Study: Pain Shortens Your Lifespan, Spicy Foods May Prolong It

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Study: Pain Shortens Your Lifespan, Spicy Foods May Prolong It

Spicy Peppers

A connection between pain and aging has been found in lab mice, and capsaicin, the spicy compound in chile peppers, may be the key.

Scientists have been puzzled as to why people who experience chronic pain tend to have shorter lifespans, but a new study may have the answer. Lab mice that were bred without a specific pain receptor were found to live longer and were less likely to develop diseases such as diabetes as they age.

Researchers from the University of California (UC), Berkeley, bred mice without a specific pain receptor that can be found in the skin, nerves, and joints. You know it best when you eat a jalapeņo and feel your mouth burning, because this receptor is activated by capsaicin. Mice without the pain receptor lived, on average, 14 percent longer than normal mice, the researchers reported in Cell.

Lead researcher Andrew Dillin notes that diets rich in capsaicin have already been linked to lower incidences of diabetes and metabolic problems in humans, and he suggests the possibility exists that eating spicy foods can extend your lifespan. "Prolonged exposure to capsaicin can actually kill the neuron" that transmits signals from the pain receptor, he explains. If those signals were knocked out, that may replicate the effects of being born without the receptor in the first place.

I'd be interested in seeing if we observe longer lifespans in cultures that traditionally embrace spicy foods. Do any of you plan on increasing your intake of capsaicin?

Source: Science Magazine

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Great news! So if jalapenos can extend your life by 10 to 15%, how long would a regular diet of ghost chili peppers extend it? Ooh I must experiment!

So the idea for prolonging life is to get rid of the thing that let's you know when you're hurt and your life is in danger? good work science, you've cracked it.

Too bad most spicy foods/meals also tend to be much more saltier which can cause hypertension if the salt is not carefully regulated.

OR

People/mice without these pain receptors that are triggered by capsaicin eat more spicy foods, because they don't feel the burn as easily.

Now if only they'd quit experimenting on innocent mice, they've done nothing to deserve it.

OT: I hate spicey foods, can't they just put it in a non-burning pill that's all natural?

I can say as someone who deals with chronic pain , the study is a bit misleading. Chronic pain has a deep and profound psychological impact on a person. I know it's near impossible for normal people to conceptualize it but try to imagine a life where the first thing you are aware of upon waking up is pain and the last thing you're aware of before falling asleep is pain.

Imagine this being your reality for years. People with chronic pain are more likely to indulge in eating, smoking and drinking and are also not surprisingly more apt to suffer from severe depression.

And yeah peppers have been known to reduce pain and help a few things but if yuou check the cultures that have it like a regular thing.. you don't find a significantly longer lifespan. usually because as one centenarian put it. 'You don't get to be my age because of anything you did...you get there in spite of everything you did' meaning it will always be a bit of a lottery.

BigTuk:

Imagine this being your reality for years. People with chronic pain are more likely to indulge in eating, smoking and drinking and are also not surprisingly more apt to suffer from severe depression.

I think you missed the big one pain in general leads to decrease in physical activity.
So cronic pain tends to force a less healthy lifestyle, and all the health risks that go along with it.

Houseman:
OR

People/mice without these pain receptors that are triggered by capsaicin eat more spicy foods, because they don't feel the burn as easily.

Missing the point...

It doesn't say anything about spicy foods being beneficial, nor anything at all about mice eating them, just that the lack of said pain receptors seems to make them live longer.

Spicy foods are only mentioned as a reference and as a means of potentially knocking out that pain receptor, has nothing to do with the experiment.

BigTuk:
I can say as someone who deals with chronic pain , the study is a bit misleading. Chronic pain has a deep and profound psychological impact on a person. I know it's near impossible for normal people to conceptualize it but try to imagine a life where the first thing you are aware of upon waking up is pain and the last thing you're aware of before falling asleep is pain.

Imagine this being your reality for years. People with chronic pain are more likely to indulge in eating, smoking and drinking and are also not surprisingly more apt to suffer from severe depression.

Well, since they were testing this on mice, I'm gonna assume that they weren't smoking or drinking. They also (presumably) would have given them the same diets.

