Capsinoids and related food ingredients activating brown fat thermogenesis and reducing body fat in humans : Current Opinion in Lipidology

Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

NUTRITION AND METABOLISM: Edited by Paul Nestel and Ronald P. Mensink

Capsinoids and related food ingredients activating brown fat thermogenesis and reducing body fat in humans

Saito, Masayukia; Yoneshiro, Takeshib

Author Information
Current Opinion in Lipidology 24(1):p 71-77, February 2013. | DOI: 10.1097/MOL.0b013e32835a4f40
  • Free



The global increase in obesity and associated metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus and dyslipidemia underscores the need for effective treatments. As obesity is a result of an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure, it can be treated by reducing the former and/or increasing the latter. For the latter, although increased physical activity is usually recommended, research has also been focusing on specific food components and/or natural substances. For example, caffeine and catechins rich in various types of tea have been reported to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation and, thereby, may be effective for weight loss [1,2].

Another group of food ingredients is capsaicin, a pungent principle of hot pepper, which is also known as a thermogenic to increase energy expenditure and reduce body fat. However, owing to its strong pungency, not all people can ingest it in large quantities. Capsinoids (capsiate, dihydrocapsiate and nordihydrocapsiate) are capsaicin-like compounds found in a nonpungent type of red pepper, ‘CH-19 Sweet’. Although capsinoids are much less pungent than capsaicin, they are equally as potent in increasing energy expenditure and fat oxidation, as well as in reducing body fat in small rodents. Meta-analyses of human studies also confirmed significant effects of capsinoids on energy balance [3,4]. Recent investigations revealed the mechanisms for the thermogenic effects of capsinoids, particularly the critical roles of transient receptor potential channels (TRP) and brown adipose tissue (BAT), a site of nonshivering thermogenesis evoked by β-adrenoceptor activation. Here, we review the thermogenic and fat-reducing effects of capsaicin and capsinoids in humans, with special reference to the TRP-BAT axis, and discuss the possibility of some other food ingredients as antiobesity compounds.

Box 1:
no caption available


Red peppers, members of the Capsicum genus, contain pungent compounds called capsaicinoids, whose chemical structure is an acid amide of vanillylamine combined with a fatty acid (Fig. 1). Capsaicin is the major pungent component, which is responsible for about 70% of the burn of hot red peppers, followed by dihydrocapsaicin and nordihydrocapsaicin. The pungency of capsaicin is mediated through the TRP vanilloid subtype one (TRPV1) on sensory neurons in the oral cavity. TRPV1 is a nonselective calcium channel located on primary afferent neurons throughout the body – including the alimentary tract – and is activated by various kinds of stimuli such as noxious heat, proton, and vanilloids [5]. When capsaicin binds to TRPV1, it produces respective sensations of warmth and burning pain at low and high concentrations.

Mechanism of cold-induced and capsinoid-induced activation of brown adipose tissue. Acute stimulation of TRP by either cold or food ingredients elicits sympathetic nerve activation, leading to UCP1-dependent thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue and lipid mobilization in white adipose tissue. Chronic stimulation gives rise not only to the hyperplasia of brown adipose tissue but also the induction of UCP1-positive beige cells in white adipose tissue, which also contributes to increased whole-body energy expenditure and decreased body fat content. There are various kinds of food ingredients having an agonistic activity for TRP: capsaicin, capsiate, and 6-paradol are potential agonists for TRPV1, menthol for TRPM8, and isothiocyanate compounds for TRPA1. βAR, β-adrenoceptor; TG, triglyceride; TRP, transient receptor potential channel; UCP1, uncoupling protein 1.

