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Int J Cardiol. 2010 Oct 8;144(2):e26-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2008.12.080. Epub 2009 Jan 24.

Capsaicin and arterial hypertensive crisis.


Chili peppers are rich in capsaicin. The potent vasodilator calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is stored in a population of C-fiber afferents that are sensitive to capsaicin. CGRP and peptides released from cardiac C fibers have a beneficial effect in myocardial ischemia and reperfusion. It has been reported that capsaicin pretreatment can deplete cardiac C-fiber peptide stores. Furthermore, it has also been reported that capsaicin-treated pigs have significantly increased mean arterial blood pressure compared with controls, and that the decrease in CGRP synthesis and release contributes to the elevated blood pressure. A case has also been reported of an arterial hypertensive crisis in a patient with a large ingestion of peppers and chili peppers the day before. We present a case of an arterial hypertensive crisis in a 19-year-old Italian man with an abundant ingestion of peppers and of chili peppers the preceding day. This case describes an unusual pattern of arterial hypertensive crisis due to capsaicin.

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