Capsaicinoids supplementation decreases percent body fat and fat mass: adjustment using covariates in a post hoc analysis

BMC Obes. 2018 Aug 13;5:22. doi: 10.1186/s40608-018-0197-1. eCollection 2018.


Background: Capsaicinoids (CAPs) found in chili peppers and pepper extracts, are responsible for enhanced metabolism. The objective of the study was to evaluate the effects of CAPs on body fat and fat mass while considering interactions with body habitus, diet and metabolic propensity.

Methods: Seventy-five (N = 75) volunteer (male and female, age: 18 and 56 years) healthy subjects were recruited. This is a parallel group, randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled exploratory study. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either placebo, 2 mg CAPs or 4 mg CAPs dosing for 12 weeks. After initial screening, subjects were evaluated with respect to fat mass and percent body fat at baseline and immediately following a 12-week treatment period. The current study evaluates two measures of fat loss while considering six baseline variables related to fat loss. Baseline measurements of importance in this paper are those used to evaluate body habitus, diet, and metabolic propensity. Lean mass and fat mass (body habitus); protein intake, fat intake and carbohydrate intake; and total serum cholesterol level (metabolic propensity) were assessed. Body fat and fat mass were respectively re-expressed as percent change in body fat and change in fat mass by application of formula outcome = (12-week value - baseline value) / baseline value) × 100. Thus, percent change in body fat and change in fat mass served as dependent variables in the evaluation of CAPs. Inferential statistical tests were derived from the model to compare low dose CAPs to placebo and high dose CAPs to placebo.

Results: Percent change in body fat after 12 weeks of treatment was 5.91 percentage units lower in CAPs 4 mg subjects than placebo subjects after adjustment for covariates (p = 0.0402). Percent change in fat mass after 12 weeks of treatment was 6.68 percentage units lower in Caps 4 mg subjects than placebo subjects after adjustment for covariates (p = 0.0487).

Conclusion: These results suggest potential benefits of Capsaicinoids (CAPs) on body fat and fat mass in post hoc analysis. Further studies are required to explore pharmacological, physiological, and metabolic benefits of both chronic and acute Capsaicinoids consumption.

Trial registration: ISRCTN10458693 'retrospectively registered'.

Keywords: Body fat; Capsaicinoids; Capsicum; Fat mass; Statistical modelling.