Capsaicin-containing chili improved postprandial hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and fasting lipid disorders in women with gestational diabetes mellitus and lowered the incidence of large-for-gestational-age newborns

Clin Nutr. 2016 Apr;35(2):388-393. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2015.02.011. Epub 2015 Mar 2.


Background & aims: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) may increase the future health risks of women and their offspring. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of capsaicin supplementation on blood glucose, lipid metabolism and pregnancy outcomes in women with GDM.

Methods: Forty-four pregnant women with GDM at 22-33 gestational weeks were randomly assigned to the capsaicin group (5 mg/d of capsaicin) or to the placebo group (0 mg/d of capsaicin) for 4 weeks in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The concentrations of fasting plasma glucose and serum insulin, 2-h postprandial plasma glucose (2-h PG) and serum insulin (2-h INS), and fasting serum lipids, liver and kidney function parameters, and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) were measured at 0 and 4 weeks. The maternal and neonatal outcomes were also recorded.

Results: Forty-two women completed the trial. Compared to the placebo group, 2-h PG and 2-h INS concentrations and 2-h postprandial HOMA-IR (2-h HOMA-IR) levels, and the fasting serum total cholesterol and triglycerides concentrations significantly decreased in the capsaicin group after treatment (P < 0.05). Moreover, the fasting serum apolipoprotein B and CGRP concentrations significantly increased in the capsaicin group (P < 0.05). The changes in the 2-h PG and 2-h INS concentrations and in the 2-h HOMA-IR were negatively correlated with the change in the serum CGRP concentration (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the incidence of large-for-gestational-age (LGA) newborns was significantly lower in the capsaicin group than in the placebo group (P = 0.022).

Conclusions: Capsaicin-containing chili supplementation regularly improved postprandial hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia as well as fasting lipid metabolic disorders in women with GDM, and it decreased the incidence of LGA newborns.

Keywords: Calcitonin gene-related peptide; Capsaicin; Gestational diabetes mellitus; Glucose metabolism; Large-for-gestational-age newborns.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / blood
  • Capsaicin / administration & dosage*
  • Capsicum / chemistry
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Diabetes, Gestational / drug therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Dyslipidemias / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Fetal Macrosomia / epidemiology*
  • Fetal Macrosomia / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / drug therapy
  • Hyperinsulinism / drug therapy
  • Incidence
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Life Style
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Insulin
  • Plant Preparations
  • Triglycerides
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide
  • Capsaicin