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science nutrition blog

science nutrition <strong>blog</strong>

By; Steve Blechman

Capsaicin is the ingredient found in chili peppers that contributes to the hot and spicy flavor of chili pepper. Capsaicin may be a useful ingredient in weight-loss supplements, and several studies have shown that a single ingestion of capsaicin can activate brown fat thermogenesis for greater fat burning. A review of literature by researchers from the Manchester University Metropolitan University showed that capsaicin increased daily energy expenditure, which would produce significant weight loss after one or two years.

Capsaicin reduces appetite, calorie intake and helps promote weight loss by releasing serotonin, a hunger-suppressing hormone, in the gut. Researchers found that capsaicin alters genes that control the appetite center in the brain. A study on mice from National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute in India found that after supplementing with capsaicin, genes controlling satiety and fullness in the brain were different, and this increased the activity of brown fat— which increased metabolic rate and calorie burning.

A study from Maastricht University in the Netherlands found that supplementing capsaicin increased satiety and fullness and prevented overeating in people in energy balance (balance between calories in and calories out). Capsaicin also decreased the desire to eat after dinner during caloric restriction, and it appears to decrease appetite, reduce caloric intake and increase metabolic rate.

Capsaicin has the unique capacity to induce a wide range of positive effects on human health, aiding in reducing body fat, acting a potent antioxidant and maintaining good cardiovascular health. A recent epidemiologic study that investigated the dietary habits of a half million people suggested that the daily consumption of capsaicin-rich food helped to maintain good health.


Capsaicin has the ability to activate the TRPV-1 receptor that enhances thermogenesis in certain regions within the oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract. For best results, take quick-release supplements of capsaicin. Coated or delayed-release capsaicin supplements may not be as effective because they bypass the TRPV-1 receptors in the stomach and upper gastrointestinal tract. (Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 25: 893-902, 2014; Appetite, 77: 46-51, 2014; Appetite, 59: 341-348)