It is well recognized that capsaicin increases thermogenesis through enhancement of catecholamine secretion from the adrenal medulla. Research data demonstrates that thermogenesis and lipid metabolism related proteins are altered upon capsaicin treatment, suggesting that capsaicin may be a useful phytochemical for attenuation of obesity.
Comment: While capsaicin has been studied for potential benefits in fighting obesity, the underlying molecular mechanism by which the chili pepper compound has been observed to decrease calorie intake, shrink fat tissue, and lower fat levels in the blood has not been elucidated. Jong Won Yun, from Daegu University (Korea), and colleagues engaged an animal model of obesity, and fed high-fat diets with or without capsaicin to the study animals. The team observed that the capsaicin-treated rats lost 8% of their body weight and showed changes in levels of at least 20 key proteins found in fat, whereby the altered proteins worked to break down fats.