Closely related to the jalapeño and bell pepper, cayenne peppers are a staple in the Mexican, Cajun, Creole, and Southwestern American diet.

Like other peppers, cayenne pepper derives much of its spiciness from a little compound known as capsaicin.

While some use capsaicin-rich peppers to liven up the flavor of savory dishes, others, such as bodybuilders and aerobic athletes, use cayenne pepper as a performance enhancer.

Specifically, as a fat burning performance enhancer.

This is because, thanks to its exceptional spiciness, cayenne pepper quite literally burns fat, otherwise known as thermogenesis. And cayenne pepper does so without the risk of adverse side effects typically associated with other thermogenic compounds, such as caffeine and other risky stimulants.

But even so... 

Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Cayenne Pepper?

Anyone who has had too much cayenne pepper can affirm that the answer to this is “yes.”

With a Scoville Heat Unit measure of 40,000 – 100,000,[1] which is much spicier than the jalapeño’s 2,500 – 8,000 SHU, cayenne pepper over dosage can be severely uncomfortable for many.

Which then brings us to the next question...

What dosage of cayenne pepper is considered "too much"?

Really, the answer may vary from person to person, depending on personal spice tolerance. However, in this article, we cover the symptoms to expect from excess cayenne pepper intake, as well as a breakdown best cayenne pepper supplement—Capsimax®—found in Burn Lab Pro®, which delivers all the fat-burning benefits of cayenne pepper minus the pepper’s gastric burning effects.

Before we get into all that, let’s start with the main question at hand:

So, Exactly How Much Cayenne Pepper is classed as Overkill?

It’s important to note that “excess cayenne pepper” is more so an issue of discomfort than of safety. On the whole, cayenne pepper, whether consumed as part of a meal or in capsule supplement form, is generally safe to consume.

Some aspects of “spicy food tolerance” are psychological, essentially narrowing down to “personal preference.” In such cases, “how much cayenne pepper is too much” is largely a matter of “how much do you like?”

Physiologically, “spicy food tolerance” is attributed to how the body’s pain receptors react to capsaicin, the compound responsible for the spice factor of spicy foods.

With that in mind, you may boost your spicy food tolerance by incrementally leveling up your daily spicy food intake until the pain receptors adapt to “tolerate” capsaicin.

However, again, much of “liking” spicy foods can be viewed more so as a personality trait than a genetic predisposition (although, the whole “nature vs. nurture” thing is always a bit murky).

  • As research suggests, sensation seeking and sensitivity to reward are positively associated with frequency of chili pepper consumption, supporting the hypothesis that “personality differences may drive differences in spicy food liking and intake.”[2]

Having said that, rarely will either the tolerant or intolerant experience any issues with cayenne pepper supplementation. But “excess cayenne pepper” does happen, especially when consumed in raw form.

Side Effects of Consuming Too Much Cayenne Pepper

Image showing when there is too much cayenne pepper

Disliking cayenne pepper is one thing. Consuming too much to the point of physical distress is another.

While, yes, much of the distress that comes from consuming cayenne can be attributed to psychological preference or conditioned tolerability, there are notable adverse effects to excess cayenne pepper consumption, such as:

Gastric Distress

Perhaps the most common adverse effect of ingesting too much cayenne pepper is irritation of the mouth, the stomach, the intestines—i.e., the gastrointestinal tract. Too much irritation of the GI tract may lead to vomiting or diarrhea. Typically, the stomach upset is only temporary, albeit painful, with capsaicin’s exit being just as painfully spicy as its entrance, if you catch our meaning.

Heartburn

More serious and discomforting than gastric distress, heartburn, or acid reflux, is a condition in which stomach acid flows upwards into the esophagus, creating a burning sensation throughout your chest region. If heartburn typically follows your intake of capsaicin, you may have gastroesophagal reflux disease, a condition whose symptoms exacerbate in response to the irritation of capsaicin.

Negative Ingredient Interactions

As a pro-catecholaminergic compound, capsaicin may have negative interactions with certain ingredients and medications, namely blood pressure medication, blood thinners, stomach acid drugs, and diabetic drugs. If you’re taking prescription drugs, it’s advised to speak with a physician before taking cayenne pepper supplements.

Does an Optimal Dosage of Cayenne Pepper Burn Fat?

Again, it’s important to remember that cayenne pepper is generally regarded as safe.

Most adverse effects of consuming cayenne pepper involve only temporary discomfort and can easily be avoided by sticking to a clinically effective amount of cayenne pepper intake to induce the spice’s health benefits.

