Red pepper: Hot stuff for fighting fat?

March 5, 2007

Food scientists in Taiwan are reporting new evidence from laboratory experiments that capsaicin — the natural compound that gives red pepper that spicy hot kick — can reduce the growth of fat cells. The study is scheduled for the March 21 issue of the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

In the report, Gow-Chin Yen and Chin-Lin Hsu cite previous research suggesting that obesity can be reduced by preventing immature fat cells (adipocytes) from developing into mature cells. Past research also linked capsaicin to a decrease in the amount of fat tissue and decreased blood-fat levels. With that knowledge, the researchers tested capsaicin’s effects on pre-adipocytes and adipocytes growing in laboratory cultures.

They found that capsaicin prevented pre-adipocytes from filling with fat and becoming full-fledged fat cells. The effects occurred at levels just slightly greater than those found in the stomach fluid of an individual eating a typical Indian or Thai diet, the researchers noted. Capsaicin worked by providing a biochemical signal that made fat cells undergo apoptosis, a mechanism in which cells self-destruct.

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: What's next in diets: Chili peppers?

Related Stories

What's next in diets: Chili peppers?

February 8, 2015
Don't go chomping on a handful of chili peppers just yet, but there may be help for hopeful dieters in those fiery little Native American fruits.

Less 'brown fat' could help explain why a fifth of the world's population is highly susceptible to type 2 diabetes

November 11, 2013
Lower amounts of brown adipose tissue (BAT, or 'brown fat') could help explain why south Asians—who make up a fifth of the world's population—have an exceptionally high susceptibility to developing metabolic problems ...

Long-sought 'warm-sensitive' brain cells identified in new study

September 9, 2016
A new UC San Francisco study challenges the most influential textbook explanation of how the mammalian brain detects when the body is becoming too warm, and how it then orchestrates the myriad responses that animals, including ...

Blocking pain receptors found to extend lifespan in mammals

May 22, 2014
Blocking a pain receptor in mice not only extends their lifespan, it also gives them a more youthful metabolism, including an improved insulin response that allows them to deal better with high blood sugar.

Getting the right signals

July 24, 2015
Researchers in Texas A&M University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have proposed a "unified" way to explain the function of dietary bioactives in suppressing cancer-causing cell signaling.

Recommended for you

New understanding of how muscles work

August 23, 2017
Muscle malfunctions may be as simple as a slight strain after exercise or as serious as heart failure and muscular dystrophy. A new technique developed at McGill now makes it possible to look much more closely at how sarcomeres, ...

Scientists find RNA with special role in nerve healing process

August 22, 2017
Scientists may have identified a new opening to intervene in the process of healing peripheral nerve damage with the discovery that an "anti-sense" RNA (AS-RNA) is expressed when nerves are injured. Their experiments in mice ...

Mouse model of human immune system inadequate for stem cell studies

August 22, 2017
A type of mouse widely used to assess how the human immune system responds to transplanted stem cells does not reflect what is likely to occur in patients, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School ...

Researchers offer new targets for drugs against fatty liver disease and liver cancer

August 22, 2017
There may no silver bullet for treating liver cancer or fatty liver disease, but knowing the right targets will help scientists develop the most effective treatments. Researchers in Sweden have just identified a number of ...

Bio-inspired materials give boost to regenerative medicine

August 18, 2017
What if one day, we could teach our bodies to self-heal like a lizard's tail, and make severe injury or disease no more threatening than a paper cut?

Make way for hemoglobin

August 18, 2017
Every cell in the body, whether skin or muscle or brain, starts out as a generic cell that acquires its unique characteristics after undergoing a process of specialization. Nowhere is this process more dramatic than it is ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.