Pharmacokinetic and the effect of capsaicin in Capsicum frutescens on decreasing plasma glucose level

J Med Assoc Thai. 2009 Jan;92(1):108-13.


Background: The active substance found in Capsicum frutescens (capsicum) that gives hot and spicy flavor is capsaicin, and it seems to have many pharmacological effects.

Objective: The present research was conducted to study the effect of capsicum on plasma glucose level and to correlate its action with the pharmacokinetic properties of capsaicin in capsicum.

Material and method: The crossover study was performed in 12 healthy volunteers by performing the OGTT while receiving placebo or 5 grams of capsicum. The insulin secretion and capsaicin level in plasma were measured using the HPLC method.

Results: The results of the OGTT showed that plasma glucose levels in volunteers who received capsicum were significantly lower than those in the placebo group at 30 and 45 minutes (p < 0.05). Furthermore, plasma insulin levels were significantly higher at 60, 75, 105, and 120 minutes (p < 0.05). When comparing before and after capsicum intake, the results showed the insulin levels were maintained The pharmacokinetic parameters of capsaicin shown as C(max), T(max), AUC(0-t), T1/2 are 2.47 +/- 0.13 ng/ml, 47.08 +/- 1.99 min, 103.6 +/- 11.3 ng x min/ml, and 24.87 +/- 4.97 min, respectively.

Conclusion: In conclusion, the present study found that 5 grams of capsicum presented capsaicin levels that were associated with a decrease in plasma glucose levels and the maintenance of insulin levels. The present result might have clinical implications in the management of type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Area Under Curve
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects*
  • Capsaicin / administration & dosage
  • Capsaicin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Capsaicin / pharmacology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Fruit
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacokinetics*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Plant Extracts
  • Capsaicin