Capsinoids are nonpungent capsaicin analogs that include capsiate, dihydrocapsiate, and nordihydrocapsiate, which are found in a newly bred nonpungent type of red pepper, ‘CH-19 Sweet’ [6,7]. Capsiate, the primary capsinoid in CH-19-Sweet, differs from capsaicin in chemical structure only at the center linkage of an ester bond (Fig. 1). Although capsiate and capsaicin bind to the TRPV1 with comparable affinities, capsiate is much less pungent, totaling less than 0.1%. The differences in the perceived pungency may be related to the site of TRPV1 activation. Capsaicin activates TRPV1 on sensory neurons located in the tongue, whereas capsiate is rapidly hydrolyzed as it crosses the oral mucosa, rendering it an ineffective sensory stimulus. When ingested into the stomach, both capsiate and capsaicin can reach and activate TRPV1 in the gastric mucosa. Although capsiate as well as capsaicin seem to be absorbed in the stomach and small intestine, capsiate is usually undetectable in the portal circulation, probably because of its instability. Thus, the primary action site of orally ingested capsiate may be the gastric mucosa and the intestinal mucosa, albeit to a lesser extent.


The thermogenic effect of capsaicin and capsinoids is well documented in small rodents. The intraperitoneal or intragastric administration of capsaicin within hours produces an increased whole-body energy expenditure, activation of the adrenosympathetic nervous system, and a rise in BAT temperature followed by a core temperature rise [8,9]. Most of these responses are greatly attenuated by β-adrenergic blockade or in mice deficient in TRPV1 [10]. Capsiate administration was also reported to upregulate uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), a key molecule for BAT thermogenesis [11]. Based on these observations, the mechanism for the thermogenic effect of capsaicin and capsinoids is proposed as in Figure 1, in which TRPV1 and BAT are involved as indispensable components.

Following animal studies, there have been reports on the effects of a single ingestion of red pepper and capsaicin/capsinoids in humans, although the results are rather inconsistent. Yoshioka et al.[12] first demonstrated that a meal containing 10 g of red pepper enhanced energy expenditure in 3 h and that the increased energy expenditure was diminished by propranolol, a β-adrenergic blocker. The thermogenic effect of red pepper was evident after a high fat, more than a high carbohydrate, meal. A single ingestion of meals supplemented with capsaicinoids or capsinoids was also reported to increase energy expenditure and lipid oxidation [13,14]. It is to be noted that the thermogenic effect of capsaicin/capsinoids so far reported is relatively small, being about 5–20% above the basal levels. This suggests that its thermogenic effect, if any, may be detected only under strictly controlled experimental conditions. In fact, contrary to these reports, Smeets and Westerterp-Plantenga [15] found no differing effect on energy expenditure and respiratory quotient after a lunch containing capsaicin in comparison with a control lunch. Galgani et al.[16] also failed to find significant effects of capsinoid supplementation (1–12 mg) on postprandial thermogenesis and substrate oxidation.

Possible explanations for such inconsistent findings may, for example, lie in the interstudy differences in the dose of capsaicin/capsinoids and the sex, age, and body composition (adiposity) of individuals. Another possibility may be related to differences in sensitivity to capsaicin/capsinoids. There may be considerable variance in the customary intake of capsaicin-containing foods among individual participants and the participant populations. It is possible that repeated exposure to capsaicin and related pungent compounds results in weaker responses, a so-called ‘desensitization’. The genetic difference in TRPV1 may also influence the responses to capsaicin/capsinoids. There is a functional single nucleotide polymorphism, TRPV1-Ile585Val. Cantero-Recasens et al.[17] demonstrated a decreased Ca2+ channel activity of TRPV1-Val compared to TRPV1-Ile in response to two typical TRPV1 stimuli, heat and capsaicin, along with its association with a lower risk of active childhood asthma. Snitker et al.[18] also reported a significant difference in the fat-reducing effect between participant groups with TRPV1-Val and TRPV1-Ile.