I already knew chronic pain reduces your lifespan in a number of ways, but it's not something pleasent to be reminded of as soon as you wake up T.T
Ah well, I guess I'll just go try eating so jalapenos

BigTuk:
as one centenarian put it. 'You don't get to be my age because of anything you did...you get there in spite of everything you did' meaning it will always be a bit of a lottery.

Damn straight, High Five mate :P

Hang on.

Pain shortens your life, spicy food lengthens it.
But... spicy food can cause pain. What then, Science? WHAT THEN?!

My first thought was that I remember reading a while back that these spicy foods were considered bad because they contributed to gout.

As a general rule I tend to ignore science about dietary adjustment, since it seems like it waffles back and forth. One week they tell you something is great and eating tons of it will make you healthier and let you live longer, next weak it's poison and will do the opposite.

I'm a mess to begin with, while I hope to live to at least my average expected age (75) having watched the condition a lot of old people wind up in I have no desire to extend my lifespan too far, especially seeing as I will likely have no family to watch my back when I am in that condition. I want to be happy with what I eat, live a decent amount of time, and pass on quietly and painlessly in my sleep, from which point I hope I will go on to a pleasant afterlife.

BigTuk:
usually because as one centenarian put it. 'You don't get to be my age because of anything you did...you get there in spite of everything you did' meaning it will always be a bit of a lottery.

That isn't entirely true. Though the capsaicin thing doesn't seem to be a factor, there are places in the world where people tend to live longer. This wikipedia article points out some of them, as well as some factors they have in common. Of course, correlation does not equal causation, but that it's all a crapshoot with nothing you can do to influence the outcome just isn't the case, or you wouldn't have entire cultures living longer than others.

Remus:
Great news! So if jalapenos can extend your life by 10 to 15%, how long would a regular diet of ghost chili peppers extend it? Ooh I must experiment!

I don't know, but I get the feeling Jack in the Box could promote their new sandwiches as health food.

Its not the pain involved, its the stress caused by the chronic pain. Stress is the #1 killer of human beings. It causes depression which can lead to eating disorders (causing diabetes), self-mutilation or other harmful things, even heavy drug use.
On the positive side, I eat the hell out of capsaicin rich foods so kudos for me...

higgs20:
So the idea for prolonging life is to get rid of the thing that let's you know when you're hurt and your life is in danger? good work science, you've cracked it.

Chronic pain. That's long-term aches and pains. The one that lets you know you've burnt yourself or something is acute pain. Chronic pain is useful but more often than not it's a long term thing that isn't so much letting you know that you need to see a doctor but more reminding you that you fucked your back up 20 years ago.

BigTuk already covered it but yeah, chronic pain really fucks you up. I don't think its so much that the pain shortens your lifespan but it's 'side effects'. It causes a general downturn in healthy living, be it drinking more, eating crap and so on. It can also affect sleep patterns, cause severe depression and demoralize a person. Not to mention lack of exercise or that most people suffering from chronic pain are taking long term medication - prescribed or otherwise.

Xan Krieger:
OT: I hate spicey foods, can't they just put it in a non-burning pill that's all natural?

How can one kill a neuron without assaulting it? You need the burning sensation for it to do anything.

Loop Stricken:
Hang on.

Pain shortens your life, spicy food lengthens it.
But... spicy food can cause pain. What then, Science? WHAT THEN?!

What's happening is that capsaicin, the molecule which is involved in giving you that burning sensation when you eat food with chilli in it is quite similar to a signal molecule involved in response to burn damages. This triggers reactions in your body to inhibit pain responses.

I am a little rusty on the subject so I can't give you any more details than that, but it has been used in treatment of chronic pains because it can cause effects lasting a longer time than what simple painkillers do.

As always when reading these studies we should be sceptical, new findings on a lab bench doesn't always mean there's a benefit or that it can be applied to humans. The fact that this has been used on humans doesn't really mean we can't explain it as a placebo effect. The placebo effect is actually quite amazing in its glory.

Also to all those who are dismissing this study. Please provide sources and read the original study before you do so. This is a study published in a respected scientific publications. It includes a lot of references to their claims along with experimental data. I haven't had the time to read it myself and until that I withhold my judgement, but I intend to read it when I have time later today.

