Chilli a hot prospect as medication

HILLI could one day replace aspirin for the prevention and treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to University of Tasmania scientists who are looking at the way the spicy fruit affects the blood.A research fellow at the university’s school of life sciences, Kiran Ahuja, said the two active ingredients in chilli – capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin – have the potential to lower blood glucose and insulin levels, reduce the formation of fatty deposits in artery walls and prevent blood clots.Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in developed countries.”We have tested capsaicin and that shows an effect on platelet aggregation, or the clotting of blood,” Dr Ahuja said.She said her research, which used chilli paste to minimise seasonal or batch variation, had not come across any side effects of chilli. In fact some studies had suggested chilli actually reduced the damage caused by aspirin.When it came to early-stage diabetes, when the pancreas overproduced insulin in an attempt to help the body absorb glucose, Dr Ahuja’s research suggested consuming chilli resulted in the body producing less insulin, while the glucose was still used efficiently.”It may actually delay or prevent the onset of diabetes,” she said.But for those wondering just how much chilli to add to their stir fry, Dr Ahuja said that’s still to be established.”It depends on how hot the chilli is, as the hotter it is, the more capsaicin it has.”Dr Ahuja, who has been working in this research area since 2003, has received $16,400 in funding from the University of Tasmania to continue the project, which will include comparing the effectiveness of chilli and aspirin on blood thinning.She also hopes to establish what amount of chilli would have the same effect on blood clotting as a standard dose of aspirin. The work is due to be completed by late next year.

Nanjing Night Net

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