If you’ve ever eaten something spicy and felt a burning sensation on your tongue, then you’ve eaten capsaicinoids. Capsaicinoids (including capsaicin, dihydrocapsaicin, and others) are the substances found in chili peppers that give them their spiciness. Although humans have been eating peppers for thousands of years, capsaicinoids only recently have come into the supplement spotlight. As a dietary supplement ingredient, capsaicinoids are often labeled as “cayenne pepper” or “capsicum,” after the family of peppers that naturally contain capsaicinoids.

Is capsaicin in dietary supplements effective for weight loss?

Capsaicinoids are purported to aid weight loss in three ways: increase energy use, burn fat, and decrease appetite. Some scientific evidence supports these statements, but results are mixed, and many studies only looked at the short-term effects of consuming capsaicinoids. Whether capsaicinoids can affect metabolism and appetite enough to result in meaningful weight loss or help with weight maintenance remains in question.

There isn’t enough evidence to support the use of capsaicin or capsaicinoids for weight loss.

Moreover, additional research would be needed to determine the optimal dose and duration of capsaicinioids for weight loss. Consuming too much capsaicinoids (whether from food or supplements) can cause gastrointestinal issues for some people. Also, long-term effects of taking supplemental capsaicinoids, especially at high doses, are still unknown, so their safety over time needs further investigation.

More research is needed to determine if capsaicinoids can help you lose weight, but if you still want to include them as part of a healthy diet, try adding some chili peppers to your foods, but only as much as you can tolerate and enjoy.


Updated 06 January 2021


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