Capsaicin Supplements for Weight Loss: Does It Work?

by Ahmed Zayed, MD on February 20, 2019
Last updated on May 23, 2021

Excess weight that accumulates in the human body is known to contribute to various adverse effects on a person’s emotional and physical well-being. People who are overweight or obese usually experience a significant reduction in their overall quality of life. Recent statistics published by the State of Obesity (1) reported that 35% of the population in seven states in the United States are now considered obese. Statistics in other states are just as bad, with the lowest being 22.6% in Colorado.

a bowl of chilies

A quick visit to your local supermarket store or a supplement store in your local area, and you are presented with possibly hundreds of different weight loss supplements. While some supplements may be useful in helping you reduce your body fat percentage and overcome the risks that are associated with obesity, it is important to note that most of these supplements do not have any scientific evidence to back up the claims that the manufacturer makes.

Capsaicin is a type of supplement that utilizes extracts from chili peppers. Various claims have been made in regards to this particular supplement and how it works to assist with weight loss, but only a few studies have yet been performed to help the public understand what supplements that contain capsaicin can really do for their health.

In this post, we’ll explore capsaicin supplements and consider whether or not these products can really help you lose weight. We will also consider additional benefits that capsaicin supplements may have, as well as take a look at some potential risks that people should be wary of when they decide to use such a supplement.

Why You Should Be Concerned About Your Weight

Many people who are overweight do not understand exactly how important it is for them to lose weight. Excessive weight in the body, especially at a level that causes a person’s BMI to be more than 30, can cause a range of health concerns and conditions that may lead to a lower overall quality of life – and in many cases, these health effects that the excess weight has on the body can lead to complications that cause premature death.

Type 2 diabetes is most certainly one of the most concerning issues that are associated with obesity. With type 2 diabetes comes a large number of additional health concerns that a person needs to be aware of. This includes kidney problems, heart disease, eye-related diseases, and damage to nerves throughout the body.

In addition to type 2 diabetes, there are other types of diseases and conditions that have also been linked to obesity. It is important for people who are obese to be aware of these particular issues as well. These include (2):

  • High blood pressure, which may cause damage to blood vessels, as well as increase a person’s risk of stroke and heart attacks. High blood pressure also greatly increases the risk of developing kidney disease.
  • Heart disease is also more common among people who are obese. The damage dealt with the cardiovascular system may lead to a number of potential complications, including angina, heart failure, and abnormal heart rhythm. Furthermore, the effects that obesity has on the cardiovascular system may also lead to heart attacks, as well as high levels of blood fats.
  • People who are obese are also known to be more likely to suffer a stroke than those who are at a healthy weight.
  • Sleep apnea is another condition that is more prevalent among individuals who are obese. This condition can cause problems as well, due to the obstruction that occurs in their airway while they are sleeping.
  • Osteoarthritis, a condition where joints in the body are broken down and start to deteriorate due to excessive use and pressure, can also occur in a person who is obese. This can cause joint pain, swelling in the affected joints, tenderness, and even complications that may lead to disability.

In addition to all of these potential complications that a person may suffer if they become obese, it is also important to note that obesity has been linked to cancer, fatty liver diseases, gallbladder diseases, and metabolic syndrome.

What Are Capsaicin Supplements And How Do They Work?

Capsaicin supplements, as the name of these dietary pills explain, contain the active ingredient capsaicin. This is an extract of chili peppers – something that many people are used to cooking with. The capsaicin that is found in chili peppers is responsible for adding that spiciness to these food choices.

Many publications have suggested that the ingestion of capsaicin helps to stimulate the metabolism in the body. What this means is that fat burning should, according to these particular claims, become more efficient. Different publications have suggestions various mechanisms of action in regards to how capsaicin in chili peppers are able to provide these particular benefits to a person who consumes either chili peppers as food or choose to take capsaicin supplements — the most common suggestion about how these particular natural chemical works are by activation of the TRPV1 receptor.

Research in regards to capsaicin supplements is still very limited, but there are some studies that have provided evidence in terms of whether or not a supplement containing capsaicin can be effective in helping a person lose weight faster and more effectively. Furthermore, some studies have also looked at the additional benefits that these particular supplements may yield for the human body’s general well-being.