One of the more likely explanations for the discrepant results so far reported is the different BAT activities of the individual, which were not taken into consideration in previous studies. BAT is well established in small rodents as the major site of sympathetically activated thermogenesis during cold exposure and probably after spontaneous hyperphagia, thereby controlling whole-body energy expenditure and adiposity [19,20]. BAT has long been believed to be absent or negligible in adult humans, but recent studies using fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-PET, in combination with computed tomography (CT), demonstrated the existence of metabolically active BAT in healthy adult humans [21]. During the last several years, we and other groups have shown that the metabolic activity of BAT assessed by FDG uptake is markedly increased in healthy humans by acute cold exposure [22–25]. BAT activity is positively correlated to a cold-induced increase in energy expenditure [26,27]. Moreover, thermic effects of meals have also been shown to be greater in individuals with higher BAT activities [28]. Thus, BAT is involved, at least in part, in cold-induced and diet-induced thermogenesis in humans, thereby contributing significantly to the regulation of whole-body energy expenditure.

The metabolic activity of BAT differs among individuals, largely depending on age. In our Japanese participants, cold-activated BAT was detected in about 55% of individuals in their 20s, but was less than 10% for those in their 50s and 60s [29]. It is also known that obese individuals show lower BAT activity than lean individuals [22,29–31]. Moreover, there is seasonal variation in BAT activity, being much lower in summer than winter [22,32]. Taking these variables into consideration, the effects of capsinoid ingestion on energy expenditure were examined in 18 young male participants aged 20–32 years from January to March [33▪▪]. FDG-PET/CT examination after 2 h cold exposure revealed that 10 participants showed high BAT activity (BAT-positive), whereas the remaining eight participants (BAT-negative) showed no detectable activity (Fig. 2) [33▪▪]. The adiposity-related parameters including body fat content and resting energy expenditure under usual warm conditions were almost equal in the BAT-positive and BAT-negative groups. After the oral ingestion of capsinoids (9 mg), energy expenditure increased significantly by 15.2 kJ/h in the BAT-positive group but only slightly by 1.7 kJ/h in the BAT-negative group. Placebo ingestion produced no significant energy expenditure change in either group. These results clearly indicate that capsinoid ingestion increases energy expenditure through the activation of BAT. It is to be noted that the thermogenic effect of capsinoids was not statistically significant when the data of the two groups were combined.

BAT-dependent thermogenic responses to oral ingestion of capsinoids. Young male individuals (n = 18) undergoing FDG-PET/CT to estimate their BAT activity were divided into two groups, those with undetectable activity (BAT-negative, n = 8) and those with high activity (BAT-positive, n = 10). Energy expenditure change (ΔEE) before (0 h) and after oral ingestion of 9 mg capsinoids (closed circles) or a placebo (open circles) was measured. Energy expenditure change during a 1 h period after ingestion of capsinoids (closed columns) or a placebo (open columns) was calculated as an area under the curve between 0 and 1 h. Values are means with SEM. * P < 0.05. BAT, brown adipose tissue; FDG-PET/CT, fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography. Adapted with permission from [33▪▪].


The results of a single ingestion of capsaicin and capsinoids on substrate oxidation seem also as controversial as those on energy expenditure. Yoshioka et al.[12] reported an increase in fat oxidation after ingestion of capsaicin-rich red pepper. Increased fat oxidation after capsinoid ingestion was also shown by Josse et al.[14]. However, Smeets and Westerterp-Plantenga [15] reported no effect of capsinoids on fat oxidation. Similarly, we failed to find any significant effect of capsinoids on fat oxidation in either BAT-positive or BAT-negative individuals [33▪▪].

In contrast, the long-term effects on lipid metabolism and energy expenditure are largely consistent across the studies. Lejeune et al.[34], on examining the effect of capsaicin ingestion (135 mg/day) during a 3-month weight maintenance period after a very low energy diet intervention in mildly obese individuals, found an increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation in the capsaicin group compared with the placebo group. Daily ingestion of CH-19 Sweet pepper or capsinoids for 2–12 weeks has also been reported to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation [18,35–38]. Body and/or visceral fat also decrease after prolonged capsaicin and capsinoids ingestion, probably as a result of increased fat oxidation and energy expenditure. It is interesting to compare the effects on energy expenditure and body fat content in these studies. For example, the increase in resting energy expenditure was 227 kJ/day [18,37], which would theoretically lead to a reduction of 180 g body fat in a month, being too small to be detected in usual experimental conditions. Moreover, such small changes in energy expenditure may be within a range to be compensated for and masked by other factors such as energy intake and muscular activities in normal daily life. Accordingly, it would be useful to evaluate the possible effects of capsaicin and capsinoids on energy intake, although the reported results seem rather divergent [3,4].


