Dietary capsaicin and its anti-obesity potency: from mechanism to clinical implications

Biosci Rep. 2017 May 11;37(3):BSR20170286. doi: 10.1042/BSR20170286. Print 2017 Jun 30.


Obesity is a growing public health problem, which has now been considered as a pandemic non-communicable disease. However, the efficacy of several approaches for weight loss is limited and variable. Thus, alternative anti-obesity treatments are urgently warranted, which should be effective, safe, and widely available. Active compounds isolated from herbs are similar with the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which has a holistic approach that can target to several organs and tissues in the whole body. Capsaicin, a major active compound from chili peppers, has been clearly demonstrated for its numerous beneficial roles in health. In this review, we will focus on the less highlighted aspect, in particular how dietary chili peppers and capsaicin consumption reduce body weight and its potential mechanisms of its anti-obesity effects. With the widespread pandemic of overweight and obesity, the development of more strategies for the treatment of obesity is urgent. Therefore, a better understanding of the role and mechanism of dietary capsaicin consumption and metabolic health can provide critical implications for the early prevention and treatment of obesity.

Keywords: Capsaicin; TRPV1; adipogenesis; appetite; brown adipose tissue; obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Capsaicin / pharmacology*
  • Capsaicin / therapeutic use*
  • Capsicum / chemistry
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Obesity / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Capsaicin