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Is it safe to take cayenne supplement?

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Posted on Sat, 19 Jul 2014
Question: Hi there,

I'm currently working on being healthier in general and have made strides in controlling blood pressure, exercising more, moderating alcohol, eating better, etc.

Along with other supplements (fish oil, garlic, CoQ10, resveratrol, and others), I take a supplement that has helped me with digestion. It contains mainly apple cider vinegar with a bit of cayenne, ginger, and garcinia cambogia and has seemed (so far) to help a bit with IBS constipation symptoms (for which I also take MiraLax and Metamucil under my doctor's guidance).

My concern is the cayenne. It's only a daily dose of 100mg, which I believe is relatively low (I've seen products with up to 3,000mg daily), but I've read mixed things concerning cayenne/capsaicin and gastric/stomach cancer. Recent in vitro studies seem to show it should be protective when pure and without pesticides, etc., but a recent meta-analysis seemed to indicate low-moderate amounts might be beneficial and protective whereas high consumption could significantly increase gastric cancer risk. And there are population studies in Mexico and the US showing a possible link, but another Italian study showing possible protection.

I've also read cayenne is also thought to be protective for many other more common cancers such as lung and prostate cancer (which is much more common than gastric cancer).

I like the supplement, and I do enjoy spicy foods (not every single day, but decently often). I'm H. Pylori negative (and tested), and I've read that alters the relationship too. I also as mentioned take garlic, which is supposed to be protective.

In your opinion is 100mg of cayenne a day (on top of what I might eat, which varies between none to a few jalapenos to a spicy curry) fairly safe? It's all very confusing.

Thanks much!
doctor
Answered by Dr. Ajit Naniksingh Kukreja (7 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Not all data on net is authentic

Detailed Answer:
Hi

Thanks for writing in
I appreciate your concern and the fact that you are health concious

One word of caution, all data available on net is not authentic

All pharmaceutical companies carry out adequate clinical research before launching a product

A formula with 100mg of Cayenne may have had another ingredients which are supplementary and essential

What you would have read of 3000mg would have been therapeutic for a particular condition

SO I would suggest do no take any medicine without consulting your doctor

Manage your stress levels
Take blend diet
Exercise regularly and it will control a lot of conditions you have mentioned

If you can upload the formulation of the supplement I may be in a better position to justify its role

Spicy meals to an extent and jalepeno is allowed

Hope this helps
Do write back in case of concern
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj
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Follow up: Dr. Ajit Naniksingh Kukreja (11 hours later)
Hi and thanks for the detailed reply!

My doctor has cleared most supplements I take (including previously higher dose cayenne, which I discontinued after getting a bit nervous based on the gastric cancer studies). I plan to discuss this one with her too, but just added it recently, and my next appointment isn't until sometime in August. (I suspect she would approve it, but I won't know for sure til I speak with her, which is why I wanted to consult you.)

This product is by GNC (a supplement company that routinely passes ConsumerLab testing for quality ingredients) and contains:

Apple Cider Vinegar 600.00 mg **
Cayenne Pepper Fruit Powder (Capsicum frutescens) 100.00 mg **
Ginger Root Powder (Zingiber officinale) 100.00 mg **
Garcinia cambogia Fruit Extract (50% Hydroxycitric Acid = 50 mg) 100.00 mg **

It is a digestive aid, and as I mentioned, as someone with irritable bowel, I do think it helps as I seem to notice less gas/bloating with it, and so far I haven't experienced cramping on it.

I'm unsure of the capsaicin content in the Cayenne, though I would suspect it's fairly small (<2.5 mg)...but I've been unable to find a reliably way to calculate that, so I'm unsure of my math. If that's the case, I would think gastric cancer risk would be nil or next to it as that's much, much less than the amount used in studies (low risk was <30mg/day with higher amounts starting to show risk, especially with H. Pylori [which I don't have]).

Anyways, thanks for reviewing this, and I appreciate your interim opinion until I can consult my local doctor in person.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Ajit Naniksingh Kukreja (29 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Seems Safe

Detailed Answer:
Hi

Thanks for your followup

Having gone through the information provided I find it quiet safe and the chances for Gastric cancer with this appears negligible

As per the norms of Ayurveda the contents of the supplement are surely helpful in digestion, so continue if your IBS symptoms are relieved with that

If you are H Pylori negative the chances reduce further

Hope this helps
Do not hesitate to write back if you need further assistance
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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Answered by
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Dr. Ajit Naniksingh Kukreja

Gastroenterologist, Surgical

Practicing since :1984

Answered : 923 Questions

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Is it safe to take cayenne supplement?

Brief Answer: Not all data on net is authentic Detailed Answer: Hi Thanks for writing in I appreciate your concern and the fact that you are health concious One word of caution, all data available on net is not authentic All pharmaceutical companies carry out adequate clinical research before launching a product A formula with 100mg of Cayenne may have had another ingredients which are supplementary and essential What you would have read of 3000mg would have been therapeutic for a particular condition SO I would suggest do no take any medicine without consulting your doctor Manage your stress levels Take blend diet Exercise regularly and it will control a lot of conditions you have mentioned If you can upload the formulation of the supplement I may be in a better position to justify its role Spicy meals to an extent and jalepeno is allowed Hope this helps Do write back in case of concern