Linda pointed out an article to me that I couldn’t just let slip by. I hope this is something that our chilehead followers will weigh in with their comments. On Dr. Gupta’s CNN blog, he recently published an entry called:
There’s more to hot sauce than just heat
In one part of his article, he refers to a Baltimore doctor by the name of Spiro Antonaides (which we wrote about in a post called Hot Sauce and Weight Loss) who
came up with the idea to down a shot of hot sauce every time he got a craving for something unhealthy, like doughnuts or cookies.
Besides casually dismissing any notion of science to Dr. Antonaides’ book, Dr. Gupta goes one step further. He writes:
But be careful. Capsaicin can also be harmful. Take a lot of it, and you can actually send your body into shock. Research on capsaicin’s bad side is still in the early stages, but scientists have found that it can cause some tough side effects: abnormal blood clotting, blistering of the skin and severe diarrhea. Long-term use can lead to kidney and liver damage, so go easy.
Dr. Gupta, are you out of your friggin’ mind? Since he quoted this like it was some sort of scientific fact, I noticed that at least one other doctor chimed in on his so-called science. This response was:
In your blog you state, “There’s no science to it. It’s really simple behavior modification.” Please take note that behavior modification is a science. Please do not discredit my science and I will not discredit yours.
Posted By Dr. Brad A. Dufrene, Hattiesburg, MS
and this reply:
Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chile peppers, toxic? I just finished digging in PubMed for information on that subject. Please provide citations (I couldn’t find a single paper on the drastic effects you mentioned) or retract the comments.
One paper mentioned transient hypotension in dogs, but not in any way sufficient to provoke syncope or any signs of shock. Nephrotoxic effects? No data. Hepatotoxic effects? The ONE paper I saw indicated a protective effect of capsaicin in the presence of other compounds toxic to the liver.
There were a few indications of epithelial tissue damage with chronic high-dose application in Wistar rats, but again, this isn’t on the level any human would be likely to use.
Posted By LisaM, Sparks NV
Brilliant. Positively brilliant. It inspired me to send my own reply to Dr. Gupta. Let’s see if this ever appears as a comment on his blog:
Your information that capsaicin is harmful is both inaccurate and misleading. Only someone foolish enough to attempt to ingest pure biochemical-grade capsaicin (at 16 million Scoville) could hope to do themselves harm. Otherwise for the rest of us that just eat hot sauce and chile peppers, all you can really hurt is your pride if you eat something too spicy for your tolerance. I’ve search for the other so-called “side effects” of capsaicin, and I can’t find them either. I suggest you get your facts straight as well. Chile peppers, with all their wonderful capsaicin, have been around for thousands of years, and I’ve never run across a documented case of someone suffering any of the effects you mentioned. As a physician myself, I try not to give my patients inaccurate or misleading info. Hopefully, you will review your information and make the changes so you are not doing the same.
Check out the CNN blog entry for yourselves. If you feel motivated, write a comment and tell Dr. Gupta what YOU think about his so-called information.