The list of official superfoods got a little bit longer today, with news emerging that a key ingredient in chili can be used as an anti-obesity agent.
While it’s been previously thought that eating the spicy treats can give your metabolism a kick, reportedly burning 116 extra calories per day, the new research from the University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy demonstrates the effects of chili in a new anti-obesity drug.
The new drug, based on capsaicin, the component of chili that give it that signature spice, has been successfully trialed on mice who eat high fat diets, improving their health long term.
"We observed marked improvements in blood sugar and cholesterol levels, insulin response, and symptoms of fatty liver disease," reported Dr. Baskaran Thyagarajan, lead investigator, describing the effects on mice of their new capsaicin based drug, Metabocin.
The research team have developed the drug to target fat cells and promote burning energy, instead of storing it, causing ongoing weight loss in the process. So far, the 8 month trial on mice has not returned any worrying side effects, however the scientists have a while to go before the drug is available to humans.
"It proved safe and was well tolerated by the mice," Thyagarajan concluded. "Developing Metabocin as a potent anti-obesity treatment shows promise as part of a robust strategy for helping people struggling with obesity."
Scientists have sped up the natural release of capsaicin, allowing it to be taken up by the body more efficiently. If proved safe, the drug could hold enourmous potential in providing a kickstarter to weight loss for may people.
While nothing will every substitute exercise and nutrition, it can’t be denied that obesity management is a huge problem for many people, and any extra help will assist in solving a growing problem.
Alarmingly, an estimated 71 per cent of Aussie men are overweight or obese with rises in obesity costing the country $8.6 billion dollars due to the most recent figures released all the way back in 2011-12. Given that obesity rates are on the rise, this is probably an extremely conservative figure, with the 2017-18 cost coming in significantly higher.