Edit: As stated earlier we should always be sceptical and I am proven correct here. I have just finished the original article (you need to pay for access or belong to an institution that have paid licenses to do so) and the main article is a preview. It discusses the start of an experiment, some prior knowledge (insulin and growth factor hormones and their involvement in ageing to mention some), some findings, details on what has been done and how it would be wise to do further experiments. There is nothing in this that states that eating spicy food will make you older. It says a little about how capsaicin receptors may be involved in one of the mechanisms behind ageing, but there's no conclusion yet. This is early stage experiments, not intended as advice to how you should change your diet to live longer.

Finally, something I do actually prolongs life rather than shortens it, I love spicy food. Maybe I won't drop dead next weak after all.

Remus:
Great news! So if jalapenos can extend your life by 10 to 15%, how long would a regular diet of ghost chili peppers extend it? Ooh I must experiment!

If you do, feel free to record it and share with us all.

If spicy foods should indeed prolong life (which indeed hasn't been indicated anywhere - the study is all about the pain receptors, after all), then we are all ready for some serious comments about

The Spice.

BigTuk:
I can say as someone who deals with chronic pain , the study is a bit misleading. Chronic pain has a deep and profound psychological impact on a person. I know it's near impossible for normal people to conceptualize it but try to imagine a life where the first thing you are aware of upon waking up is pain and the last thing you're aware of before falling asleep is pain.

Imagine this being your reality for years. People with chronic pain are more likely to indulge in eating, smoking and drinking and are also not surprisingly more apt to suffer from severe depression.

And yeah peppers have been known to reduce pain and help a few things but if yuou check the cultures that have it like a regular thing.. you don't find a significantly longer lifespan. usually because as one centenarian put it. 'You don't get to be my age because of anything you did...you get there in spite of everything you did' meaning it will always be a bit of a lottery.

I'm sceptical too. I mean as great as The Escapist can be we're not staring at a study with its listed limitations, methods, etc. we're looking at a press release of an abstract essentially.
However rather than destructive coping mechanisms what is the 'real killer' is a greater time period of stress that the body is undergoing. Biota (animals & plants) in stress states typically don't do as well because they're busy dealing with the high tension of their existence.
The way I can kinda put it into words is how a high performance car needs to be retuned frequently. I mean it still goes into that stress state but it has to come out of it to repair. A car that doesn't wears down pretty fast regardless of how much or little care you put into it in other areas.

Trivially, I love hot food. I must be one of the few New Zealanders that appreciates East Asian Hot. So little difference to me. Maybe I'll add more chilli to the food I cook and justify it by saying I'm giving everyone a longer life.

Spicy foods cause me pain though...

Rhykker:

I'd be interested in seeing if we observe longer lifespans in cultures that traditionally embrace spicy foods. Do any of you plan on increasing your intake of capsaicin?

We don't. The strongest correlation with life expectancy is level of education achieved.

Mr. Clarinet:

I'm sceptical too. I mean as great as The Escapist can be we're not staring at a study with its listed limitations, methods, etc. we're looking at a press release of an abstract essentially.
However rather than destructive coping mechanisms what is the 'real killer' is a greater time period of stress that the body is undergoing. Biota (animals & plants) in stress states typically don't do as well because they're busy dealing with the high tension of their existence.
The way I can kinda put it into words is how a high performance car needs to be retuned frequently. I mean it still goes into that stress state but it has to come out of it to repair. A car that doesn't wears down pretty fast regardless of how much or little care you put into it in other areas.

Trivially, I love hot food. I must be one of the few New Zealanders that appreciates East Asian Hot. So little difference to me. Maybe I'll add more chilli to the food I cook and justify it by saying I'm giving everyone a longer life.

I read the preview that presented the details so far in this line of experimentations and your scepticism is entirely justified. This experiments show a correlation between knocking out a gene and insulin resistance and compares that to our prior knowledge of insulin related ageing processes. It doesn't make any conclusions at all, it simply states a few findings and how they should proceed with their experiments. It certainly does not say anything about eating spicy food.

