Capsicum – Benefits & Side Effects

Also Known As: Red Pepper Extract, Capsicum Fruit, Chili Pepper Extract, Hot Pepper Extract.

Information About Capsicum

Capsicum are bell peppers, also known as sweet pepper or chili peppers and come in different colors such as yellow, red, green, purple and orange. The spice in capsicum is known as capsaicin, an odorless, and tasteless phytochemical, which produces the pepper’s heat.

There are five main species including: Capsicum annuum, Capsicum baccatum, Capsicum chinense, Capsicum frutescens, and Capsicum pubescens.

Peppers are consumed worldwide and their importance has increased gradually to place them among the most consumed spice crops in the world. They are usually consumed as food and used as additives in the food industry. They also have a significant role in traditional medicine. In fact, in Indian, Native American, and Chinese traditional medicine, Capsicum species have been used for the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, stomach aches, skin rashes, dog/snake bites, and flesh wounds.

Apart from imparting flavor and attractiveness to bland dishes, bell peppers are loaded with nutrients like vitamins A, C and K, carotenoids and dietary fiber which makes them immensely beneficial for the overall good health. Bell peppers also have vitamin B6 and folate that help to lower homocysteine levels, thus reducing the risk of heart disease.

The Bottom Line – Adding capsicum to your daily diet may provide great health benefits against many ailments.

Capsicum Health Benefits

Capsaicin is found in the fleshy membrane of both sweet and hot peppers and in higher concentration in the seeds. This natural fruit may be used fresh or dried as a culinary spice, added to teas or taken in capsules to reap its medicinal benefits.

Below is a list of the possible benefits we’ve found:

Capsicum Can Help With Weight Loss

It helps to stimulate fat burning and can help speed up metabolism and detoxification processes in the body, therefore improves our overall health. [1] Studies showed that intake of capsicum along with working out helps to lose more calories than without its intake. [2] Capsicum is very useful for managing weight because of the ability to capsicum to increase the metabolic rate of our body by enhancing the secretion of digestive juices.  This benefit of capsicum is because of the presence of an essential compound “capsaicin” in it which provides thermogenesis effect and increase the metabolic rate of our body without increasing heart rate and blood pressure.

Capsicum Can Help Support Immunity

Capsicum contains vitamin C, which is valued as an immune supportive bioactive phytochemical. It helps in strengthening the immune system, repairing damaged brain tissues, and lowering the risk of oxidative stress, pediatric asthma, and cancer. It also improves bone health. [3]

Capsicum Is A Potent Antioxidant

Being a rich source of vitamin C, it is an effective antioxidant. It helps in maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and even bones. Regular consumption of capsicum helps prevent scurvy, improves immunity and helps to scavenge the harmful free radicals from our body. [4] Capsicum is a good detoxifying agent as it helps in clearing out congested mucous membrane in nose and lungs, and the toxins in the body get eliminated out of the body through sweating (while consuming capsicum).

Capsicum Helps Digestive Problems

When you eat a chili pepper, a substance called capsaicin gives you that hot, spicy sensation. Far from irritating the stomach, as you might expect, some evidence suggests that capsaicin can help with digestion. This includes signaling the stomach to release more substances used in digesting foods. Capsicum has found to have a good effect on gastrointestinal problem like flatulence, stomach upset, diarrhea and even abdominal cramps. Also, it has a beneficial role in healing stomach ulcers. [5]

Capsicum Can Prevent Diabetes

A disease that often produces neurogenic pain is diabetes. Capsicum is shown to have a beneficial effect on diabetic neuropathic pain when applied topically. It works to deaden cutaneous nerve endings and reduces the pain. Capsicum controls diabetes and helps to maintain a steady blood sugar level in our body. [6] Peppers are packed with fiber and relatively low in calories and carbohydrates, therefore they are an excellent choice on a diabetes diet. Peppers are considered a non-starchy vegetable, which means that most of the carbohydrates found in peppers are in the form of fiber. MayoClinic.com explains that fiber not only helps regulate blood sugar levels, but also decreases the risk of heart disease. [7]

Capsicum May Strengthens Hair Follicles

One of the reasons why bell peppers plants and the fruits are good for hair is the fact that they are excellent sources of vitamin C which is essential for hair health. Vitamin C helps in proper absorption of iron, thus ensuring that there is enough iron in red blood cells to carry oxygen to hair follicles. Vitamin C is also used in the formation of collagen. Collagen is required by hair follicles, blood vessel and skin to stay healthy and for their optimal growth. Vitamin C deficiency can cause dry, splitting hair that breaks easily.

