Summary: Red chillies do not serve just to increase appetite and fire up your taste buds. They could be better for you than you might think. Chillies could help fight breast cancer after scientists revealed the spicy ingredient causes diseased cells to self-destruct.

Capsaicin, the active component that gives chillies their trademark kick, can switch on specialized channels surrounding cancer cells causing them to die. Really chillies are very chilly to cancer cells.

Mother Nature always offers the best remedy for everything. Vegetables and fruits harbor in itself a myriad of active molecules capable of warding off cancer, which is important in preventing and curing malignant and nonmalignant diseases. Pure Capsaicin of spicy chillies despite causing uncomfortable burning while eating, seems to serve as a cure for a wide range of diseases such as dementia, migraine, sinusitis, diabetes, cancer etc. Also, other studies reveal that Capsaicin also possess anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial properties and hence reverse antibiotic resistance. (Journal PLOS, May 2017, Nutrition & Metabolism2015)

Capsaicin is capable of inducing apoptosis (cell death) and inhibiting cancer cell growth in many different types of cancer, for example, osteosarcoma, colon, and pancreatic cancer cells, while normal cells remained unharmed. When capsaicin reaches a cancer cell, the spicy ingredient attaches itself to the edge of the cell known as the cell membrane and switches on a cell receptor called TRPV1. During experiments significant reduction in cell proliferation after capsaicin stimulation was observed. (Ruhr-University in Bochum, Germany, 2017)

The receptor TRPV1 is a channel that controls what substances such as calcium and sodium go in and out of the cancer cell. When TRPV1 is switched on by capsaicin, the cancer cell is sent into overdrive and starts to self-destruct. (Ruhr-University in Bochum, Germany, 2017)

Indian scientists found that capsaicin binds to the membranes of the cancerous cells. It then pulls the membrane apart, destroying the whole cell in the process in about 80 percent of cases. (Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, 2015)

As more and more cancer cells die, the tumor growth is prevented. This finding was in line with the results of other scientists, who demonstrated a significant decrease in the cell growth rate of MCF-7 breast cancer cells upon capsaicin stimulation. (Lea Weber, writing in the journal Breast Cancer)

Another study revealed that natural substances found in chili peppers kill cancer cells by starving them of oxygen. Researchers tested two compounds in hot chili peppers—capsaicin and a related compound called resiniferatoxin— on human skin cancer cells. Both compounds belong to a group of naturally occurring phytochemicals (phyto plant) called vanilloids. The majority of the skin cancer cells exposed to either of the two substances died. (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Sept. 4, 2002 issue)


COPYRIGHT: This article is property of We Speak Science, a nonprofit institution co-founded by Dr. Detina Zalli (Harvard University) and Dr. Argita Zalli (Imperial College London). The article is written by Vedat Sunguri ( Master of Pharmacy, University of Pristina) .