A Little Pepper-Upper? Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Studies on Capsaicinoids, Capsinoids, and Exercise Performance

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Betül Sukan-Karaçağıl Nutrition and Dietetics, Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey

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Gamze Akbulut Nutrition and Dietetics, Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey

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Yasemin Açar Nutrition and Dietetics, Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey

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Meleknur Demirkoparan Nutrition and Dietetics, Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey

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Capsaicinoids and capsinoids are bioactive compounds mostly found in peppers. Although preclinical studies have reported that these compounds can improve exercise performance due to transient receptor potential vanilloid subtype 1 (TRPV1)-mediated thermogenesis, sympathetic modulation, and releasing calcium, it is still unclear how they affect exercise performance in humans as ergogenic supplements. Conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses reporting guide 2020, this systematic review examined the ergogenic effect of capsaicinoids and capsinoids on exercise performance in healthy adults. A total of 19 randomized placebo-controlled trials were included in the study. Studies were accessed by searching five databases (PubMed, Scopus, SPORTDiscus, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library). The quality of the studies was evaluated using the Cochrane risk-of-bias assessment tool. According to the study results, 10 studies examining the effect of capsaicinoid and capsinoid supplements on exercise performance reported positive effects. Also, the effect of capsaicinoids and capsinoids on exercise performance is more pronounced in resistance training. This difference, which varies according to the type of exercise, may be due to the correlation between capsaicin transient receptor potential vanilloid subtype 1 and insulin-like growth factor-1.

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