New evidence that chili pepper ingredient fights fat

Jun 02, 2010
Chili peppers contain an ingredient that may cause weight loss and fight fat. Credit: iStock

Scientists are reporting new evidence that capsaicin, the stuff that gives chili peppers their kick, may cause weight loss and fight fat buildup by triggering certain beneficial protein changes in the body. Their study, which could lead to new treatments for obesity, appears in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research.

Jong Won Yun and colleagues point out that obesity is a major public health threat worldwide, linked to diabetes, , , and other health problems. Laboratory studies have hinted that capsaicin may help fight obesity by decreasing calorie intake, shrinking fat tissue, and lowering fat levels in the blood. Nobody, however, knows exactly how capsaicin might trigger such beneficial effects.

In an effort to find out, the scientists fed high-fat diets with or without capsaicin to lab rats used to study obesity. The capsaicin-treated rats lost 8 percent of their body weight and showed changes in levels of at least 20 key proteins found in fat. The altered proteins work to break down fats. "These changes provide valuable new molecular insights into the mechanism of the antiobesity effects of capsaicin," the scientists say.

Explore further: Engineering a protein to prevent brain damage from toxic agents

More information: "Proteomic Analysis for Antiobesity Potential of Capsaicin on White Adipose Tissue in Rats Fed with a High Fat Diet", Journal of Proteome Research.

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User comments : 11

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martinlass
not rated yet Jun 02, 2010
Isn't the weight loss actually caused by the sweating when eating a really hot curry? :-)
medeng10
5 / 5 (1) Jun 02, 2010
There is nothing worse than a sweaty lab rat....
trekgeek1
not rated yet Jun 02, 2010
@medeng10

That's nearly a quotable. I might use that during the next couple of weeks. I don't work with rats, so I'll just have to pepper it into conversations.
slaveunit
not rated yet Jun 02, 2010
How much was taken as a percentage of their diet? some details here would be nice 8% would help me get rid of my spare tyre and i like chilli this is the sort of thing we need more info on . natural food with benefits and how much you need of them.
evod
not rated yet Jun 02, 2010
From the paper:
Experimental Design
"All animals were randomly divided into three groups, with six animals in each: the normal control group (Nor), the high-fat diet group without capsaicin (HFD-Cap), the high fat diet group with capsaicin (HFD+Cap). Animals in the HFD+Cap group were injected by oral administration of capsaicin (10 mg/kg BW, dissolved in 0.9% saline with 2% ethanol and 10% Tween 80). Normal control and HFD-Cap groups were injected by oral administration of vehicle (0.9% saline with 2% ethanol and 10% Tween 80) once a day for 9 weeks."
So, orally injected capsaicin, at a level of 10mg/kg of body weight.
evod
not rated yet Jun 02, 2010
Also,
"Chilli, cayenne pepper and red pepper contain between 0.1 mg to 60 mg capsaicin per gram [...]. Given that a tablespoon of ground spice weighs about 8 grams, one tablespoon of ground chili pepper would contain anywhere between 0.8 mg and 480 mg of capsaicin. The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains."
ref from http://inhumanexp...air.html [with further references at that link]
GaryB
not rated yet Jun 02, 2010
I don't eat much either when my tongue is burning.
MarkyMark
not rated yet Jun 03, 2010
Heh i love eating chillies myself [the hotter the better] Love the taste and if it can really help me lose weight im all for a chilli curry with a side order of Jallapino paste ;p
fossilator
not rated yet Jun 03, 2010
Did the report indicate that the amount of food consumed was measured across the groups?
evod
not rated yet Jun 03, 2010
Did the report indicate that the amount of food consumed was measured across the groups?


Not sure I understand your question -- do you mean amount of food consumed independent of the added capsaicin?
I don't think the paper says explicitly, other than:
"Rats were maintained on a diet of standard rodent chow or HFD containing 45% fat-derived calories (Sam Yang, Seoul, Korea), with 12 h light and dark cycles at a temperature of 23 ± 2 °C, and under relative humidity of 55% throughout the experimental period."
It looks like attempts were made to get good standardization, but I didn't see a specific reference to, say, actual quantity of food consumed.
PinkElephant
not rated yet Jun 03, 2010
There is nothing worse than a sweaty lab rat....
How about a sweaty lab rat with a raging case of diarrhea?