Capsaicinoids are a group of chemicals found in chilli peppers, with bioactive properties. The purpose of this study is to systematically review research investigating the potential benefits capsaicinoid compounds may have in relation to weight management. Medical databases were searched and 90 trials found, 20 of which were selected for inclusion, involving 563 participants. Three main areas of potential benefit for weight management were found: (1) increased energy expenditure; (2) increased lipid oxidation and (3) reduced appetite. Trial duration, dosage and sized varied, though trials were generally of high quality with a low risk of bias. It was observed that consumption of capsaicinoids increases energy expenditure by approximately 50 kcal/day, and that this would produce clinically significant levels of weight loss in 1-2 years. It was also observed that regular consumption significantly reduced abdominal adipose tissue levels and reduced appetite and energy intake. The mechanism of action is not presently fully understood, although it is well accepted much of the effects are caused by stimulation of the TRPV1 receptor. While capsaicinoids are not a magic bullet for weight loss, the evidence is that they could play a beneficial role, as part of a weight management program.
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