All Posts tagged Capsaicin

Capsaicin Weight-loss Mechanism Suggested

Researchers in Korea have published new evidence that suggests the mechanisms behind why capsaicin may aid weight loss.

Research led by Professor Jong Won Yun at the Daegu University in South Korea suggests that capsaicin may cause weight loss and stop fat build-up by stimulating the expression of certain fat-degrading proteins and down-regulating other proteins that work to synthesize fat.

The study involved feeding rats a high-fat diet, with one group also being given a treatment of capsaicin. The capsaicin-stimulated rats lost eight percent body weight compared to the non-capsaicin-fed rats on the same diet. Importantly, the new research also showed that capsaicin-fed rats showed changes in expression of over 20 key lipid-processing proteins.

Prof. Yun claims that the changes in body fat observed “provide valuable new molecular insights into the mechanism of the anti-obesity effects of capsaicin.”

The Korean research team also found that glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPDH) and malate dehydrogenase (MDH) were significantly down-regulated by capsaicin, resulting in a reduction in glycolytic activity and less overall fat synthesis.

The capsaicin also seemed to have a dramatic effect on levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), a gene that is commonly over-expressed in many fat cells. “In this study, the TNF-a gene was significantly up-regulated in high fatty diet rats and their levels were markedly decreased again with capsaicin treatment.”

The research also found an up-regulation of the enzyme NQO1, leading to the conclusion that capsaicin may stimulate the enzyme and that it may have a potential use as a therapeutic target for obesity. Prof. Yun said that the next steps in finding a way to use capsaicin as a safe anti-obesity therapy would be to perform a functional study to fully identify the proteins stimulated by capsaicin, in gene knockout mice.

Journal of Proteome Research 9(6):2977-2987, 2010


Capsaicin & Hypertension

Studies have suggested a role for plant compounds in lowering cardiovascular risks including hypertension (high blood pressure). Zhiming Zhu, from the Third Military Medical University (China), and colleagues completed a study examining the effects of long-term treatment with capsaicin on high blood pressure in a laboratory animal model.  The team found that long-term dietary consumption of capsaicin, the active compound in chili peppers that lends the vegetable’s spiciness, reduced blood pressure in genetically hypertensive rats. The effects were resultant from a chronic activation of the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel found in the lining of blood vessels, whereby activation of the channel leads to an increase in production of nitric oxide, a gaseous molecule known to protect blood vessels against inflammation and dysfunction.  Writing that: “We conclude that TRPV1 activation by dietary capsaicin improves endothelial function.”  The researchers submit that: [This mechanism] “may represent a promising target for therapeutic intervention of hypertension.”


Capsaicin increases thermogenesis

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.


Topical pain-reliever, which one do I recommend?

First off, did you know the FDA annnouced that dicoflenac gel (brand name Voltaren Gel) — often prescribed for arthritis pain –is linked to severe liver damage… and it can happen within the first month of use!

According to the FDA, this topical gel has been reported to cause liver necrosis (death of liver cells), jaundice, and liver failure!

Despite these horrible side effects, dicoflenac gel remains very much on the market.

Don’t risk your life to erase arthritis pain. Natural alternatives I recommend are over-the-counter Capsaicin cream (apply it 4 times a day) or Coolsens from Xymogen. Both are very helpful for arthritis pain relief. Just make sure you use it consistently for 3 weeks to get the best results.