5 Benefits of Capsaicin (Chili Pepper) in Fibromyalgia (Science Backed)

Fibromyalgia is a condition that manifests in the form of pain in the muscles of the entire body. It activates centers of the brain and increases pain sensitivity that causes an increased feeling of pain.

The degree of pain varies from person to person. Apart from the pain they also experience muscle stiffness. The exact cause of this condition is not known, but it can occur due to infection and through genetic influence in the development.

Treatment of fibromyalgia includes medicines, exercise therapy, massage therapy, and anxiety management. Diet control is also an important non-medicinal therapy in the management of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia sufferers also experience fatigue, mood disorders, sleep problems, and depression. Supportive therapy for these problems forms a part of disease management as well.

The type of food can increase or decrease pain in fibromyalgia patients. Before we discuss the benefits of capsaicin in fibromyalgia let us go through some basic information about capsaicin.

What is Capsaicin?

Capsaicin is the active ingredient present in chili pepper that is responsible for the spicy taste. It is obtained from the fruits of the capsicum family.

Capsicum family contains 22 different species that can be used to obtain capsaicin. Each different species has a different percentage of capsaicin.

Capsicum family fruits have been used since olden times to cure digestive problems, diarrhea, arthritis, muscle cramps, toothache and other inflammatory disorders.

Capsaicin is extracted from peppers by chemical method of extraction by using alcohol as a solvent. The solvent mixed with alcohol is then separated by distillation.

Capsaicin is well-known for its analgesic properties. It has beneficial effects on the heart, lungs and urinary systems. Recent research data has identified the anti-cancer, anti-obesity, antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-viral benefits of capsaicin.

Benefits of Capsaicin in Fibromyalgia

Benefits of capsaicin in fibromyalgia are mainly due to its effect of reducing pain in the body. Research strongly establishes this effect through numerous trials in patients. It also reduces inflammation in the fibromyalgia. Anti-obesity property of capsaicin can help patients in reducing weight. It further benefits fibromyalgia through promoting detoxification as well as alleviating symptoms like fatigue and depression.

Capsaicin in Fibromyalgia

1. Capsaicin is Excellent in Relieving Muscle Pain

Capsicum fruits have been long used to relieve pain. Capsaicin is the extract that is responsible for this benefit.

Capsaicin exerts its pain-reducing effects by suppressing a chemical called ‘substance P’, that is responsible for transmitting pain signals to the brain.

A systematic review of 8 human trials ascertained that topical capsaicin reduced the symptoms of fibromyalgia. It was effective in reducing muscle pain, stiffness, and tenderness. This effect ultimately led to improving the quality of life of patients.

A trial in 100 fibromyalgia patients confirmed that using capsaicin can reduce muscle pain. The research study also claims that capsaicin works by affecting different regions in the pain pathway to exert an analgesic effect.

What does this mean?
Capsaicin is proven to be a good topical analgesic that reduces muscle pain, stiffness, and tenderness in fibromyalgia patients.

2. Capsaicin Exerts Anti-Obesity Effects that Benefit Fibromyalgia

Obesity is more prevalent among fibromyalgia patients and it is also responsible for an increased amount of pain in the body.

Anti-obesity effect of capsaicin is a well-studied effect. Numerous human trials have been conducted to establish the anti-obesity effect. Capsaicin is also studied through animal studies to validate its weight reducing properties.

Capsaicin exerts an anti-obesity effect by the following mechanisms:

  • Capsaicin reduces the fat tissue accumulation in the body by increasing energy expenditure and producing heat
  • It decreases appetite by increasing satiety (feeling of fullness).
  • It accelerates the lipid metabolism (breakdown of fat tissues)
  • Inhibiting the enzymes that break down food resulting in delayed absorption

What does this mean?
Capsaicin is an excellent natural substance that can help fibromyalgia patients reduce weight. It has been extensively studied and proven to be highly effective anti-obesity agent.

3. Capsaicin Promotes Detoxification in Fibromyalgia

Antioxidants are compounds that protect your body from the toxin in the body. Low antioxidant level leads to a condition called as ‘oxidative stress’.

