The characteristic and spicy flavor of chili is due to a molecule present in its genetic structure called capsaicin, which is found within the skin and seeds of these fruits and could become useful in the treatment of obesity.

A group of scientists from the Research, Assistance, and Design Center of the State of Jalisco (CIATEJ) are working in the production of a compound that is similar to capsaicine in order to combat localized fat in adipocytes.

Jorge Alberto Rodríguez González

, a researcher at the Industrial Biotechnology Unit of CIATEJ, explained that capsaicine was mainly in charge of producing the spice of chili, but at the same time, it helps to inhibit the excessive production of adipocytes.

“Capsaicine is found in chili, and we are very familiarized with the burning heat sensation we get from eating it; however, we have also observed that chili can have other uses, such as an alternative treatment for pain and swelling reduction. It can even be used to make pepper gas,” he explained.

According to the information agency of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) this research project began five years ago thanks to the collaboration of experts from the Biotechnology Institute of Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM) .

The effects of chili in the treatment of several health conditions has been subject to thorough research; however, this study in particular seeks to generate a large-scale treatment for obesity without the spicy effect, which resulted in the creation of an analogous substance called olvanil .

Experts produced capsaicine and other analogous substances through enzimes to further assess their properties in cellular models containing adipocites .

They realized that the enzimes not only reduced fat levels present in adipocites, but they also managed to inhibit the production of said cells, which multiply whenever they are incapable of upholding certain levels of fat, expanding through the body.

Rodríguez González explained that, during the experimental stage, olvanil was applied to lab rats. The group found that their fat levels were reduced after being given the analogous enzime through the mouth.

“We are working with mice that we fed with high-fat meals to induce obesity. Afterward, we fed them the analogous enzime to see if the accumulated fats were reduced with regard to mice that were not given the substance. We discovered favorable differences regarding the reduction of fat and glucose in the bloodstream ,” the specialist explained.

According to CONACYT, the scientists are working in resource management to conduct preclinical trials, which could result in the mass production of a pharmaceutical product to treat obesity.


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