Diabetes Getting Healthier

Diabetes and Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper can help diabetics in many ways.

Diabetes.  Diabetes mellitus is a common condition of abnormal blood glucose regulation.  The name literally means “sweetness running through” since diabetics end up dumping substantial amounts of sugar in their urine, even though the cells of the body are being starved for sugar.  Inadequate insulin production, or insulin resistance are common problems.  Obesity often compounds diabetes.  55,000 Americans died last year from complications of diabetes, which usually includes heart disease, infection, gangrene and kidney failure.

There are several ways that cayenne can help diabetics:

1) as a vasodilator to increase circulation to the peripheral tissue which often gets starved in diabetics and results in poor circulation and gangrene

2) lowering blood glucose levels[11]

3) applied topically to reduce the common pain from diabetic neuropathy (see below).

Diabetic neuropathy.  Among the many problems facing the diabetic is a painful neuropathy, which is caused by the nerve cells being starved of their favorite fuel: blood glucose.   Diabetic neuropathy usually includes numbness, tingling and pain in the hands and feet.  When diabetics were diligent about staying on their strict diet and following medication guidelines for blood glucose regulation, diabetic neuropathy was cut by 64%.[12]  Other ways of controlling diabetic neuropathy include pain medication, of which the safest and most effective is cayenne ointment.   Other analgesics (pain killers) that are widely used have numerous side effects.  Kidney failure may accompany the excess use of Tylenol and other drugs containing acetaminophen.

Axsain is an ointment containing 0.075% capsaicin content.  When applied topically, this ointment penetrates deeply into the skin to the surface nerves and depletes the nerves of substance P, which generates pain.  Capsaicin ointments usually must be used for anywhere from 1-7 days before the pain killing effect is felt.

In one double blind study involving 227 men and women with painful diabetic neuropathy, 71% of capsaicin-treated patients reported improvement versus 51% in the placebo group.[13]  Patients treated with the capsaicin ointment reported improvements in work, sleep, walking and participation in recreational activities.  The capsaicin ointment was applied to the affected regions of the body 4 times daily and improvement was generally seen within a week.  63% of these patients reported the side effects of burning, stinging or warming sensation at the site of the ointment.  But these side effects were minor and considered tolerable.   Capsaicin depletes the substance P that causes pain, but still allows for normal pressure, heat and other sensations.[14]  No medication can do what cayenne may be able to do for diabetics: knock out the pain yet still allow other sensations to the nerve endings without toxic side effects or addiction. Cayenne has many excellent properties to help reduce pain

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Obesity.   Although Americans have been in the midst of a “fitness revolution” and rivers of diet soft drinks have been consumed since the FDA approval of aspartame (NutraSweet) in 1982, we now have a 30% increase in the incidence of obesity.  Overweight people are more likely to die young of heart disease, diabetes, or various cancers, especially of the breast and colon.  Cayenne can help.

There is a region of fatty tissue, called  “brown adipose tissue” or BAT, found on the back and buttocks region of people.  BAT is so named because it is much more loaded with blood vessels than regular white fatty storage regions.  BAT is our body’s thermogenic regulator, our internal “wood burning stove”, which is supposed to squander excess stored fat in the making of heat.  In many people, due to inactivity, wearing too much clothes, keeping the home thermostat set too high and exposure to psychological stress; we end up letting the BAT atrophy.  Under ideal conditions, BAT takes excess fat in the body and burns it to maintain the ideal body temperature of 98.6 F.

Diabetes and Cayenne Pepper

When BAT atrophies, it becomes very difficult for many people to lose weight.  Ephedra from the Chinese herb, Ma Huang, along with white willow bark (aspirin) and Gotu Kola (caffeine) have been shown to stimulate BAT into action to help people lose weight.  Cayenne also stimulates BAT.  One of the simplest things anyone can do to slowly and safely lose weight is to eat cayenne and other hot peppers to gear up the burning of stored fats in BAT.  This simple procedure requires no change in diet and no exercise.  It just increases the amount of calories being burned while at rest.  Of course, if you do exercise and eat a low fat diet, the weight will melt away much quicker.
ENDNOTES

[11] . Monsereenusorn, Y., Q.J.Crude Drug Research, vol.18, p.1, 1980
[12] . Emanuele, NV, et al., Comprehensive Therapy, vol.21, no.10, p.579, 1995
[13] . Diabetes Care, vol.15, p.159, 1992
[14] . Tandan, R., et al., Diabetes Care, vol.15, no.1, p.8, 1992

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