Olas:
Finally, something I do actually prolongs life rather than shortens it, I love spicy food. Maybe I won't drop dead next weak after all.

You should never take articles like these as advice on diet. This is a media interpretation of experimental findings which is often presented in an exaggerated form because that's what makes people interested. The original source for this article makes no conclusions, it refers to genetic experiments (rather than nutrient related as it might seem) done on mice, drosophila and C. elegans.

Emphasis on the word "may".

So mice that do not get stressed from pain and thier body does not go into "burn everything now" survival mode live longer. what a discovery.... that was made 20 years ago.

That being said, capsaicin has been known to have multiple positive features for humans and this is just another one down the list, which is a strange one at that. killing pain neurons is not something you want to do unless you can live in a lab cage too, because real world is more dangerous.

Darks63:
Too bad most spicy foods/meals also tend to be much more saltier which can cause hypertension if the salt is not carefully regulated.

well, when your making it yourself you can regulate it with ease and the myth that humans need no salt is also false.

Xan Krieger:
Now if only they'd quit experimenting on innocent mice, they've done nothing to deserve it.

OT: I hate spicey foods, can't they just put it in a non-burning pill that's all natural?

would you rather they experiment on humans art students? Because you know you have to experiment on something and mice have been shown to be a good test as far as "Works on mice works on humans" is concerned.

ANd no they cant put it in non-burning pill. the burning is exactly whats healthy in there. and peppers are natural. they grow in the wild.

Loop Stricken:
Hang on.

Pain shortens your life, spicy food lengthens it.
But... spicy food can cause pain. What then, Science? WHAT THEN?!

read the article please. they said spicy food kills the neuron receptors that send signasl that brian interprets as pain, in a sense it kills receptors, numbing the pain. therefore in this case spicy foods dont cause pain.

P.S. if spicy foods cause you pain (not to confuse with burn), then your either eating too much or should check in with a doctor, you may have other problems that react to capsaicin in unhealthy ways.

Scars Unseen:
This

notice how its islands/peninsulas?
thats because of the weather. there is a reason such places are curorts for the old. doctors send them, because the constant island weather together with the salted air is much easier on thier bodies than smog riden cities. its no secret that island people live longer than inland people due to better weather.

Yopaz:

You should never take articles like these as advice on diet.

i think its less of a diet advice taking and more of a "i eat spices and this article says its good for me. hooray!"

Scars Unseen:

BigTuk:
usually because as one centenarian put it. 'You don't get to be my age because of anything you did...you get there in spite of everything you did' meaning it will always be a bit of a lottery.

That isn't entirely true. Though the capsaicin thing doesn't seem to be a factor, there are places in the world where people tend to live longer. This wikipedia article points out some of them, as well as some factors they have in common. Of course, correlation does not equal causation, but that it's all a crapshoot with nothing you can do to influence the outcome just isn't the case, or you wouldn't have entire cultures living longer than others.

The most telling thing in that Wiki was suffering a fraction of the diseases. Of course you will have a higher level of older people with less disease and (as a direct outcome) less wear and tear on the body.

Strazdas:

i think its less of a diet advice taking and more of a "i eat spices and this article says its good for me. hooray!"

You're absolutely right. Scientific findings that even hints at something someone is already doing gets immediate acceptance despite what the bulk of it actually says. I'm affected by reading about nutriotionism (which isn't accepted by my spell check as a word) and I really had to point this is pretty much the major problem with it. Experiments are done in laboratory conditions, this may or may not involve food, this may not present itself the same way in humans as it does (even in cell culture experiments on humans this is most likely the case) and the way the information is presented to the public is often lacking in order to sell newspapers, generate web traffic or sometimes because there's a lack of understanding. I am going off topic, but you're right. I probably shouldn't have reacted the way I did, but I consider it important to not read experimental data as more than that.

direkiller:

BigTuk:

Imagine this being your reality for years. People with chronic pain are more likely to indulge in eating, smoking and drinking and are also not surprisingly more apt to suffer from severe depression.

I think you missed the big one pain in general leads to decrease in physical activity.
So cronic pain tends to force a less healthy lifestyle, and all the health risks that go along with it.

