For those with high blood pressure, chili peppers might be just what the doctor ordered, according to a study reported in the August issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication. While the active ingredient that gives the peppers their heat – a compound known as capsaicin – might set your mouth on fire, it also leads blood vessels to relax, the research in hypertensive rats shows.
“We found that long-term dietary consumption of capsaicin, one of the most abundant components in chili peppers, could reduce blood pressure in genetically hypertensive rats,” said Zhiming Zhu of Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China.
Those effects depend on the chronic activation of something called the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel found in the lining of blood vessels. Activation of the channel leads to an increase in production of nitric oxide, a gaseous molecule known to protect blood vessels against inflammation and dysfunction, Zhu explained.
The study isn’t the first to look for a molecular link between capsaicin and lower blood pressure. However, earlier studies were based on acute or short-term exposure to the chemical, with some conflicting results. Zhu says their study is the first to examine the effects of long-term treatment with capsaicin in rats with high blood pressure.
The findings in rats should be confirmed in humans through epidemiological analysis, the researchers said. In fact, there were already some clues: the prevalence of hypertension is over 20% in Northeastern China compared to 10-14% in Southwestern China, including Sichuan, Guozhuo, Yunnan, Hunan, and Chongqing, where Zhu is from.
“People in these regions like to eat hot and spicy foods with a lot of chili peppers,” Zhu says. “For example, a very famous local food in my hometown, Chongqing, is the spicy hot pot.”
It isn’t yet clear just how many capsaicin-containing chili peppers a day you’d have to eat to “keep the doctor away,” although that’s a question that should now be examined in greater detail, Zhu says.
For those who can’t tolerate spicy foods, there might still be hope. Zhu notes the existence of a mild Japanese pepper, which contains a compound called capsinoid that is closely related to capsaicin.
“Limited studies show that these capsinoids produce effects similar to capsaicin,” Zhu says. “I believe that some people can adopt this sweet pepper.”
Source: Cell Press
Important Notice: This article was originally published at www.medicalnewstoday.com by Janet Epping where all credits are due.
The watching, interacting, and participation of any kind with anything on this page does not constitute or initiate a doctor-patient relationship with Dr. Farrah®. None of the statements here have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The products of Dr. Farrah® are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information being provided should only be considered for education and entertainment purposes only. If you feel that anything you see or hear may be of value to you on this page or on any other medium of any kind associated with, showing, or quoting anything relating to Dr. Farrah® in any way at any time, you are encouraged to and agree to consult with a licensed healthcare professional in your area to discuss it. If you feel that you’re having a healthcare emergency, seek medical attention immediately. The views expressed here are simply either the views and opinions of Dr. Farrah® or others appearing and are protected under the first amendment.
Dr. Farrah® is a highly experienced Licensed Medical Doctor certified in evidence-based clinical nutrition, not some enthusiast, formulator, or medium promoting the wild and unrestrained use of nutrition products for health issues without clinical experience and scientific evidence of therapeutic benefit. Dr. Farrah® has personally and keenly studied everything she recommends, and more importantly, she’s closely observed the reactions and results in a clinical setting countless times over the course of her career involving the treatment of over 150,000 patients.
Dr. Farrah® promotes evidence-based natural approaches to health, which means integrating her individual scientific and clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research. By individual clinical expertise, I refer to the proficiency and judgment that individual clinicians acquire through clinical experience and clinical practice.
Dr. Farrah® does not make any representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of any multimedia content provided. Dr. Farrah® does not warrant the performance, effectiveness, or applicability of any sites listed, linked, or referenced to, in, or by any multimedia content.
To be clear, the multimedia content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen in any website, video, image, or media of any kind. Dr. Farrah® hereby disclaims any and all liability to any party for any direct, indirect, implied, punitive, special, incidental, or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from any use of the content, which is provided as is, and without warranties.