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Study Claims Chili Peppers Reduces Risk of Colorectal Cancer
- Updated: August 2, 2014
Like red hot chili peppers? If not you might want to learn to like them. No not the rock band. A new study claims that chili peppers and curry can reduce the risk of colorectal and bowel tumors significantly, as much as 30%.
The active ingredient in chili peppers, dietary capsaicin, decreases the cancer risk as it triggers chronic activation of an ion channel called TRPV1, which is in abundance in cells lining the intestines of mice.
“These are all potentially harmful stimuli to cells,” Eyal Raz, MD, professor of Medicine and senior author of the study, said in a news release. ” Thus, TRPV1 was quickly described as a molecular ‘pain receptor.’ This can be considered to be its conventional function, which all takes place in the nervous system.
TPRV1 is activated by epidermal growth factor receptor or EGFR, an important driver of cell proliferation in the intestines and the gut.
“A basic level of EGFR activity is required to maintain the normal cell turnover in the gut,” first author Petrus de Jong, MD, of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, said in a news release. “However, if EGFR signaling is left unrestrained, the risk of sporadic tumor development increases.”
Colorectal cancer-prone mice fed capsaicin also experienced a 30 percent longer lifespan than those not given the pepper ingredient.
Colorectal cancer is a malignant tumor arising from the inner wall of the large intestine and the rate at which the disease is affecting younger people is on the rise.
Overall rates have been declining by about 3 percent per year in men and by 2.3 percent per year in women, according to the American Cancer Society. But colorectal cancer rates in people ages 18 to 49 increased 2.1 percent between 1998 and 2007.
The findings are published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.