Every day, somewhere in the world, researchers are working with capsaicin in a laboratory setting. These clinical studies may not be as fun as crafting a new, intensely flavored hot chili sauce, but scientists are doing something more important. They’re on a mission to save lives. And although every different research project focuses on a different aspect of the human body and the conditions that affect it, cancer research gets a lot of game time. And so it should.
This time, capsaicin is in the news for slowing the growth of lung cancer tumors. And, this research is undeniably important. In fact, even if you haven’t been affected by cancer in the past, you’ll want to pay attention to this. It reveals something phenomenal about capsaicin that you truly must know.
What Is Capsaicin and How Is It Used in Research?
Capsaicin is an odorless, tasteless compound found in the flesh of chili peppers. You’d know if it was present in any other foods, and you can get a fair idea how much of it there is in hot chili sauces because it’s the chemical that gives chili peppers their burning, stinging, fiery sensation. The more capsaicin a chili pepper has, the hotter it registers on the Scoville Scale.
And, capsaicin isn’t just useful for creating decidedly hot chili sauces, the unique way this compound interacts with our systems has provided humans all kinds of health benefits too. Capsaicin salves are available in pharmacies to help deal with extreme headaches, not to mention other aches and pains. Preliminary tests and findings suggest that capsaicin may hold the key to treating many different diseases.
Reports have flooded the media for a few years about the effect capsaicin has on cancer cells, especially prostate cancers. When capsaicin interacts with cancerous cells in the body, it causes apoptosis, which essentially means that it causes these cells to commit suicide. However, capsaicin has no effect on the neighboring healthy cells. Although more research must be done, this is an incredibly promising development considering the treatments currently available.
Capsaicin Battles Small Cell Lung Cancer
Recently, Pivali Dasgupta, Ph.D., a scientist at Marshall University presented the findings of his team at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) Annual Research Conference. Capsaicin was in the spotlight for the effect it has on small cell lung cancer. According to Dr. Dasgupta’s research, when capsaicin interacts with lung cancer tissue it has two effects.
For a start, capsaicin causes cancer cell apoptosis as has been seen in other laboratory tests. But, it also appears to inhibit the growth of tumors in the first place. Dr. Dasgupta chose to work with this particular type of cancer because it had never been tested with capsaicin in the past. Apparently, this normally fast-growing was just waiting for this interaction. And, this is pretty incredible, but the best news is still coming.
A Drum Roll Please… For Some Exciting News
According to the findings presented at the conference, the tests were conducted with laboratory animals. These animals were already immune-impaired and then subjected to induced tumor growth. And, the laboratory animals that were given capsaicin were not injected with it; they ingested it – just as we would do with delicious chili pepper or hot chili sauce.
The resulting research shows that these animals consumed chilies with hotness equivalent to New Mexican peppers. And this is truly important because it shows that consuming capsaicin can contribute to slowed tumor growth – and the natural apoptosis of existing cancerous cells.
How incredible is that?
And now that you know, isn’t it time you developed a burning love for hot chili sauce? If could just save your life one day… and in the meantime, it’ll give you a wild rush.