The Science Behind Hot Sauce Pain

You know hot sauce burns.

And you know that you love it. But have you ever been in the middle of enjoying some Mad Dog 357 products, and stopped to wonder why? If the scientist inside you is thinking about what causes this pleasurable pain, hang with us to get the answers you’re seeking.

If you’re a chili aficionado...

You probably already know a little compound called capsaicin is responsible for these pepper’s heat. Along with the famous capsaicin, chilis also contain a compound known as dihydrocapsaicin. When these compounds touch your tongue, they activate a nerve receptor called TRPV1. In simple terms, nerve receptors are responsible for starting the process of sending a signal to your brain. TRPV1’s job is to let your brain know that your body is experiencing heat, so your body can remove itself from danger.

The thing is, your body isn’t actually burning when you eat hot foods. It just thinks it is due to the activation of TRPV1. Not only does this mean you feel pain, but it also leads your body to respond like it’s actually in danger. This means that your body pumps out endorphins that may give you extra energy and boost your mood.

Scientists have long been interested in this interaction between capsaicin and TRPV1. They believe that it can be studied and used as a way to relieve actual pain, and their research is paying off. Capsaicin creams and patches have been used to relieve pain from diabetes, arthritis, sciatica, and more. Pain relief from a pain-causing neat!

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