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There has been a lot of recent chatter on black raspberry capsules due to a segment on the Dr. Oz show about cancer-fighting supplements. Here at the Buzz, we are thrilled to see black raspberries get more coverage, as they are rare, well-researched, powerful and healthy berries, especially with regard to cancer prevention. However, there is a huge misconception as to how many black raspberries are really in one 300mg capsule of freeze-dried black raspberries, and how effective taking one or two of those capsules really is.
Unfortunately, the guest Dr. Lindsey Duncan, a naturopathic doctor and media personality on The Dr. Oz Showmade this claim. Depending on the size of the berries, around 80 black raspberries can fit into one cup, so according to Dr. Duncan there are over 320 black raspberries in just 600 milligrams of freeze-dried black raspberry powder. Black raspberries can weigh between 1-2 grams and contain 80-90% water (which is the only thing freeze-drying should remove). Usually one berry is equal to 200 mg of freeze-dried berry powder after all is said and done.
The truth is…
Simply put, you are eating around 3 black raspberries each time you take two of those capsules. It would take 106 days to get the 4 cups of black raspberries from capsules as recommended by Dr. Duncan on the Dr. Oz show. Here is just one more example of how incorrect this statement is: In 4 cups of black raspberries, there would be around 24 grams, or 24,000 mg of healthy fiber alone. Is there any way that can fit into a couple of 300 milligram pills? No. If you still don’t believe it, try the math yourself with this handy calculator.
Click on the image below to watch the 3-minute segment from the Dr. Oz show.
According to USDA Guidelines, 1/2 cup of black raspberries is a nutritional serving.
Recently, some manufacturers started using 400 milligrams of black raspberry powder in their capsules, but as the chart illustrates below, it doesn’t change the facts. It only adds half a berry to each capsule!
This means for minimum nutritional benefit: Two servings of black raspberries = 1 cup = 80 black raspberries = 40 x 400mg capsules! Not two capsules. You would have to take almost one entire bottle to get a single serving of fruit.
Dr. Gary Stoner, one of the leading researchers in black raspberries, states in this important video that black raspberry powder has the greatest effectiveness when coming in direct contact with affected areas. The black raspberry powder in a capsule is enclosed and therefore completely bypasses the oral cavity, mouth, throat, and esophagus. This significantly limits the effectiveness of black raspberries in those areas. Capsules do not allow the beneficial phytonutrients in the black raspberry to come into direct contact with the mouth, esophagus, and stomach cells, so for individuals with complications in those areas, capsules will not be effective.
Instead, black raspberry extract is one of the most effective ways to consume black raspberries: a valid nutritional amount in a delicious bioavailable liquid that comes in direct contact with these areas of the body. A second effective way to take black raspberries is in freeze-dried powder form, mixed with juice or water, and provides beneficial fiber to boot.
Not true. Putting minuscule amounts of black raspberries in a capsule not only makes it more difficult to get even one serving, but it just doesn’t make sense. Would you rather swallow 20+ capsules a day than mix in a couple tasty teaspoons of berry extract into a smoothie or sprinkle black raspberry powder on your cereal? Furthermore, it’s 25% – 75% more expensive to take black raspberries in capsule form. See chart above.
While the small dosages found in capsules certainly won’t do any harm, there is currently no published research that supports the claim that black raspberries are effective in such small quantities.
High-quality companies like BerriHealth and Stokes Berry Farm have been both growing and supplying freeze-dried black raspberry powder for clinical trials and have made the same powder available to consumers. BerriHealth also has worked to stringently test and develop extract that contains the wide spectrum of beneficial phytonutrients found in black raspberries in an effective and easy-to-consume form.
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