Chili Peppers, Marijuana Could Help Treat Type 1 Diabetes And Reduce Gut Inflammation

First Posted: Apr 26, 2017 05:40 AM EDT

The researchers discovered that both chili peppers and edible marijuana could reverse type 1 diabetes and reduce the gut inflammation in rodents. A compound found in chili peppers and marijuana known as capsaicin could lessen the inflammation by activating the anti-inflammatory immune cells and prevent type 1 diabetes.

The findings of the study were printed in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study was led by Pramod Srivastava, professor of immunology and medicine at the UConn Health School of Medicine in Farmington, CT, and colleagues. The research could help in understanding how the immune system, the gut and the brain are associated with one another, according to Medical News Today.

In the study, the researchers administered capsaicin to rats with type 1 diabetes. They examined how the chili pepper compound impacts the gut. They found that the capsaicin compound focuses and binds to a receptor known as TRPV1 that is visible in specialized cells in the gastrointestinal tract. With this, the anandamide was produced.

Likewise, anandamide is found in marijuana and attaches to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. In the study, the anandamide interacts with TRPV1 in order to generate more anandamide and works with a receptor known as CX3CR1 that recruits a type of macrophage or white blood cells. This lessens the inflammation.

The study suggests that edible marijuana could lessen the gut inflammation and provides insights on the association of the brain, gut and the immune system. The results in rats show that both capsaicin and anandamide lessened the gut inflammation. Likewise, the compound in chili pepper reversed type 1 diabetes in the mice.

Professor Srivastava said that this showed how the immune system and the brain talk to each other. He further said that they share a common language, which is the anandamide, as noted by Science Daily. 

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