Chili Peppers Reduce Gut Inflammation
Many people think hot chilies would irritate the gut lining, but research shows they do the exact opposite.
According to some fascinating new research, capsaicin (the substance that gives chili peppers their heat) binds with a receptor in the gut that produces a compound called anandamide. This is actually chemically similar to the compounds in marijuana. In experiments done on mice, capsaicin-stimulated anandamide production led to a reduction in intestinal inflammation. Type 1 diabetes was even reversed in the mice!
According to Pramod Srivastava, study co-author, chili peppers may be used a part of the treatment for colitis and type 1 diabetes. The researchers noted that anandamide is chemically very similar to the compounds present in marijuana, and it also binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. This means that edible marijuana likely reduces gut inflammation. It also highlights the fascinating relationship between the gut, the immune system, and the brain.
Many people with intestinal inflammation avoid hot chilies because they fear they might aggravate their condition. This research shows this is probably not the case for the majority. It is important to remember though that chilies are in the nightshade family of vegetables, and some people with autoimmune disease react adversely to them. Other members of the nightshade family are tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum and potatoes.
Intestinal inflammation is present in a wide range of health conditions; not just colitis and type 1 diabetes. Any condition that features excessive inflammation, such as pain, allergies and autoimmune disease. I recommend all my patients with these conditions remove gluten, dairy products and sugar from their diet, and use a glutamine powder. You can read about my recommendations in more detail in my book Healing Autoimmune Disease: A plan to heal your immune system and reduce inflammation.