(Picture from Ajinomoto Co.)
Dihydrocapsiate is related to capsaicin, the chemical that gives hot peppers their heat. That is, it's a capsinoid. But the chemical is actually too big to register as hot on our tongues, a UCLA team told the Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim this week.
Despite this it can speed up metabolism, like capsaicin, and cause the body to burn body fat in preference to other energy stores.
In the UCLA study, 33 dieters were given dihydrocapsiate or a placebo. (The 9 mg. dose was equivalent to a sprinkle of salt on your salad.) The supplement increased fat oxidation and energy output after exercise, although since the study only went four weeks there was no significant difference in weight loss.
This is similar to the results of another study, conducted last year by the Pennington Biochemical Research Center in Baton Rouge, assisted by the Japanese spice company Ajinomoto (best known for monosodium glutamate dashis).
In this study 86 men were given either capsules containing dihydrocapsiate or a placebo for a month, then had their resting energy output measured.
In the Baton Rouge study, respiratory quotients indicated those getting the highest dose of dihydrocapsiate were burning twice the fat as those getting the placebo. They could have been losing as much as a pound a month more than the controls, according to the study.
Needless to say, after the UCLA results were announced the blogosphere quickly filled with pictures of hot peppers, spurred in part by a separate study from the University of Texas and delivered at the same Anaheim conference, which used capsaicin to study how the body processes pain.
But instead of following the pepper, I focused my research on the money.
It turns out one pepper high in dihydrocapsiate is the CH-19 sweet pepper, developed by a scientist at Kyoto University and now bred in Thailand for (you guessed it) Ajinomoto, which is selling the result in capsule form under the name Capsiate Natura. The company began marketing the capsules in the U.S. in 2007. (The extract is also produced in China.)
Ajinomoto is currently selling Capsiate Natura through healthcare professionals in the New York tri-state area, with plans for a nationwide roll-out, according to the company's Web site.
Something tells me they may have a winner there.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com