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Aug 13, 2008 02:00 PM

Chiles' Negative Effects on Memory?


My father swears there has recently been a major study indicating that eating chiles has a negative effect on the memory. To me, this sounds absurd. I can find nothing on the topic no matter how hard I google. Anyone who can confirm this? Or shall I consider the myth busted?

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  1. never heard that before, and even if it is true, I wont stop eating chiles.

    1. i haven't heard anything like that, and i couldn't dig up anything on Google either.

      sounds like dad has been eating some psychedelic chiles that made him *think* he read that study ;)

      6 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        FYI Marinol is a prescription cannabinoid medication. It is used to boost the appetite in cancer patients and others and also acts as an antiemetic and has been shown to have some positive effects on cognitive function.

        1. re: scubadoo97

          actually, I know all about Marinol - I have 2 degrees in the health sciences [and unfortunately, too much close-to-home experience with cancer]. but what does that have to do with my comment? i was just being cheeky, and cannabis isn't a chile...

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Very cool GHG and sorry to hear about the cancer experience. Been there too.

            I was just playing on the psychedelic chili comment. Anyone for some brownies

            1. re: scubadoo97

              i sort of figured that, but you sounded so scientific & matter-of-fact about it that i wasn't sure.

              for the record, my "special" brownies were always VERY popular in college ;)

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Man, you are bringing up some funky memories. Brownies, made in the dorm kitchen, onsuming massive quantities of dorm food, lots of giggling, my sojourn with morpheus, and finally waking up to find the whole dorm looking at us in a funny way..

                1. re: Phaedrus

                  we didn't have a dorm kitchen, just a MW in the laundry room. fortunately i moved off campus after freshman year - that was when i really started to get into preparing food. my apt was the unofficial crash pad for everyone, which i'm guessing had a lot to do with the fact that i was the only one who always had something for everyone to eat. and they were always scrounging around in the kitchen in the morning looking for those brownies to help take the edge off their hangovers ;)

                  ok, now back to the OP [sort of]...this thread had me remembering how the guys used to get into ridiculous macho contests to see who could do the most Tabasco shots whenever there was a bottle of it on the table. do they still do that?

      2. I love chillies, peppers, and and and...what were you sayin?

        1. I was just going to post on this and forgot what I was going to say...

          Oh yeah...hegenbarth, your father (or the news report he heard it from) has completely misinterpreted the study.

          The study showed the effect of the capsaicin brain receptor -- TRPV1 -- on the hippocampus' neuronal activity and the subsequent creation or suppression of memory. Your dad may have drawn some conclusions that weren't accurate about the study, but that's easy to do because news reports distort medical studies all the time.

          The studies were done on rats and mice, not humans. Second, the memory effect is only from the type of capsaicin that's in pharmaceuticals and not the capsaicin in food. Oral ingestion of the capsaicin in chilies is broken down first in the intestines and subsequently in the liver. Third, the importance of the study didn't center on capsaicin at all -- rather, than the role of pain receptors (TRPV1 is one) in creating or suppressing memory and the plasticity of the brain.

          Read about the study here:

          So, if you like chilies, keep eating 'em!

          3 Replies
          1. re: maria lorraine

            good stuff, maria. thanks for posting it.

            i knew it couldn't be accurate. with my chile consumption i wouldn't even remember my own name by now.

            1. re: maria lorraine

              I agree maria , news stories do oversimplify statistical analysis of scientific data with their own spin. Remember a few weeks ago everybody in the media and even CH was going gaga over a report that watermelon rind had viagra-like properties? That story didn't stand up either, once it was examined based on its own data!

              1. Where am I? Who are you people?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Phaedrus

                  HAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh that was a good chuckle, thanks!