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Hot Peppers Help Stimulate Hair Growth
(Among their Other Benefits!)


If you love hot peppers it's probably because you enjoy the burst of heat they bring to otherwise bland dishes ... but we've uncovered another, major reason to love these spicy veggies, especially if you're losing your hair: hot peppers may promote hair growth.


Generally speaking, the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. Habañero and Scotch bonnet peppers are two of the hottest chili pepper varieties out there.

Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers (the one that makes them so hot), triggers a cascade of reactions in your body that ultimately lead to an increase in the production of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 is known to play an important role in hair growth.

When researchers from Japan administered capsaicin and isoflavone, a phytoestrogen, to 48 people with alopecia, they got a pleasant surprise.

Among those given capsaicin and isoflavone, nearly 65 percent had a promotion of hair growth after five months, compared to just 12 percent of those given a placebo!

"Such effects of capsaicin and isoflavone might be mediated by sensory neuron activation in the skin," the researchers wrote in the journal Growth Hormone & IGF Research.

But the potential to regrow your hair is just one of many beneficial effects of capsaicin.

Eight Healthy Reasons to Spice Up Your Next Meal

1. Fight Cancer

A study published in Cancer Research found that capsaicin caused cancer cells to commit suicide. The substance caused almost 80 percent of prostate cancer cells to die in mice, and prostate tumors treated with capsaicin were about one-fifth the size of those in untreated mice.

Alive in 5: Raw Gourmet Meals in Minutes

If you want to eat healthy but don't have a lot of time to do it, Alive in 5: Raw Gourmet Meals in Minutes is the ideal raw cookbook for you. It contains meal ideas that will please even the most discerning palettes, including those who love spicy foods (Check out the recipe for Unbelievable Chili on page 100!).

"Capsaicin inhibits the growth of human prostate cancer cells in petri dishes and mice," says lead researcher Dr. H. Phillip Koeffler, director of hematology and oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Further, researchers say capsaicin pills may one day be used to prevent the return of prostate cancer.

2. Provide Pain Relief

A topical form of capsaicin is a recognized treatment for osteoarthritis pain, and may also help alleviate pain from diabetic neuropathy.

Capsaicin is also known to inhibit Substance P, a neuropeptide that is the key transmitter of pain to the brain. Substance P can cause swelling of nerve fibers, which may result in headaches and sinus symptoms. Studies have found that capsaicin both relieves and prevents cluster headaches, migraine headaches and sinus headaches.

3. Prevent Sinusitis and Relieve Congestion

Capsaicin has potent antibacterial properties that fight and prevent chronic sinus infections, or sinusitis. Because it is so hot, it also helps to stimulate secretions that help clear mucus from your nose, thereby relieving nasal congestion. This phytochemical may also help relieve sinus-related allergy symptoms.

chili pepper seeds

About 80 percent of the capsaicin in a chili pepper is in its ribs and seeds.

4. Fight Inflammation

Capsaicin is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It works by inhibiting Substance P, which is associated with inflammatory processes. Capsaicin is being looked at as a potential treatment for arthritis, psoriasis and diabetic neuropathy.

5. Soothe Intestinal Diseases and Fight Ulcers

A Duke University study found that capsaicin may lead to a cure for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The substance can also help to kill bacteria such as H. pylori, which can help prevent stomach ulcers.

6. Burn Fat and Lose Weight

Capsaicin is a thermogenic agent, which means it increases metabolic activity. This, in turn, helps to burn calories and fat. Many popular "fat-burning" supplements on the market contain capsaicin, as the substance may significantly increase metabolic activity for over 20 minutes after it's eaten.

7. Protect Your Heart

Capsaicin may help to protect your heart by reducing cholesterol, triglycerides and platelet aggregation. It may also help the body dissolve fibrin, which is necessary for blood clots to form. Further, cultures around the world that use hot peppers liberally in their meals have significantly lower rates of heart attack and stroke than cultures that do not.

8. Lower Your Risk of Diabetes

A study published in the July 2006 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that the amount of insulin required to lower blood sugar after a meal is reduced if the meal contains chili pepper. These peppers also contain vitamin C, carotenoids and other antioxidants that may help to further improve insulin regulation.

Recommended Reading

Healthy Hair--You've Heard the Phrase 10,000 Times, but What Exactly IS Healthy Hair?

The 6 Top Causes of Dry Hair (4 of Them Potentially Serious)


Growth Hormone & IGF Research Volume 17, Issue 5, October 2007, Pages 408-415

The World's Healthiest Foods

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