Capsicum May Reverses Signs of Aging

Consumption of bell pepper juice helps in reversing the signs of aging due to its high antioxidant levels. Bell peppers protect the skin from damage-causing free radicals, thus promoting healthy and younger looking skin.

Capsicum May Improve Your Eyesight

Apart from the fact that you can use capsicum in a variety of culinary delights, its nutrients are good for your eyes too. People crossing their 50s are more susceptible to age related macular degeneration a variety of other eye related problems. However, incorporating capsicum regularly can help you prevent falling prey to the symptoms associated with cataracts. Capsicum can also help you steer clear of macular degeneration as it contains plenty of vitamin C and carotenoids.

The Bottom Line – All shades of peppers provide plenty of fiber, folate, vitamin C, beta carotene and an array of minerals. Capsicum increases your metabolic process by its thermogenic action while lowering triglyceride levels, which helps reduce the level of cholesterol in your system, improving your immune system.

How To Use Capsicum

Capsicum is taken by mouth for various problems with digestion and it is also used for conditions of the heart and blood vessels including preventing heart disease. Some people use capsicum for improving exercise performance, weight loss and detoxing.

The most common methods of taking Capsicum are:

  1. Supplement Capsicum pills
  2. Raw peppers

Take one to two capsules daily as a food supplement or as directed by a healthcare professional. Alternately, it is good to eat raw capsicum which is a variety of names such as Bell Peppers, Cayenne, Paprika and Chillies.

Capsicum Side Effects List

Capsicum extract is fine for most adults when taken by mouth, short-term and in amounts typically found in food. Side effects can include stomach irritation and upset, sweating, flushing, and runny nose. One side effect which is still being researched is liver and kidney damage which may occur when taking capsicum by mouth in large doses or for long periods of time.

The following side effects could potentially be:

Skin Irritation, Sweating, Vomiting, Stomach Discomfort and Burning Sensations.

These side effects are possible but may not be the typical user experience.

Is Capsicum Safe?

Capsicum is generally very safe when taken in moderation and ensuring that you do not have any serious medical conditions. Side effects can include skin irritation, burning, and itching. Capsicum can also be extremely irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat. Don’t use capsicum on sensitive skin or around the eyes. Remember, prior to using Capsicum, you should consult with your doctor if you have any kind of medical condition.

When Should I Not Take Capsicum?

  • If you are pregnant and/or breast-feeding: Not enough is known about its safety when taken by mouth. Stay on the safe side and don’t use capsicum if you are pregnant and/or breast-feeding.
  • Children: Do not apply Capsicum to the skin of children. Also, if taking Capsicum naturally through eating raw peppers the heat and hotness of the pepper may be too much for a child to bear.

The Bottom Line – Capsicum has very little negative known side effects however it is essential to monitor your intake and ensure that you take capsicum in moderation.

Where Can I Buy Capsicum & Do I Need A Prescription?

You can purchase Capsicum over-the-counter and do not need a prescription or doctor supervision in order to use the product.

Conclusion

There are many different varieties of peppers, from bell peppers to spicy chilies. The natural chemicals within peppers have been subject to extensive research and have received notable attention in recent years. Red peppers contain more than 200 percent of your daily vitamin C intake. Capsicum are a great source of vitamin B6 and folate. You can burn more calories with red bell peppers which are rich source of Capsicum. Recent research has shown that sweet red peppers can activate thermogenesis and increase metabolic rate. Capsaicin increases our metabolism without increasing our heart rate and blood pressure like the hot peppers do. To conclude Capsicums are generally well-tolerated and extremely healthy.