A new study suggests that hot peppers can help treat foot complications and heal nerves.
Scientists know a lot about the benefits of hot chili for the human body, but it seems we still don’t know enough about its benefits. A new study suggests that this particular product may help repair damaged nerves.
It is known that people suffering from diabetes are at a higher risk of nerve damage in different parts of the body, known as neuropathy. If the nerves in the legs are damaged, the patient may develop ulcers, which can even lead to amputation if the lesion is not stopped in time.
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While the symptoms of neuropathy are treatable, there are currently no treatments that can stop or reverse nerve damage. At the same time, nerve damage can cause debilitating pain in patients that cannot be treated with over-the-counter painkillers. As a rule, in such cases, patients are prescribed antidepressants, which, alas, cannot always cope with pain and may be accompanied by side effects.
In a new study, scientists have found that chili peppers contain a molecule that can reduce leg pain, but most importantly, it helps to heal damaged nerves. The researchers hope that these results will bring them closer to understanding how the effects of neuropathy can be reversed.
Capsaicin is the molecule found in chili peppers that gives them that hot taste. However, researchers now know that it can also block pain signals from nerves when applied to the skin, making them less sensitive to pain. Thus, capsaicin ointments and patches can actually help reduce the pain of damaged nerves.
Earlier studies also found that capsaicin can speed up the healing of the skin in diseases such as psoriasis. However, scientists still didn’t know if it could help treat and reverse the underlying cause of nerve pain.
A team of scientists from Imperial College London and Sheffield Teaching Hospital selected 75 people with diabetes and neuropathy. Scientists have experimented with treating feet with a patch containing 8% capsaicin, with one application for half an hour. In total, the experiment lasted 3 months, and 50 participants received treatment, 32 of whom received patch therapy, and another 18 received standard pain management. The remaining 25 recipients did not experience pain, but their neuropathy was still treated with patches.
During the study, recipients were asked to keep a special diary in which they assessed and described their pain, as well as filling out special symptom questionnaires and undergoing nerve sensitivity testing. In addition, the researchers collected leg skin samples at the start and end of the study.
The results suggest that those treated with capsaicin patches reported that their pain was significantly reduced compared to those who received standard pain treatment. Most curious, however, was that the patch-treated groups had more new nerves in their skin samples at the end of the study. This suggests that capsaicin not only helps reduce pain, but also helps heal nerves and trigger new growth.
Scientists note that additional studies will be required, but the results give hope that in the future, scientists will still be able to develop the best way to deal with neuropathy, which will not only relieve pain, but also restore the already damaged nerves of patients.
Previously, Focus wrote that chili peppers are good for the heart.
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