Does Capsaicin Help with Weight Loss?

Capsaicin, a fiery compound found in chili peppers, has found its way into numerous fat burners like PhenQ, Capsiplex Burn, Burn Lab Pro, and more. The claim is rapid fat burning while improving our overall health. From the outskirts, it's easy to see why this claim may seem a bit bold and exaggerated, especially for a natural ingredient, but it's not impossible. To set you at ease, I did some in-depth research to bring you science-based facts that prove Capsaicin really does bring heat to fat burning.

key findings

  • Studies show that Capsaicin consumption makes positive changes to fat mass and body fat
  • Animals studies prove that Capsaicin consumption prevents fat absorption from foods, reduces the possibility of weight gain, lowers fat cell levels and the build-up of fats
  • A meta-analysis showed that Capsaicin could boost metabolic rates, respiratory quotient, energy expenditure, and fat oxidation—effects that are all conducive to weight control

A Basic Overview of Capsaicin in Weight Loss

Capsaicin is a natural chemical compound found in the fleshy part of chili peppers. The compound is classed as capsinoid and gives peppers their complex flavor profile. It is primarily responsible for the burning sensation you experience when biting into a pepper. 

Although Capsaicin was first identified and extracted in 1816, its role as a weight loss aid was revealed much later, which explains the emerging number of fat burners with Capsaicin in their formulas today. Most manufacturers who use this ingredient in their formula claim that Capsaicin triggers weight loss through a boost in metabolism (the rate at which the body burns calories).

Looking into it, I found a study that aimed to investigate the effects of capsinoids on body fat and fat mass. Seventy-five healthy subjects were split into two groups, one received Capsaicin for 12 weeks, and another received a placebo. The participants in the Capsaicin group were administered 2mg or 4mg of the ingredient at random. After 12 weeks, the Capsaicin group saw changes in fat mass and body fat. 

From the data collected, the researchers concluded that capsinoids could beneficially impact weight loss, but further studies are required to explore the metabolic benefits of long and short-term consumption of them. What we gathered from the evidence here is that Capsaicin can work for weight loss, but it's unclear exactly if acute or chronic use is needed.

The Science Behind the Heat

To properly assess the validity of Capsaicin weight loss claims, it is crucial to analyze several pieces of scientific evidence from different trials. So, I cast a wider net to find additional evidence that gives us a clearer picture of Capsaicin's weight loss effects.

One animal study assessing the effect of Capsaicin on weight loss divided a group of rats into 3 groups—Capsaicin administration in rats on a normal diet, Capsaicin administration in rats on a high-fat diet, and Capsaicin administration in rats with diabetes and obesity.

All rats were given 50mg of Capsaicin for 60 days. It was noted that the administration did not affect food intake but did reduce weight gain in all the rats. This was due to decreased fat absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. After a month of Capsaicin administration, reductions in serum glucose, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels were also observed in these animals, demonstrating that Capsaicin can also positively affect overall health. 

The same study also ran a trial that lasted 12 weeks. Mice on a normal and high-fat diet were given 2mg of Capsaicin daily. The evidence from the trial showed that the dose reduced weight gain by approximately 50% in the group of mice fed a high-fat diet.

These rats also had lowered serum triglyceride levels (fats present in our blood) and a 70% decrease in the build-up of fats from different things like cholesterol. On the other hand, the doses did not affect the total body weight of mice that consumed a normal diet. However, it did suppress deep fat accumulation in a dose-dependent manner (higher doses=better results). 

The results from these studies show a give and take. Although Capsaicin doesn't trigger direct fat burning, which affects total body weight, it can do things that help support weight loss. From the studies, we found that Capsaicin can:

  • Prevent fat absorption from foods
  • Reduce the possibility of weight gain
  • Lowers fat cell levels and the build-up of fats
  • Suppresses the accumulation of fat in parts of the body that are usually hard to get to

Capsaicin Triggered Weight Loss, A Human Experience

We've looked at the outcomes from animal studies and confirmed that Capsaicin could positively affect the weight loss journey. But animal studies sometimes don't win over our trust. After all, we are humans, so let's see what a human studies says about Capsaicin for weight loss.

Two studies investigating the effects of Capsaicin on weight involved a female and male participant group. The first study with female subjects found that adding the extract to different meal times successfully reduced hunger and appetite while decreasing protein and fat intake. This effect can also support calorie deficits which help you burn more calories than you consume.

The second study with male subjects found that integrating Capsaicin into meals resulted in lower carbohydrate intakes and altered energy expenditure. The results from both studies show that Capsaicin can potentially trigger weight loss. This evidence partly matches the findings from the animal studies we mentioned earlier, showing consistency and reliability across the board.

Another study evaluating Capsaicin (Chilli) as a weight-loss food found that the ingredient can trigger weight loss if used continuously with diet modifications (a controlled diet). This is quite accurate and fitting, considering any natural weight loss aid requires diet and exercise intervention. 

This study found that the main ways Capsaicin helps achieve weight loss are through improving fat metabolism (the rate at which the body burns fat), changing energy expenditure which is how much energy we use to carry out normal bodily functions (when the energy we need exceeds the energy we take in, the energy balance becomes negative, causing weight loss), and thermogenesis (the crème de la crème of fat burning, a process where the body creates heat by burning calories).

A meta-analysis of evidence from several other trials and studies (excluding the ones I mentioned above) also showed positive findings. They show that Capsaicin can boost metabolic rates, respiratory quotient, energy expenditure, and fat oxidation—effects that are all conducive to weight control.

Final Word 

Collectively, the data from the studies reviewed provide supportive evidence proving that Capsaicin can accelerate weight loss and help with weight management. The ingredient takes a widespread approach to supporting fat elimination, which is definitely helpful when dealing with deep and superficial fat. However, as with any natural ingredient, the magnitude of the effects can vary depending on doses, consistency, and supplementation duration. If you plan on taking a Capsaicin supplement or a fat burner featuring the ingredient, make sure to support use with diet and exercise intervention for a noticeable result.

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About the Author

Sam is a passionate health and fitness enthusiast who has been interested in supplements, fitness, and wellness for over 10 years. He is the founder of Great Green Wall - the health and wellness brand and has completed multiple fitness certificates, including personal training and nutrition certifications. Sam has been working as a personal trainer for the past three years and is dedicated to helping his clients achieve their fitness goals and lead healthier lifestyles. He believes that a healthy lifestyle is crucial to a happy and fulfilling life and is committed to sharing his knowledge and passion with others.

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