Q. I used to have heartburn and took drugs to treat it for several years. I later learned that hot peppers could help, so I purchased a bottle of cayenne pepper capsules. I take just one a day with food.
I don’t remember how long it was before I stopped taking the prescribed drugs, but when I did, I no longer had a problem with acid reflux. No one would believe me that cayenne pepper capsules were the cure for my problem, so I was pleased to read about the research in your column.
A. It seems counterintuitive that the hot stuff in hot peppers (capsaicin) could be helpful against heartburn. We certainly know that many people cannot tolerate spicy food.
Nonetheless, some research has shown that regular consumption of hot peppers seems to reduce reflux symptoms (Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, April, 2010).
Readers interested in this approach may wish to read a previous comment: http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2011/12/19/hot-peppers-for-heartburn/
We also discuss heartburn remedies elsewhere on the site and in our Guide to Digestive Disorders.