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Capsicum annuum

What Potential Benefits does Capsicum Offer?

Discover the potential benefits that capsicum has to offer as we explore the various advantages of this natural ingredient for your overall well-being.

What is capsicum?

Capsicum is part of the nightshade family Solanaceae and is native to the Americas. There are numerous potential health benefits associated with Capsicum, including managing pain[i]. Capsaicin and other Capsicum compounds have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties[ii]. It may also be helpful in fighting bacterial infections[iii][iv].

What is capsicum found in?

Chili peppers

This includes varieties such as jalapenos, serrano peppers, cayenne peppers, habaneros, and Thai chili peppers. These peppers are known for their high capsaicin content and can vary in their heat levels.

Bell peppers

Although bell peppers are milder in taste and do not possess as much capsaicin as chilli peppers, they still contain small amounts of capsicum.


Paprika is a spice made from dried and ground peppers, usually made from mild or sweet peppers. It can contain varying levels of capsicum, depending on the type and processing[v].

What are the benefits of taking capsicum supplementally?

Capsicum extract is commonly used in supplements for its potential health benefits, which are primarily attributed to the compound capsaicin found in chili peppers.

Metabolic disease

Studies indicate Capsicum, including capsaicin may lower the risk of metabolic syndrome[vi][vii][viii]. Metabolic syndrome refers to a number of conditions such as high blood pressure, blood sugar regulation issues, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. It increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes[ix].

Pain and inflammation and inflamed joints

Capsicum supplements have been studied for their potential pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. The compound capsaicin found in capsicum has been shown to interact with pain receptors, leading to a temporary reduction in pain sensation[x]. Capsicum supplements, such as capsaicin creams or patches, are commonly used topically for conditions like arthritis, muscle pain, or neuropathic pain. Also, capsicum's anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce inflammation and swelling in affected areas. Results from studies assessing its role in osteoarthritis suggest that it can be effective in reducing pain and tenderness in affected joints.

Antioxidant potential

The antioxidants in capsicum operate by neutralising free radicals and reducing oxidative stress in the body, which contribute to overall antioxidant support and help promote cellular health[xi][xii].

Precautions for use

Mild side effects can include stomach irritation, sweating, and runny nose, which are often common when cinnamon has been consumed in large amounts.

Some people are allergic or sensitive to capsaicin due to it being part of the nightshade family. Nightshades include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers (bell peppers, chili peppers), and aubergines. While nightshade vegetables are generally well-tolerated by most, some people may experience allergies or intolerance to these foods. Nightshade allergies usually produce more serious symptoms such as painful digestive issues, skin reactions (such as rash or itching) and respiratory symptoms (such as coughing or wheezing). Symptoms of allergies should be addressed by a healthcare professional with immediate effect.

Symptoms of nightshade intolerance may be slower and over time may include gas, bloating, diarrhoea, heartburn, achy joints and severe fatigue. All of these symptoms are nonetheless debilitating and uncomfortable, therefore we suggest you speak to one of our nutritional therapists if you suspect an intolerance. They can provide guidance and testing options for you. They can help you identify and manage your specific food sensitivities or allergies.

Interactions with other supplements

Supplements with blood-thinning effects

Capsicum supplements may have mild blood-thinning effects[xiii]. So, if you are taking other supplements with blood-thinning properties, such as fish oil, garlic extract, ginkgo biloba, or turmeric, combining them with capsicum supplements could increase the risk of bleeding. It is unlikely that this will have a large effect, however, it is best to check in with a health professional or nutritional therapist to assess the situation[xiv].

Digestive Health Supplements

If you are combining with high-dose ginger, peppermint, or digestive enzyme supplements, capsicum supplements could exacerbate digestive symptoms.

Thermogenic or weight management supplements

Capsicum is often included in thermogenic or weight management supplements. If you are taking other supplements with similar actions, such as green tea extract, caffeine, or bitter orange extract, combining them with capsicum supplements may increase the stimulatory effects and potentially cause unwanted effects like increased heart rate or jitteriness[xv].

Interactions with medications

It's crucial to consult with your healthcare professional to assess the potential interactions and adjust medication dosages if necessary.

Blood thinning medications

Capsicum containing supplements may have mild blood-thinning effects. If you are taking medications such as warfarin, heparin, or antiplatelet drugs like aspirin or clopidogrel, combining them with capsicum supplements could increase the risk of bleeding.

Medications for gastrointestinal disorders

Capsicum supplements may cause gastrointestinal discomfort or irritation. If you are taking medications for gastrointestinal conditions, such as antacids, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), or medications for ulcers or gastritis, combining them with capsicum supplements might exacerbate digestive symptoms[xvi].

Diabetes medications

Capsicum supplements may affect blood sugar levels. If you are taking medications for diabetes, such as insulin or oral hypoglycaemic drugs, combining them with capsicum supplements may enhance their blood sugar-lowering effects.

Blood pressure medications

Capsicum supplements may have effects on blood pressure. If you are taking medications to manage high blood pressure, combining them with capsicum supplements could potentially affect blood pressure control.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Limited research is available on the safety of capsicum or capsaicin supplements. Small dietary amounts are unlikely to have any effects. However, larger amounts, including capsicum supplements should not be used at this time as they may affect the growing baby and cause discomfort.

Image credit to Martin adams

Recommended For

Inflammation , Joint Health , Arthritis (Osteo) , Metabolic syndrome , Diabetes

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