IBS and chili peppers


Researchers at Imperial College have shown that people with IBS have higher than usual levels of nerve fibres expressing the pain receptor TRPV1, responsible for causing a burning sensation when people eat chilli peppers. They hope that doctors could treat the pain that people with IBS experience by targeting and blocking this receptor.

The researchers believe their findings may explain why some people's IBS symptoms worsen after eating spicy food. They also suggest that the presence of more nerve fibres expressing the TRPV1 pain receptors might mean that people with IBS are more susceptible to pain.

Up to 50 pharmaceutical and biotech companies world-wide are already developing drugs that block the chilli pepper receptor TRPV1. These may offer IBS sufferers an alternative to painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen which offer little relief and can have serious side effects.

Read more
Akbar et al. Increased capsaicin receptor TRPV1... Gut, 2008; DOI: 10.1136/gut.2007.138982


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