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Weight loss drug made of chili pepper is good for a spicy burn, but don’t eat more chili

Weight loss drugs: A new study suggests that Metabocin, a drug based on capsaicin, the compound that gives chilli peppers their spicy burn can help you lose weight, improve your health.

fitness Updated: Jul 17, 2018 12:46 IST
Press Trust of India
Weight loss,Weight loss tip,Tips to lose weight
Weight loss drug: The researchers cautioned that eating more spicy food won’t help in weight loss since most of the capsaicin in spicy food is not well absorbed into the body.(Shutterstock)

This is one weigh loss tip you didn’t see coming. A new study now suggests that chili peppers aren’t just all fire and fury: In fact, it can help you lose weight, cure obesity, and improve your body metabolism, among other things. The study . Though it is still on experimental basis, and on mice, researchers led by Indian origin lead investigator Baskaran Thyagarajan from the University of Wyoming in the US, have concluded that a drug based on capsaicin, the compound that gives chilli peppers their spicy burn, can help in long-term weight loss and improves metabolic health in mice eating a high-fat diet.

The drug, Metabocin, was designed to slowly release capsaicin throughout the day so it can exert its anti-obesity effect without producing inflammation or adverse side effects, researchers from the University of Wyoming in the US said. “We observed marked improvements in blood sugar and cholesterol levels, insulin response, and symptoms of fatty liver disease,” said Thyagarajan, adding Metabocin reversed many damaging effects of the high-fat diet.

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The team developed Metabocin, which can be taken orally, to target receptors called TRPV1 (transient receptor potential vanilloid subfamily 1) that are found in high numbers in fat cells. Stimulating the TRPV1 receptors causes white fat cells to start burning energy instead of storing it, which, in theory, should cause weight loss.

An important question for the researchers was whether the drug remains effective when used long term, and whether adverse effects would outweigh its benefits. The mice in this experiment remained on the drug for eight months, maintaining the weight loss with no evidence of safety problems. “It proved safe and was well tolerated by the mice. Developing Metabocin as a potent anti-obesity treatment shows promise as part of a robust strategy for helping people struggling with obesity,” said Thyagarajan.

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Researchers cautioned that these results may give some people the idea to eat more spicy food to lose weight, however, that would not work as intended. Most of the capsaicin in spicy food is not well absorbed into the body so it would not produce these effects, they said. The researchers specifically modified the capsaicin in Metabocin for proper absorption and sustained release.

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First Published: Jul 17, 2018 12:45 IST