Time to Pump Some Iron

Chili peppers contain all sorts of vitamins and antioxidants alongside the fiery compound, capsaicin. The fight against free radicals is all the rage at the moment, but it’s really the heat-delivering capsaicin that works wonders inside your body every time you enjoy chili peppers or hot sauces with your meals.

Capsaicin packs a punch; it affects your brain as well as your stomach (though you should know by now that this compound has nothing to do with your taste buds). And, the medical and scientific communities can’t help but uncover new ways that this fire affects our health.

Recently, a group of researchers at the University Center for Biomedical Research (CUIB) at the University of Colima (UCOL) in Mexico discovered a link between capsaicin, iron, and the development of diabetes.

In fairness, the research is less of a discovery as it was corroboration of previous scientific evidence. But, that doesn’t make it any less valid, even if we can’t translate the results from mice to humans… yet.

The latest findings suggest that the capsaicin can help control Hemochromatosis in the body – and this, in turn, affects the body in any number of ways – including the development of diabetes.

What Is Hemochromatosis?

Most people are familiar with the condition of anemia, whereby there is not enough iron in the blood. Hemochromatosis is roughly the opposite of anemia; it’s when there is too much iron in the blood.

The body needs some iron in the blood to create the protein, hemoglobin, as it carried oxygen through red blood cells and distributes it through the tissues and muscles in the body. When you don’t have enough hemoglobin, your body doesn’t receive the oxygen it needs to work effectively. Too much, and you’ll find yourself at risk for thrombosis and heart attacks. Interestingly, it can also lead to Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver due to iron accumulation) and diabetes resulting from a decrease in insulin production from iron deposits in the liver.

What’s Capsaicin Got to Do with It?

It turns out that the compound that provides the good burn can actually reduce hemoglobin, along with triglycerides and cholesterol. It’s the sort of natural treatment for potentially life-threatening conditions that medical researchers can’t help but become excited about. When you consider the impact it could have on the development of liver conditions and diabetes, it’s quite outstanding.

Now, the study that demonstrates the link and the effects of capsaicin on Hemochromatosis was performed on laboratory animals predisposed to the condition. So, it’s not as if you can self-diagnose your condition or treat it with capsaicin. But, it does mean that someday soon, we may just see capsaicin in more medicines… and on more tables across the country.

 


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