Cayenne Pepper for Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Chronic Indigestion

Cayenne Pepper for Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Chronic Indigestion
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Chronic red pepper powder ingestion may be an effective treatment for IBS and chronic dyspepsia (indigestion), both of which can arise from food poisoning.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Nearly 50 million Americans come down with food poisoning every year. Over a hundred thousand are hospitalized, and thousands die every year just because of something they ate. If they had ordered something different, or chosen something else at the grocery store, they or their loved one would be alive today. But, in the vast majority of cases, food poisoning cases manifest as little more than a case of “stomach flu”—a few days of pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and then, it’s gone. So, what’s the big deal?

Well, as described in this recent editorial in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, in many cases, that acute infection can trigger a chronic “postinfectious functional gastrointestinal disorder” that can last for years, or even forever—the two most common of which are irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia, which means chronic indigestion.

Up to 10% of people stricken with Salmonella, or E. coli, or Campylobacter are left with irritable bowel syndrome. The thought is that the “transitory inflammation during the infection could lead to subtle but permanent changes in the structure and function of the digestive system,” causing the lining of the gut to become hypersensitized.

How do they determine if someone’s rectum is hypersensitive, though? Innovative Japanese researchers developed a device to deliver “repetitive painful rectal distention”— basically, a half-quart balloon hooked up to a fancy bicycle pump that was lubricated with olive oil, inserted, and inflated until they couldn’t stand the pain anymore. And, those with irritable bowel had significantly lower pain threshold; significantly less “rectal compliance.”

Healthy people felt the pain where you’d expect to feel the pain with, effectively, a balloon animal in your behind. But, many with IBS also experienced abdominal pain with the same procedure, indicating a hypersensitivity of the entire gut wall. Well, if that’s the problem, how can we desensitize the gut?

We learned in the cluster headache story about the ability of hot pepper compounds to deplete pain fibers of substance P—a neurotransmitter the body uses to transmit pain.

It’s bad enough to have to rub hot peppers up your nose; where do you have to stick them for irritable bowel? Thankfully, researchers chose the oral route.

Conclusions: The results of this preliminary study indicate that the chronic administration of red pepper powder in IBS patients with enteric-coated pills was significantly more effective than placebo in decreasing the intensity of abdominal pain and bloating and was considered by the patients more effective than placebo,…[suggesting] a novel way of dealing with this frequent and distressing functional disease….”

Though after the 48 million cases of annual food poisoning, 10% may end up with IBS, even more may end up with chronic dyspepsia—chronic indigestion. How do peppers work against that? Well, you can’t use whole peppers, because then, you couldn’t double blind a fake placebo pepper. But, if you give capsules of red pepper powder to folks suffering from chronic indigestion—about one-and-a-half teaspoons’ a day worth—and compare to placebo, within a month, their overall symptoms dropped, including their stomach pain, and bloated feelings. Less nausea, too.

The frequently prescribed drug Propulsid (cisapride) worked almost as good as the red pepper powder, and was considered generally well tolerated—that is, until it killed you. Propulsid was pulled from the market after causing dozens of deaths.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

 

Images thanks to Pictogram-free. Thanks to Ellen Reid and Shane Barrett for their Keynote help.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Nearly 50 million Americans come down with food poisoning every year. Over a hundred thousand are hospitalized, and thousands die every year just because of something they ate. If they had ordered something different, or chosen something else at the grocery store, they or their loved one would be alive today. But, in the vast majority of cases, food poisoning cases manifest as little more than a case of “stomach flu”—a few days of pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and then, it’s gone. So, what’s the big deal?

Well, as described in this recent editorial in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, in many cases, that acute infection can trigger a chronic “postinfectious functional gastrointestinal disorder” that can last for years, or even forever—the two most common of which are irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia, which means chronic indigestion.

Up to 10% of people stricken with Salmonella, or E. coli, or Campylobacter are left with irritable bowel syndrome. The thought is that the “transitory inflammation during the infection could lead to subtle but permanent changes in the structure and function of the digestive system,” causing the lining of the gut to become hypersensitized.

How do they determine if someone’s rectum is hypersensitive, though? Innovative Japanese researchers developed a device to deliver “repetitive painful rectal distention”— basically, a half-quart balloon hooked up to a fancy bicycle pump that was lubricated with olive oil, inserted, and inflated until they couldn’t stand the pain anymore. And, those with irritable bowel had significantly lower pain threshold; significantly less “rectal compliance.”

Healthy people felt the pain where you’d expect to feel the pain with, effectively, a balloon animal in your behind. But, many with IBS also experienced abdominal pain with the same procedure, indicating a hypersensitivity of the entire gut wall. Well, if that’s the problem, how can we desensitize the gut?

We learned in the cluster headache story about the ability of hot pepper compounds to deplete pain fibers of substance P—a neurotransmitter the body uses to transmit pain.

It’s bad enough to have to rub hot peppers up your nose; where do you have to stick them for irritable bowel? Thankfully, researchers chose the oral route.

Conclusions: The results of this preliminary study indicate that the chronic administration of red pepper powder in IBS patients with enteric-coated pills was significantly more effective than placebo in decreasing the intensity of abdominal pain and bloating and was considered by the patients more effective than placebo,…[suggesting] a novel way of dealing with this frequent and distressing functional disease….”

Though after the 48 million cases of annual food poisoning, 10% may end up with IBS, even more may end up with chronic dyspepsia—chronic indigestion. How do peppers work against that? Well, you can’t use whole peppers, because then, you couldn’t double blind a fake placebo pepper. But, if you give capsules of red pepper powder to folks suffering from chronic indigestion—about one-and-a-half teaspoons’ a day worth—and compare to placebo, within a month, their overall symptoms dropped, including their stomach pain, and bloated feelings. Less nausea, too.

The frequently prescribed drug Propulsid (cisapride) worked almost as good as the red pepper powder, and was considered generally well tolerated—that is, until it killed you. Propulsid was pulled from the market after causing dozens of deaths.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

 

Images thanks to Pictogram-free. Thanks to Ellen Reid and Shane Barrett for their Keynote help.

Nota del Doctor

Check out Hot Sauce in the Nose for Cluster Headaches? to learn how hot pepper compounds work by depleting pain fibers of their substance P.

I’ve covered some of the long-term consequences of food poisoning in videos such as Poultry & Paralysis, Fecal Bacteria Survey, and Amnesic Seafood Poisoning. The meat industry is all over it, though! Check out Viral Meat Spray and Maggot Meat Spray.

Why is it legal to sell meat tainted with our leading foodborne killer? Find out in Salmonella in Chicken & Turkey: Deadly but Not Illegal.

I also explore another natural treatment for IBS in Kiwi Fruit for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

For further context, check out my associated blog post: Cayenne for Irritable Bowel

2018 Update: I just published two new videos that may be of interest: Are Acid-Blocking Drugs Safe? and The Best Diet for Upset Stomach.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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