Will Eating Chile Peppers Damage Your Stomach?

        Chile peppers have received a bad reputation for causing damage to the lining of the stomach. Despite this reputation medical evidence has proven repeatedly that the capsaicin (the substance that makes peppers hot) does not harm the stomach lining.

        Perhaps the most convincing study proving this fact was done by a team of doctors at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX led by Dr. David Graham. In this study they inserted a videoendoscope ( a miniature internal camera) into the stomach to inspect it visually while introducing a series of test items to the stomach. They introduced bland food, plain aspirin, hot Mexican food, and pizza and then inspected the stomach for "gastric erosions" on the stomach lining. By far the most damaging meal was the bland one combined with aspirin.

        To further test just capsaicin alone the doctors then injected thirty grams of Jalapenos directly to the stomach lining. There was no visible damage. According to Dr. Graham, "We conclude that although capsaicin increased gastric acid secretion in the stomach and causes discomfort, it does not appear to cause stomach lining damage."

        In addition, some gastroenterologists suggest that capsaicin increases the stomach’s production of protective juices thus protecting the stomach from damage that may be caused by other things such as aspirin or alcohol.

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