Capsaicin supplementation increases time to exhaustion in high-intensity intermittent exercise without modifying metabolic responses in physically active men

  • Marcelo Conrado de Freitas
  • François Billaut
  • Valéria Leme Gonçalves Panissa
  • Fabricio Eduardo Rossi
  • Caique Figueiredo
  • Erico Chagas Caperuto
  • Fabio Santos LiraEmail author
Original Article



The purpose of this study was to investigate the acute effect of capsaicin supplementation on performance and physiological responses during high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE).


Thirteen physically active men (age = 24.4 ± 4.0 years; height = 176.4 ± 6.9 cm; body mass  =  78.7 ± 13.8 kg; running training per week = 3.9 ± 0.9 h) performed an incremental running test to determine peak oxygen uptake (\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{{\text{2Peak}}}}\)) and the speed associated with \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{{\text{2Peak}}}}\) (s\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{{\text{2Peak}}}}\)). Thereafter, subjects completed two randomized, double-blind HIIE (15s:15 s at 120% s\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{{\text{2Peak}}}}\)) trials 45-min after consuming capsaicin (12 mg) or an isocaloric placebo. Time to exhaustion, blood lactate concentration, oxygen consumption during and 20 min post-exercise, energy expenditure, time spent above 90% of \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{{\text{2Peak}}}}\), and the rate of perceived exertion were evaluated.


There was no difference between capsaicin and placebo for any variable except time to exhaustion [capsaicin: 1530 ± 515 s (102 efforts) vs placebo: 1342 ± 446 s (89 efforts); p < 0.001].


In conclusion, capsaicin supplementation increased time to exhaustion in high-intensity intermittent exercise without modifying the metabolic response of exercise or the rate of perceived exertion in physically active men. Capsaicin could be used to increase the training load during specific exercise training sessions.


Excess post-oxygen consumption Lactate Energy system contribution 





Excess of post-exercise oxygen consumption


High-intensity intermittent exercise


Rate of perceived exertion

s\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{{\text{2Peak}}}}\)

Speed associated with \(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{{\text{2Peak}}}}\)


Transient receptor potential vanilloid-1

\(\dot {V}{{\text{O}}_{{\text{2Peak}}}}\)

Peak oxygen uptake



This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior—Brasil (CAPES)—Finance Code 001. We thank Dr. Alessandro Moura Zagatto (São Paulo State University—UNESP) for his critical reading of the manuscript.

Author contributions

Study design and organization of the manuscript were performed by MCF, FB, VLGP, FER, CF, EC, and FSL. Data analysis, statistical analysis, and the first draft of the manuscript were performed by MCF, VLGP, FER, FB, and FSL. The manuscript review was performed by MCF, FB, VLGP, FER, CF, EC, and FSL. The final approval for publication was performed by FSL.

Supplementary material

421_2019_4086_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 20 KB)


