If you like spicy food, you may be a fan of cayenne peppers. These peppers are often ground into powder, which you can use as a spice for cooking or as an herbal supplement to support your health. But how much cayenne pepper should you take daily?
First things first, fresh cayenne peppers are rich in nutrients, including vitamins C, A, B6 and K, according to the Cleveland Clinic. And while some of these nutrients are lost during processing, cayenne pepper powder is good for you too thanks to it's high vitamin A content.
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As a result, there are several benefits of cayenne powder, many of which come from capsaicin, the compound that gives the pepper it's spicy taste. Per the Cleveland Clinic, potential benefits include:
- Cayenne pepper is anti-inflammatory: There's evidence to suggest that capsaicin fights inflammation, which in turn may help prevent conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure.
- It can support weight loss: The spicy capsaicin can help you feel fuller and burn more calories, all of which may contribute to losing weight.
- It contains antioxidants: Cayenne pepper includes compounds that can help protect your cells from damage.
- It supports good digestion: Cayenne pepper can stimulate your stomach acid to improve digestion.
But how much cayenne pepper should you take per day to reap these benefits? Here, learn the recommended dose of cayenne pepper for different health concerns.
If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about how much cayenne pepper is safe for you to eat, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.
How Much Cayenne Pepper You Should Take Daily
When it comes to the best dosage of cayenne pepper per day, the answer isn't one-size-fits-all, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. Cayenne pepper dosage varies based on your spice tolerance and the reason you're taking it.
In general, though, research suggests that a daily cayenne pepper dosage of 2 to 9 milligrams is safe. For instance, a June 2015 study in Open Heart found that it's safe to take 9 milligrams of capsaicin every day, and was even linked to slight abdominal fat loss (more on that later).
Most importantly, listen to your body, per the Cleveland Clinic. If you experience pain when you eat the spicy peppers, cut back on the amount you're eating until your dose of cayenne no longer causes side effects.
Side Effects of Too Much Cayenne Pepper
Per the Cleveland Clinic, eating too much cayenne pepper can lead to side effects like:
- Stomach pain
- Burning diarrhea
But how much cayenne pepper is too much? Per a May 2023 article in StatPearls, avoid having more than 100 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (for example, that's an upper limit of 6,800 milligrams for a 150-pound person). And remember, listen to your body and stop eating spicy foods if you feel pain.
How Much Cayenne Pepper to Take for High Blood Pressure
Remember, cayenne is anti-inflammatory, which may help prevent conditions like hypertension, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Similarly, a May 2016 study in Nutrients found that eating spicy foods (like cayenne) was linked to a lower rate of cardiovascular disease.
However, the best cayenne pepper dosage for blood pressure remains unknown, per the Nutrients study. So if you're looking to determine your ideal cayenne pepper dosage for high blood pressure or healthy blood circulation, your best bet is to stick to the studied doses of 2 to 9 milligrams per day and, when in doubt, listen to your body's response to the spice.
How Much Cayenne Pepper Should You Put in Water?
How much cayenne you mix into water depends on your tolerance for spice and the taste of your beverage. In general though, stick to the studied doses of 2 to 9 milligrams per day.
How Much Cayenne Pepper to Take to Lose Weight
There is also some evidence to suggest that cayenne can help you maintain or lose weight, according to the Cleveland Clinic. But just how much cayenne pepper you take per day for weight loss can vary.
For example, a June 2017 study in Appetite found that people with overweight who took 4 milligrams of a capsaicinoid per day for three months reported eating fewer calories. In the same study, people with overweight who took a smaller capsaicinoid dose of 2 milligrams per day for three months reduced their waist-to-hip ratio.
The Open Heart study also found that capsaicin can help increase your calorie burn and reduce your appetite, both of which may contribute to weight loss. The same study also found that taking 9 milligrams of capsaicin per day was associated with modest abdominal fat loss.
As you can see, there's no standard for how much cayenne pepper to use for weight loss. Again, listen to your body and start with a cayenne pepper dosage of around 2 to 9 milligrams per day.
If you're taking ACE inhibitors, stomach acid reducers, blood-thinning medication, diabetes medication, asthma medication or aspirin, talk to your doctor before trying the spice to determine the best cayenne pepper daily dosage for you. Cayenne may increase the side effects of these medicines, per Mount Sinai.
How Much Cayenne Pepper to Take for Ulcers
Perhaps you've heard the rumor that spicy foods can cause ulcers. Well, this isn't true, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Spicy foods — including cayenne — can actually help prevent ulcers by stopping the growth of ulcer-causing bacteria like H. pylori. That said, if you already have ulcers, eating spicy foods can irritate them.
Once again, there's no set cayenne pepper dosage for ulcers. See how your body responds to 2 to 9 milligrams of cayenne per day, and stop eating the spice if it causes side effects.
- Cleveland Clinic: "Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper"
- Cleveland Clinic: "The Health Risks of Eating Extremely Spicy Foods"
- StatPearls: "Capsaicin"
- Open Heart: "Capsaicin may have important potential for promoting vascular and metabolic health"
- Nutrients: "Dietary Capsaicin Protects Cardiometabolic Organs from Dysfunction"
- University of Rochester Medical Center: "Cayenne"
- Appetite: "Effects of twelve weeks of capsaicinoid supplementation on body composition, appetite and self-reported caloric intake in overweight individuals"
- Mount Sinai: "Cayenne"