Chilli Peppers Reduce Gut Inflammation In Type 1 Diabetes

| May 15, 2017

Scientists have thought for some time that there must be a connection between gut health and type 1 diabetes (T1D). As I mentioned in earlier posts here and here, beneficial bacteria in the gut (known as the microbiome) appear to protect against the condition, while the frequent use of antibiotics increases the risk.

Earlier this year, Italian researchers found that people with T1D have a characteristic kind of inflammation in their digestive tract and a distinctive combination of gut bacteria.1 They saw more inflammation of the gut’s mucous membrane, linked to 10 specific genes, in those with T1D than in people with coeliac disease (an autoimmune disease triggered by wheat gluten) and healthy control subjects. T1D patients also had a distinct microbiome that was different from that of the other two groups.

In related research, US scientists have now found that chilli peppers could help to fight the gut inflammation that occurs in type 1 diabetes and may even offer a treatment for the autoimmune condition itself. A study team at the University of Connecticut tested the effects of the chilli pepper compound capsaicin on mouse models of T1D, and found that it reversed the condition.2

Capsaicin, which is what makes chillies ‘hot’, triggers production of a body compound called anandamide, which helps to switch off inflammation. Anandamide is one of a group of body chemicals called endocannabinoids, which are like those found in cannabis plants. Endocannabinoids seem to play a role in regulating the immune system and may help to prevent or treat autoimmune diseases, including T1D.

So, contrary to what you might think, hot curries and Tex-Mex dishes don’t irritate the gut but instead spark brain chemicals that calm inflammation and tone down an overexcited immune system – which is good news for people with T1D and other autoimmune disorders.

In my next blog post, I tell you how yet another ‘article of faith’ of the medical establishment appears to be no more than a mirage. Like the discredited theory that dietary fat causes heart disease, the idea that salt intake raises blood pressure is looking shaky in the light of recent research.

Wishing you the best of health,

Martin Hum
PhD DHD Nutritionist
for Real Diabetes Truth

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