspberry has been shown to have antioxidant properties in both animal and human studies. In a series of experiments, raspberry extract was able to reduce peroxide-induced damage to DNA in cells. It was also able to decrease the amount of amyloid-b protein that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Black raspberry has also been shown to have anti-cancer properties in both animal and human studies. A 2011 study published in Clinical Cancer Research saw that, when biopsies from colorectal adenocarcinomas were taken before and after consumption of black raspberry powder for between one and nine weeks, there was a decrease in specific markers of cancer cell proliferation.

A study done in 2010 suggests that the ketones present in raspberry leaf may have weight loss benefits. This is because the ketones cause fats to be broken down and oxidized, thus helping in weight loss. The results of this study however, need to be confirmed in more trials.

Raspberry has been shown to be safe for most pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, but it is best to speak with a midwife or alternative health practitioner before taking it during this time. Also, it is not known whether raspberry passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. It is also important to talk with your doctor about any herbal/health supplements that you are currently taking. They may interact with certain medications or have an adverse effect on your condition. Always follow the directions on the label of any herb/supplement and do not exceed the recommended dosages.