Fibromyalgia patients have a lower antioxidant concentration in the body this can lead to oxidative stress.

Detoxification is an essential step in the management.

Capsaicin is a substance that has antioxidant properties. It imparts a protective effect to the liver by increasing antioxidants that eases the livers action of detoxification.

Antioxidant nature of capsaicin reduced inflammation by preventing the formation of inflammatory chemicals in the body.

Therefore, antioxidant effect of capsaicin can also benefit fibromyalgia patients by reducing the oxidative stress in the body.

What does this mean?
Antioxidant effect of capsaicin can be useful in managing fibromyalgia by promoting detoxification and reducing oxidative stress in the body.

4. Capsaicin Reduces Inflammation in Fibromyalgia

Previously, fibromyalgia was not thought to involve any inflammation but recently research evidence has emerged which shows a possibility of inflammation in fibromyalgia. There exists inflammation of in the body as well as in the brain nerve cells

Capsaicin reduces the chemicals called as ‘interleukins’ which bring about inflammation in the body. Capsaicin is capable of reducing inflammation in the nerve cells which can benefit in pain reduction diseases.

Anti-inflammatory effect of capsaicin is proven with the help of numerous animal research. This anti-inflammatory effect was also demonstrated to be comparable with the drug diclofenac.

What does this mean?
Capsaicin can reduce the inflammation that occurs in fibromyalgia. However, more human studies are required to confirm this property.

5. Capsaicin Can Reduce Fatigue and Depression in Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia patients often experience fatigue and depression as a symptom which requires some needs to be managed by therapy.

Capsaicin acts on a receptor in the body which lead to improved mood and anti-depression effects. It reduced fatigue by increasing the energy expenditure in the body.

Capsaicin has undergone some preliminary studies that suggested its capacity in reducing depression and fatigue.

This effect can be vital in the supportive management of fibromyalgia patients. Although, human studies and long-term effects of this property needs to be established.

What does this mean?
Fibromyalgia is associated with fatigue as well as depression. Capsaicin has a potential to reduce the depression and fatigue which is yet to be ascertained through human studies.

Dosage

Capsaicin is available in the form of creams, liquid, and patches to be used as an analgesic. It is available in low, medium and high i.e., 0.025%, 0.075% and 0.25%.

Use low strength at first then if there is no effective use medium to higher strengths. Apply the cream three times in a day.

Oral consumption dose of capsaicin ranges from 6mg-135mg. However, oral intake dosage is not yet well established. It is best to obtain a physician’s advice prior to oral intake.

Precautions

It is important to wash your hands before and after applying capsaicin topically as it can cause burning sensations.

Topical capsaicin side effects are burning, erythema, stinging and itching.

Be careful to avoid contact of capsaicin with your eye. Avoid consuming too much of capsaicin s it can lead to stomach ulcers.

Oral intake of capsaicin may cause gastric irritation in some patients. The oral dose varies across person and region.

Some people may tolerate larger doses due to habituation od spicy food while others may not.

High dose intake of capsaicin can cause peptic ulcers, kidney damage, and cancer. Therefore, it is essential to determine an oral dose with your physician depending on your capacity.

Do not take capsaicin if you have any stomach related diseases. Capsaicin may interact with your regular medication like blood coagulating drugs. Therefore, it is imperative t sought physician’s advice before taking capsaicin with your medication.

Conclusion

Capsaicin is an extract from chili pepper that is responsible for its pungent taste. It is found to be great for pain relief.

Fibromyalgia which causes muscle pain in the body can be benefited by using capsaicin topically. It can also reduce inflammation in the body.

Capsaicin is an excellent antioxidant and anti-obesity agent that further makes capsaicin a good remedy in fibromyalgia patients.

Capsaicin is also passed preliminary research where it is found to be effective in reducing depression and fatigue. However, human studies are still awaited in this matter.

Ceratin minor precaution must be taken prior to using capsaicin in patients on regular medication and concomitant diseases.

Apart from which capsaicin is a natural, research-proven remedy for the management of fibromyalgia symptoms that are generally safe, effective and convenient for patients.

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