A popular ingredient for giving a kick to salsa and other dishes, Cayenne has numerous health benefits including reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reducing pain and inflammation, providing relief for heartburn, moderating blood sugar level, and helping to break down carbohydrates during digestion. All of that is due to a potent chemical, capsaicin, found in the thin skin surrounding the seeds.

Cayenne (capsaicin) supplements have been studied for their ability to curb appetite, increase resting metabolic rate (turn-up your metabolism), and stimulate the breakdown of fats for energy. Short-term studies (12 weeks or less) with athletes, individuals who are of average weight, and those who are obese have shown cayenne does raise metabolism by about an extra 50 calories burned per day. In one to two years, if you did nothing else special with your diet and exercise routine, you’d lose a little weight.

Other studies have looked at different amounts of capsaicin taken and how it is prescribed (ex., taken before, during or after a meal) plus a person’s general health status. Capsaicin has an affect on how full a person feels (satiety) before, during, and after a meal as well as food choices people make. (The latter, scientists think, has to do with how cayenne supplements are digested). The amount of capsaicin taken, to a certain point, also affects the amount of change in metabolism and the effect on appetite. A holistic health practitioner can best determine the amount of capsaicin that will help you with your weight loss or other health goals.

A capsaicin supplement is a great way to support your metabolism when you are trying to lose weight but it’s not a “miracle diet pill.” You still need to follow an overall healthy diet and consistently participate in an exercise program.

Resources:

National Geographic Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The World’s Most Effective Healing Plants. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic (2012). 208-212.

Whiting, S. et al., “Capsaicinoids and capsinoids. A potential role for weight management? A systematic review of the evidence.” Appetite (2012) 59. 341-348. Accessed on March 8, 2016. http://krosslabs.com/articles/capsicum.pdf

University of Maryland Medical Center Complimentary and Alternative Medicine Database. “Cayenne.”Accessed on March 2, 2006. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/cayenne

Robbins, W. “Clinical applications of capsaicinoids [Review].” Clin J Pain. (2000) 16 (2 Suppl): S86-S89. http://journals.lww.com/clinicalpain/Abstract/2000/06001/Clinical_Applications_of_Capsaicinoids.15.aspx

Westerterp-Plantenga, M. & Janssens, P. “Red Pepper Can Enhance Energy Metabolism And Satiety.” McCormick Science Institute. Accessed on March 8, 2016. http://www.mccormickscienceinstitute.com/resources/msi-summit/summit-proceedings/red-pepper-can-enhance-energy-metabolism-and-satiety

Eckerson, Joan M. “Weight Loss Nutritional Supplements.” In Greenwood, M. et al. (Eds). Nutritional Supplements in Sports and Exercise (2nd Ed.) (2015) pp. 167-168.

Diepvens, K. et al. “Obesity and thermogenesis related to the consumption of caffeine, ephedrine, capsaicin, and green tea.” Amer Jnl Physiology. (Jan 2007) 292:1, p. 77-85. Accessed on March 8, 2016. http://ajpregu.physiology.org/content/292/1/R77.short

Gamboa-Gómez, Claudia I. et al. “Plants with Potential Use on Obesity and Its Complications.” EXCLI Journal 14 (2015): 809–831. PMC. Web. 8 Mar. 2016.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4746997/

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