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Sweet pepper compounds show weight management power

By Stephen Daniells , 19-Aug-2010

Capsinoids, non-pungent compounds in sweet pepper, may boost energy use by promoting the use of fat as the energy source, suggests a new study from Canada.

A daily 10 milligram dose of purified capsinoids increased energy use by 20 percent, according to findings from scientists from the Exercise Metabolism Research Group at McMaster University.

“This study was the first to assess the effect of capsinoids and aerobic exercise together in humans on measures of substrate oxidation and energy expenditure,” wrote the researchers, led by Stuart Phillips.

None of the apparent beneficial effects on energy use were carried over to the exercising state, although this may be due to the exercise regime being too intense, said the researchers.

“Further studies are needed to assess this, possibly implementing an exercise regimen that more closely mimics daily routines of the general North American population, i.e. activity that is less strenuous and shorter,” they stated.

The study supports the potential weight management actions of capsinoids, sisters compounds to the more famous and more pungent compound capsaicin.

The new study was supported by Ajinomoto Inc. The FDA issued a GRAS letter of no objection to Ajinimoto in early 2009 for the company's capsinoid ingredient .

Study details

Phillips and his co-workers recruited 12 healthy young men with an average age of 24.3 and average BMI to participate in their study. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or the purified capsinoids.

The metabolic and thermogenic effects were analysed at rest and after 90 minutes of moderately intense exercise.

“In this crossover, double-blind, acute trial, compared to a placebo, capsinoids increased resting energy expenditure by about 20 percent, and based on several observations relating to lipid metabolism […], capsinoid ingestion induced greater lipid oxidation at rest,” said the researchers.

“Although none of these effects carried over into exercise, the blunted lactate response with capsinoids 30 min into the exercise bout suggests an altered substrate use, namely a greater reliance on fat as fuel, at the start of exercise.

“This study […] further proves that the subtle metabolic effects of capsinoids are most pronounced at rest and as demonstrated in this trial, they seem to be superseded by a moderate exercise regimen,” they concluded.

Market potential

The research taps into the burgeoning weight loss and management market, estimated to already be worth $7bn (€5.2bn) globally. With 50 per cent of Europeans and 62 per cent of Americans classed as overweight, the food industry is waking up to the potential of products for weight loss and management.

The slimming ingredients market can be divided into five groups based on the mechanisms of action - boosting fat burning/ thermogenesis, inhibiting protein breakdown, suppressing appetite/ boosting satiety (feeling of fullness), blocking fat absorption, and regulating mood (linked to food consumption).

Source: Nutrition & Metabolism
2010, 7:65
“Effects of capsinoid ingestion on energy expenditure and lipid oxidation at rest and during exercise”
Authors: A.R. Josse, S.S. Sherriffs, A.M. Holwerda, R. Andrews, A.W. Staples, S.M. Phillips

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