Diabetes & Cayenne Pepper

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Diabetes is a serious illness affecting 23.6 million people in the United States, according to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse as of 2011. No cure for diabetes has been discovered but treatment options are available. Prescription medication and lifestyle changes are the most common treatment regimen for people diagnosed with diabetes. Cayenne pepper has many health benefits and research suggests that it might help reduce or control diabetes.


Diabetes is a metabolic disorder. When food is consumed it is converted into glucose, which is used for energy. Insulin is produced by the pancreas to move the glucose from the blood stream into cells where it is needed for growth and energy. In healthy humans, the right amount of insulin is created by the pancreas. However, people with diabetes have too little or no insulin. Without insulin, the glucose will build up and exit the body through urine, leaving a diabetic with no energy.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper, or red pepper, is made from the red chili peppers. Dried pods of chili peppers are used as a seasoning to add spice and taste to a number of dishes. Chili peppers contain capsaicin, which potentially has many health benefits. Proponents have suggested that capsaicin helps increase metabolism, acts as an anti-inflammatory, relieves headaches and acts as an antibacterial agent. Some research has also suggested that capsaicin might help prevent certain types of cancer.

Cayenne Pepper and Diabetes

Cayenne and other chili powder has been a traditional treatment for diabetes for years. A 2006 Toronto study published in the journal “Cell” found that mice injected with capsaicin were cured of type 1 diabetes. The researchers who led the study have suggested that type 1 diabetes, a more serious condition that begins in childhood, is a result of the body’s immune system attacking itself. In the Toronto study, injected capsaicin killed the pancreatic pain nerves and the body began producing insulin.

Dosage and Precautions

Because cayenne is not an approved treatment for diabetes, no recommended dosage exists as of July 2011. Speak to your physician about adding cayenne pepper for the treatment of diabetes. Diabetes is a serious condition so it is important that you continue to take your prescribed medication along with cayenne pepper. Cayenne can cause stomach irritation in some people. Too much cayenne can cause kidney or liver damage. Cayenne supplements can interact with certain medications, such as aspirin and blood thinning medications.