TOKYO—Consuming capsinoids, even just once, increases energy expenditure, especially in people with a high level of activity in brown adipose tissue, according to new research from Ajinomoto Co. The study measured energy expenditure in 18 men after a single 9-mg ingestion of capsinoids, or a single ingestion of a placebo, and the two results were compared.
Results showed energy expenditure was greater after ingestion of capsinoids than a placebo among 18 people. According to Ajinomoto, the findings may have implications for controlling obesity, which is affected by the activation of brown adipose tissue according to recent studies. The research results were presented at the XI International Congress on Obesity 2010 (ICO 2010) on July 13, 2010 in Stockholm, Sweden. This is the subject of a paper by Brian Owens, a science editor from New Brunswick, Canada, published in the recent Nature Outlook supplement on Obesity. Although, the predominant form of fat tissue in humans is white fat (which, is in fact yellow), we also have other types of fat cells that are either brown or beige. While the primary function of white fat cells is to store fat, brown(ish) fat cells specialize in burning it. As for brown fat – it has a completely different function, namely to help regulate body temperature by burning off calories to generate heat. But researchers have discovered yet an additional type of fat cell – one that lies some where between typical white and brown fat. Thus it appears that the loss of the beige fat destroys the protective abilities of subcutaneous white fat – at least in mice.

Whether or not we can harness this new knowledge to find better treatments for obesity remains to be seen – simply destroying fat cells willy-nilly can certainly do more harm than good. One family member who is considered too thin (something which runs on one side of my family while the other side has people who are on the other weight extreme) has some cholesterol problems. We do have a friend who is more so and, like most of her family on both sides, her genetic inability to gain weight, small frame, and low fat levels are accompanied by high cholesterol.
People at both weight extremes suffer from a number of social biases, and still times learning about one can help the other. The study behind this article adds information which potentially helps anyone who is weight challenged, in either direction. If long term negative health effects of weight cycling are confirmed I wonder if they may stem in part from rapid (as opposed to slow or stable) expansion of fat cells. DonationIf you have benefitted from the information on this site, please take a minute to donate to its maintenance. Based on PET imaging, the test subjects were divided into those with a high level of brown adipose tissue activity (10 people) and those with a low level of activity (8 people). In addition, the increase was greater in the 10-person group with a higher degree of brown adipose tissue activity.
Previous research with animals has shown brown adipose tissue is involved in the regulation of energy expenditure and changes in body-fat levels.
The company said it plans to continue its research to confirm the hypothesis that repeated ingestion of capsinoids may further activate brown adipose tissue.

Much depends on its exact location, but also on the cellular structure and biological function of the different types of fat depots. This is most evident in people who genetically (or in the case of anti-retroviral treatment) lack sufficient white fat cells. The article quotes work by Bruce Spiegelman showing that selectively disabling beige fat in mice by targeting the protein PRDM16, which is found only in these cells, leaving the white and brown fat intact leads to animals with severe metabolic dysfunction — obesity, insulin resistance and fatty livers. In fact, there may be other subtypes of fat cells specific to the different fat depots in the body (of which there are many), that may each have their unique importance and functions.
A group led by professor Masayuki Saito of Tenshi College in Sapporo, Japan found a single ingestion of the a sweet chili pepper extract increased energy expenditure compared to placebo. The suggestion is that the activation of brown adipose tissue is involved in the effect of increased energy expenditure after capsinoids are ingested. Fat is broken down in the mitochondria of brown adipose tissue cells to generate body heat.
The activation of brown adipose tissue is thought to have an effect on controlling obesity. Founded in 1909 and now operating in 130 countries, the company offers lines of seasonings, processed foods, beverages, amino acids, pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals.

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