Supplementation Possibly Helpful
) and other hot peppers used in chili and various dishes contain as their "hot" ingredient capsaicin, a substance that is thought to be stomach-protective.
For years, people have believed that spicy foods were a cause of stomach ulcers. However, preliminary evidence suggests that cayenne peppers might actually help protect the stomach against ulcers caused by aspirin and possibly other NSAIDs.
In a study involving 18 healthy human volunteers, one group received chili powder, water, and aspirin; the control group received only water and aspirin.
Chili powder was found to significantly protect the stomach against damage from aspirin, a known stomach irritant. It was suggested that this protective effect might result from capsaicin-induced stimulation of blood flow in the lining of the stomach.
Further support for this theory comes from a study in rats, which found that capsaicin protected the stomach against damage caused by aspirin, ethanol (drinking alcohol), and acid.
Increasing the dose of capsaicin brought even greater benefit, as did increasing the time between giving capsaicin and the other agents. An earlier study in rats found that capsaicin exerted similar protection against aspirin damage.
Some researchers have used this data to advocate chili or capsaicin as treatment for peptic ulcer disease,
but check with your doctor before trying to self-treat this serious condition.