  1. Allen DG, Lamb GD, Westerblad H (2008) Impaired calcium release during fatigue. J Appl Physiol 104(1):296–305. Google Scholar
  2. Billat VL, Slawinksi J, Bocquet V, Chassaing P, Demarle A, Koralsztein JP (2001) Very short (15 s–15 s) interval-training around the critical velocity allows middle-aged runners to maintain VO2max for 14 minutes. Int J Sports Med 22(3):201–208. Google Scholar
  3. Bogdanis GC, Nevill ME, Boobis LH, Lakomy HK, Nevill AM (1995) Recovery of power output and muscle metabolites following 30 s of maximal sprint cycling in man. J Physiol 80:876–884Google Scholar
  4. Borg G, Hassmen P, Lagerstrom M (1987) Perceived exertion related to heart rate and blood lactate during arm and leg exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 56(6):679–685Google Scholar
  5. Buchheit M, Laursen PB (2013a) High-intensity interval training, solutions to the programming puzzle. Part II: anaerobic energy, neuromuscular load and practical applications. Sports Med 43(10):927–954. Google Scholar
  6. Buchheit M, Laursen PB (2013b) High-intensity interval training, solutions to the programming puzzle: Part I: cardiopulmonary emphasis. Sports Med 43(5):313–338. Google Scholar
  7. Conrado de Freitas, M, Cholewa JM, Freire RV, Carmo BA, Bottan J, Bratfich M et al (2017) Acute capsaicin supplementation improves resistance training performance in trained men. J Strength Cond Res. Google Scholar
  8. De Freitas MC, Cholewa JM, Gobbo LA, de Oliveira JVNS, Lira FS, Rossi FE (2018) Acute capsaicin supplementation improves 1,500-m running time-trial performance and rate of perceived exertion in physically active adults. J Strength Cond Res 32(2):572–577Google Scholar
  9. Di Prampero PE, Ferretti G (1999) The energetics of anaerobic muscle metabolism: a reappraisal of older and recent concepts. Respir Physiol 118(2–3):103–115Google Scholar
  10. Dupont G, Blondel N, Lensel G, Berthoin S (2002) Critical velocity and time spent at a high level of VO2 for short intermittent runs at supramaximal velocities. Can J Appl Physiol 27(2):103–115Google Scholar
  11. Franchini E, Takito MY, Dal’Molin Kiss MA (2016) Performance and energy systems contributions during upper-body sprint interval exercise. J Exerc Rehabil 31(6):535–541. Google Scholar
  12. Gaitanos GC, Williams C, Boobis LH, Brooksm S (1993) Human muscle metabolism during intermittent maximal exercise. J Appl Physiol 75(2):712–719. Google Scholar
  13. Gastin PB (2001) Energy system interaction and relative contribution during maximal exercise. Sports Med 31(10):725–741Google Scholar
  14. Gillen JB, Percival ME, Ludzki A, Tarnopolsky MA, Gibala M (2013) Interval training in the fed or fasted state improves body composition and muscle oxidative capacity in overweight women. Obesity 21:2249–2255Google Scholar
  15. Helgerud J, Høydal K, Wang E, Karlsen T, Berg P, Bjerkaas M et al (2007) Aerobic high-intensity intervals improve VO2max more than moderate training. Med Sci Sports Exerc 39(4):665–671. Google Scholar
  16. Homsher E, Kim B, Bobkova A, Tobacman LS (1996) Calcium regulation of thin filament movement in an in vitro motility assay. Biophys J 70(4):1881–1892. Google Scholar
  17. Hopkins WG (2015) Individual responses made easy. J Appl Physiol 118(12):1444–1446. Google Scholar
  18. Hsu YJ, Huang WC, Chiu CC, Liu YL, Chiu WC, Chiu CH et al (2016) Capsaicin supplementation reduces physical fatigue and improves exercise performance in mice. Nutrients 8(10):E648. Google Scholar
  19. Josse AR,. Sherriffs SS, Holwerda AM, Andrews R, Staples AW, Phillips SM (2010) Effects of capsinoid ingestion on energy expenditure and lipid oxidation at rest and during exercise. Nutr Metab 7:65. Google Scholar
  20. Kawada T, Hagihara K, Iwai K (1986) Effects of capsaicin on lipid metabolism in rats fed a high fat diet. J Nutr 116(7):1272–1278. Google Scholar
  21. Kazuya Y, Tonson A, Pecchi E, Dalmasso C, Vilmen C, Fur YL et al (2014) A single intake of capsiate improves mechanical performance and bioenergetics efficiency in contracting mouse skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 306(10):E1110–E1119. Google Scholar