It is likely that capsaicin and capsinoids are capable of increasing whole-body energy expenditure and reducing body fat. The stimulatory effect of capsinoids on energy expenditure is largely attributable to the activation of BAT, suggesting that BAT is the site responsible for the antiobesity effect of capsaicin/capsinoids. This implies that capsinoids are effective in people with BAT but not in those without active BAT. It is to be remembered that BAT activity is inversely related to body and visceral fat contents. Moreover, BAT activity decreases with age, being closely associated with the age-related accumulation of body fat [29,30]. Thus, BAT activity is low or undetectable in obese and aged people, suggesting that capsinoids may not be as effective as expected. However, Inoue et al.[36] reported that a 4-week ingestion of capsinoids enhanced energy expenditure and fat oxidation more in individuals with a BMI higher than 25 aged 30–65 years. Significant reducing effects of a 12-week capsinoid treatment on body weight and abdominal fat were also confirmed in middle aged (41–43 years old) and mildly obese individuals with BMI of about 30 [18].

This apparent paradox can be best explained by assuming that BAT is induced or recruited by chronic treatment with capsinoids. In fact, many animal studies have clearly demonstrated that BAT can be recruited after chronic activation of the sympathetic nervous system, for example, by prolonged cold exposure or β3-adrenoceptor treatment [19]. Increased UCP1 expression in BAT was also shown in rats treated with capsinoids for 2 weeks [11]. A more interesting finding is that chronic sympathetic activation produces not only the hyperplasia of BAT but also a remarkable induction of UCP1-positive brown-like adipocytes in white fat pads, called ‘beige or brite’ cells, in mice and rats [39]. Recent data have shown that beige cells belong to a cell lineage different from brown adipocytes, which are derived from a myf-5 muscle-like cellular lineage [40]. Wu et al.[41▪▪] identified some genes expressed selectively in mouse beige cells and found their high levels of expression in human supraclavicular fat deposits identified as BAT by FDG-PET/CT. Lee et al.[42▪▪] reported that preadipocytes isolated from human supraclavicular fat were capable of differentiating into UCP1-positive adipocytes in vitro, regardless of FDG-PET status. Moreover, we found that BAT activity in humans is remarkably increased during winter in individuals who showed undetectable activities in summer [22]. All these data suggest that human BAT identified by FDG-PET/CT is largely composed of beige cells and is inducible in response to appropriate sympathetic stimulation. In fact, when individuals with undetectable or low BAT activity were kept in a cold environment for 2 h every day for 6 weeks, their BAT activity was significantly increased (Yoneshiro et al. unpublished observation). Collectively, it seems plausible that prolonged treatment with capsinoids and some sympathomimetic agents induce and/or recruit functionally active BAT, even in individuals apparently losing BAT, thereby increasing whole-body energy expenditure and reducing body fat. In support of this idea, we [43] found a slight but significant increase in cold-induced thermogenesis – an index of BAT activity – in individuals given capsinoids daily for 6 weeks.


In food ingredients, particularly in spicy foods, there are many vanilloids with structures similar to capsaicin [44]. For example, piperine is responsible for the pungency of black and white pepper, and gingerols, shogaol, and 6-paradol are found in ginger. All of these are known to act as agonists for TRPV1 and expected to activate BAT thermognesis and reduce body fat. One report in support of this shows sympathetic nerve activation and increased BAT thermogenesis after the intragastric administration of 6-paradol in rats [45].

