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Red Pepper (Capsaicin) Benefits

This page summarizes dozens of scientific studies from medical journals
describing the health benefits of capsaicin from red peppers. Read why it is the
one of the most important herbal supplements you can add to your daily diet.

Cayenne Red Chili Pepper
Cayenne Red Chili Pepper

Extracts of capsaicin from red chili peppers are used as a fresh ingredient in foods, as medicinal herbs to treat pain and inflammation and in concentrated sprays as non-lethal weapons.

New understanding of the way capsaicin functions inside the body to reduce inflammatory responses and improve nerve cell signalling is rapidly expanding the use of this herb to treat a wide variety of medical conditions. For example, recent research in Toronto, Canada*, has proven that injections of pure capsaicin into the pancreas of diabetic mice has immedately restored their ability to produce insulin, effectively curing type-1 diabetes. The injected capsaicin restored nerve-cell signalling around the inactive beta-cells, which quickly restored production of insulin to approximately normal levels. The effect lasted months after the injection.

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What Does Nature's Way Cayenne Contain?
Nature's Way Cayenne is a specal blend of powdered natural red pepper from the Cayenne Pepper plant, pictured above. High potency, is guaranteed with at least 0.25% Capsaicin per capsule, or a 25% of pure natural capsaicin. Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum annuum) fruit is a blood-red warming herb that invigorates multiple body systems. Special blending guarantees 0.25% capsaicin with a consistent potency of 40,000 H.U. (Heat Units).

Natures Way Cayenne is carefully grown, tested and produced to certified quality standards.

DIRECTIONS: Start with taking 1 capsule three times daily, preferably with food.

WARNINGS: If you suffer from heartburn hiatal hernia, gastritis, or peptic ulcer disease, please consult your healthcare professional before using this product. Excessive doses may cause GI irritation in sensitive individuals.

Freshness & safety sealed with printed outer shrinkwrap and printed inner seal. Do not use if either seal is broken or missing. Keep out of reach of children.

DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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While underlying systemic insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome was not alleviated, the restoration of insulin production by capsaicin is considered a revolution in the treatment of diabetes. The astonishing breakthrough was announced in December, 2006. Scientists had previously thought that type-1 diabetes was uncurable. Research is now beginning on possible applications of this discovery for humans. Red pepper ointments, lotions and cremes have proven useful for many years in the treatment of pain due to arthritis, swollen or stiff joints, sprains, backaches, and shingles, as well as in the symptomatic treatment of pain from diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Research continues on this excitng herb.

* Dr. Michael Salter, Dr. Hans Michael Dosch, et al, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada; "Diabetes Breakthrough: Toronto Scientists Cure Disease in Mice", The National Post at, December 15, 2006. Research aided by the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine, U.S.A. Download the full report in PDF form or read the online page from the peer reviewed scientific journal, Cell, published online - 12/15/2006.

The chemical compound capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) is the active component of chili peppers, which are plants belonging to the genus Capsicum. It is an irritant for mammals, including humans, and produces a sensation of burning in any tissue it comes in contact with. Capsaicin and several related compounds are called capsaicinoids and are produced as a secondary metabolite by chili peppers, probably as deterrents against herbivores. Pure capsaicin is a hydrophobic, colorless, odorless, crystalline to waxy compound.

About Capsaicinoids

Capsaicin is the main capsaicinoid in chili peppers, followed by dihydrocapsaicin. These two compounds are also about twice as potent to the taste and nerves as the minor capsaicinoids nordihydrocapsaicin, homodihydrocapsaicin, and homocapsaicin. Dilute solutions of pure capsaicinoids produced different types of pungency; however, these differences were not noted using more concentrated solutions.

Uses and Benefts of Capsaicin Red Pepper Extracts

Food Benefts of Capsaicin Red Pepper

Because of the burning sensation caused by capsaicin when it comes in contact with human flesh, it is commonly used in food products to give them added spice or "heat" (piquancy). The degree of heat found within a food is measured on the Scoville scale. Typically the capsaicin is obtained from chili peppers. Hot sauce is an example of a product customarily containing large amounts of capsaicin and may contain chili peppers or pure capsaicin.

Capsaicin is a nonpolar molecule, and is therefore hydrophobic. Consequently, drinking water to reduce the burning caused by the molecule is ineffective, as the nonpolar capsaicin is unable to dissolve in the polar water molecules, and is instead spread across the surface of the mouth. This works by the same principle that causes oil and water to separate.

Instead, consuming foods high in fats and oils, such as milk or bread and butter, will help alleviate the burning. The lipophilic capsaicin is able to mix freely with the fats in the food and is removed from the surface of the mouth. Alcohol and alcoholic beverages also dissolve capsaicin due to the solvent characteristics of ethanol. Of course, over time the capsaicin will dissipate on its own.

Medical Benefts of Capsaicin Red Pepper

Capsaicin is currently used in topical ointments to relieve the pain of peripheral neuropathy such as post-herpetic neuralgia caused by shingles. It may be used in concentrations of between 0.025% and 0.075%.

It may also be used as a cream for the temporary relief of minor aches and pains of muscles and joints associated with arthritis, simple backache, strains and sprains. The treatment typically involves the application of a topical anesthetic until the area is numb. Then the capsaicin is applied by a therapist wearing rubber gloves and a face mask. The capsaicin remains on the skin until the patient starts to feel the "heat", at which point it is promptly removed. Capsaicin is also available in large adhesive bandages that can be applied to the back.

The result appears to be that the nerves are overwhelmed from the burning sensation and are unable to report pain for an extended period of time. With chronic exposure to capsaicin, neurons are depleted of neurotransmitters and it leads to reduction in sensation of pain and blockade of neurogenic inflammation. If capsaicin is removed, the neurons recover.

Capsaicin is being explored as a cure for diabetes by researchers in Toronto, Canada. Early work curing diabetic mice looks promising. Capsaicin was injected into pancreatic sensory nerves of mice with Type 1 diabetes because of a suspected link between the nerves and diabetes.

Capsaicin & Red Pepper Link to Diabetes

Capsaicin (in Red Pepper)
Capsaicin Chemical Structure - Molecule Diagram
Capsaicin Chemical Structure - 3D View

Systematic Name (E)-N- (4-hydroxy- 3-methoxybenzyl) - 8-methylnon-6-enamide
Melecular Formula C(18)-H(27)-NO(3)
CAS Number [404-86-4]
Molecular Mass 305.41 g/mol
Melting Point 62 - 65 �C

Suspecting a link between the nerves and diabetes, scientists at a Toronto hospital used an old experimental trick -- injecting capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot chili peppers, to kill the pancreatic sensory nerves in mice that had an equivalent of Type 1 diabetes.Almost immediately, the islets began producing insulin.It turns out the nerves secrete neuropeptides that are instrumental in the proper functioning of the islets.So next they injected the neuropeptide "substance P" in the pancreases of diabetic mice. The results were dramatic.The islet inflammation cleared up and the diabetes was gone. Some have remained in that state for as long as four months, with just one injection.

Capsaicin & Red Pepper Use in Non-lethal Force

Capsaicin is also the active ingredient in the chemical riot control agent pepper spray. When the spray comes in contact with skin, especially eyes or mucous membranes, it is very painful. Refer to the Scoville scale for a comparison of pepper spray to other sources of capsaicin.

In large quantities, capsaicin can cause death. Symptoms of overdose include difficulty breathing, blue skin, and convulsions. The large amount needed to kill an adult human and the low concentration of capsaicin in chilis make accidental poisoning by chili consumption exceedingly unlikely.

Capsaicin & Red Pepper as a Possible drug Abuse Deterrent

Clifford Woolf, the Richard J. Kitz Professor of Anesthesia Research at Harvard Medical School, has suggested using capsaicin to deter abuse of certain extended-release drugs such as OxyContin and Ritalin. When taken as prescribed, morphine-based prescription drugs such as OxyContin release their opioids over time, but when crushed and snorted, taken as a suppository, chewed, or injected intravenously, the drugs produce an intense high that is highly addictive. Woolf has argued that adding capsaicin into the capsules would be a safe way to deter abuse. A person taking the capsule in the prescribed way (i.e., swallowing it whole) would suffer no ill effects from the additive. However, a person crushing it would expose the irritant. Anyone then swallowing it, snorting it, or injecting it would be exposed to the full power of the chemical. "Imagine snorting an extract of 50 jalape�o peppers and you get the idea," Woolf said in an interview with the Harvard University Gazette. As of 2006, Woolf's proposal is still in the preliminary stages of development and the additive has not yet entered the production stage. However, the two substances can be separated using cold water extraction.

Pest Deterrent Uses for Capsaicin & Red Pepper

Capsaicin is also used to deter pests. A common example is the use of ground-up or crushed dried chili pods in birdseed to deter squirrels, since birds are unaffected by capsaicin. Insects are also affected by capsaicin.

Mechanism of Action of Capsaicin & Red Pepper

The burning and painful sensations associated with capsaicin result from its chemical interaction with sensory neurons. Capsaicin, as a member of the vanilloid family, binds to a receptor called the vanilloid receptor subtype 1 (VR1). First cloned in 1997, VR1 is an ion channel-type receptor. VR1, which can also be stimulated with heat and physical abrasion, permits cations to pass through the cell membrane and into the cell when activated. The resulting "depolarization" of the neuron stimulates it to signal the brain. By binding to the VR1 receptor, the capsaicin molecule produces the same effect that excessive heat or abrasive damage would cause, explaining why the spiciness of capsaicin is described as a burning sensation.

With chronic exposure to capsaicin, neurons are depleted of neurotransmitters. This leads to reduction in sensation of pain and blockade of neurogenic inflammation. If capsaicin is removed, the neurons recover.

The VR1 ion channel has subsequently been shown to be a member of the superfamily of TRP ion channels, and as such is now referred to as TRPV1. There are a number of different TRP ion channels that have been shown to be sensitive to different ranges of temperature and probably are responsible for our range of temperature sensation. Thus, capsaicin does not actually cause a chemical burn; it causes only the sensation of one.

The Capsaicin "High"

The "capsaicin high" is a euphoric sensation caused by the consumption of large quantities of capsaicin from capsaicin-laden foods. It is theorized that the pain induced by capsaicin causes the human body to release endorphins. Eventually, enough are released to create a sensation that is frequently compared to "runner's high".

Next read:   How I Lost Over 85 Pounds, Reversed Metabolic Syndrome and Beat Type-2 Diabetes with the Anti-Inflammation Level 1 Diet How I Lost Over 85 Pounds, Reversed Metabolic Syndrome and Beat Type-2 Diabetes with My Anti-Inflammatory Health Program

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Much of the content on this page was obtained from the Wikipedia, which is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Other information was obtained from the National Institutes of Health online database.

*All information on is for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Before changing your diet, or adding supplements to your diet, or beginning an exercise program, everyone should consult a qualified and licensed health practitioner; a physician, dietician or similar professional.

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