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Dr. Chelsie

Hot Sauce: Yummy or a pain in my neck?

Chilies via wiki commons

Hot sauce contains capsaicin, a chemical that bins to the pleasure receptors in our mind and helps us feel pleasure more intensely. This sounds awesome. The problem is, there is some research, being pursued by Whipple and Komisaruk, that suggests that capsaicin is also sticky. It can block those receptor site as well. This then can make us not feel as good later, and thus wanting more and more hot sauce to get the same effect. I could go into minute detail, but I usually get lazed eyes unless you are a nero-geek like me.

So, in a nutshell, when you have pain, if you take a pan medication, it may be one that uses these same receptors in the brain, thus the capsaicin is blocking your pain meds from attaching to the receptor and you are not getting the full effect of the medication. For anyone who takes meds, it is standard to try to use as little of the meds as possible for best outcomes. Balancing the possibility of addiction, habituation (getting use to the medication and thus loosing effects), and needing relief are all part of the pain management game.

The other bad part is that this can also hinder other pleasure-oriented things such as orgasm and even joy. Many of my clients who decrease significantly or stop hot sauce use find that they feel a difference in 1 month and full effects after 3 months. This can mean feeling happier, less pain on the same meds, more joy in the moment, and stronger sensation of orgasms. Now, the research is not all in, but I think it is a good enough idea to hold back a shake or two of the red stuff.