Cayenne & cancer
Can you please tell me if there is any way that I can reap the reported benefits of Cayenne pepper without reported negative effects, such as stomach cancer?
Benefits of Cayenne
Cayenne pepper has been used as a traditional food spice in many cultures and it contains many health giving properties. It is used medicinally to improve blood circulation, to alleviate digestive discomforts such as reflux and ulcers, is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory in action, reduces cholesterol, increases metabolism and thermogenisis (heat) as well as improving the respiratory system in cases of congestion.
Negative effects of Cayenne
Large quantities of chilli when taken over a long period of time may lead to weakening of the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract as well as causing irritation to the mucus membranes. Over time this continual damage to the lining may cause dysregulation and differentiation of the cells leading to cancer. Capsaicin (a constituent found in cayenne pepper) in excessive quantities may contribute to the development of cancer due to itexpressing mutagenic effects (Chlorophyll may help to inhibit the mutagenicity of capsaicin). However, having said this, the capsaicin component of cayenne causes cell death to some carcinoma cells, mostly adenocarcinoma.
Please see the following references and studies concerning Cayenne:
- Lo, Y. C., et al. Capsaicin-induced cell death in a human gastric adenocarcinoma cell line. World Journal of Gastroenterology 11(40):6254-6257, 2005.
- Department and Graduate Institute of Pharmacology, Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan, China. Capsaicin, a pungent ingredient found in red pepper, has long been used in spices, food additives, and drugs. Cell death induced by the binding of capsaicin was examined in a human gastric adenocarcinoma cell line (AGS cells). By using XTT-based cytotoxicity assay, flow cytometry using the TUNEL method, and quantitation of DNA fragmentation, both cell death and DNA fragmentation were detected in AGS cells treated with capsaicin. By using Western blotting methods, capsaicin reduced the expression of Bcl-2, the antiapoptotic protein, in AGS cells in a concentration-dependent manner. After incubation of AGS cells with capsaicin for 24 h, cell viability decreased significantly in a dose-dependent manner. After incubation of AGS cells with capsaicin for 24 h, apoptotic bodies also significantly increased, and were again correlated with the dose of capsaicin. When the concentration of capsaicin was 1 mmol/L, the amount of DNA fragments also increased. Similar results were also in the lower traces. These results suggest that capsaicin-induced cell death might be via a Bcl-2 sensitive apoptotic pathway. Therefore, capsaicin might induce protection from gastric cancer.