Consuming cayenne pepper or chili pepper, as it is also known, results in a burning sensation that increases your body temperature. This effect is due to the capsaicin compound. Although cayenne pepper is associated with several benefits, including boosting your metabolism, its ability to reduce blood sugar has shown mixed results.
The body’s cells needs glucose to make energy and perform metabolic activities. However, excess blood sugar, or blood glucose, can impair blood vessel function and decrease blood flow to your organs. Over time, this can lead to organ damage and disease. The body regulates blood sugar and tries to keep it between 70 and 110 mg/dL, according to MayoClinic.com. Possible causes of high blood sugar levels include eating too many carbs, stress, insufficient insulin production and medications.
Lowers Blood Sugar
Scientists at Mahidol University in Thailand investigated the effects of chili pepper on plasma glucose levels and metabolic rate in healthy Thai women. Subjects were assigned a glucose drink with or without 5 grams of chili pepper. Scientists observed that those in the chili pepper group had significantly lower blood glucose levels 30 minutes after ingestion compared with those who didn’t have chili pepper. The findings were reported in the September 2003 issue of "Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand.”
Researchers at the University of Tasmania in Australia examined the impact of chili supplementation on metabolic parameters, such as blood glucose, in men and women. Subjects adhered to a diet with 30 g of chili pepper blend with their normal diet or a chili-free diet for four weeks. At the end of the study, which was published in the March 2007 issue of the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” scientists observed that those in the chili pepper group experienced no changes in blood glucose levels compared with those who followed the chili-free diet.
Cayenne pepper’s heat effects may cause nausea, upset stomach and bloating, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Consult your health care provider before consuming cayenne pepper, particularly if you’re taking medication.
- "Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand"; Effect of Chili Pepper (Capsicum Frutescens) Ingestion on Plasma Glucose Response and Metabolic Rate in Thai Women; P. Chaiyata, et al.; September 2003
- "European Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; The Effect of 4-Week Chilli Supplementation on Metabolic and Arterial Function in Humans; K.D. Ahuja, et al.; March 2007
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Cayenne; 2011