Capsanthin is a natural red dye of the xanthophyll class of carotenoids. As a food coloring, it has the E number E160c(i). Capsanthin is the main carotenoid in the Capsicum annuum species of plants including red bell pepper, New Mexico chile, and cayenne peppers (Capsicum annuum) and a component of paprika oleoresin. Capsanthin is also found in some species of lily. Among other carotenoids, capsanthin is considered to have the greatest antioxidant capacity due to the presence of eleven conjugated double bonds, a conjugated keto group, and a cyclopentane ring.
Xanthophyllic carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin have often been touted for their ability to help eye functionality. Capsanthin is also able to support eye health and recent research has revealed its unique ability to help maintain intraocular pressure within a healthy range. A clinical study on Wistar rats explored this effect over the course of 28 days. The rats were induced with higher intraocular pressure and then either given a placebo or capsanthin. At the end of the trial, rats that consumed capsanthin had normalized their eye pressure comparable to the control group that had normal pressure levels.
The safety of natural pigment extracted from pepper has been recognized worldwide. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have listed capsanthin as a category A pigment, which is not limited in use. According to China's food hygiene law, chili red pigment can be used not only in oily food, sauce, aquatic product processing, vegetable products, jelly, ice cream, cream, margarine, cheese, salad, sauce, rice products, baking products and other food processing, but also in feed, imitation food, radiation prevention, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry.
Capsanthin is widely used in food industry. It has good stability, non-toxic and harmless, and can be added to food appropriately according to needs. Researcher Zhang Zhiqiang and others studied the stability of chili red pigment in pudding ice cream and yogurt after adding it, and found that the chili red pigment in food did not change significantly with time, and the color did not change significantly, indicating that the application effect of the pigment in these two foods was good.
Researcher Wang Mingxuan made an experimental study on the use of chili red pigment in beverages, jellies, sweets and other foods. Its characteristics are uniform coloring, stable properties, bright and bright color, good brightness, especially the use effect of sweets is better. When 1.0 mL/36g of capsanthin emulsifier was added to the candy, the product was transparent and bright, with uniform color distribution.