Update 1/12/20. Raspberry ketones (RK) have been a popular weight loss supplement ever since Dr. Oz called them out on his TV show years ago. I've already debunked that weight loss scam, but, is it possible they have other benefits? In this review, I'll show you the research on raspberry ketones and hair growth. Can they really help with hair loss? This human research is intriguing. As always I'll show you both sides of the story. Are raspberry ketones the cure for baldness people have been hoping for or is it a scam? Let's see what we can discover.
Other Hair Growth Supplement Reviews
- Viviscal Review
- Viviscal vs. Nutrafol review
- My Biotin Pro Clinical Review
- SeroVital Hair Regeneres review
- Amplixin Review
- Hair Essentials Review
- Castor Oil Hair Growth Review
- Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss?
- Rosemary Oil for Balding and Hair loss (video)
- Can Lavender Oil Help Hair Loss? (video)
- Can Peppermint Oil Regrow Hair? (video)
What Are Raspberry Ketones?
Raspberry ketones are the natural compounds that allow raspberries to smell like raspberries (Rubus idaeus). It's as simple as that. Taking raspberry ketone supplements -or eating raspberries – will not cause ketosis or benefit those on a ketogenic diet.
As I pointed out in the raspberry ketone review, this stuff does not burn fat or help people lose weight.
Can Raspberry Ketones Grow Hair?
In 2008, researchers in Japan released a paper detailing how raspberry ketones applied topically to the skin could regrow hair and improve the skin's elasticity on the face. Here's a video I created to help you understand this study:
These researchers showed a 0.1% solution of raspberry ketones could regrow hair on the heads of people after 5 months of use. If you watched the video, you saw the before and after pictures of the women who went from bald to having very significant and visible hair growth.
Because this study involved both hair growth and skin elasticity, let's summarize each segment into two different parts.
Hair Growth Research and Results
Basically, here's the gist of the research:
- 10 men and women (7 men / 3 women) who were experiencing hair loss (alopecia) were randomly given either a raspberry ketone topical solution – or a placebo solution – which they applied to their scalps once a day for 5 months. They ranged in age from 12 to 45 years.
- 5 people used raspberry ketones and 5 used a placebo solution.
- Before and after pictures were taken.
Results: After 5 months, the people who applied raspberry ketones on their scalps had hair growth. The people using the placebo solution did not. In one case (see video), the improvement in hair growth was dramatically better.
Skin Elasticity Research and Results
10 women (about 38 years of age) with hair used either a 0.01% raspberry ketone solution or a placebo solution for 2 weeks.
- 5 women used the RK solution, and 5 used the placebo solution
- The women applied the solutions to their facial cheek area once per day.
- Skin elasticity was tested before and after the treatment
Results. After 2 weeks of use, women who applied raspberry ketones to their facial cheeks were said to have better elasticity in the skin than those who used the placebo solution.
Problems With The Research
- Each of the 2 parts of the study only had 1o people
- The study has not been replicated with larger clinical trials
It's been many years since this study was published. Why hasn't anybody tried to duplicate the results? Oddly, in 2011 these researchers did publish a study noting isoflavones promoted hair growth in mice.
This doesn't make sense. Why did they study the hair growth properties of isoflavones in mice when they've already demonstrated raspberry ketones reverse hair loss in people? Why not just continue investigating RK?
To quote the Lost in Space Robot, “That does not compute.”
It's because of this research some websites say RK is a “proven remedy” to combat hair loss. But, as I've pointed out, some problems need to be addressed.
Raspberry Ketone Hair FAQ
1 How Is It Supposed To Work?
It's complicated, but the idea is that RK stimulates insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which plays a role in collagen production. Collagen is important to both skin and hair. The mouse portion of this study also noted RK increased IGF-1 within 30 minutes of applying it to the skin of mice.
Raspberry ketones are also said to ramp up the production of another compound called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) from brain cells. Again, it's complicated.
