12 January - 20 June 2016

The effects of capsaicinoids on a cholesterol enriched and cholesterol free diet

24 April 13

A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has investigated the effects of capsaicinoids, a group of compounds found in chilli peppers, on rats fed cholesterol enriched and cholesterol free diets.  Previous research has indicated that capsaicinoids have biological and physiological properties and have potential antioxidant, anti-cancer, pro-energy metabolic and anti-fat and anti-inflammatory properties amongst others.    This present study aimed to examine the effects of capsaicinoids on the plasma and liver lipids.  Thirty two rats were split into four groups and fed either a cholesterol free diet (C), cholesterol free diet with 10mg/kg/body weight capsaicinoids (CAP), 2% cholesterol enriched diet (CH) and cholesterol enriched diet with 10mg/Kg/body weight capsaicinoids (CH+CAP) for 28 days.   Food intake was measured daily, body weight every 3 days and faeces analysed on the last 3 days of intervention.   At the end of the study fasting blood samples were taken and the rat’s livers and small intestine removed.  Compared with the C group, the rats fed the CAP diet were found to have decreased levels of plasma total cholesterol (TC) (10.85%), triglycerides TG (25%) and non-HDL-C (31.75%) concentrations, however high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentrations increased by 19.77%.  Compared with the CH group, the CH+CAP group had lower levels of plasma TC (35.45%), and non HDL-C (48.22%).  The cholesterol fed diet group had increased TG and HDL-concentrations however these were lowered by the capsaicinoids supplements.  The cholesterol enriched diet increased the liver weight, TC and TG however capsaicinoids supplementation to cholesterol-free and cholesterol enriched diets did not increase these factors.  The cholesterol-enriched diet increased the accumulation of lipids in the liver, whereas the dietary capsaicinoids countered this tendency. The small intestine was unaffected for rats in the C and CH diet, however the capsaicinoids supplemented diets increase the length and perimeter of the microvilli.  Capsaicinoids were found to reduce the amount of bile acids in faeces by -15.97% and small intestine content by -9.64% in the cholesterol free diet group but both were increased by 13.06% and 10.20% in the cholesterol enriched diet group.  The study concludes by stating: “The cholesterol-lowering action of capsaicinoids in the cholesterol-free diet group was attributed to the inhibition of hepatic cholesterol synthesis, whereas that in the cholesterol-enriched diet group was attributed to the stimulation of the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids and the increasing excretions of bile acids in faeces.”

RSSL's Functional Ingredients Laboratory can carry out tests on chilli pepper pungency by HPLC according to the ASTA Method. RSSL can also provide analysis of the red coloured compounds characteristic of capsicums of all kinds. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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