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Chili pepper may calm your gut

Harold Mandel's picture
Chili peppers

Researchers say that chili pepper has calming effects on the gut.


Disorders of the gut are very uncomfortable and costly in terms of lost productivity. Natural remedies for disturbances of the gut are generally preferable to drug therapy due to the lack of concerns about side effects from drugs.

The gut can be calmed with chili pepper and marijuana

The University of Connecticut has come up with the interesting finding that the gut can be calmed with chili pepper. On the surface it does not appear that chili peppers would not actually calm your gut. However when they are consumed they seem to have this effect.

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Researchers from the University of Connecticut observed that mice which were fed chili pepper did not have as much inflammation in their guts. Mice with type 1 diabetes were actually cured by eating chili pepper. At a molecular level they found that the capsaicin in chili peppers was binding to a receptor which is called TRPV1. This receptor is located in specialized cells in the gastrointestinal tract.

When capsaicin binds to it TRPV1 cells are set off to make anandamide. It was discovered that the anandamide caused the immune system to calm down. The researchers discovered they could set off the same gut-calming effects by feeding the anandamide directly to the mice.

The immune system and the brain might communicate with each other

There are also receptors for anandamide in the brain. Pramod Srivastava, who is a professor of immunology and medicine at University of Connecticut School of Medicine, says it seems this offers an explanation of how the immune system and the brain might communicate with each other via the shared common language of anandamide.

This study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers have elucidated upon an interesting mechanism to explain why both chili peppers calm the gut. This finding could lead to new natural therapies for colitis and diabetes. So enjoying some chili peppers could have benefits which go beyond feeling high.