One of the most notable benefits of cayenne pepper is its natural promotion of thermogenesis, or calorie-burning.

Similar to stimulants, such as caffeine and synephrine, which encourage fat loss via stimulating catecholamine-related (norepinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine, etc.) calorie-burning, cayenne pepper also takes the catecholaminergic route to fat-burning.

However, unlike stimulants, cayenne pepper does this without elevating your blood pressure and heart rate.

So, though, consuming too much cayenne pepper may contribute to gastrointestinal discomfort, this spice is actually one of the safer, more sustainable long-term options for reducing your fat mass and supporting your exercise performance.

Best Cayenne Pepper Supplement for Fat Loss: Capsimax®

Consuming raw powder cayenne pepper burns the whole way down, which is either welcomed or not depending on your personal spice preferences.

Typically, if you’re taking cayenne pepper in a pre-workout context to maximize exercise-related calorie-burning, you want to avoid the gastric burning effects.

Capsimax® mitigates the gastric burning with OmniBead™ microsphere beadlet technology that helps capsaicin bypass much of the digestive system before being absorbed in the intestine.

This not only helps reduce the irritating burn of capsaicin but ensures that more capsaicin is absorbed and utilized before being denatured by stomach acid.

And with a standardized 2% capsaicinoid extract, Capsimax® delivers reliable, fast-acting results for on-the-spot calorie-burning.

The 3 Fat Loss Benefits of Cayenne Pepper (Capsaicin)

Cayenne pepper stimulates thermogenesis, or calorie-burning… but how does cayenne pepper do this? And is that all of cayenne pepper’s fat loss benefits? In fact, cayenne pepper has at least three fat-burning benefits, including:

1) Stimulating Catecholaminergic Calorie-Burning

As key hormonal players in the “Fight or Flight” stress response, catecholamine neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, help mobilize the body’s energy resources to energize “fighting” and “flighting” activities (i.e., exercise).

By promoting catecholamine secretion via non-stimulatory pathways, capsaicin may help stoke pre-exercise fat-burning without the health risks associated with stimulant use.[3]

2) Blocking the Formation of New Fat Cells

Burning fat is one way to reduce fat mass. Another way is to block the formation of fat from the get-go.

In addition to increasing lipid oxidation via capsaicin’s catecholaminergic promotion of thermogenesis, capsaicin also seems to inhibit adipogenesis, or the formation of new fat cells.[4]

While it’s unlike that adipogenesis is going to occur during exercise, this does point to capsaicin’s potential to lowering the fat-building capacity of your meals.

In other words, adding capsaicin to your diet may help mitigate any excess adipogenesis.

3) Regulating Appetite and Craving Control

If you’re someone who craves the taste of capsaicin and spicy foods, then the “appetite suppressant” effects of capsaicin are somewhat of a paradox to you.

All the same, in addition to stimulating thermogenesis and inhibiting adipogenesis, capsaicin may also help with your fat loss efforts by decreasing appetite.[5]

Especially when paired with exercise, which also acts as an appetite suppressant, capsaicin helps combat excess cravings—e.g., fat and carbohydrate cravings—contributing to an overall decrease in energy intake for an improved energy balance.

Other Beneficial Fat Burning Ingredients to Take with Cayenne Pepper

Adding cayenne pepper to your daily routine may help decrease fat and regulate appetite control.

However, for a comprehensive fat-burning regimen, cayenne pepper alone can only go so far.

Pairing the following fat-burner ingredients with cayenne pepper may help you take your fat-burning results further, as well as your exercise performance and lean muscle gains:

HMB (β-Hydroxyl β-Methylbutyrate)

A metabolite of leucine, the most anabolic of the three BCAAs, HMB (β-Hydroxyl β-Methylbutyrate) is promotes fat burning by first sparing muscle tissue against the proteolysis (protein breakdown) effects of fasted training.

While fasted training, the body often resorts to muscle protein to fuel muscle activity; however, by protecting muscle tissue against this effect, HMB encourages the body to use stored fat for exercise energy while promoting lean muscle growth.[6]

In a 2017 clinical study on the effects of HMB supplementation among highly-trained combat sport athletes, HMB supplementation was associated with increases in fat-free mass and simultaneous reduction in of fat mass. 

The above study led to the conclusion that “HMB promotes advantageous changes in body composition and stimulates an increase in aerobic and anaerobic capacity in combat sports athletes.”[7]

Coleus Forskohlii (Forskolin)

Long used in the ancient Ayurvedic health tradition, Coleus forskohlii is today well-known for its testosterone-boosting, fat-burning properties.