Among the members of the TRP family, TRPM8 and TRPA1 also deserve attention because these are the most likely receptor candidates sensitive to low temperatures. The mean activation temperatures of TRPA1 and TRPM8 are around 20°C, being comparable with those applied in human studies to activate BAT. Accordingly, chemical activation of these receptors would mimic the effects of cold exposure. Actually, there are various ingredients in food acting as agonists for these TRPs [44], such as menthol, a cooling and flavor compound in mint. There are two animal studies demonstrating an increased energy expenditure and activation of BAT shortly after cutaneous or oral applications of menthol [46,47▪]. TRPA1 is activated by allyl-isothiocyanates and benzyl-isothiocyanates – pungent elements in mustard and Wasabi (Japanese horseradish) – which were reported to increase thermogenesis in small rodents [48]. In addition to isothiocyanates, TRPA1 is also activated by capsiate [49].


Capsaicin and capsinoids have the potential to activate and recruit BAT via activity on the specific receptor, TRPV1, thereby increasing energy expenditure and decreasing body fat modestly but consistently. There are numerous herbal plants and foods containing compounds with the agonistic activity to TRPV1 and other types of TRP, some of which have been used in traditional medicine. It is, thus, highly possible that some of these increase energy expenditure through the activation of the TRP–BAT axis. Further human studies focusing particularly on this axis would be helpful for exploring novel antiobesity regimens easily applicable to daily life.


This study was supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan (22590227), and a Special Research Grant from Tenshi College. T. Yoneshiro is a Special Research Fellow supported by the Japanese Society for Promotion of Science.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


Papers of particular interest, published within the annual period of review, have been highlighted as:

  • ▪ of special interest
  • ▪▪ of outstanding interest

Additional references related to this topic can also be found in the Current World Literature section in this issue (p. 93).


