A Chilli Gut Feeling

Red hot chilli peppersSufferers of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) apparently have more protein receptors for the active compounds in chilli peppers, according to a study to be published June 11 in the journal Gut (PDF). The findings might one day lead to new treatments for IBS.

IBS is a painful, often chronic, condition which causes cramping abdominal pains, bloating, and bowel problems such as constipation or diarrhea. The new work, carried out at Imperial College London, UK, shows that people with IBS have higher than usual levels of nerve fibres expressing the pain receptor TRPV1, responsible for the experience of the burning sensation when one eats chilli peppers. Finding compounds that block this receptor might lead to novel pharmaceuticals for IBS.

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