Why We Don't Sell Black Raspberry Capsules February 20 2014, 1 Comment

There are a lot of companies out there that have made the decision to sell black raspberry capsules.  Despite demand for the product, we made a decision years ago to not go this route. Even after capsules were pushed on Dr. Oz and other websites, we have stuck with this decision.  To explain why, here is a press release we put out last year on the issue:


Freeze-dried black raspberry powder continues to be used in numerous clinical trials and has great promise as a functional food for wellness. The American Association of Cancer Researchers Annual Conference in April, 2013 revealed even more research on black raspberries, from slowing colon cancer growth to reducing DNA damage in oral cancer survivors.

Unfortunately, many companies trying to capitalize on the wealth of research information on the beneficial effects of black raspberries are flooding the market with black raspberry capsules. These capsules contain miniscule amounts of black raspberry powder, cost much more per nutritional serving, and inhibit the effectiveness of black raspberries in the mouth, throat, and esophagus. Most importantly, there is no research that supports taking black raspberry powder in such small quantities, or in capsules.

The recent capsule craze took off in 2012 when a segment on The Dr. Oz Show, titled “Cancer-Fighting Supplements,” highlighted black raspberries in capsule form. A guest on the show, Lindsey Duncan, ND, CN, correctly stated that black raspberries contain anthocyanins—potent antioxidant compounds that provide many health benefits. However, Duncan inaccurately described the quantity of black raspberries present in supplement capsules.

“One 300-milligram capsule is equal to four cups of black raspberries,” said Duncan. The truth is, even after the freeze-drying process removes most of the water from the berries, 300 milligrams of freeze-dried black raspberry powder is still only equal to approximately one and a half black raspberries— which is not nutritionally significant, and certainly not close the approximately 320 berries it would take to get to four cups of black raspberries.

To get a nutritional serving of berries according to USDA Guidelines, it would take one half a cup, or approximately 40 black raspberries. For just one nutritional serving, one would have to take twenty-seven (27) 300-milligram capsules. While Duncan stated that, “You want to get it in freeze-dried capsules,” taking freeze-dried black raspberries in capsule form has never been shown in research to have any benefit.

It is also important to note that due to the small amount of freeze-dried black raspberry powder in capsules, it becomes not only hard to consume enough capsules to equal one nutritional serving of black raspberries, but makes them a far more expensive option as well. When purchasing capsules, it can cost well over 200% more for the same amount of black raspberries in powder or extract form.

Placing black raspberry powder in capsules also prevents the beneficial phytonutrients present in black raspberries from coming into direct contact with the tissues of the upper GI tract, limiting the berries’ effectiveness. Instead, unencapsulated black raspberry extracts and freeze-dried powders are the most effective means of consuming black raspberries. They can provide a valid nutritional serving of black raspberries in a form that comes in direct contact with bodily tissues.

Gary Stoner, PhD, Professor of Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin Division of Hematology and Oncology, and Professor Emeritus of the Ohio State University James Comprehensive Cancer Center, is one of the world’s leading researchers in black raspberries. Stoner’s research has shown that black raspberry powder may have cancer-protective effects on the tissues it comes in direct contact with, especially those in the mouth, esophagus, and colon. “The evidence that the compounds in black raspberries have a beneficial localized effect is compelling,” said Stoner.

While the small dosages found in black raspberry capsules likely won’t cause any harm, there is currently no scientific research to indicate that black raspberries are effective in such small quantities, or in capsule form.

Black raspberries, not to be confused with blackberries, are almost exclusively grown in Oregon, on the west coast of the United States. They have been studied extensively because of their high concentration of phytonutrients and antioxidants.