1. Hursel R, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Thermogenic ingredients and body weight regulation. Int J Obesity 2010; 34:659–669.
2. Dulloo AG. The search for compounds that stimulate thermogenesis in obesity management: form pharmaceuticals to functional food ingredients. Obesity Rev 2011; 12:866–883.
3. Ludy MJ, Moore GE, Mattes RD. The effects of capsaicin and capsiate on energy balance: critical review and meta-analyses of studies in humans. Chem Senses 2012; 37:103–121.
4. Whiting S, Derbyshire E, Tiwari BK. Capsaicinoids and capsinoids. A potential role for weight management? A systematic review of the evidence. Appetite 2012; 59:343–348.
5. Holzer P. Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels as drug targets for diseases of the digestive system. Pharmacol Therap 2011; 131:142–170.
6. Kobata K, Sutoh K, Todo T, et al. Nordihydrocapsiate, a new capsinoids from the fruits of a nonpungent pepper, capsicum annuum. J Nat Prod 1999; 62:335–336.
7. Kobata K, Todo T, Yazawa S, et al. Novel capsaicinoid-like substances, capsiate and dihydrocapsiate, from the fruits of a nonpungentcultivar, CH-19 Sweet, of pepper (Capsicum annuum L.). J Agric Food Chem 1998; 46:1695–1697.
8. Kawada T, Watanabe T, Takaishi T, et al. Capsaicin-induced beta-adrenergic action on energy metabolism in rats: influence of capsaicin on oxygen consumption, the respiratory quotient, and substrate utilization. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1986; 183:250–256.
9. Ono K, Tsukamoto-Yasui M, Hara-Kimura Y, et al. Intragastric administration of capsiate, a transient receptor potential channel agonist, triggers thermogenic sympathetic responses. J Appl Physiol 2011; 110:789–798.
10. Kawabata F, Inoue N, Masamoto Y, et al. Nonpungent capsaicin analogs (capsinoids) increase metabolic rate and enhance thermogenesis via gastrointestinal TRPV1 in mice. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2009; 73:2690–2697.
11. Masuda Y, Haramizu S, Oki K, et al. Upregulation of uncoupling proteins by oral administration of capsiate, a nonpungent capsaicin analog. J Appl Physiol 2003; 95:2408–2415.
12. Yoshioka M, St-Pierre S, Suzuki M, Tremblay A. Effects of red pepper added to high-fat and high-carbohydrate meals on energy metabolism and substrate utilization in Japanese women. Br J Nutr 1998; 80:503–510.
13. Ohnuki K, Niwa S, Maeda S, et al. CH-19 sweet, a nonpungent cultivar of red pepper, increased body temperature and oxygen consumption in humans. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2001; 65:2033–2036.
14. Josse AR, Sherriffs SS, Holwerda AM, et al. Effects of capsinoids ingestion on energy expenditure and lipid oxidation at rest and during exercise. Nutr Metab 2010; 7:65.
15. Smeets AJ, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. The acute effects of a lunch containing capsaicin on energy and substrate utilisation, hormones, and satiety. Eur J Nutr 2009; 48:229–234.
16. Galgani JE, Ryan DH, Ravussin E. Effect of capsinoids on energy metabolism in human subjects. Br J Nutr 2010; 103:38–42.
17. Cantero-Recasens G, Gonzalez JR, Fandos C, et al. Loss of function of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) genetic variant is associated with lower risk of active childhood asthma. J Biol Chem 2010; 285:27532–27535.
18. Snitker S, Fujishima Y, Shen H, et al. Effects of novel capsinoid treatment on fatness and energy metabolism in humans: possible pharmacogenetic implications. Am J Clin Nutr 2009; 89:45–50.
19. Cannon B, Nedergaard J. Brown adipose tissue: function and physiological significance. Physiol Rev 2004; 84:277–359.
20. Bartelt A, Heeren J. The holy grail of metabolic disease: brown adipose tissue. Curr Opin Lipidol 2012; 23:190–195.
21. Virtanen KA, Nuutila P. Brown adipose tissue in humans. Curr Opin Lipidol 2011; 22:49–54.
22. Saito M, Okamatsu-Ogura Y, Matsushita M, et al. High incidence of metabolically active brown adipose tissue in healthy adult humans: effects of cold exposure and adiposity. Diabetes 2009; 58:1526–1531.
23. Lichtenbelt WDM, Vanhommerig JW, Smulders NM, et al. Cold-activated brown adipose tissue in healthy men. N Engl J Med 2009; 360:1500–1508.
24. Virtanen KA, Lidell ME, Orava J, et al. Functional brown adipose tissue in healthy adults. N Engl J Med 2009; 360:1518–1525.
25. Quellet V, Labbe SM, Blondin DP, et al. Brown adipose tissue oxidative metabolism contributes to energy expenditure during acute cold exposure in humans. J Clin Invest 2012; 122:545–552.
26. Yoneshiro T, Aita S, Matsushita M, et al. Brown adipose tissue, whole-body energy expenditure, and thermogenesis in healthy adult men. Obesity 2011; 19:13–16.
27. Orava J, Nuutila P, Lidell ME, et al. Different metabolic responses of human brown adipose tissue to activation by cold and insulin. Cell Metab 2011; 14:272–279.
28. Saito M, Yoneshiro T, Aita S. Postprandial thermogenesis and brown adipose tissue in humans. Obesity 2011; 19 (Suppl 1):S80.
29. Yoneshiro T, Aita S, Matsushita M, et al. Age-related decrease in cold-activated brown adipose tissue and accumulation of body fat in healthy humans. Obesity 2011; 19:1755–1760.
30. Pfannenberg C, Werner MK, Ripkens S, et al. Impact of age on the relationships of brown adipose tissue with sex and adiposity in humans. Diabetes 2010; 59:1789–1793.
31. Vijgen GHEJ, Bouvy ND, Teule GJJ, et al. Brown adipose tissue in morbidly obese subjects. PlosOne 2011; 6:e17247.
32. Au-Yong ITH, Thorn N, Ganatra R, et al. Brown adipose tissue and seasonal variation in people. Diabetes 2009; 58:2583–2587.
33▪▪. Yoneshiro T, Aita S, Kawai Y, et al. Nonpungent capsaicin analogs (capsinoids) increase energy expenditure through the activation of brown adipose tissue in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 2012; 95:845–850.

This study describes the thermogenic effect of capsinoids only in human individuals with metabolically active BAT, but not those without it, indicating the capsinoids-induced activation of BAT. It also gives a rational explanation for the discrepant results on the capsinoids effects in the previous studies.

