Cayenne Pepper – Benefits And Side Effects

Cayenne pepper weight loss benefits and side effects

What is Cayenne Pepper?

Cayenne Pepper

Also Known As: Guinea Spice, Red Pepper, Bird Pepper, Red Hot Chili Pepper

Family: A cultivar of Capsicum

Taste: Spicy

Function: Aids in weight loss

Supplement Usages: Fat Burners like Instant Knockout, PhenGold, etc.

Similar fat-burning spices: Capsicum, black pepper (piperine), etc.

Cayenne Pepper is a cultivar of Capsicum an herb which is selectively bred for its unique characteristics and spicy taste. It is closely related to the other cultivars of Capsicum such as jalapenos, bell pepper, and paprika. Cayenne Peppers are a common ingredient in spicy cuisine such as Mexican and South Indian food.  Cayenne pepper has many beneficial properties and has been used in ancient western medicine since the 15th century.

How Does It Work?

According to Dr. Richard Mattes, a PhD and a distinguished professor of nutrition at the renowned Purdue University, Cayenne Peppers work by stimulating the trigeminal nerve  which is one of the main nerves of the human body and is responsible for mouth and jaw movements like biting and chewing.

Cayenne Peppers are also known for increasing metabolism. It causes the stomach to release more gastric juices, as well as enzymes which increase digestion, leading to a faster metabolism.

Benefits of Cayenne Pepper for Weight Loss

holding cayenne pepper in between two fingers

The benefits of cayenne pepper for weight loss are quite notary. Many celebs have also used cayenne pepper for attaining a fit physique. Beyoncѐ is known to have followed a Cayenne Pepper diet before shooting Dreamgirls.

The active ingredient found in cayenne peppers is capsaicin, a chemical compound which produces a burning sensation when it comes in contact with any tissue (especially in mammals). Capsaicin directly contributes to the weight loss benefits of cayenne pepper.

Cayenne Pepper helps with weight loss in 3 different ways

  • Aids digestion

Cayenne pepper speeds up digestion and  allows more energy to be available for your body throughout the day, thus promoting a physically active lifestyle.

  • Reduces Appetite

Controlling your cravings and eating less than you normally do is the hardest thing to do when it comes to weight loss. But cayenne pepper can be a great weapon in your arsenal of weight loss ingredients because it helps you shed the extra pounds by reducing your appetite.

  • Aids fat burning

The faster digestion not only revs up your metabolism; it also helps in burning off stubborn fat. Eating cayenne peppers reduces your body fat percentage, helping you to achieve a more desirable and leaner body.


If you relish eating spicy food, then you don’t need to look further for ways to take cayenne pepper! Just choose food that has cayenne pepper as a hefty ingredient. If you don’t handle spice well, you can take half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper per day; the amount researchers at Purdue University used in their research. If you dread eating cayenne pepper altogether, you can buy its capsules to bypass the spicy taste.

Other Benefits

Weight loss is just one of the benefits of Cayenne Pepper. Some other known benefits are:

  • Anti-Irritant (helps with indigestion, inflammation, sore throat)
  • Anti-Allergen
  • Aids in prevention of migraines
  • Aids in detoxification
  • Fights tooth and gum disease
  • Maybe effective for cluster headaches
  • Can relieve symptoms of perennial rhinitis
  • Can serve as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, osteoarthritis, shingles and nerve pain in diabetics (FDA approved for these uses)
  • May be a suitable remedy for some skin diseases

Clinical Studies

Many different studies have shown the benefits of Cayenne Peppers for weight loss. A literature review ( conducted on 20 trials involving 563 participants concluded that cayenne peppers help in:

  • Increasing energy expenditure
  • Increasing oxidation of lipids
  • Reducing appetite

Side Effects

Side effects of cayenne pepper

Cayenne Peppers are a naturally occurring plant and do not have any serious side effects. Capsaicin has been approved by the FDA and is sold as over-the-counter product. But some people may suffer from the following side effects:

  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Skin irritation
  • Can be irritating to the throat, nose and eyes

A word of caution

  • Some people may be sensitive or irritant towards spices; we would recommend trying Cayenne Peppers in a very small dose if you have had a problem with any other spice previously.
  • It is best advised to not use capsaicin on sensitive skin, such as around the eyes
  • Not to be used on broken or damaged skin
  • Capsaicin can increase bleeding so it is recommended to stop taking capsaicin at least 2 weeks prior to scheduled surgery
  • It is safe for topical application by nursing mothers, but not when ingested. Skin problems have been reported in breast-fed infants whose mothers have eaten spicy capsaicin foods
  • It is better to avoid during pregnancy
  • If taken in large doses, for long periods of time, serious side effects can occur, such as kidney and liver damage.


Cayenne Peppers are a fantastic addition to your diet for weight loss. They increase your metabolism, lower your appetite, and reduce your body fat. Taking it in the form of capsules is the most efficient way, but it can also be incorporated in everyday cooking if you like to spice up your food. There countless South Asian and Mexican recipes that include Cayenne Pepper; just take your pick! But make absolute sure that you do consult your doctor before starting on cayenne pepper for medical or other reasons, while keeping in view the contraindications.