2 What Brand Of Raspberry Ketones Did They Use?
The raspberry ketones were supplied by Kanebo Cosmetics and were said to be 99.9% pure. Interestingly, when I went to the Kanebo website, I did not see a hair-growth raspberry ketone product for sale. It looks like they don't make any.
If kanebo does not sell an RK hair product, this also makes me suspect the above study's findings. Think about it; if Kanebo's raspberry ketones really did cause hair to grow back, don't you think they would start selling a hair-growth product?
Here's Kanebo Cosmetics on Amazon too
3 How Long Does It Take To Work?
Growing hair back will take about 5 months of continued use. Your degree of hair loss might also play a role. For skin tightening/skin elasticity, results were seen in just 2 weeks.
4 How Much Do You Use?
This study used a 0.01% raspberry ketone solution. The solution was applied directly to the scalp 1x per day (between 10 PM-11 PM). I don't think the time of day matters but I appreciated them telling us this tidbit.
5 Raspberry Ketone Hair Growth Products
When I checked, I did not see any hair growth products containing raspberry ketones. This is weird. If topical raspberry ketones are effective at reversing hair loss, why aren't there shampoos or hair tonics people can purchase?
6 Why Did They Use Raspberry Ketones?
Previously these researchers noted the chili pepper compound capsaicin, increased IGF-1 levels in mice. It turns out raspberry ketones look like capsaicin.
7 Will Raspberry Ketone Supplements Work?
If you do your own research, you will notice the label of RK supplements probably touting their hair growth abilities. Be skeptical when you see this. No study has demonstrated hair growth with orally-taken supplements. If RK is going to work, it looks like it has to be applied directly to the skin.
If you are going to use a supplement, crack open the contents, mix it with water and apply it to the scalp.
8 Do Any Hair Growth Products Contain RK?
I have not been able to find any. Neither Viviscal nor Nutrafol – the two best-selling anti-balding supplements -contain raspberry ketones.
9 Does It Block DHT?
Many hair loss supplements and shampoos contain ingredients that block DHT, a hormone linked to hair loss. There seems to be no evidence raspberry ketones block the DHT hormone. Rather, it's supposed to work by increasing IGF1 levels.
How To Make A Raspberry Ketone Hair Growth Tonic
The study we are talking about here used a 0.01% RK solution which was applied directly to the scalp. The problem is, nobody seems to sell something like this.
Fortunately, you can make this yourself if you want to.
To make a 0.01% RK solution, crack open a 500 mg capsule of a raspberry ketone supplement and mix it with 1.3 gallons of water.
As you can see, this is a VERY dilute solution.
The Easy Way: Liquid raspberry ketone products are available. These are weight loss supplements. While RK won't help with weight loss, these products already come with an eyedropper which makes applying it to the skin easy. These products are not expensive either.
While this method isn't very “scientific,” I'm not convinced the 0.01% solution is optimal. So, why not just try to do it the easy way until we know more?
Raspberry Ketone Side Effects
When applied to the scalp and facial skin, side effects were not reported. If you are going to biohack this and try to do it yourself, it's probably best to apply to a small area of the scalp /skin at first to see how you react. Also, avoid getting raspberry ketones into your eyes.
The people in this study applied the RK solution just 1x per day and did some before going to bed (10 PM-11 PM). This might be wise in case the RK solution gets messy.
If raspberry ketones are absorbed through the skin, its possible there may be interactions with medicines. So, if you take any medications, talk to your pharmacist first.
Also, play it safe, and don't try this if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Other Hair Loss Options
Besides Minoxidil, which is proven to grow hair, natural hair loss solutions include:
- Pumpkin seed oil (taken as a supplement)
- Essentials Oils: thyme, rosemary, lavender, and cedarwood applied topically to the scalp
Raspberry Ketones And Hair Growth Pro/Con
Here's a quick Pro and Con to using raspberry ketones for hair growth
|1 study has shown it works||Study has not been replicated|
|RK is inexpensive||There don't seem to be any RK hair growth products|
|No side effects reported||Finding quality RK products may be an issue|
|Only needs to be used 1x/day|
|Just need to apply it to scalp.|
Can Raspberry Ketones Regrow Your Hair?
