Earlier this month, at the Biophysical Society Meeting in Baltimore, researchers from the University of Wyoming announced that capsaicin — the chief ingredient in chilli peppers – may help boost metabolism.
In a statement, Vivek Krishnan, a graduate student involved in the study explained that in our bodies there are white fat cells, which store energy, and brown fat cells, which serve as a themogenic machinery to burn stored fat. When we eat too many calories, and don’t engage in enough physical activity, there’s an imbalance in our metabolism that leads to obesity.
In a study, the researchers found that dietary capsaicin significantly increased the “metabolic activity and energy expenditure in wild type mice fed a high-fat diet.” So basically, even when the mice were fed a high-fat diet, the capsaicin kept them from gaining weight.
However – this doesn’t mean it’s time to start munching on a handful of chili peppers! This is a preliminary study and it was only a study undertaken in mice, but it is a starting point for researchers who said their long-term goal is to possibly develop a natural dietary supplement to prevent obesity.
“We envision a nanoparticle-based sustained-release formulation of capsaicin, which is currently under development in our laboratory,” added researchers. “In turn, this will advance a novel dietary supplement-based approach to prevent and treat one of the life-threatening diseases, obesity and its associated complications — in humans.