CAPSAICIN is the substance responsible for the burning sensation when you eat hot peppers, says Daniel Prejato, RD, CSCS.
In an article posted on healthline, Prejato also noted that although capsaicin is available as a supplement and associated with several health benefits, including weight loss, we should “take precautions due to several potential side effects.”
Prejato says the following are capsaicin’s potential benefits:
• Capsaicin supplements may boost your metabolism, enabling you to more easily lose weight and burn fat.
However, “keep in mind that capsaicin’s results are likely minimal unless paired with a proper diet and exercise regimen.”
• Capsaicin supplements may have anti-inflammatory properties. Prejato says “diets high in inflammation-reducing antioxidants have been associated with a lower risk of illnesses, especially heart disease, stroke, and specific cancers.”
• Capsaicin is sometimes used for pain management. “It’s most commonly incorporated into topical pain-relief creams…used for joint disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, as well as diabetic neuropathy, a type of nerve damage in people with diabetes that can cause pain.”
However, Prejato adds, “when applied to your skin, capsaicin may produce burning effects similar to those caused by eating it. Thus, you may want to start with small amounts and pay attention to any adverse reactions.” Consult your doctor first.
As for side effects, Prejato says these may include “a burning effect throughout your digestive tract.”
For those with acid reflux or heartburn, he adds, capsaicin-containing foods or supplements may increase your symptoms.
Prejato says “the best way to avoid this side effect is to take the supplement just before a meal, as food serves as a buffer to prevent the burning sensation.”
Capsaicin supplements, he adds, may also raise your body temperature.
“While this isn’t usually dangerous — and no scientific evidence suggests that it can induce a fever — some individuals may be more susceptible to this sensation than others,” Prejato says.
Moreover, “there’s a chance that capsaicin supplements may increase your blood pressure. Thus, if you’re taking blood pressure medications, it’s important to check with your healthcare provider before taking this supplement.”
For more information, in other words, consult your doctor.