Could capsaicin be the key to fighting obesity?

A lot of people find themselves constantly fighting the scale.

It’s tough for a lot of us to take off the weight and keep it off. But what if there were an easier way to fight obesity? Some researchers are looking into whether a compound found naturally in hot peppers may also help people fight weight gain. Capsaicin, of course, is the compound that makes peppers so spicy and determines where peppers rank on the heat scale. There are several healthy benefits tied to capsaicin, including pain management. But now, it seems, there may be a connection between capsaicin and the fight against obesity.

A team of researchers found when they gave an oral form of capsaicin it stimulated an ion channel receptor known at TRPV1.

This helped turn unhealthy white fat cells in what we refer to as calorie-burning brown fat. In the past, researchers have already looked into the role TRPV1 has in metabolism. This time, however, they used a polymer to coat capsaicin and turn it into a pill that slowly releases capsaicin. Then, they gave it to mice on a high-fat diet. The mice were able to maintain weight loss for eight months with no reported safety problems. Researchers say they saw improvements in cholesterol levels, blood sugar, insulin response, and improvements with symptoms of fatty liver disease.

The next step is seeing how long the weight-loss effect can last and whether the research will also show similar results in humans.

Unfortunately, the research doesn’t prove you can just eat as many hot peppers as you want and expect to see weight loss happen overnight. Most of the capsaicin in spicy food simply isn’t that well absorbed. Still, the research could show another possible health benefit for capsaicin and give promise for the future of weight loss research.

Older Post Newer Post