Can it not be spicy enough for them? Do you enjoy the burning sensation on your tongue, the feeling of heat that threatens to burn you from the inside and the subsequent sweat? Then you'll also like the following news: The capsaicin responsible for the spiciness of cayenne pepper has many healthy properties.Capsaicin is a natural alkaloid found in various types of peppers such as cayenne pepper. But capsaicin is not only spicy, it also has health benefits. Scientists have been researching this topic for a number of years, with several of the capsaicin properties under the microscope at once: capsaicin's effects as an anti-cancer agent, blood thinner, stomach protector, blood sugar regulator, and antioxidant. In addition, capsaicin is considered a fat burner and is said to help maintain the desired weight.Peppers come in many different varieties. They range from sweet sweet peppers to medium hot cayenne peppers and extremely hot Bhut Jolokia. Capsaicin is one of the many secondary plant compounds in peppers. In addition, bell bell pepper fruits contain an average of 128 mg of vitamin C per 100 g of fruit. Also worth mentioning are the high content of potassium, magnesium, calcium, carotenoids and anthocyanins. Due to the colorants, the peppers are not only colorful, but also healthy for the heart. These secondary plant compounds are also said to be highly effective against prostate cancer and breast cancer.
The small hot peppers that have brought tears to many a person's eyes are known as chilies. The Capsicum annuum var. acuminatum variety, also known as cayenne pepper, is of particular importance. The name of the cayenne pepper comes from the Tupi language, in which it roughly means "hot pepper". However, cayenne pepper is so hot that the pods can be used more as a spice than as a vegetable. Therefore, the pods are dried and powdered.
The capsaicin as a spicy antioxidant
Pure capsaicin is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Since it acts as an antioxidant, it has great physiological importance as a free radical scavenger. The hotter a bell pepper is, the higher the capsaicin content.
The degree of hotness of the paprika
The degree of hotness of peppers is measured using the Scoville scale. The Scoville scale is named after its developer, the pharmacologist Wilbur L. Scoville. The degree of pungency is expressed in SCU (Scoville Units) or SHU (Scoville Heat Units). A bell pepper with no detectable spiciness has a Scoville grade of 0 and pure capsaicin has (depending on the source) up to 16,000,000 Scoville.
Humans can detect spiciness from about 16 Scoville. Hot peppers are at 100-500, jalapeño chili at 2500-8000 and pure cayenne pepper has about 30,000-50,000 Scoville.
Sharpness and endorphin
Capsaicin irritates the nerve endings that normally detect heat. The more capsaicin reaches the nerve endings, the more they become irritated, resulting in a burning sensation. Repeated stimulation of the pain receptors makes them react more and more insensitively. According to Peter Holzer, Professor of Neuropharmacology at the Medical University of Graz, this pain stimulus, like any other pain stimulus, causes the release of endorphins in the brain. The release of the endorphins results in a feeling of happiness, and the so-called pepper-high effect occurs.
Can capsaicin replace Viagra?
Even the Aztecs used cayenne as a means to strengthen potency. This can be explained by the fact that the capsaicin not only creates a hot body sensation, but also stimulates blood circulation. Therefore, it is not surprising that even today in Mexico many dishes are seasoned with cayenne pepper - not only meat and beans, but also fruits and chocolate.
Researchers from the Department of Urology at the University of Ferrara even turned the effects of capsaicin on human genitals into a study ("Intraurethrally infused capsaicin induces penile erection in humans"). In this study, 20 impotent subjects were divided into 4 groups of 5 men each. Depending on the group, either a capsaicin solution or a saline solution was passed through a catheter into the urethra. In the saline solution group, the participants remained calm and relaxed. But in the capsaicin group, erections occurred immediately.
However, if an impotent man does not have capsaicin directed into his urethra but swallows cayenne capsules, the effect does not set in as dramatically because much less capsaicin reaches the desired location. Possibly, in case of incomplete impotence, the lower capsaicin dose is enough to become awake and active again.
Can you lose weight with capsaicin?
