‘Spiceuticals’ on heat: Red chillies extract effective for appetite and weight control - four-week RCT

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Supplementation of red chillies actives, capsaicinoids, is able to control appetite and weight, according to findings of a RCT. ©Getty Images
Supplementation of red chillies actives, capsaicinoids, is able to control appetite and weight, according to findings of a RCT. ©Getty Images

Related tags: Spice, chilli, Weight management

Supplementation of red chillies actives, capsaicinoids, is able to control appetite and weight, leading to decrease of 2.1% in body weight and 2.2% in BMI, according to a four-week RCT.

There was also a mean decrease of 4% in the waist-to-hip ratio of those in the intervention group.

Findings of the randomised controlled trial was published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements​.

Funded by India-based Akay Natural Ingredients as part of its ‘spiceuticals’ research programme, the trial assessed the effectiveness of Capsifen.

It used the company’s proprietary formulation of capsaicinoids encapsulated in fenugreek soluble dietary fibre via a self-emulsifying nano technology.

According to the company, such a delivery mode helps to protect the pungent capsaicinoids in the upper gastrointestinal tract, providing a sustained delivery in the lower intestine and colon for better absorption.

Twenty-one healthy overweight subjects were randomised into two groups.

The experiment group took 200mg of Capsifen once per day, while the control group took placebo.

To assess the effects of Capsifen on eating behaviour, the subjects had to complete two sets of questionnaires before and after the trial.

One of the questionnaires, the “Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ)” assessed three different factors corresponding to 1) cognitive restraint, 2) uncontrolled eating, and 3) emotional eating. The other is “Council of Nutrition Appetite Questionnaire (CNAQ)”, an eight-item questionnaire.

Appetite controlled

Findings from the TFEQ showed that the experiment group were able to control their appetites better.

After the trial, they reported 22.3% improvement in cognitive restraint, 15.8% improvement for uncontrolled eating, and 4.7% improvement in emotional eating.

Whereas the placebo group only reported a 0.6%, 1.4%, and 2.8% improvement in the areas of cognitive restraint, uncontrolled eating, and emotional eating.

“The observed effect of Capsifen on TFEQ scores might have contributed to the decreased appetite and increased satiety in the Capsifen subjects,”​ the researchers said.

The restraint in appetite also corresponded with a drop in body weight, BMI, waist-to-hip ratio in the experiment group.

As compared to the baseline levels, there was a mean decrease of 2.1% and 2.2% in their body weight and BMI.

In comparison, the placebo group only saw a mean decrease of 0.32% and 0.34% in their body weight and BMI.

Market presence

There is already an Italian company selling a sports nutrition and weight management supplements containing Capsifen.  

Aside from the European markets, Emmanuel Nambusseril, chief marketing officer told NutraIngredients-Asia ​that a couple of US companies would also be launching supplements containing the ingredient.

Building on the existing evidence for the ingredient, he said that a second study on the ingredient and energy expenditure kinetics was under progress.

Source: Journal of Dietary Supplements

Influence of a Novel Food-Grade Formulation of Red Chili Extract (Capsicumannum) on Overweight Subjects: Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Study, Journal of Dietary Supplements


Authors: Ashil Joseph, MSc, Febi John, PhD, Jestin V. Thomas, MSc, Syam Das, PhD, Sivadasan, Balu Maliakel, PhD, Ratheesh Mohan, PhD & Krishnakumar I. M.

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