Much of Coleus forskohlii bioactivities can be linked to its bioactive constituent forskolin, a diterpene that seems to work by stimulating cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) activity, which has been associated with:[8,9]

  • Increased fat breakdown (lipolysis) and fat mobilization;
  • Enhanced thermogenic calorie-burning for exercise energy;
  • Boosted testosterone for anabolic muscle gains and cognition.

And more.

On the topic of weight loss, clinical research on the effects of Coleus forskohlii on body composition, a group of researchers observed decreases in body fat percentage and fat mass, as well as a change in bone mass, with Coleus supplementation. 

This led to the conclusion that forskolin may “favorably alter body composition while concurrently increasing bone mass and serum free testosterone levels in overweight and obese men.”[10]

Look for Forslean®: the preferred Coleus forskohlii supplement for fat loss, Forslean® is a patented, research-backed Coleus forskohlii extract standardized to 10% active forskolin.

Demonstrated to be safe and effective in multiple clinical trials, Forslean® motivates fat breakdown, calorie-burning, muscle preservation, and anabolic muscle growth, with the added bonus “nootropic” benefits of enhanced stress resistance, focus, mood, and cognitive clarity.

Black Pepper Extract (Piperine)

The two best dietary spices for fat loss: cayenne and black pepper. In the world of supplements, black pepper extract is primarily useful for its promotion of nutrient absorption, which assists with the bioavailability of the black pepper extract’s respective formula’s ingredients.[11]

For ingredients with a low oral bioavailability, black pepper extract is virtually is a must-have.

In fat burner supplements, black pepper extract is also a must-have. In addition to boosting nutrient absorption, black pepper’s primary active constituent, piperine, also benefits fat loss by stimulating thermogenesis while also blocking the formation of new fat cells.

As a dietary component, piperine lowers the fat-forming capacity of your diet, and, as a pre-workout ingredient, this ingredient amplifies exercise-related calorie-burning. [12]

Look for BioPerine®: found in many different types of supplements, fat burners and otherwise, BioPerine® works in tiny doses, thanks to this extract’s highly potent 95% piperine standardization—compare this to the 3-9% piperine concentration of raw black pepper.

While adding black pepper to meals may help reduce the formation of new fat cells from food calories, adding BioPerine® to a supplement formula helps boost thermogenic fat loss while also enhancing the nutrient absorption rates of other ingredients.

Burn Lab Pro®

Mixing Capsimax® with a stack of all-natural, premium fat burners, Burn Lab Pro® provides all the health and fitness benefits of cayenne pepper, and more.

With its innovative stim-free design, and a synthetic-free delivery system, Burn Lab Pro® takes not only a healthier route to fat-burning but a safe and legal approach to athletic performance enhancement.

Uniting 5 unique ingredients in a daily all-in-one formula, Burn Lab Pro® targets multiple bio-pathways to :

  1. encourage fat burning to
  2. fuel exercise performance and
  3. preserve anabolic muscle gains.

All of which combines to support healthier weight loss and a stronger, slimmer physique, without resorting to risky stimulants or cheap synthetics.

Get the Best Deal on Burn Lab Pro® Here

Key Benefits

Cayenne pepper extract may significantly help improve thermogenic fat-burning and appetite control; however, Burn Lab Pro® provides more fat loss benefits than those of cayenne pepper alone. Altogether, Burn Lab Pro® works by:

  • Sparking pre-workout thermogenesis for maximum calorie-burning during exercise, especially while intermittent fasting or fasted training.
  • Protecting muscle protein from proteolysis, or protein breakdown, during fasted exercise for an overall boost on lean muscle gains.
  • Balancing blood sugar and glucose metabolism for improved ATP energy production and resistance to insulin sensitivity.
  • Regulating appetite control for reduced “junk food” cravings and an overall decrease in excess calorie intake.

And more.

As a pre-workout supplement, Burn Lab Pro® burns fat in service of exercise performance and lean muscle gain.

Whereas cheaper, inferior fat-burner formulas almost exclusively focus on caffeine and stimulant thermogenesis, risking cognitive and cardiometabolic issues, Burn Lab Pro® works with the body’s natural fat-burning mechanisms for a more sustainable, long-term improvement on physique and fitness.

Again, Burn Lab Pro® is more than a fat burner: it burns fat to fuel exercise and support lean muscle growth, which in turn encourages further fat-burning.

