Chile Pepper vs. Cancer: The Miracle of Capsaicin
Many years ago, there was an incessant search in laboratories for substances that would fight cancer. However, until now, none had firmly demonstrated such capacity from the scientific medical point of view (empirical evidence existing in many places of the efficacy of certain natural treatments is another thing).
But that was until now. Recently, the presence of some substances or plants have been being confirmed, (like peppers or graviola), as being proving themselves effective to slow and also cure this terrible disease. In many different studies, a substance found in chile peppers proved to be anticarcinogenic in cancerous human lung and pancreas cell cultures. Additionally, it has been proved that a dose of it causes death of the cancerous cells and does not have said effect on normal cells.
The substance we will be looking at today is found in the famous chile peppers, as they are known. We are referring to that variety of peppers that contains a special bite, that is, spicy quality, and whose anticarcinogenic potiential is due to capsaicin, a substance that is “suicide” for cancerous cells. Its action can not only slow, but also erradicate this disease.
What Is Capsaicin and How Does It Work?
Thoughout this article, we are going to further develop the explanation of the way in which we can use foods that contain capsaicin, and how we should incorporate them into our diet in sufficient quantities to prevent or cure cancer.
Capsaicin’s Anticarcinogenic Effect
Capsaicin belongs to a family of compounds called vanilloids. These compounds cause death in carcinogenic cells. They so by gluing themselves to, literally, the proteins of some very necessary organelles of the cell (the mitochondria) and killing them.
But the most impressive thing is that, not only do they kill cancerous cells, they also do not harm the cells surrounding the tumor which are healthy or normal.
The difference between the mitochondria of cancerous cells and healthy ones is that they have a completely different biochemistry. It is one of the fundamental reasons for the selective action of the capsaicin. This susceptibility is innate and selective for cancerous cells.
Consequently, consuming this substance found in high doses in Japanese peppers, chiles, and other types of hot peppers, is highly recommended to start reinforcing our systems for the prevention of cancer in general. Since these substances (vanilloids), among which capsaicin is included, can be found in many foods, pharmaceutical predictions think that some medicine will be found quickly and at low cost. But in the meantime, UK Cancer Research recommends reducing the risk of cancer by a healthy and balanced diet, with abundant fruits and vegetables.
How to Use Chile Pepper to Prevent Cancer
Capaicin, the main spice of chiles, leads prostate cancer tumor cells to their self-destruction. According to a recent study conducted at California University, (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center), it is proved that this component, present in high concentrations in chile peppers, activates programmed cell death, or suicidal cell death (also called apoptosis), in 80% of the population of said cells with prostate cancer, reducing the size of those tumors to one fifth the size of the untreated tumors.
To achieve the desired anticarcinogenic effect, according to those studies, a person weighing 90 kg should take up to 400 mg of capsaicin, three times a week. That means the consumption of between three and eight fresh habaneros. WARNING: These peppers contain a large amount of capsaicin, and are estimated to have more than 300,000 units, according to the Scoville Heat Scale, which is to say, they are very spicy, and your palate may not tolerate the heat. To give you an idea, other varieties of peppers, such as the jalapeño, contain only between 2,500 and 8,000 Scoville units.
And now, we will explain in a little more detail the mechanism by which the chile pepper inhibits or kills cancer:
Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is a normal phenomenon that occurs in the tissues and organs of our bodies, thanks to which we have a sort of equilibrium among new cells, older cells, and cells that are already deteriorating. However, cancerous cells become somewhat immortal, as they evade the molecular mechanisms of apoptosis.
Scientists observed that capsaicin inhibited the activity of a molecular mechanism (NF-kappa beta) that is altered in cancerous cells that, in normal conditions, participates in apoptosis, or cell death, in many kinds of cells. The defective regulation of the NF–κB due to the cancerous cells is one of the reasons for the causation of the continual survival of the cells.
The spicy component of those chiles also reduced the formation of a protein that is frequently produced in large quantities by the prostate tumors and can signal the presence of a tumor in men. This protein is known as prostate specific antigen (PSA).
Diet or Menu for Fighting Cancer
In view of the marvelous properties of spicy foods containing capsaicin, if we want to help fight or prevent cancer, we need to incorporate as many foods containing capsaicin as possible into our diet, that is, peppers and ginger. It should be understood that the higher the spiciness of a pepper, chile, or cayenne pepper, the higher concentration of capsaicin it has. We should not forget that it is ideal that said food items be eaten raw, as all the beneficial properties are conserved in that way.
- Chile peppers: are the most potent known source of capsaicin, and some even rank higher on the Scoville scale, like jalapeños or habaneros.
- Tabasco: this commercial sauce is made from tabasco peppers from the Mexican state bearing the same name and by adding vinegar and salt. A few drops on your food, a party on your tongue.
- Cumin: although it is much less spicy than the aforementioned ones, it contains capsaicin and can add a great flavor to legumes, as well as being the main ingredient in Mojo Canario sauce.
- Curry: one of the main ingredients is tumeric, which gives it the yellow color and contains small amounts of capsaicin.
Capsaicin is reinforced by caffein in a synergetic form, which is to say, the combination of the two helps more actively prevent and cure cancer and also helps burn fat. If the idea of soaking jalapeños in your coffee for breakfast does not appeal to you, you can take capsaicin and caffeine in pills and save your tongue the burn, but you will not save yourself from sweating.