Table 2 Preclinical studies about anti-obesity effects of capsaicin
TreatmentsSpeciesDurationMetabolic disordersPotential mechanismReference
0–250 μmol/l capsaicin3T3-L1 preadipocytes and adipocytes24–72 hDecreased the amount of intracellular triglycerides, GPDH activityInhibited the expression of PPARγ, C/EBP-α, and leptinHsu et al. [52]
Induced apoptosisInduced up-regulation of adiponectin at the protein level
Inhibited adipogenesis
1 μmol/l capsaicin3T3-L1 preadipocytes3–8 daysPrevented the adipogenesisIncreased intracellular calciumZhang et al. [53]
0.015% capsaicinMale C57BL/6 mice10 weeksDecreased triglyceride levelsDecreased TRPV-1 expression in adipose tissueKang et al. [54]
Lowered fasting glucose, insulin, and leptin levelsIncreased mRNA/protein of adiponectin in the adipose tissue
Increased PPARα/PGC-1α mRNA in the liver
10 mg/kg body weight capsaicinStd ddY mice2 weeksLower body weightIncreased oxygen consumptionOhnuki et al. [55]
Markedly suppressed body fat accumulationStimulated the secretion of adrenalin
Decreased triglyceride levels
0.3% capsinoidsC57BL/6J mice8 weeksSuppressed body weight gain under the HFDIncreased energy expenditureSaito et al. [57], Ohyama et al. [58]
Decreased plasma cholesterol levelActivation of fat oxidation in skeletal muscle
Prevented diet-induced liver steatosisActivation lipolysis in BAT
Increased cAMP levels and PKA activity in BAT
0.003%, 0.01%, and 0.03% capsaicinwild-type and TRPV1−/− mice16 weeksPromoted weight lossIncreased the expression of UCP-1, BMP8b, SIRT-1, PGC-1α, and PRDM-16 in BATBaskaran et al. [59]
Enhanced the respiratory exchange ratioIncreased the phosphorylation of SIRT-1
Countered hypercholesterolemia
0.01% capsaicinwild-type and TRPV1−/− mice26 weeksCountered obesityPromoted SIRT-1 expressionBaskaran et al. [60]
Browning of WATIncreased the expression of PGC-1α
Facilitated PPARγ–PRDM-16 interaction
0.01% capsaicinwild-type and TRPV1−/− mice24 weeksAmeliorated abnormal glucose homeostasisActivation of TRPV1-mediated GLP-1 secretion in the intestinal cellsWang et al. [49]
Increased GLP-1 levels in the plasma and ileum
640 μmol/L, 2 ml/kg capsaicinSprague-Dawley rats15 minIncreased superior mesenteric artery blood flowInduced a dichotomous pattern of blood flow changesLeung et al. [68]
Reduction in hydrogen gas clearance
0.01% capsaicinC57BL/6J male mice9 weeksReduced weight gainModest modulation of the gut microbiotaShen et al. [69]
Improved glucose toleranceUp-regulated the expression of Muc2 and antimicrobial protein gene Reg3g in the intestine
  • BMP8b, bone morphogenetic protein-8b; cAMP, cyclic adenosine monophosphate; C/EBP-α, CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein-α; GPDH, glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; Muc2, mucin 2 gene; PGC1-α, PPARγ co-activator 1-α; PKA, protein kinase A; PRDM-16, positive regulatory domain containing 16; Reg3g, regenerating islet-derived protein 3γ; SIRT-1, sirtuin-1; UCP-1, uncoupling protein 1; WAT, white adipose tissue.