Get the Best Deal on Burn Lab Pro® Here

Key Features

  • HMB (β-Hydroxyl β-Methylbutyrate), 1500 mg
  • ForsLean® Coleus Forskohlii, 375 mg
  • Capsimax® Cayenne Pepper Extract, 75 mg
  • BioPerine® Black Pepper Extract,75 mg
  • GTF Chromium (as NutriGenesis®), 90 mcg
  • Calcium, 5 mg

With only a selection few ingredients, Burn Lab Pro® delivers upwards of 15+ health and fitness benefits, all of which contribute to a leaner, meaner body composition.

And this “lean, mean” physique support comes by way of an all-natural stack of clean, green ingredients packaged in clean, green NutriCaps®, a premium, patented, prebiotic-cultivated capsule that’s 100% organic, vegan-friendly, and eco-friendly.

Made out of fermented tapioca (pullulan), NutriCaps® ensures that nothing stands between your body and Burn Lab Pro®’s fat-burning formula, allowing for fast-acting, fully-absorbed results.

Plant-based, stim-free, and synthetic-free—Burn Lab Pro® is a safe and legal option for exercisers and competitive athletes to take daily with minimal risk of adverse side effects.

Only clean, green fat burns and muscle gains for a leaner, meaner physique.

Get the Best Deal on Burn Lab Pro® Here

Final Word on whether you can take "too much" Cayenne Pepper

More than a food spice—more than even a fat-burner supplement—cayenne pepper is a tasty health compound with a surprising amount of health benefits, despite almost solely being considered as a spicy food additive with thermogenic properties.

All the same, cayenne pepper is one of the best natural fat burners, both in a dietary and athletic context, with a sizable amount of research to back up its thermogenic calorie-burning advantages.

Taken in a pre-workout context, cayenne pepper, as the premium, potent Capsimax®, may significantly help you maximize your fat loss results while enhancing your exercise performance.

  • By stacking Capsimax® with other natural, well-researched fat burners, Burn Lab Pro® takes the thermogenic benefits of cayenne pepper even further for a whole-body shift in body composition that favors lean, cut muscle growth.

Of course, not everyone’s tolerant of spicy foods, making cayenne pepper virtually a no-go—both as a food additive and as a supplement.

However, thanks to Capsimax®’s OmniBead™ microbead technology, you can enjoy all the health and fitness benefits of cayenne pepper without the associated gastric distress and heart burn.

Just prepare for the sweats, especially if you’re particularly sensitive to spice foods. Though you should already be prepared for sweating when hitting the gym, otherwise you’re not hitting the gym right!

References

  1. McCarty MF et al. Capsaicin may have important potential for promoting vascular and metabolic health. Open Heart. 2015; 2(1): e000262.
  2. Byrnes NK, Hayes JE. Personality factors predict spicy food liking and intake. Food Qual Prefer. 2013 Apr 1; 28(1): 213-221.
  3. Watanabe T et al. Capsaicin, a pungent principle of hot red pepper, evokes catecholamine secretion from the adrenal medulla of anesthetized rats. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1987 Jan 15; 142(1): 259-64.
  4. Zheng J et al. Dietary capsaicin and its anti-obesity potency: from mechanism to clinical implications. Biosci Rep. 2017 Jun 30; 37(3): BSR20170286.
  5. Yoshioka M et al. Effects of red pepper on appetite and energy intake. Br J Nutr. 1999 Aug; 82(2): 115-23.
  6. Wilson GJ et al. Effects of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) on exercise performance and body composition across varying levels of age, sex, and training experience: A review. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2008; 5: 1.
  7. Durkalec-Michalski K et al. The Effect of a 12-Week Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) Supplementation on Highly-Trained Combat Sports Athletes: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Study. Nutrients. 2017 Jul; 9(7): 753.
  8. Arner P et al. Relationship between lipolysis, cyclic AMP, and fat-cell size in human adipose tissue during fasting and in diabetes mellitus. Metabolism. 1979 Mar; 28(3): 198-209.
  9. Lavine RL et al. The effect of fasting on tissue cyclic cAMP and plasma glucagon in the obese hyperglycemic mouse. Endocrinology. 1975 Sep; 97(3): 615-20.
  10. Godard MP et al. Body composition and hormonal adaptations associated with forskolin consumption in overweight and obese men. Obes Res. 2005 Aug; 13(8): 1335-43.
  11. Kesarwani K, Gupta R. Bioavailability enhancers of herbal origin: An overview. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2013 Apr; 3(4): 253-266.
  12. Kim J et al. Piperine enhances carbohydrate/fat metabolism in skeletal muscle during acute exercise in mice. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2017; 14: 43.