No metabolic effects of mustard allyl-isothiocyanate compared with placebo in men

Mirjam Langeveld, Chong Yew Tan, Maarten R Soeters, Samuel Virtue, Laura Pe Watson, Peter R Murgatroyd, Graeme K Ambler, Santiago Vidal-Puig, Krishna V Chatterjee, Antonio Vidal-Puig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
271 Downloads (Pure)



Induction of nonshivering thermogenesis can be used to influence energy balance to prevent or even treat obesity. The pungent component of mustard, allyl-isothiocyanate (AITC), activates the extreme cold receptor transient receptor potential channel, subfamily A, member 1 and may thus induce energy expenditure and metabolic changes.


The objective of our study was to evaluate the potential of mustard AITC to induce thermogenesis (primary outcome) and alter body temperature, cold and hunger sensations, plasma metabolic parameters, and energy intake (secondary outcomes).


Energy expenditure in mice was measured after subcutaneous injection with vehicle, 1 mg norepinephrine/kg, or 5 mg AITC/kg. In our human crossover study, 11 healthy subjects were studied under temperature-controlled conditions after an overnight fast. After ingestion of 10 g of capsulated mustard or uncapsulated mustard or a capsulated placebo mixture, measurements of energy expenditure, substrate oxidation, core temperature, cold and hunger scores, and plasma parameters were repeated every 30 min during a 150-min period. Subjects were randomly selected for the placebo and capsulated mustard intervention; 9 of 11 subjects received the uncapsulated mustard as the final intervention because this could not be blinded. After the experiments, energy intake was measured with the universal eating monitor in a test meal.


In mice, AITC administration induced a 32% increase in energy expenditure compared with vehicle (17.5 ± 4.9 J · min-1 · mouse-1 compared with 12.5 ± 1.2 J · min-1 · mouse-1, P = 0.03). Of the 11 randomly selected participants, 1 was excluded because of intercurrent illness after the first visit and 1 withdrew after the second visit. Energy expenditure did not increase after ingestion of capsulated or uncapsulated mustard compared with placebo. No differences in substrate oxidation, core temperature, cold and hunger scores, or plasma parameters were found, nor was the energy intake at the end of the experiment different between the 3 conditions.


The highest tolerable dose of mustard we were able to use did not elicit a relevant thermogenic response in humans. This trial was registered at as ISRCTN19147515.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1197-1205
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number5
Early online date25 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose/metabolism
  • Body Temperature/drug effects
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hunger/drug effects
  • Isothiocyanates/analysis
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Mustard Plant/chemistry
  • Norepinephrine/pharmacology
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Thermogenesis/drug effects
  • Young Adult


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