Can You Drink Coffee and Take Cayenne Pepper?

Coffee and cayenne pepper are widely consumed in the United States: caffeine, the stimulant in coffee, is among the most commonly used drugs in the U.S, while cayenne pepper adds spice and flavor to a range of foods found in the average American diet. Both coffee and cayenne pepper have a number of physiological effects on your body, and might have complementary effects that benefit your health. However, cayenne pepper combined with caffeine in coffee might also prove harmful. Talk to your doctor before consuming a combination of coffee and cayenne pepper.

Effect on Circulation

Both coffee and cayenne pepper can have an effect on your circulatory system. The presence of caffeine helps constrict your blood vessels, increases blood pressure and increases heart rate. Cayenne pepper also affects your blood vessels: it can increase blood flow to your tissues, and potentially dilate your blood vessels to increase circulation at the surface of your skin when applied topically.

The caffeine in coffee and cayenne pepper might have opposite effects on your cardiovascular system, since caffeine constricts and cayenne dilates your blood vessels. As a result, taking the two together might cancel out the cardiovascular effects of both chemicals. However, clinical studies investigating the effects of the combination caffeine and cayenne consumption on circulation have not yet been performed.

Effect on Pain

Taking coffee and cayenne together might benefit individuals experiencing slight pain. Cayenne aids in pain control, helping to dull pain over time. In addition, topical application of cayenne might reduce localized pain, helping to control a toothache. Drinking coffee along with taking cayenne might prove beneficial, since caffeine consumption can also help relieve pain in some cases, according to Washington University 12. These complementary actions of cayenne and caffeine might allow you to control pain from some afflictions, like headaches, without needing medication 2.

Effect on Digestive Health

Drinking coffee and taking cayenne might also worsen some existing health conditions. Cayenne pepper might irritate a stomach ulcer, causing discomfort when sores on your stomach lining come into contact with capsaicin -- the active ingredient in cayenne pepper. Coffee can also aggravate a peptic ulcer, stimulating the secretion of stomach acid and potentially worsening pain and discomfort. If you have a stomach ulcer, you should not consume coffee or cayenne pepper except under the supervision of a doctor.

Effect on Pregnancy

You should not drink coffee and consume cayenne pepper if you're pregnant without first consulting your physician. The caffeine in coffee might harm a developing baby, affecting the child's birth weight and potentially leading to heart defects, according to Emory University. There are no confirmed development defects associated with consuming cayenne pepper, but checking with your doctor before taking cayenne supplements can help protect the health of your baby. If you're breastfeeding, limit your cayenne consumption after childbirth, since compounds from cayenne enter your breast milk.