Are Capsaicin Supplements Good For Weight Loss?

While evidence regarding the use of supplements that contain capsaicin as the main active ingredient is still somewhat limited, there are a few studies that have taken a look at how such a supplement may assist in reducing the body weight of the user and assist in the treatment of their obesity.

One study (3) published on ScienceDirect looked at how the use of supplements that contain capsaicin can assist in a person’s weight management strategy. In particular, this study had a focus on looking at how such a supplement would be beneficial for the overall energy intake (or calorie intake) of a person compared to those who did not take the supplement at all.

The study found that, on average, a person who does utilize a capsaicin supplement is able to reduce their energy intake per meal by around 309.9 KJ. The study found that the most effective dosage of capsaicin supplements is a 2mg dosage of this particular ingredient.

In conclusion, the study found that capsaicin supplements might have some potential benefits when used as the basis of a person’s’ weight loss program, but it should not be the main component and not be heavily relied on.

Another study (4), also published on ScienceDirect, monitored the effects that a capsaicin supplement would have on the energy expenditure of participants. The study involved a group of scientists who observed the results from 90 different clinical trials, in order to make a more accurate determination of whether or not the use of a capsaicin supplement might be effective in increasing energy expenditure, which could possibly be due to a thermogenic effect.

At the end of the study, scientists involved noted various potentially beneficial effects regarding the specific clinical trials that they observed during their study. The most beneficial effect noted in the study was a statistically significant increase in the energy expenditure of participants who were provided with a supplement that contained the active ingredient capsaicin.

In addition to improvements in energy expenditure, other potential benefits were also noted among those who had taken these supplements. Lipid oxidation was significantly improved, and it also seemed like the capsaicin in the supplements that participants were provided had an impressive reduction in their appetites.

The two studies described above-provided proof that the use of capsaicin supplements can be a useful aid in weight loss – but, there are specific conditions and circumstances that should be noted. Appetite may be reduced, and energy exposure may be increased with such a supplement.

At the same time, a person who would like to lose weight in order to regain a healthier body weight and enjoy generally better well-being should not solely focus on the use of a capsaicin supplement. Additional effort from their side, which will include both a healthy and balanced diet, along with adequate levels of exercise, should be an essential part of their weight management program.

Are There Any Risks To Be Wary Of?

When the dosage instructions provided by a manufactured of capsaicin supplements are followed closely, then it is unlikely for a person to experience any serious side-effects. There are, however, cases where potential adverse events may take place – especially among those who might have a sensitive gastrointestinal system.

In people whose gastrointestinal system seems to be especially sensitive, stomach irritation may occur. This can lead to aches and pains, which can be extremely unpleasant in cases where the sensitivity reaction experienced become more severe. Apart from stomach irritation, the person may also experience an upset stomach. This may cause them to experience diarrhea or constipation, depending on how the active ingredient interacts with their system.

There are other possible side-effects that have also been associated with the use of capsaicin supplements. Some people may start to sweat once they have taken a supplement that contains this particular ingredient. This may possibly be caused by an increase in their internal temperature, which is also why some may find that their energy expenditure increases with physical activity.

Flushing and a runny nose are two additional side-effects that people should be aware of if they are interested in using capsaicin supplements.

There have been some cases, although rare, where the use of a capsaicin supplement, mostly over a longer period of time, has led to more serious and significant side-effects. Of these, the most serious that should be noted would be damage to the kidneys and the liver.

For these reasons, individuals who are looking to lose weight with a capsaicin supplement should first be wary of the possible side-effects that might be experienced when they do decide to use such a product. In the case where side-effects do develop, it is usually advised that the person seeks advice from a medical professional before they continue to use the supplement.


Obese individuals have access to a large variety of supplements that they can use to help them achieve their goals and lose excess fat that has accumulated within their bodies. While not all supplements are effective, there are a few with potential benefits that may contribute to improved results in terms of losing weight and becoming a healthier individual. Capsaicin supplements are known to contribute to improvements in various areas of health, but studies in regards to the weight loss benefits of these supplements are still limited.


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