Capsaicin-the Major Bioactive Ingredient of Chili Peppers: Bio-efficacy and Delivery Systems
Capsaicin is the primary bioactive substance in red chili peppers that produces the pungency flavor. During the past few decades, pharmacological benefits of capsaicin and their underlying mechanisms have been examined extensively. In this paper, major biological efficacies of capsaicin are reviewed, including analgesic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-obesity, cardio-protection, and metabolic modulation effects. Novel delivery systems for enhancing the oral bioavailability of capsaicin are also evaluated depending on the stability, encapsulation efficiency and biological properties, such as liposomes, micelles, micro/nano-emulsions, colloidal capsules and solid nanoparticles. This review provides theoretical basis for capsaicin to be further developed into multi-functional ingredient with health-promoting functions in the nutraceutical industry.