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Capsaicin analog shows weight management potential: Symrise study

By Stephen DANIELLS , 18-Apr-2014
Last updated the 18-Apr-2014 at 16:24 GMT

Consuming the less pungent capsaicin analog, nonivamide, may reduce subsequent energy intake during a meal, says a new study from Symrise with implications for weight management.

Data from 24 men indicated that a glucose solution supplemented with 0.15 mg nonivamide two hours before breakfast reduced energy intake by about 8%, compared with a control glucose solution, according to findings published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research .

“The reported reduction in energy intake was reflected by a decrease in carbohydrate intake,” wrote the researchers from the University of Vienna in Austria and Symrise AG in Germany.

“Furthermore, increased plasma serotonin and GLP-1 levels might be at least partly responsible for this satiating effect of nonivamide shown for the moderately overweight male volunteers studied.

“Future studies are warranted to prove the effect of nonivamide on long-term food intake and its potential to help to maintain a healthy body weight.”

Beyond capsaicin

The potential weight management potential of capsaicin, the compound gives red chilli pepper its heat, have previously been reported to be linked to its ability to boost fat burning and energy production. It has also been reported to boost satiety and reduce appetite in healthy volunteers. The pungency of the compound makes it difficult to work with, however, with some suppliers coming up with novel encapsulation techniques to facilitate use of the ingredient.

Nonivamide – or N-nonanoyl 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzylamide to give it its full chemical name – is a less pungent structural analog of capsaicin, coming in with 9,200,000 scoville heat units (SHU), compared with 16,100,000 SHU for capsaicin.

Nonivamide is found naturally in fresh chili peppers, and is approved for use as a food additive in the US and Europe (FEMA 2787 and FL no. 16.006) to replace capsaicin, explained the researchers. Much is produced synthetically and is also known as ‘synthetic capsaicin’.

Study details

For the new study, the researchers recruited 24 mildly overweight men and randomly assigned them to receive 75 grams of glucose in 300 mL of water with or without with 0.15 mg nonivamide in a crossover design study. Two hours the men were given free access to breakfast and their energy intake and hunger ratings assessed.

Results showed that nonivamide consumption was associated with reduced feelings of hunger and ad libitum energy and carbohydrate intakes. In addition, blood samples indicated that levels of the satiety hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) were increased, as were levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which plays an important role in the control of food intake and is linked to satiation.

“Notably, participants did not report any difference in pungency between the two glucose solutions,” wrote the researchers. “These results clearly demonstrate that a pungent sensation is not crucial for the satiating effect of capsaicinoids.

“Moreover, the reduction of the ad libitum energy intake, evoked by administration of only 0.15 mg nonivamide, could help to improve the satiating capacity of foods and, thus, may support body weight management. Epidemiological data from the United States show that decreasing daily total energy by 0.42 MJ would be sufficient to maintain a healthy subject's body weight.”

The study was funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth, the Austrian National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development, and Symrise AG.

Source: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201300821
“The capsaicin analog nonivamide decreases total energy intake from a standardized breakfast and enhances plasma serotonin levels in moderately overweight men after administered in an oral glucose tolerance test: A randomized, crossover trial”
Authors: C.M. Hochkogler, B. Rohm, K. Hojdar, M. Pignitter, S. Widder, J.P. Ley, G.E. Krammer, V. Somoza

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