Canadian researchers have looked at the benefits of red pepper. In the form of crème or directly in the mangeant, capsaicin can have many advantages.
No matter what its name, red pepper always has its (big) effect. The one that can be called abanero, cayenne, jalapeno, poblano or bird warms up strongly in the mouth. The Scoville scale allows heat intensity to be measured. But beyond this purely gustatory aspect, this chili may well have some therapeutic benefits.
In Canada, researchers at the Université de Montréal (UdeM) are interested in a particular compound: capsaicin. Contained in the inner wall of the peppers, it is responsible for the burning sensation in the mouth. In fact, the amount of capsaicin allows the strength of red pepper to be measured.
An anti-pain cream
Researchers at the Université de Montréal point out that capsaicin in the form of a skin cream can relieve certain arthritic pain or pain associated with postherpetic neuralgia – a frequent complication of the area. Bon à savoir: la crème tends to cause a burning sensation, a local color and inflammation during application. “This may seem like paradoxical effectiveness. In a way, we fight fire by fire“, Says Réjean Couture, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of Montreal and a specialist in pain receptors.
Precisément, le Pr Couture explains that the active capsaica of a pain receptor located at the end of the periphery of sensitive skin neurons (at fiber C). Once stimulated by an excess of capsaicin (thanks to the application of the cream), this nociceptor allows the C fiber to get rid of all its neurotransmitters responsible for indicating pain to the brain. “In short, the system is hypersensitized and then temporarily desensitized and temporarily relieved of pain caused by shingles virus or other types of neurogenic inflammation involving C fibers.“, CV le Pr Couture.
Scheduled cell death
It is possible to use this molecule… in administration. In this case, it is then recognized for its antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-biogenic virtues, explains Valérie Marcil, a professor in the Department of Nutrition at the UdeM. “First, capsaicin could influence the life cycle of cancer cells by promoting apoptosis, which is the programmed death of cells. Often, this mechanism no longer works normally in cancer cells. They survive and multiply when destroyed by apoptosis. But capsaicin has the virtue of participating in the destruction of some of them. Then, the molecules would have antioxidant properties, such as increased energy expenditure and satiety.“.
If the promise is interesting, it is not the panacea either, warns the researcher, and further studies are needed to confirm the beneficial effects in humans. “This is how it is for all nutrients. On a daily basis, we do not eat nutrients, we eat food. Also, food is not a medicine. Their power must be relativized, since their real effects are often the result of a combination of factors“.
VIDEO – Health Card – Dr. Christian Recchia: “Dried vegetables are the king of food, they are a myriad of antioxidants”