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June 23, 2010 at 4:14 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Chilli Peppers - Pain Relief, Weight Loss and More!

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

The next time you're enjoying your favorite Mexican dish, you can feel great knowing you're actually benefiting your health too! And not just nutritionally, but also medicinally. Research has uncovered some striking traits in the active compound found in chile peppers, capsaicin. These are benefits you normally wouldn't think about when eating a chile pepper. Chilli peppers can:

  • Help with weight loss.
  • Trigger special proteins in the body to actually reduce the growth of fat cells.
  • Possibly treat hypothermia, using a process known as thermogenesis.
  • Relieve pain caused by neuropathies due to cancer treatment, shingles, AIDS, diabetes and arthritis.

Chile peppers really are more than just a food!

How Chilli Peppers Benefit Weight Loss

New research has shown evidence that the "burn" in peppers when you eat them actually contributes to weight loss. The funny thing is, we normally aren't too keen on ingesting a lot of capsaicin. It burns our mouth, in essence, if we ingest too much of it, so you can understand why a non-burning version of capsaicin  - dihydrocapsiate (DCT) - which could very well have the same benefits of peppers but without the burn, has been well received.

A study at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition monitored the weight loss potential of DCT in 34 men and women willing to consume a very low-calorie liquid meal replacement product for 28 days. Directed by the professor of Medicine and Public Health, David Heber, researchers then randomly provided several subjects with empty placebo pills or DCT supplements containing two dosage levels. At the beginning and end of the study, an assessment of body weight and fat had been recorded for data determining energy expenditure (heat production) in each subject after consuming one serving of the test meal.

The resulting data staggered the Experimental Biology 2010 Meeting in Anaheim, California, where the researchers presented their information. Indisputable data showed energy expenditure almost doubled in those participants consuming DCT versus those supplied with placebo pills. The resulting theory stands pretty firm: by increasing food-induced heat production, peppers can actually help with weight loss. This was the first study done to examine the benefits of DCT.

Bottom line? Peppers may have that kick, but that kick will help move you down the path to a healthy weight.

How Chile Peppers Fight Fat

Appearing in ACS' monthly Journal of Proteome Research, a study documented by Jong Won Yun and colleagues observed the effects of capsaicin in lab rats. They found empirical evidence of an 8% weight loss in capsaicin-treated rats, as well as an apparent presence of at least 20 altered key proteins normally found in fat. The final theory is this: capsaicin actually alters certain proteins in fat to reduce their size, thereby contributing directly to weight loss. Scientists are virtually calling capsaicin the 'anti-obesity compound'.

Similar results were found in a study conducted by Gow-Chin Yen and Chin-Lin Hsu and reported in the March 21 issue of the ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. More elaboration on how capsaicin works to reduce fat cells explained the process of apoptosis, a mechanism in which cells self-destruct due to capsaicin's biochemical signal. Effectively, fat cells stop growing because of peppers!

How Chile Peppers Can Keep You Warm

Chile peppers work with the biological process known as thermogenesis, which is most often seen in hibernation. Thermogenesis is the reason hibernating animals can stay warm during the winter. According to Yasser Mahmoud, lead scientist of a new study examining the effects of capsaicin, the fact that chile peppers are the first natural compound known to augment thermogenesis provides astonishing new breakthroughs for possible treatments of hypothermia and other potential conditions regarding slow metabolism and body temperature.

The research found that capsaicin alters the activity of a muscle protein called SERCA, which normally follows a release of calcium ions from a sarcoplasmic reticulum compartment (SR) and then pumps the calcium back into the SR using ATP energy, causing muscle relaxation. What capsaicin does is actually "uncouple" the pumping activity. The protein still burns the ATP energy, but doesn't pump any calcium back in. Instead, the energy is simply released as heat, thereby creating the process of thermogenesis. Again, remarkable evidence showing that peppers not only make you hot, but keep you hot - great trick for cold weather!

How Chile Peppers Can Relieve Pain

It's astonishing to know that a savior to millions of cancer, AIDS, shingles, diabetes and arthritis patients bears the image of a tiny, wrinkled little jalapeno pepper. To be more precise, again the active ingredient is capsaicin. Capsaicin is now widely sold in the form of a cream used as a topical pain ointment - but not just any topical pain ointment. A new review stated that four out of ten participants in a study documented signs of pain relief after using capsaicin. The Oxford University researchers Sheena Derry and Andrew Moore led the review, comprised of nine studies involving 1,600 participants. It must be stressed, though, the drawback in that patients commonly experienced the typical burning, stinging and redness irritation characteristic of capsaicin's effects. However, the side effects proved generally mild, although it led some patients to discontinue use.

Now You Know!

Something to think about when sweating over the habanero: it contributes to your healthy weight, pain reduction, and body warmth. That should make the burning heat in your mouth much more bearable!

Sources:

Science Daily: Could the Hot Stuff in Chili Peppers Ease Your Tingling Nerve Pain?

Science Daily: Hot Peppers Really Do Bring the Heat

Science Daily: Peppers may increase energy expenditure in people trying to lose weight

Science Daily: New evidence that chili pepper ingredients fight fat

Science Daily: Red Pepper: Hot Stuff for Fighting Fat?

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