  22. Keating SE, Johnson NA, Mielke GI, Coombes JS (2017) A systematic review and meta-analysis of interval training versus moderate-intensity continuous training on body adiposity. Obes Rev 18(8):943–964. Google Scholar
  23. Kim KM, Kawada T, Ishihara K, Inoue K, Fushiki T (1997) Increase in swimming endurance capacity of mice by capsaicin-induced adrenal catecholamine secretion. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 61(10):1718–1723. Google Scholar
  24. Kim KM, Kawada T, Ishihara K, Inoue K, Fushiki T (1998) Inhibition by a capsaicin antagonist (capsazepine) of capsaicin-induced swimming capacity increase in mice. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 62(12):2444–2445Google Scholar
  25. Kuipers H, Verstappen FT, Keizer HA, Geurten P, Van Kranenburg G (1985) Variability of aerobic performance in the laboratory and its physiologic correlates. Int J Sports Med. 6(4):197–201. Google Scholar
  26. Leppik JA, Aughey RJ, Medved I, Fairweather I, Carey MF, McKenna MJ (2004) Prolonged exercise to fatigue in humans impairs skeletal muscle Na+-K+-ATPase activity, sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ release, and Ca2+ uptake. J Appl Physiol 97(4):1414–1423. Google Scholar
  27. Leung FW (2014) Capsaicin as an anti-obesity drug. Prog Drug Res 68:171–179Google Scholar
  28. Linari M, Brunello E, Reconditi M, Fusi L, Caremani M, Narayanan T et al (2015) Force generation by skeletal muscle is controlled by mechanosensing in myosin filaments. Nature 528(7581):276–279. Google Scholar
  29. Lira FS, dos Santos T, Caldeira RS, Inoue DY, Panissa VLG, Cabral-Santos C, Campos EZ, Rodrigues B, Monteiro P (2017) Short-term high- and moderate-intensity training modifies inflammatory and metabolic factors in response to acute exercise. Frontiers Physiol 8:856Google Scholar
  30. Little JP, Safdar A, Wilkin GP, Tarnopolsky MA, Gibala MJ (2010) A practical model of low-volume high-intensity interval training induces mito­chondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle: potential mechanisms. J Physiol 588:1011–1022Google Scholar
  31. Lotteau. S, Ducreux S, Romestaing C, Legrand C, Van Coppenolle F (2013) Characterization of functional TRPV1 channels in the sarcoplasmic reticulum of mouse skeletal muscle. PLoS One 8(3):e58673. Google Scholar
  32. Ludy MJ, Moore GE, Mattes RD (2012) The effects of capsaicin and capsiate on energy balance: critical review and meta-analyses of studies in humans. Chem Sens 37(2):103–121. Google Scholar
  33. Luo Z, Ma L, Zhao Z, He H, Yang D, Feng X et al (2012) TRPV1 activation improves exercise endurance and energy metabolism through PGC-1alpha upregulation in mice. Cell Res 22(3):551–564. Google Scholar
  34. Margaria R, Edwards HT, Dill DB (1933) The possible mechanisms of contracting and paying the oxygen debt and the rôle of lactic acid in muscular contraction. Am J Physiol Leg Content 106(3):689–715. Google Scholar
  35. Milanovic Z, Sporis G, Weston M (2015) Effectiveness of high-intensity interval training (HIT) and continuous endurance training for VO2max improvements: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials. Sports Med 45(10):1469–1481. Google Scholar
  36. Milioni F, Zagatto AM, Barbieri RA, Andrade VL, Dos Santos JW, Gobatto CA et al (2017) Energy systems contribution in running-based anaerobic sprint test. Int J Sports Med 38(3):226–232. Google Scholar
  37. Oh TW, Ohta F (2003) Capsaicin increases endurance capacity and spares tissue glycogen through lipolytic function in swimming rats. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol 49(2):107–111Google Scholar
  38. Oh TW, Oh TW, Ohta F (2003) Dose-dependent effect of capsaicin on endurance capacity in rats. Br J Nutr 90(3):515–520Google Scholar
  39. Opheim MN, Rankin JW (2012) Effect of capsaicin supplementation on repeated sprinting performance. J Strength Cond Res 26(2):319–326. Google Scholar
  40. Panissa VL, Fukuda DH, Caldeira RS, Gerosa-Neto J, Lira FS, Zagatto A et al (2018) Is oxygen uptake measurement enough to estimate energy expenditure during high-intensity intermittent exercise? Quantification of anaerobic contribution by different methods. Front Physiol 9:868. Google Scholar
