Chili pepper is one of the foods that are often eaten. Many people especially like spicy food. I believe that many people who love spicy food are familiar with the types and characteristics of chili. But what do you know about capsaicin?
What is capsaicin?
Chili pepper is one of the foods that are often eaten. About a quarter of people in the world consume chili every day. People living in the tropical inland prefer spicy foods than those living in temperate coastal zones. It is currently believed that eating spicy foods can fight the hot and humid climate by sweating. The main active compounds of peppers include capsaicinoids, such as capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin, which produce a hot sensation when eaten. Bellepine is also a substance naturally present in peppers (it is a non-spicy capsaicin analogue, such as capsaicinol, dihydrocapsaicinol and nordihydrocapsaicinol). Pepper also contains other ingredients, such as glycosides, glycolipids, anthocyanins, trace elements, volatile substances, vitamins and carotenoids. Among them, capsaicin is the most abundant and most active in biological activity.
Capsaicin is the active ingredient of pepper. Studies have shown that it can give people a sense of spiciness, and it has certain effects in reducing fatigue, lowering blood sugar and fat, protecting the stomach, alleviating pain, resisting radiation, and curing cancer. Although the appropriate amount of capsaicin can bring benefits to the human body, excessive intake of it is still harmful to the human body.
Why capsaicin feels spicy and how to relieve spicy sensation?
Spicy sensation is not actually the taste felt by the taste buds, but the burning sensation caused by the stimulation of the tongue. Capsaicin can quickly bind to the vanilloid receptor subtype (VRI) located in sensory neurons in animals. Sensory neurons receive stimulation and transmit nerve impulses to the central nervous system. After the nerve impulse is transmitted to the brain, it is judged that the human body is burned, which is the so-called burning sensation.
When the burning sensation occurs, the central nervous system will issue instructions to promote the release of active factors for pain relief. Because of the chemical properties of capsaicin that are easily soluble in lipids and difficult to dissolve in water, people can dissolve capsaicin in foods rich in oil and reduce the contact between capsaicin and sensory neurons. So as to achieve the purpose of reducing the burning sensation. For example, drinking milk, fruit juice, or eating sweets with high milk content are good first choices for reducing the sensation of spiciness.
The benefits of capsaicin on the human body
Capsaicin can specifically bind to its sensitive receptors in the human body, release signal molecules to act on the transport channels of special cations, and then release specific active substances to reduce fatigue.
If the human body consumes a high-fat diet containing capsaicin, the thermogenesis and fat oxidation induced by the diet will increase significantly, which in turn will increase the energy consumption of the body. Topical application of capsaicin can increase the expression of adiponectin, which in turn leads to a decrease in fat accumulation in adipose tissue and achieves the effect of weight loss. According to reports in the literature, capsaicin can improve glucose tolerance, thereby improving insulin resistance.
Reduce blood sugar and fat
Capsaicin’s hypoglycemic and lipid-lowering effects are mainly accomplished by acting on fat-related cytokines, acting on the intestinal flora and regulating bacteria. Insulin plays an important role in regulating fat content, and several types of monocytes in adipocytokines can affect insulin by triggering inflammation. The role of capsaicin is to reduce these types of monocytes that have an adverse effect on insulin to reduce blood sugar and fat.
The intestinal flora is closely related to the human body’s intake, metabolism and storage of glycolipids. The structure of the intestinal flora is affected by various substances absorbed by the body. Among them, capsaicin can act on the intestinal flora to change its structure and diversity, so as to achieve the purpose of lowering blood sugar and lipids.
Capsaicin reduces the body’s food intake by increasing the concentration of anorexic hormones and reducing the concentration of dietary hormones. Make the body’s energy intake lower than the energy consumed.
Protect the stomach
Gastritis is an inflammation of the gastric mucosa caused by various reasons, which has serious adverse effects on the digestive system. Due to the strong irritation of capsaicin, it is generally believed that it will have an adverse effect on the human intestines, and it is especially not suitable for patients with gastritis. However, current research shows that small doses of capsaicin will not only cause no damage to the stomach, but can also repair the damage to the gastric mucosa.
When the body is stimulated by noxious heat and chemicals, capsaicin can cause nociceptive neurons to be painful due to their sensitive effects. However, continuous action will cause desensitization of the neuron to achieve analgesic effect.
Clinical trials have also proved that 8% capsaicin analgesic tablets are safe and reliable for the treatment of post-herpetic neuralgia, postoperative neuralgia, post-traumatic neuropathy, polyneuropathy, and mixed pain syndrome.
And the drug has significant effects in relieving pain, improving sleep time and quality, reducing dependence on opioids, and anti-epileptic.
A large number of studies have shown that capsaicin has anti-cancer properties, which can inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells, induce their apoptosis, inhibit their metastasis, increase the sensitivity of anti-cancer drugs, and improve the metabolic disorders caused by cancer cells. In the treatment of lung cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer, it has the effect of inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells and inducing their apoptosis.
Overdose is not good for health
Although proper consumption of capsaicin can help human health, long-term and excessive consumption of it can cause harm to the human body. Large doses of capsaicin can cause excessive release of neurotransmitters, leading to severe damage to capsaicin-sensitive afferent nerves and loss of its information afferent function.
Furthermore, a large amount of capsaicin can increase blood pressure and sweat, and can also cause damage to the nervous system and peptic ulcers. In addition, large doses of capsaicin have a certain degree of adverse effects on all aspects of the human body. So although chili pepper is good, you can’t be greedy!