Since chili peppers or cayenne pepper lead to a temporary increase in body temperature, the metabolism is stimulated and energy consumption increases. Therefore, it is believed that capsaicin helps to burn excess fat.
In experiments on laboratory mice, it was shown that capsaicin, once in the small intestine, accelerates the burning of brown adipose tissue. With this metabolism, an increased energy demand is indicated. It is also a sign of the breakdown of body fat.
In another study ("Effect of capsaicin on substrate oxidation and weight maintenance after modest body-weight loss in human subjects"), the result was confirmed by researchers at Maastricht University. The study was not conducted with laboratory mice, but with slightly obese humans. The test candidates were given 135 mg of capsaicin per day, thus confirming that capsaicin can help maintain increased fat burning during or after dieting.
However, capsaicin can not only increase energy consumption and thus fat burning, but also acts as an appetite suppressant. The Maastricht scientists conducted another study ("Sensory and gastrointestinal satiety effects of capsaicin on food intake"). They found that the appetite is reduced and that this is accompanied by automatic eating. Accordingly, the slimming effect that occurs with regular consumption of chili is confirmed. For this reason, it is recommended to consume cayenne regularly, because the triangle fat burning - appetite suppressant - increased energy consumption is a good help in losing weight.
Capsaicin and blood sugar
It is obvious that the above-mentioned effects of capsaicin on metabolism also influence blood glucose. In this regard, there is a study from South Korea with mice ("Dietary capsaicin reduces obesity-induced insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis in obese mice fed a high-fat diet"). In this study, the severely obese mice suffered from all the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. In addition to insulin resistance (precursor of type 2 diabetes) and fatty liver, they had circulatory problems and elevated levels of inflammatory messengers.
Capsaicin was administered to these mice. As a result, fasting blood glucose levels and insulin levels decreased. In addition, the glucose tolerance of the cells improved and inflammatory messenger substances decreased. In addition to a recovery of liver values, an increase in fat burning was recorded. Unfortunately, this study did not investigate whether cholesterol levels improved.
Capsaicin as liver protection
At the International Liver Congress™ 2015 in Vienna, scientists reported that the presence of capsaicin can protect the liver from toxic substances. In an experiment, the spread of liver fibrosis was also stopped. Since cholesterol is built up or broken down in the liver, an elevated cholesterol level can also level off with a healthier liver.
Capsaicin and cholesterol
The influence of capsaicin on cholesterol levels has also been studied extensively. The University of Tasmania conducted a study in 2006 and published the results in the British Journal of Nutrition. This randomized cross-over study ("Effects of daily ingestion of chilli on serum lipoprotein oxidation in adult men and women") focused on how regular consumption of chilli affects cholesterol levels. The 27 participants in the study (13 men and 14 women) were given 30 g a day of a freshly prepared mixture of different chili varieties. The proportion of cayenne chili was 55 %. In the control group, spicy food and strong spices had to be strictly avoided.
In the chili group, cholesterol began to oxidize more slowly than in the control group without chili. Furthermore, after 4 weeks, the value of oxidized cholesterol in the group with chili was lower than in the chili-free group. Women in particular seemed to benefit from the diet.
The results suggest that a regular intake of capsaicin can lower cholesterol levels.
Capsaicin as a blood thinning agent
For some diseases, agents must be taken to thin the blood. These drugs are intended to prevent thrombosis. However, some of the drugs cancel out the effect of vitamin K. Since vitamin K is responsible for the incorporation of calcium, osteoporosis may occur as a side effect. Aspirin is also often used as a blood thinner, but this can damage the stomach lining.
In 1985, researchers from China and Taiwan studied the blood-thinning effects of capsaicin ("Antithemostatic and antthrombotic effects of capsaicin in comparison with aspirin and indomethacin"). In this study in mice, capsaicin was found to prevent thrombosis while not interfering with blood clotting. This blood-thinning effect of capsaicin was confirmed in 2009 by Adam Murray of the University of Tasmania in his study "Chili protects against aspirin-induced gastroduodenal mucosal injury in humans."