Honestly, I'm not sure, and here's why. A clinical study has shown that raspberry ketones appear to regrow hair in people with alopecia. But, I can't get past the investigation that was conducted in 2008. Here we are, many years later, and the study still has not been replicated. Why?
Adding to this is the utter lack of raspberry ketone hair growth products. If it really worked, why can't I find any anti-hair loss shampoos, hair tonics, creams, etc., containing this stuff? If you try this, let me know what happens.
Interesting, if there is a connection to igf-1 levels I could see a connection to possible hair growth and weight loss. anything hair loss related is interesting to me.
Joe Cannon says
Thanks. I have several hair-related reviews here and on my YT channel
Joe Cannon says
I just posted a new video. Here is my review of lavender oil hair growth research
Hope it helps!
Joe Cannon says
Hi everybody. I just posted a video on peppermint oil and its ability to grow hair.
Here’s a link to the video on my Youtube channel
Joe Cannon says
What about rosemary oil? Here’s a video I posted to my YT channel on the proof for rosemary oil regrowing hair. I included before & after pics too
Ali D. LeMort says
Interesting observations. However, knowing the differential molecular structure of hair/skin, facial application could be daunting at best. If regrowth of hair is desired facial growth on women post menopause is already a problem. One thing leads to another.
Joe Cannon says
Thanks Ali, I agree it’s an interesting study. I’d like to see a few others to get a better idea of what’s going on.
I already debunked your debunking of the debunked weight loss scam. I did it by loosing 30 pounds since March. When I take a 500mg cap of Swanson Raspberry Ketones I am not hungry all day and can magically eat much smaller portions and feel satisfied. The effects are dramatic and are not placebo. I was dieting and exercising all year with very limited results, even on green tea extract. So the fake scam raspberry ketones were the only factor that changed allowing me to finally run a productive calorie deficit. All thanks to quack science!
I’m not saying the ketones burned the fat but I’ve never lost weight like this before it melts off like butter in the skillet. The effects are so dramatic in the extreme and I literally do not need to know how it works but I am finally just not hungry and I’m going to blast down to 188 lbs this month and rock those old ripped up jeans form high school. My workout is minimal- 200 pushups, jog 6 miles twice a week, bike 7 miles to/from work.
Calories consumed are around 1000 but the nutrition content is meaningful. Mostly proteins and chia and walnuts and almonds an ounce of cheese at bed time. Thank you quack science! Dr. Oz forever!
Joe Cannon says
Hi Adam, While I don’t think you debunked my debunking, I’m still glad to hear it worked for you. 🙂
Roseann Zinke says
Joe, thank you for listing the essential oils that may impact hair growth. I love essential oils and have many of them, including all the ones you listed. I bought a book about essential oils but never read that some can help hair growth, so I appreciate your listing them.
A study of ten people is not a good sample size, but it is amazing that one woman had such remarkable results.
It IS very strange that this study wasn’t duplicated and that this company didn’t make a RK solution to sell.
Hi Roseann, yes I agree, its all very odd how the study was never duplicated given the impressive results in one of the people. I just saw a report how some people are getting burns from essential oils: https://www.webmd.com/beauty/news/20180813/essential-oils-promise-help-but-beware-the-risks
Like anything try them out on a small part of skin first to see what happens.
Joe, I’ve heard of raspberry ketones but NEVER have I heard they could help hair loss. Where do you come up with this stuff? 🙂
Loved the video thanks! Even thought the women’s hair growth was amazing, I also wonder why nobody is making a hair growth serum with this stuff. If it really worked so well, why aren’t companies all over this?
I may try the liquid raspberry ketone weight loss supplements on my scalp to see what happens. If I try it, I’ll let you know what happens.
Hi Janice, Yes do let me know what happens if you try it. The research is fascinating and I really hope others try to replicate this.
I have a variety of ways I keep on top of supplement research 🙂
Glad you enjoyed the video too 🙂