Scorched Mouth, but Healthy Prostate; Researchers Find Eating Hot Peppers Kills Cancer Cells
Byline: Jennifer Harper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Gentlemen, eat your chili peppers. Habanero, jalapeno, Scotch bonnet - those hot but tasty varieties of the capsicum frutescens have multiple health benefits - including the ability to drive prostate cancer cells to kill themselves, researchers announced yesterday.
According to a team from the University of California at Los Angeles and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the hot stuff in peppers - capsaicin - caused 80 percent of active prostate cancer cells growing in mice to "follow the molecular pathways leading to apoptosis," or cell death.
The cancer cells literally committed suicide. What's more, the cancer tumors of the mice treated with a hot pepper extract were one-fifth the size of untreated mice.
"Capsaicin had a profound anti-proliferative effect on human prostate cancer cells in culture," said Dr. Soren Lehmann. "It also dramatically slowed the development of prostate tumors formed by those human cell lines grown in mouse models."
What does this mean in the kitchen? Tex-Mex or curry fans are in luck: the hotter the pepper, the more the benefit. According to Dr. Lehmann, the mice were fed a dose of pepper extract equivalent to what a normal man might consume - 400 milligrams of extract three times a week. That amount translates to three to eight fresh habanero peppers.
Medically speaking, capsaicin inhibited the action of NF-kappa Beta, a substance found in cells that causes them to grow out of control. …