Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chili peppers may come with blood pressure benefits

Date:
August 4, 2010
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
For those with high blood pressure, chili peppers might be just what the doctor ordered, according to a new study. While the active ingredient that gives the peppers their heat -- a compound known as capsaicin -- might set your mouth on fire, it also leads blood vessels to relax, the research in hypertensive rats shows.

Chili peppers.
Credit: iStockphoto/Alan G. Mather

For those with high blood pressure, chili peppers might be just what the doctor ordered, according to a study reported in the August issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication. While the active ingredient that gives the peppers their heat -- a compound known as capsaicin -- might set your mouth on fire, it also leads blood vessels to relax, the research in hypertensive rats shows.

"We found that long-term dietary consumption of capsaicin, one of the most abundant components in chili peppers, could reduce blood pressure in genetically hypertensive rats," said Zhiming Zhu of Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China.

Those effects depend on the chronic activation of something called the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel found in the lining of blood vessels. Activation of the channel leads to an increase in production of nitric oxide, a gaseous molecule known to protect blood vessels against inflammation and dysfunction, Zhu explained.

The study isn't the first to look for a molecular link between capsaicin and lower blood pressure. However, earlier studies were based on acute or short-term exposure to the chemical, with some conflicting results. Zhu says their study is the first to examine the effects of long-term treatment with capsaicin in rats with high blood pressure.

The findings in rats should be confirmed in humans through epidemiological analysis, the researchers said. In fact, there were already some clues: the prevalence of hypertension is over 20% in Northeastern China compared to 10-14% in Southwestern China, including Sichuan, Guozhuo, Yunnan, Hunan, and Chongqing, where Zhu is from.

"People in these regions like to eat hot and spicy foods with a lot of chili peppers," Zhu says. "For example, a very famous local food in my hometown, Chongqing, is the spicy hot pot."

It isn't yet clear just how many capsaicin-containing chili peppers a day you'd have to eat to "keep the doctor away," although that's a question that should now be examined in greater detail, Zhu says.

For those who can't tolerate spicy foods, there might still be hope. Zhu notes the existence of a mild Japanese pepper, which contains a compound called capsinoid that is closely related to capsaicin.

"Limited studies show that these capsinoids produce effects similar to capsaicin," Zhu says. "I believe that some people can adopt this sweet pepper."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dachun Yang, Zhidan Luo, Shuangtao Ma, Wing Tak Wong, Liqun Ma, Jian Zhong, Hongbo He, Zhigang Zhao, Tingbing Cao, Zhencheng Yan, Daoyan Liu, William J. Arendshorst, Yu Huang, Martin Tepel, Zhiming Zhu. Activation of TRPV1 by Dietary Capsaicin Improves Endothelium-Dependent Vasorelaxation and Prevents Hypertension. Cell Metabolism, 2010; 12 (2): 130-141 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2010.05.015

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Chili peppers may come with blood pressure benefits." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100803132734.htm>.
Cell Press. (2010, August 4). Chili peppers may come with blood pressure benefits. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100803132734.htm
Cell Press. "Chili peppers may come with blood pressure benefits." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100803132734.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins