I am looking to try to regulate my core body temperature in order to be able to sustain longer workouts at higher intesities. I have been exercising more and am realizing that core body heat might be becoming an issue (last night after a 20-mile ride my messenger bag was soaked with sweat, whereas the prior day it was not after 30-miles). I am well aware that a lack of water may have caused the difference, but I had consumed approximately equal amounts day over day, and had eaten basically the same foods.

The one difference between the days is that before the 30-mile ride I ate two slices of bread and four eggs with bhut jolokia hot sauce all over them; before the 20-mile I had a double-stacked peanut butter and butter sandwich.

  • It seems more like an anomaly, but what effect could high intake of capsaicin have before a workout (aside from indigestion)?
  • Can one engineer a regimen around capsaicin to regulate temp and sweating?

I am familiar with the impact it has on olfactory sweating, and how it ramps up the metabolism for digestion, and am wondering if it can be used to either regulate body temp on its own, or if it is just more assistive in digesting food before exercise, thus lending a hand to core temp regulation.

  • I honestly wouldn't even now where to begin on something like this without finding a bunch of old wives tails and misinformation. My gut tells me it might not have been the capsaicin acid that caused the difference. Perhaps try the pre-exercise meal you used on the 30-mile right without the hot sauce just to make sure it wasn't the higher protein content in the eggs first. Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 16:19
  • @Ber the higher protein content would aid body temp regulation? [Like I said, I understand this is very likely an anomaly based on a small sample (2 nights leans toward coincidence) but wanted to see if there was real data on this, not wives' tales]
    – mfg
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 16:25
  • Protein as a macro-nutrient is more thermogenic, which means it requires more energy to process. Particularly when you have more than your body needs, it is a very slow and energy consuming process to turn it into glycogen. It's a property that bodybuilders exploit to help build muscle and hopefully burn some fat in the process. As to body-temp regulation I just don't have any data on that. Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 16:39
  • @Berin Do you want to at least post that as a partial answer, it is useful and there is some value in the takeaway?
    – mfg
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 23:19

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, I don't have any knowledge of the concept of regulating your body temperature, and am also equally unsure of any affects of capsaisin acid (spicy stuff) on your core temperature.

However, I am familiar with the concept of some foods being more thermogenic than others. Essentially some foods require more energy to digest than others. In decreasing order thermogenesis is:

  • Protein (requires the most energy)
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fat (requires the least energy)

Many anabolic diets bank on the thermogenic properties of protein to help burn body fat while building muscle.

My guess, when looking at the two meals you ate, the better body core temperature was more because of the higher amount of protein (4 eggs vs. the peanut butter) than it did with the capsaisin content of the hot sauce.

You may want to make a few more passes at alternating these two meals to be positive--at least for your body. Try the following experiments at least 3 times each to make sure it was related to your diet to begin with:

  • Do the 4 egg meal with the sauce
  • Do the peanut butter meal with the sauce (it's science, not a recipe)
  • Do the 4 egg meal without the sauce
  • Do the peanut butter meal without the sauce.

Without more samples to prove or disprove your theory, you will just never know. One of four things will happen:

  • No consistent patterns will emerge. This means that both our theories are wrong and the food has no bearing on your core temperature.
  • The sauce will consistently provide a better result with either meal. This means that something in the sauce (might be the capsaisin, and might not be) is helping your core temperature.
  • The higher protein meal will consistently provide a better result, with or without the sauce. This means that my theory is right, higher thermogenic foods will regulate your core temperature.
  • The higher protein meal will consistently provide a better result, but combined with the sauce will provide an even better result than just the protein. This means both our theories are correct, and you can maximize your results.

Have fun experimenting!

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