Curiously enough... it doesn't always lead to a decrease. Heck I've been more physically active since my condition came on...(yeah apparently the adrenaline surge that comes with a good work out...great at dulling pain.)

UltimatheChosen:

BigTuk:
I can say as someone who deals with chronic pain , the study is a bit misleading. Chronic pain has a deep and profound psychological impact on a person. I know it's near impossible for normal people to conceptualize it but try to imagine a life where the first thing you are aware of upon waking up is pain and the last thing you're aware of before falling asleep is pain.

Imagine this being your reality for years. People with chronic pain are more likely to indulge in eating, smoking and drinking and are also not surprisingly more apt to suffer from severe depression.

Well, since they were testing this on mice, I'm gonna assume that they weren't smoking or drinking. They also (presumably) would have given them the same diets.

These are also you know.. mice so they actually have considerably shorter life spans. A mouse lives for around 1.5-5 years.
So that 14% increase in life span amounts to half a year 6 months at best. Also different animals have different stress mechanics. How a mouse's body reacts to stress is different from a dog or a human's .

Scars Unseen:

BigTuk:
usually because as one centenarian put it. 'You don't get to be my age because of anything you did...you get there in spite of everything you did' meaning it will always be a bit of a lottery.

That isn't entirely true. Though the capsaicin thing doesn't seem to be a factor, there are places in the world where people tend to live longer. This wikipedia article points out some of them, as well as some factors they have in common. Of course, correlation does not equal causation, but that it's all a crapshoot with nothing you can do to influence the outcome just isn't the case, or you wouldn't have entire cultures living longer than others.

In such cases it may actually be a combination of hereditary genetics. Also again...consider where they live and their lifestyles. As has been pointed out, crimes and car accidents claim quite a few lives . If you're in a place where cars are uncommon well that reduces the the number of car fatalities doesn't it.

BigTuk:

Scars Unseen:

BigTuk:
usually because as one centenarian put it. 'You don't get to be my age because of anything you did...you get there in spite of everything you did' meaning it will always be a bit of a lottery.

That isn't entirely true. Though the capsaicin thing doesn't seem to be a factor, there are places in the world where people tend to live longer. This wikipedia article points out some of them, as well as some factors they have in common. Of course, correlation does not equal causation, but that it's all a crapshoot with nothing you can do to influence the outcome just isn't the case, or you wouldn't have entire cultures living longer than others.

In such cases it may actually be a combination of hereditary genetics. Also again...consider where they live and their lifestyles. As has been pointed out, crimes and car accidents claim quite a few lives . If you're in a place where cars are uncommon well that reduces the the number of car fatalities doesn't it.

Can't speak for the other places, but I live in Okinawa, and there are cars aplenty. Not to mention that the roads are kind of awful(narrow and the coral in them makes them slick in the rain), the drivers are at least as bad as anywhere else, and elderly people and children alike will just step out into the street with no warning and expect you to stop as they cross the road. I see traffic accidents every day on my way to and from work, some of them rather spectacular(I once saw a car sitting sideways on the median. I was impressed).

14% increased life spans

60% increase in blown rectums

Choices, choices....

BigTuk:

UltimatheChosen:

BigTuk:
I can say as someone who deals with chronic pain , the study is a bit misleading. Chronic pain has a deep and profound psychological impact on a person. I know it's near impossible for normal people to conceptualize it but try to imagine a life where the first thing you are aware of upon waking up is pain and the last thing you're aware of before falling asleep is pain.

Imagine this being your reality for years. People with chronic pain are more likely to indulge in eating, smoking and drinking and are also not surprisingly more apt to suffer from severe depression.

Well, since they were testing this on mice, I'm gonna assume that they weren't smoking or drinking. They also (presumably) would have given them the same diets.

These are also you know.. mice so they actually have considerably shorter life spans. A mouse lives for around 1.5-5 years.
So that 14% increase in life span amounts to half a year 6 months at best. Also different animals have different stress mechanics. How a mouse's body reacts to stress is different from a dog or a human's .

Sure, not saying otherwise. There are definitely differences. But diet, smoking, and alchohol aren't confounding variables in what happened to the mice.

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