  41. Rockwell MS, Rankin JW, Dixon H (2003) Effects of muscle glycogen on performance of repeated sprints and mechanisms of fatigue. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 13(1):1–14Google Scholar
  42. Saunders PU, Pyne DB, Telford RD, Hawley JA (2004) Factors affecting running economy in trained distance runners. Sports Med 34(7):465–485. Google Scholar
  43. Sawyer BJ, Tucker WJ, Bhammar DM, Ryder JR, Sweazea KL, Gaesser GA (2016) Effects of high-intensity interval training and moderate-intensity continuous training on endothelial function and cardiometabolic risk markers in obese adults. J App Physiol 121:279–288Google Scholar
  44. Shin KO, Moritani T (2007) Alterations of autonomic nervous activity and energy metabolism by capsaicin ingestion during aerobic exercise in healthy men. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol 53(2):124–132Google Scholar
  45. Smith-Ryan AE, Melvin MN, Wingfield HL (2015) High-intensity interval training: Modulating interval duration in overweight/obese men. Phys Sportsmed 43:107–113Google Scholar
  46. Snitker S, Fujishima Y, Shen H, Ott S, Pi-Sunyer X, Furuhata Y et al (2009) Effects of novel capsinoid treatment on fatness and energy metabolism in humans: possible pharmacogenetic implications. Am J Clin Nutr 89(1):45–50. Google Scholar
  47. Szallasi A, Blumberg PM (1999) Vanilloid (Capsaicin) receptors and mechanisms. Pharmacol Rev 51(2):159–212Google Scholar
  48. Thevenet D, Tardieu M, Zouhal H, Jacob C, Abderrahman BA, Prioux J (2007) Influence of exercise intensity on time spent at high percentage of maximal oxygen uptake during an intermittent session in young endurancetrained athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol 102(1):19–26. Google Scholar
  49. Townsend J, Stout J, Morton AB, Jajtner AR, González AM, Wells AJ, Mangine., et al (2013) Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) following multiple effort sprint and moderate aerobic exercise. Kinesiology 45(1):16–21Google Scholar
  50. Tremblay A, Arguin H, Panahi S (2016) Capsaicinoids: a spicy solution to the management of obesity? Int J Obes 40(8):1198–1204. Google Scholar
  51. Whiting S, Derbyshire EJ, Tiwari B (2014) Could capsaicinoids help to support weight management? A systematic review and meta-analysis of energy intake data. Appetite 73:183–188. Google Scholar
  52. Yashiro K, Tonson A, Pecchi É, Vilmen C, Le Fur Y, Bernard M et al (2015) Capsiate supplementation reduces oxidative cost of contraction in exercising mouse skeletal muscle in vivo. PLoS One 10(6):e0128016. Google Scholar
  53. Zafeiridis A, Sarivasiliou H, Dipla K, Vrabas IS (2010) The effects of heavy continuous versus long and short intermittent aerobic exercise protocols on oxygen consumption, heart rate, and lactate responses in adolescents. Eur J Appl Physiol 110(1):17–26. Google Scholar
  54. Zagatto A, Redkva P, Loures J, Kalva Filho C, Franco V, Kaminagakura E et al (2011) Anaerobic contribution during maximal anaerobic running test: correlation with maximal accumulated oxygen deficit. Scand J Med Sci Sports 21(6):e222–e230. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcelo Conrado de Freitas
    • 1
    • 7
  • François Billaut
    • 2
  • Valéria Leme Gonçalves Panissa
    • 3
  • Fabricio Eduardo Rossi
    • 4
  • Caique Figueiredo
    • 6
  • Erico Chagas Caperuto
    • 5
  • Fabio Santos Lira
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Skeletal Muscle Assessment Laboratory (LABSIM), Department of Physical Education, School of Technology and SciencesSão Paulo State University (UNESP)Presidente PrudenteBrazil
  2. 2.Department of KinesiologyLaval UniversityQuebecCanada
  3. 3.Department of Sport, School of Physical Education and SportUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Immunometabolism of Skeletal Muscle and Exercise Research GroupFederal University of Piauí (UFPI)TeresinaBrazil
  5. 5.University São Judas TadeuSão PauloBrazil
  6. 6.Exercise and Immunometabolism Research Group, Department of Physical EducationSão Paulo State University (UNESP)Presidente PrudenteBrazil
  7. 7.Department of NutritionUniversity of Western São Paulo (UNOESTE)Presidente PrudenteBrazil

Personalised recommendations