Last Updated on 05/04/2021 by C-Jay
Check out this article to discover everything you need to know about capsaicin and an answer to the all-important question – does capsaicin burn fat?
You are probably familiar with the sensation of adding too much chili or hot sauce to a meal. Or maybe you have made the fatal mistake of rubbing your eyes after preparing chilies? Burns, right?!
Well, that spicy cayenne pepper doesn’t just give a kick to your food. Red chili peppers contain a magic ingredient called capsaicin, which has a whole host of medicinal properties. They could provide a much-needed boost to your weight loss regime too!
But does capsaicin burn fat? It sure does, and so much more besides.
Continue reading to find out more!
What is Capsaicin?
Capsaicin is the active ingredient in cayenne peppers, which causes that fiery sensation when eaten.
It is a thermogenic agent, which means that it raises your body temperature, suppresses your appetite, gives your metabolism a boost, and in the process helps you burn more calories. Good news if you are on the road to losing weight!
How Does Capsaicin Burn Fat?
Capsaicin burns fat by increasing your core body temperature (ever felt a sweat coming on while eating a spicy meal?). In turn, this speeds up your metabolism.
Studies have shown that adding capsaicin to meals considerably increased diet-induced thermogenesis (the dissipation of energy in the body through heat production). It also significantly increased fat oxidation, which is the breaking down of body fat.  
In addition to breaking down fat, when capsaicin is added to meals, it works as an appetite suppressant. So, if you add some cayenne to your morning smoothie or take a supplement, it will suppress your appetite at lunchtime, thus naturally reducing your calorie intake. 
Another study into the effects of capsaicin concluded that increasing your intake of capsaicin may help to reduce that crucial waist-to-hip ratio.
Participants who were given 2mg of capsaicin per day saw a noticeable reduction in their waist-to-hip ratio after six weeks, compared to the group taking the placebo. Good news for those trying to shift that stubborn belly fat! 
What Other Benefits Does Capsaicin Have?
The magical properties of capsaicin are not limited to weight loss. Far from it, in fact. Capsaicin is effective for pain relief, reducing inflammation, and even reducing the risk of specific cancer types.
Capsaicin has been proven to relieve pain when included as an ingredient in creams to relieve the symptoms of conditions such as osteoarthritis.
It is thought that capsaicin reduces the amount of substance P, a chemical that sends pain signals to the brain.
Although in the early stages, there is also research in progress that is looking at the effect capsaicin supplements may have on relieving pain in athletes. 
Research into the cancer-relieving potential of capsaicin is in its infancy. Still, early evidence shows that it may slow the growth of cancer cells and even help to kick-start apoptosis, which is the process that happens in the body to destroy mutated cells. 
Capsaicin’s medicinal qualities don’t stop there. There is evidence to suggest that it may have antibacterial properties and, as such, could be effective in the treatment of certain skin complaints such as psoriasis and impetigo. It seems like there isn’t much that capsaicin doesn’t do!
How Can You Take Capsaicin?
These benefits are all well and good, but throwing back large quantities of hot peppers to burn fat is not practical, and your taste buds and stomach won’t thank you for it.
So how can you reap the fat loss benefits of capsaicin without regularly burning your mouth in the process?
Adding it to a smoothie or putting it in a ‘master cleanse’ along with maple syrup, water, and lemon juice is one option.
Alternatively, you could opt for a supplement such as cayenne pepper capsules. These are an easy way to increase your capsaicin intake without the fire-breathing after effects.
Another alternative is to go for a fat-burner that combines cayenne with other fat-burning ingredients, which will increase your fat-burning potential even more.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Knocking back too much Cayenne pepper in a cleanse or adding excessive amounts to your food is not recommended and could cause unpleasant side effects such as stomach pain and digestive upset.
Taking a supplement can sometimes cause similar symptoms, but these can be relieved by taking the supplement before a meal (a healthy, balanced one, obviously!)
Eventually, your digestive tract will de-sensitize to the effects of capsaicin, but you may have some uncomfortable bouts of heartburn and acid indigestion before that happens. Everything in moderation is the name of the game.
Conclusion – Does Capsaicin Burn Fat?
Capsaicin really is the mother of all superfoods. And while adding more hot peppers into your food will not help you lose weight in itself, adding more cayenne into a healthy, balanced diet could be an effective way to burn fat and help you lose weight. Just don’t over-do those chilies!
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- S Snitker, Y Fujishima, H Shen, et al. Effects of novel capsinoid treatment on fatness and energy metabolism in humans: possible pharmacogenetic implications. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009; 89(1): 45-50.
- M Yoshioka, S St-Pierre, V Drapeau, et al. Effects of red pepper on appetite and energy intake. Br J Nutr. 1999; 82(2): 115-123.
- Urbina SL, Roberts MD, Kephart WC, et al. Effects of twelve weeks of capsaicinoid supplementation on body composition, appetite and self-reported caloric intake in overweight individuals. Appetite. 2017 Jun 1;113:264-273. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2017.02.025
- Man-Kyo Chung, James N. Campbell Use of Capsaicin to Treat Pain: Mechanistic and Therapeutic Considerations, 2016
- R Clark, SH Lee. Anticancer Properties of Capsaicin Against Human Cancer. Anticancer Res. 2016;36(3):837-843.