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Chili Pepper Compound Capsaicin Reduces Hypertension

August 4, 2010: 11:36 AM EST

The active ingredient that gives hot peppers their heat also induces relaxation in blood vessels and reduces hypertension, a new Chinese study has found. The compound capsaicin, one of the more plentiful components of chili peppers, was fed to hypertensive rats for seven months. The compound was found to activate the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel in the lining of blood vessels, which increased the production of nitric oxide. The gas molecule is known to protect blood vessels from inflammation and dysfunction. The researchers concluded that “TRPV1 activation through chronic dietary capsaicin may represent a promising intervention of lifestyle in high-risk populations with hypertension and related vascular disorders.”

Dachun Yang, Zhidan Luo, Shuangtao Ma, Wing Tak Wong, Liqun Ma, Jian Zhong, Hongbo He, Zhigang Zhao, Tingbing Cao, Zhencheng Yan, Daoyan Liusend email, William J. Arendshorst, Yu Huang, Martin Tepel, Zhiming Zhusend, "Activation of TRPV1 by Dietary Capsaicin Improves Endothelium-Dependent Vasorelaxation and Prevents Hypertension", Cell Metabolism, August 04, 2010, © Elsevier Inc
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