Cayenne Pepper for Weight Loss: What is the Benefit and Dosage?
Emily Hirsch, MS, RD
Have you ever wondered why people use cayenne pepper for weight loss? Or how much cayenne pepper can be used to help you shed the pounds? If you’re one of the millions of people looking for answers about this popular pepper, this guide will help you better understand:
- What is cayenne pepper?
- How does cayenne pepper help you lose weight?
- What is the dosage of cayenne pepper capsules for weight loss?
- What are the potential health benefits of taking cayenne pepper?
For all of your answers to these cayenne pepper questions, let’s dive in.
What is Cayenne Pepper?
Cayenne pepper is a type of chili pepper from the Capsicum family. Known for its deep red color, cayenne peppers are commonly dried and ground into a fine powder.
The main ingredient in cayenne pepper is capsaicin. Capsaicin is the chemical compound that gives the spice its strong and fiery flavor.
Cayenne pepper has a long history in flavoring, coloring, and preserving food throughout various cultures around the globe.
Not only is cayenne pepper used in the culinary world, it has also been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years. The spice has been used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal conditions like stomach pain and also used to treat diseases of the circulatory system.
When rubbed into the skin, cayenne pepper can also help alleviate pain from muscle soreness due to overexertion and arthritis.
Does Cayenne Pepper Help You Lose Weight?
Capsaicin, the main active ingredient in cayenne pepper, has a thermogenic (heat generating) effect within your body. This means that it may help to increase your metabolism and even curb your appetite.
It appears as though taking cayenne pepper may help you lose weight by helping you to burn more fat.
One 2018 study examined the effects of capsaicin supplementation on body fat and fat mass.
In the study, the participants were given either a placebo, 2 mg of capsaicin, or 4 mg of capsaicin for 12 weeks. People who took 4 mg of capsaicin experienced a 6% reduction in body fat compared with people who took the placebo.1
Additionally, the thermogenic effect of cayenne pepper may play a role in helping your body burn more calories.
One older study found that consuming 1 gram of cayenne pepper in a meal can slightly increase one’s body temperature which can help your body burn additional calories.
The researchers noted that after eating cayenne pepper, study participants had decreased cravings for sweet, fatty, or salty foods.2
Furthermore, cayenne pepper may help your weight-loss efforts by suppressing your appetite.
Research suggests that eating cayenne pepper with your meals may help reduce your appetite, increase feelings of fullness, decrease cravings for junk food, all while helping you lose weight.3
How Much Cayenne Pepper Should I take Per Day For Weight Loss?
According to the research, the dosage of cayenne pepper capsules for weight loss can vary from 2 to 6 mg per day.4
Cayenne pepper supplements contain roughly 2.5 mg of capsaicin per gram. Therefore, you would want to take approximately two to five 500 mg capsules to get 2–6 mg of capsaicin.
However, it’s important to note that just like eating spicy foods, taking cayenne pepper supplements can come with side effects like stomach aches and heartburn.
Additionally, you may feel a burning sensation throughout your entire gastrointestinal tract including within your mouth, throat, and stomach as a result of taking this spicy supplement. Therefore, your dosage should be based on tolerance.
Taking your supplement with food will help to diminish some of these common side effects.
Cayenne pepper supplements may also interact with certain medications, like aspirin, antacids, blood thinners, and ace inhibitors.
It’s important to discuss the use of cayenne pepper supplements with your healthcare provider to ensure they are safe for you.
What are the Potential Health Benefits of Taking Cayenne Pepper?
Cayenne peppers provide a rich source of antioxidants including vitamins C and E, beta carotene, choline, and lutein.
Antioxidants help to remove harmful compounds from your body which are known as free radicals. Research shows that removing free radicals from your body has far-reaching health benefits including chronic disease prevention.5
Cayenne peppers also appear to help ease congestion and coughs related to the common cold.
One 2016 study found that capsaicin may help to manage cold symptoms like sneezing, nasal congestion, and postnasal drip.6
When applied topically, capsaicin has been used for many years to help relieve pain. Researchers theorize that capsaicin may help reduce pain by reducing substance P. Substance P is a compound that carries pain messages to your brain.7
Capsaicin may also benefit those suffering from psoriasis. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease characterized by patches of red, itchy, and scaly skin.
Research suggests that when treated with capsaicin-containing cream, psoriasis patients may experience reduced scaling, redness, and patchiness of the skin.8
Summary of Cayenne Pepper For Weight Loss Benefits
If you’re looking to kick start your weight loss efforts, taking an effective dose of cayenne pepper may help.
As a thermogenic agent, capsaicin appears to help with weight loss by helping your body burn more calories and by curbing your appetite. This spicy supplement may even help to reduce your cravings for junk food.
The best dosage of cayenne pepper capsules for weight loss appears to be roughly two to five 500 mg capsules.
However, it’s best to take this supplement with food to help ease gastrointestinal side effects like a burning sensation along your GI tract.
Cayenne pepper may help to boost your weight loss but it may also provide other health benefits.
Cayenne peppers are rich in antioxidants which have been shown to prevent a variety of chronic diseases.
Additionally, capsaicin may help to relieve cold symptoms and reduce pain and the common symptoms of psoriasis when topically applied.
Before taking cayenne pepper, or any supplement, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure its safety for you.
You can find cayenne pepper in its proper dosage for weight loss along with other thermogenic compounds like green tea, guarana, and more in the dotFIT ThermAccel dietary supplement.
References For Cayenne Pepper Usage
- Rogers J, Urbina SL, Taylor LW, et al. Capsaicinoids supplementation decreases percent body fat and fat mass: adjustment using covariates in a post hoc analysis. BMC Obes. 2018;5:22. doi:10.1186/s40608-018-0197-1
- Ludy MJ, Mattes RD. The effects of hedonically acceptable red pepper doses on thermogenesis and appetite. Physiol Behav. 2011;102(3-4):251-258. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.11.018
- Janssens PL, Hursel R, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Capsaicin increases sensation of fullness in energy balance, and decreases desire to eat after dinner in negative energy balance. Appetite. 2014;77:44-49. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2014.02.018
- Urbina SL, Roberts MD, Kephart WC, et al. Effects of twelve weeks of capsaicinoid supplementation on body composition, appetite and self-reported caloric intake in overweight individuals [published correction appears in Appetite. 2018 Dec 1;131:169]. Appetite. 2017;113:264-273. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2017.02.025
- Lifestyle, Oxidative Stress, and Antioxidants: Back and Forth in the Pathophysiology of Chronic Diseases. Front. Physiol. 2020; https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2020.00694/full
- Fokkens W, Hellings P, Segboer C. Capsaicin for Rhinitis. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2016;16(8):60. doi:10.1007/s11882-016-0638-1
- Chung MK, Campbell JN. Use of Capsaicin to Treat Pain: Mechanistic and Therapeutic Considerations. Pharmaceuticals. 2016, 9(4), 66. https://www.mdpi.com/1424-8247/9/4/66/htm
- Basharat S, Gilani S, Iftikhar F, Murtaza M, Basharat A, Sattar A, Qamar MM, Ali M. Capsaicin: Plants of the Genus Capsicum and Positive Effect of Oriental Spice on Skin Health. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2020;33:331–341. https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/51