When we eat something spicy like a chili food, we often enjoy that warm sensation that it leaves in the mouth. This comes from a chemical that is known as capsaicin. And it’s the part of the chili compound that creates that hot and engrossing feeling on the tongue and taste buds.
However, capsaicin has a lot more to offer the world than just tasting brilliant. In fact, some studies believe that, in the future, we could be using capsaicin to combat problems like lung cancer!
This has been an ongoing study for some time. Now, though, scientists believe that they could use this spicy chemical to help heal our bodies. A recent study looked at the correlation between compound capsaicin and adenocarcinoma – one of the most common forms of lung cancer.
Speaking about this was the co-author of the study, Dr. Jamie Friedman of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, Marshall University.
He said when speaking to Newsweek: “The ability of cancer cells to spread to distant sites—a process called metastasis—is responsible for the deadliness of this disease.
“Once a cancer has spread to secondary locations it is difficult to treat. Any novel therapy to combat metastasis could be of great use for treating lung cancer patients. What is exciting about our study is that capsaicin is a natural compound being used as an anti-metastatic agent.”
Could Help With Other Things, Too
As you can see, then, there is a decent correlation between the idea of stopping the spread of cancer and killing it off entirely. They believe that there is a chance to build on existing information that we could be using capsaicin to stop the spread of issues like melanomas, prostate cancers and other cancers as well.
The challenge, then, is learning how to use capsaicin without the side-effects. It can cause anything from redness of our skin to abdominal cramps and painful bowel movements. As such, the team looked to find capsaicin-similar products, such as capsiate, to see if this would have the same problems and side-effects.
They found in testing that they were able to stop the cancer spells from getting elsewhere – stopping them from reaching the stage of metastasis.
Another alternative to capsaicin, capsiconiate, was ineffective in doing this. They also found that mice who were eating capsaicin were suffering from lower numbers of metastatic cells compared to those who did.
There is obviously much more to be found out about this, not least how effective this could be as a full drug. More studies are needed obviously, but at the moment this is quite an interesting development.
Who would have thought that one of the things that we would love most about chilis is the fact they could play a role in killing off cancer growths?