Compound in non-pungent peppers found to protect the liver, improve blood sugar, and reduce weight gain
07/18/2019 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Spicy peppers are known to aid in weight loss. However, not everyone can tolerate their taste. Fortunately, there is a milder and more palatable alternative: dihydrocapsiate supplements. Dihydrocapsiate is a compound that belongs to the capsinoid family. It is structurally related to the compound capsaicin but is present in non-pungent peppers. Dihydrocapsiate not only helps fight obesity, it also protects the liver and improves blood sugar levels.

In a recent study published in Nutrition Research, researchers from India’s National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI), Panjab University, and National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) examined whether or not dihydrocapsiate can be an alternative to capsaicin. To do this, they looked at the protective effects of dihydrocapsiate against metabolic changes caused by consumption of a high-fat diet. The researchers used mice fed a high-fat diet for their experiment and gave the animals dihydrocapsiate (2 and 10 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) body weight) for 12 weeks.

They reported that supplementation with dihydrocapsiate reduced weight gain caused by eating a high-fat diet. Dihydrocapsiate supplementation also significantly reduced triglyceride and insulin levels while improving glucose tolerance.

In addition, dihydrocapsiate administration greatly suppressed lipid accumulation in white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue by targeting genes involved in energy expenditure and mitochondrial biogenesis, respectively. It also improved gut morphology and gut microbial composition.


Overall, these findings indicated that dihydrocapsiate intake prevents obesity and fatty liver disease and improves glucose tolerance as well as high-fat diet-induced gut alterations. The researchers concluded that dihydrocapsiate can be a used as a potential food ingredient for the dietary management of HFD-induced metabolic changes.

Dihydrocapsiate increases energy expenditure, according to studies

A team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) found that dihydrocapsiate can speed up metabolism and cause the body to burn body fat in preference to other energy stores. (Related: Spicy peppers may cause your body to burn more calories.)

For the study, the UCLA team gave 33 dieters either dihydrocapsiate or a placebo for four weeks. The supplement increased fat oxidation and energy output after exercise. However, there was no significant difference in weight loss since the study only lasted for four weeks.

The results of the UCLA study were similar to those of a study conducted by researchers from the Pennington Biochemical Research Center in Baton Rouge. In this study, the researchers recruited 86 men and gave them capsules containing dihydrocapsiate or a placebo for a month. Then, they measured the participants’ resting energy output.

The respiratory quotients suggested that participants who took the highest dose of dihydrocapsiate burned twice the amount of fat participants who took the placebo did. According to the Baton Rouge study, they lost one pound more than the controls each month.

Study reveals dihydrocapsiate supplementation may prevent age-related diseases

Another study, which was conducted by Japanese researchers, looked at whether supplementation with dihydrocapsiate improves age-related diseases.

Metabolic dysfunction is linked to aging, and although aging is not a disease, it increases the risk of chronic diseases and death. Diseases associated with aging include Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Many studies are currently focused on finding ways to increase energy expenditure in older populations to protect them from age-related diseases.

For the study, the Japanese researchers studied three groups of mice: A group of young mice and two groups of old mice. One group of old mice was supplemented with dihydrocapsiate for 12 weeks.

The results showed that dihydrocapsiate supplementation significantly inhibited age-related fat accumulation, obesity, and fatty liver disease. It also substantially suppressed age-related increases in liver inflammation, immune cell infiltration, and oxidative stress. This protective effect of dihydrocapsiate was attributed to its ability to increase energy expenditure by increasing fat oxidation in skeletal muscles.

The Japanese researchers concluded that dihydrocapsiate supplementation can be an effective tool for protecting against age-related chronic diseases. Their findings were published in the American Journal of Psychology.

Read more studies on food supplements that improve metabolic health at

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