Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hot Peppers Really Do Bring The Heat

Date:
August 8, 2008
Source:
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Summary:
Researchers have found that capsaicin, the active chemical in chili peppers, can induce thermogenesis, the process by which cells convert energy into heat.

Red hot chili peppers. Chili peppers can do more than just make you feel hot; the active chemical in peppers can directly induce thermogenesis, the process by which cells convert energy into heat, according to a new study.
Credit: iStockphoto

Chili peppers can do more than just make you feel hot; the active chemical in peppers can directly induce thermogenesis, the process by which cells convert energy into heat, according to a new study.

Related Articles


Capsaicin is the chemical in chili peppers that contributes to their spiciness; CPS stimulates a receptor found in sensory neurons, creating the heat sensation and subsequent reactions like redness and sweating.

Now, Yasser Mahmoud has found that capsaicin can create "heat" in a more direct manner by altering the activity of a muscle protein called SERCA. Normally, muscle contraction initiates following the release of a wave of calcium ions from a compartment called the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR); SERCA then actively pumps the calcium back into the SR (using ATP energy), causing muscle relaxation and renewing the cycle.

Capsaicin, however, can attach to SERCA and "uncouple" this pumping activity; that is, the protein still burns ATP energy but doesn't use it to pump calcium. Instead, all the ATP energy is given off as heat. This uncoupling, known as thermogenesis, is one important method of staying warm and is most often seen in hibernating animals.

Mahmoud notes that capsaicin is the first natural compound known to augment the thermogenesis process .

These findings further explain how capsaicin intake can increase metabolism and body temperature. And although these studies required relatively high amounts of capsaicin (probably more than someone could eat), the structure of capsaicin could be used as a model to design more potent compounds that might have clinical use such as treating hypothermia.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mahmmoud et al. Capsaicin Stimulates Uncoupled ATP Hydrolysis by the Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium Pump. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2008; 283 (31): 21418 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M803654200

Cite This Page:

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "Hot Peppers Really Do Bring The Heat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080806140130.htm>.
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. (2008, August 8). Hot Peppers Really Do Bring The Heat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080806140130.htm
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. "Hot Peppers Really Do Bring The Heat." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080806140130.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins