Holsworth Research Initiative

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The results are in: caffeine and capsicum annum fruit powder increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation

Holsworth Research Initiative affiliated researcher, Dr Lachlan Van Schaik, has published the most recent findings from his PhD investigating the effects of caffeine and capsicum annuum fruit powder (the potent component of chilli peppers) on energy metabolism, blood glucose homeostasis and substrate oxidation in healthy, adult males. The findings suggest that supplementation with capsicum annuum fruit powder and caffeine increases energy expenditure, fat oxidation and decreases blood glucose levels.

This study was made possible as a result of funding received from the Holsworth Research Initiative Small Grant Scheme. Holsworth Research Initiative Stream Leaders Associate Professor Brett Gordon and Dr Daniel Wundersitz co-authored the paper with Associate Professor Gordon recently highlighting the importance of such research to regional and rural areas.

It is important to identify potential treatments for obesity as we know that regional and rural areas have greater rates of obesity and more commonly poorer health outcomes. 

Dr Van Schaik is quick to understate the findings in terms of weight loss and caffeine and capsicum annuum fruit powder supplementation as a potential treatment for obesity but does suggest that the results provide a basis for pharmacologically targeting the receptors on adipose tissue that caffeine and capsicum annuum fruit powder act upon.

Dr Van Schaik isn’t trying to minimise his findings, he is acknowledging the preliminary nature of the investigation and that although supplementation in the present study resulted in a large effect on glucose metabolism, it is still unknown what drives this response. He suggests that the reduction in blood glucose levels due to caffeine and capsicum annuum fruit powder supplementation could be due to changes in insulin signalling and that this is a logical direction for future research. Dr Van Schaik also proposes that the study should be replicated in different cohorts including women, overweight individuals and those experiencing metabolic dysfunction to determine if caffeine and capsicum annuum fruit powder supplementation has the same outcomes on energy metabolism, fat oxidation and glucose homeostasis.

Congratulations to Dr Lachlan Van Schaik and his research team on contributing to the literature on such an important topic! You can read the full article published in Frontiers in Physiology here.

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