34. Lejeune MPGM, Kovacs EMR, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Effect of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjects. Br J Nutr 2003; 90:651–659.
35. Kawabata F, Inoue N, Yazawa S, et al. Effects of CH-19 Sweet, a nonpungent cultivar of red pepper, in decreasing the body weight and suppressing body fat accumulation by sympathetic nerve activation in humans. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2006; 70:2824–2835.
36. Inoue N, Matsunaga Y, Satoh H, Takahashi M. Enhanced energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans with high BMI scores by the ingestion of novel and nonpungent capsaicin analogues (capsinoids). Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2007; 71:380–389.
37. Galgani JE, Ravussin E. Effect of dihydrocapsiate on resting metabolic rate in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 2011; 17:179–188.
38. Lee TM, Li Z, Zerlin A, Heber D. Effects of dihydrocapsiate on adaptive and diet-induced thermogenesis with a high protein very low calorie diet: a randomized control trial. Nutr Metab 2010; 7:78.
39. Cinti S. Transdifferentiation properties of adipocytes in the adipose organ. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2009; 297:E977–E986.
40. Kajimura S, Seale P, Spiegelman BM. Transcriptiona control of brown fat development. Cell Metab 2010; 11:257–262.
41▪▪. Wu J, Bostrom P, Sparks LM, et al. Beige adipocytes are a distinct type of thermogenic fat cell in mouse and human. Cell 2012; 150:1–11.

In this study, the authors isolated beige cells from murine white fat depots and found their unique gene expression pattern to be distinct from either white or brown adipocytes. Moreover, they showed evidence that human brown fat identified by FDG-PET is composed more of beige adipocytes than classic brown adipocytes.

42▪▪. Lee P, Swarbrick MM, Zhao JT, Ho KKY. Inducible brown adipogenesis of supraclavicular fat in adult humans. Endocrinology 2011; 152:3597–3602.

This study describes preadipocytes isolated from supracravicular fat as being capable of differentiating into brown (UCP1-positive) adipocytes in vitro, regardless of whether the participantss are BAT-positive or BAT-negative in FDG-PET/CT, providing the first evidence of inducible brown adipogenesis in adult humans.

43. Yoneshiro T, Aita S, Matsushita M, Saito M. Activation of brow adipose tissue by acute and chronic administrations of capsinoids in humans. FASEB J 2012; 26: 252.4.
44. Calixto JB, Kassuya CAL, André E, Ferreora J. Contribution of natural products to the discovery of the transient receptor potential (TRP) channels family and their functions. Pharmacol Therap 2005; 106:179–208.
45. Iwami M, Mahmoud FA, Shiina T, et al. Extract of grains of paradise and its active principle 6-paradol trigger thermogenesis of brown adipose tissue in rats. Auton Neurosci 2011; 161:63–67.
46. Tajino K, Matsumura K, Kosada K, et al. Application of menthol to the skin of whole trunk in mice induces autonomic and behavioral heat-gain responses. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2007; 293:R2128–R2135.
47▪. Ma S, Yu H, Zhao Z, et al. Activation of the cold-sensing TRPM8 channel triggers UCP1-dependent thermogenesis and prevents obesity. J Mol Cell Biol 2012; 4:88–96.

This article describes how menthol enhances UCP1-dependent thermogenesis and locomotor activity, preventing high fat diet-induced obesity and glucose intolerance in a TRPM8-dependent manner.

48. Masamoto Y, Kawabata F, Fushiki T. Intragastric administration of TRPV1, TRPV3, TRPM8, and TRPA1 agonists modulates autonomic thermoregulation in different manners in mice. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2009; 73:1021–1027.
49. Shintaku K, Uchida K, Suzuki Y, et al. Activation of transient receptor potential A1 by a nonpungent capsaicin-like compound, capsiate. Br J Pharmacol 2012; 165:1476–1486.

brown adipose tissue; capsinoids; energy expenditure; food ingredients; transient receptor potential channels

Copyright © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.