Is capsaicin safe?
Experts in the United States
generally consider capsaicin to be safe. But it can cause some unpleasant
effects, especially for those who are not used to it. Be careful when you cook
with or eat hot peppers. Begin with small amounts, and increase the amount as
you get used to it.
An allergic reaction to capsaicin is
possible. If you are just beginning to use capsaicin, either as fresh or
prepared food or in powder form, start with small amounts. If you use a topical
cream, you should first apply it to a small area of skin to test for an
Do not take capsaicin if you have
high blood pressure or are already being treated for
high blood pressure.
To reduce the burning sensation, remove the
seeds from the peppers before you eat or cook with them. Also, if you eat
bananas along with the peppers, you may reduce the burning sensation.
Extremely high intake of capsaicin may cause
ulcers, but it's rare for anyone to consume enough for
this to be a problem.
Don't let capsaicin come into contact with
your eyes and other moist mucous membranes. After you touch capsaicin (or hot
peppers), use vinegar or soap to wash your hands so you don't accidentally
spread capsaicin to your eyes, nose, or mouth. You can also use disposable
gloves to handle hot peppers or to apply capsaicin cream.
apply capsaicin creams to areas of broken skin.
The U.S. Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way
it regulates medicines. A dietary supplement can be sold with limited or no
research on how well it works.
Always tell your doctor if you are
using a dietary supplement or if you are thinking about combining a dietary
supplement with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to
forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on a dietary
supplement. This is especially important for women who are pregnant or
When using dietary supplements, keep in mind the
- Like conventional medicines, dietary
supplements may cause side effects, trigger allergic reactions, or interact
with prescription and nonprescription medicines or other supplements you might
be taking. A side effect or interaction with another medicine or supplement may
make other health conditions worse.
- The way dietary supplements are
manufactured may not be standardized. Because of this, how well they work or
any side effects they cause may differ among brands or even within different
lots of the same brand. The form of supplement that you buy in health food or
grocery stores may not be the same as the form used in research.
- Other than for vitamins and minerals, the long-term effects of
most dietary supplements are not known.