Cayenne pepper, the most overlooked supplement found in every kitchen?

Cayenne pepper rapidly boosts metabolic rate, as measured by oxygen consumption and energy expenditure (1, 2, 3). While the proposed mechanism for this effect is assumed to be through thermogenic beta-adrenergic stimulation (4), it is not clear whether this effect is direct or indirect. It may also be related to one of the active constituents of capsicum, Capsaicin, and its promotion of catecholamine release (5).

Cayenne pepper boosts carbohydrate oxidation during exercise and at rest (5). Simply stated, more carbohydrate burning means more calories are being burned – clearly a desired trait for shedding that excess weight. Finally, cayenne pepper also assists in appetite suppression(6, 7) something that can become a critical factor for even the most strong-willed dieter.

Overlooked or not, from these effects one can see that cayenne pepper delivers remarkable benefits for those attempting to lose weight. Especially when considering cayenne pepper’s synergistic quality for reducing food intake and increasing energy expenditure in combination with caffeine (8).

1. Chaiyata P, Puttadechakum S, Komindr S. Effect of chili pepper (Capsicum frutescens) ingestion on plasma glucose response and metabolic rate in Thai women. J Med Assoc Thai. 2003 Sep;86(9):854-60.
2. Yoshioka M, St-Pierre S, Suzuki M, Tremblay A. Effects of red pepper added to high-fat and high-carbohydrate meals on energy metabolism and substrate utilization in Japanese women. Br J Nutr. 1998 Dec;80(6):503-10.
3. Henry CJ, Emery B. Effect of spiced food on metabolic rate. Hum Nutr Clin Nutr. 1986 Mar;40(2):165-8.
4. Yoshioka M, Lim K, Kikuzato S, Kiyonaga A, Tanaka H, Shindo M, Suzuki M. Effects of red-pepper diet on the energy metabolism in men. J NutrSci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1995 Dec;41(6):647-56.
5. Lim K, Yoshioka M, Kikuzato S, Kiyonaga A, Tanaka H, Shindo M, Suzuki M. Dietary red pepper ingestion increases carbohydrate oxidation at rest and during exercise in runners. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1997 Mar;29(3):355-61.
6. Yoshioka M, St-Pierre S, Drapeau V, Dionne I, Doucet E, Suzuki M, Tremblay A. Effects of red pepper on appetite and energy intake. Br J Nutr.1999 Aug;82(2):115-23.
7. Yoshioka M, Imanaga M, Ueyama H, Yamane M, Kubo Y, Boivin A, St-Amand J, Tanaka H, Kiyonaga A. Maximum tolerable dose of red pepper decreases fat intake independently of spicy sensation in the mouth. Br J Nutr. 2004 Jun;91(6):991-5.
8. Yoshioka M, Doucet E, Drapeau V, Dionne I, Tremblay A. Combined effects of red pepper and caffeine consumption on 24 h energy balance in subjects given free access to foods. Br J Nutr. 2001 Feb;85(2):203-11.

About the Author

Matt Cahill has worked extensively in the nutritional supplement field, and is the former CEO of Designer Supplements. During his time in the field has researched and developed prohormones, testosterone boosters, and other related compounds, both for his own company and others.