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Capsaicin Review: Is it Really the Ultimate Hunger Suppressant?

By Rob Poulos...

Diet magazines can’t get enough of it–and neither can the Koreans.  In Korea, this ingredient makes their tongues sizzle after eating a piping hot bowl of kimchi stew, and some even use it in lip ointments to make their pouts more plump.

Diet magazines may love it just as much, though it’s not America’s pride and joy: Nearly every month magazines profile this key ingredient as being the key–not just the pick me up–for people who desperately want to shed the pounds.

This ingredient is called capsaicin, and here’s the review.

What is Capsaicin?

Best known as the component of chili peppers that makes it spicy, capsaicin is a type of irritating compound that produces a burning sensation upon contact with the tongue or skin.  While tasting capsaicin is hardly a pleasurable experience, people addicted to spicy food live for the sensation–and from what researchers conclude, it creates an intensely pleasurable, relaxing feeling, like that of eating chocolate.

For centuries, capsaicin was nothing more than an additive to food that gave it an extra kick.  But recently researchers discovered it wasn’t just that “spicy feeling”–it had actual, practical uses in the medicinal industry, and according to one study, may even fight weight gain.

Capsaicin: The Benefits

If you’re addicted to the spiciness of capsaicin, then there is good news: It can treat many conditions.

For instance, researchers have found that capsaicin, applied topically, may alleviate the pain of arthritis.  It’s now a popular ingredient in over-the-counter arthritis creams.  Some companies even sell it “as is,” promising to rid away arthritic pains with just a drop of ointment.

It’s not just great for arthritis, either–it can also help with other skin conditions, such as psoriasis, reducing itchiness and inflammation.

Orally, it’s more potent.  According to one study, people who ate chili peppers–the food that carries capsaicin–had a lower incidence of prostate cancer.  Ironically, it can also help quell heartburn, which you would normally expect would aggravate it.

But perhaps the biggest benefit of all is how it trims your waistline.

According to a 2009 study, a combination of green tea and capsaicin helped people feel less hungry, which helped them consume fewer calories.  Another study also found that capsaicin may reduce levels of ghrelin, a hormone that can trigger hunger.  Together, the studies suggest it has the potential to act as an appetite suppressant.

Capsaicin: The Disadvantages

Before you swallow a chili pepper, remember that it’s not all good–especially for your health.  One study studying the effects of capsaicin found that Mexican participants who ate foods rich in capsaicin had higher incidences of stomach cancer.  However, another study, this time carried out by Italians, found that it was not dangerous.  Thus far, researchers are urging people to be cautious about their intake, especially if they have a family history of stomach cancer.  Eating too many spicy foods can also irritate your stomach and cause diarrhea or excess gas–not exactly a pleasant thing.

But this doesn’t mean capsaicin isn’t useful.  In fact, adding a dose of capsaicin to a healthy diet may make it easier for you to avoid the mid-day munchies, while adding a spicy kicky to your daily diet regimen.  It’s not a cure-all, however, and this won’t make up for an otherwise bad diet plan.

Recommendation: A definite must try.

About Rob Poulos

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