Capsaicin's Health Benefits
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- Headache help: Substance P is the key transmitter of pain to the brain. In fact, Substance P is the body's main mechanism for producing swelling and pain throughout the trigeminal nerve, which runs through the head, temple and sinus cavity. When the nerve fibers come in contact with Substance P, they react by swelling—an effect that yields headaches and sinus symptoms. Clinical studies have shown that capsaicin, a compound in hot peppers, is extremely effective for relieving and preventing cluster headaches, migraine headaches and sinus headaches.
- Arthritis relief: People suffering from arthritis pain typically have elevated levels of Substance P in their blood and in the synovial fluid that bathes their joints. Research has shown that eating foods that contain capsaicin or applying a topical cream that contains capsaicin can suppress Substance P production.
- Capsaiscin as spicy sinus soother: Capsaicin also possesses powerful antibacterial properties, and is very effective in fighting and preventing chronic sinus infections (sinusitis). This purely natural chemical will also clear out congested nasal passages like nothing else and is helpful in treating sinus-related allergy symptoms. Small daily doses of capsaicin have even been shown to prevent chronic nasal congestion.
- Capsaicin as anti-inflammatory: In recent years, researchers discovered that capsaicin is a potent anti-inflammatory, and have even pinpointed how it works to fight chronic, sub-clinical inflammation. The nuclei of human cells contain chemicals called nuclear transcription factors (NTFs), two of which—activator protein 1 (AP-1) and NF-kappa B—are especially important targets when it comes to prevention of cancer and premature aging of skin. Each of these NTFs can be "activated" by ultraviolet light and free radicals: a result that produces a pro-inflammatory chain reaction that promotes premature aging and a wide variety of degenerative diseases. As it turns out, nature offers several effective NTF-activation blockers, including the capsaicin in chilies and the yellow pigment curcumin in turmeric.
- Gastric relief: A recent study on gastric disorders at Duke University showed capsaicin may actually lead to a cure for certain intestinal diseases. The Duke team found that a specific nerve cell receptor appears to be necessary to initiate the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a general term given to a variety of chronic disorders in which the intestine becomes inflamed—resulting in recurring abdominal cramps, pain and diarrhea. The cause of IBD is unknown, and it is believed that up to 2 million Americans suffer from this disorder.
Published on July 15, 2005