Nutritional and therapeutic use of capsaicin in veterinary medicine

Cristina Castillo, Ángel Abuelo, Jose L. Benedito, Joaquín Hernández

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter in textbook/reference bookpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Capsaicinoids are important for the food and pharmaceutical industries. For this reason, a number of researchers are engaged in improving their production by manipulating chili plant cultivation conditions, chemical and enzymatic synthesis processes or alternative methods such as cell or tissue culture. Hitherto, research has shown that capsaicinoids, and capsaicin in particular, have a wide variety of biological and physiological activities, providing them with different functions such as antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, promoter of energy metabolism and suppressor of fat accumulation. However, the potential applications of these molecules are limited by the irritation caused by their pungency. This has driven the search and characterization of analogous molecules without these inherent and undesirable effects (Reyes-Escogido et al., 2011). Among them, capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) is a primary pungent and irritating substance present in chilies and red peppers, which are widely used as spices. Capsaicin evokes numerous biological effects and therefore has been the target of extensive investigations since its initial identification in 1919 by E. K. Nelson. Different pharmacological effects have been attributed to capsaicin since ancient times, but it was not until the past twenty years when extensive research has been done to determine its specific applications. In this chapter we will review the last results obtained in research, considering their application to Veterinary Medicine, not only for its therapeutic role (pain, arthritis, muscle injury, obesity, anthelminthic) but also as a preventive tool for digestive diseases, such as ruminal acidosis or gastric pain. In addition, supplementation of this compound in combination with other plant extracts has been proven to contribute improving animal production in ruminant livestock.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCapsaicin
Subtitle of host publicationFood sources, medical uses and health implications
EditorsBruce Gilliam
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9781634631402
ISBN (Print)9781614704331
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2014


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