Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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Lose weight and perform better with stearoylvanillylamide

Some of the slimming supplements that have recently made their way to the market contain the capsaicin analogue stearoylvanillylamide. For a description of what stearoylvanillylamide is we consulted a Japanese animal study published last century. That study makes it clear that stearoylvanillylamide is not only interesting for people looking to lose a few kilograms of fat, but also for athletes who want to keep up their energy levels when doing punishing training sessions.

The structural formula of stearoylvanillylamide is shown below. The compound is related to capsaicin, and like capsaicin is found in red peppers. The difference between the two substances is that stearoylvanillylamide is not hot to taste, but capsaicin is. The amount of capsaicin that a human being can take is limited to several milligrams per day; the amount of stearoylvanillylamide is considerably higher.

Lose weight and perform better with stearoylvanillylamide

Animal studies have shown that capsaicin boosts endurance capacity. In the late 1990s Japanese researchers wondered whether stearoylvanillylamide, although it's a non-pungent capsaicin analogue, might have the same effect.

The researchers gave mice 0.333 millimol capsaicin [CAP] per kg bodyweight or stearoylvanillylamide [C18-VA], and three hours later got them to swim for as long as they could.

The human equivalent of the dose for stearoylvanillylamide is about 110 mg.

Both capsaicin and stearoylvanillylamide extended the amount of time that the mice were able to keep swimming, as the figure on the left below shows. The researchers also tested a slightly higher and a slightly lower dose, but that made no difference, as the figure on the right below shows.

Lose weight and perform better with stearoylvanillylamide

Both capsaicin and stearoylvanillylamide boosted the secretion of adrenaline. The increased adrenaline concentration mean that fat cells released their free fatty acids [FFA] into the bloodstream. And then the muscles were able to burn them.

Lose weight and perform better with stearoylvanillylamide

Lose weight and perform better with stearoylvanillylamide

Supplements manufacturers have now discovered stearolvanillylamide. The stuff has turned up in several slimming supplements over the last year. Stearoylvanillylamide, or C18-VA, as researchers consistently call the stuff, may also be of interest for athletes.

"C18-VA, that is present in hot peppers in a very small amount, increased the swimming capacity of mice under the present conditions", the Japanese researchers write. "The increased serum free fatty acids due to the stimulated adrenaline secretion may inhibit the muscle glycolysis during the early period of exercise and stimulate free fatty acids uptake by muscles, suggesting that the spared glycogen is available during the later stage of exercise, resulting in a prolonged time to exhaustion."

"C18-VA may be used as a nutritional aid to enhance the exercise capacity in humans."

J Nutr. 1998 Nov;128(11):1978-83.

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