Q. After reading comments regarding the hot pepper remedy for heartburn at PeoplesPharmacy.com, the scientist in me couldn’t resist giving it a try. For several years I have taken omeprazole, ranitidine or antacids to combat occasional acid reflux, especially after a large or fatty supper.
Nine days ago, as an experiment, I began adding hot peppers to my supper meals–a grilled hamburger patty with a bunch of onions and some sliced cayenne peppers. I was anxious the first night but had no heartburn and needed no medicine. I have been adding hot peppers to scrambled eggs, meat dishes, macaroni and cheese and fried fish without problems.
I do have a burning mouth sensation from the peppers but I like that, and it goes away shortly. Still no heartburn, even when I eat late, which used to guarantee a maximum-strength antacid about 1:00 am.
This morning I had fried eggs (and peppers), bacon and biscuits. Without peppers, this would usually cause me trouble by 10:00 but today, nada. I haven’t given pizza and beer a try yet but that is coming.
I will have to verify this by going off the peppers to see if the heartburn returns but right now I’m enjoying this too much to go back. This is a continuing experiment on myself.
A. We agree that hot peppers seem like an improbable remedy for heartburn, but there is some scientific support. According to a study in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility (April, 2010), hot peppers consumed regularly reduced symptoms of reflux.
There may be some heartburn sufferers who don’t enjoy hot peppers as much as you do. We offer a number of other remedies for them in our Guide to Digestive Disorders.