Chilli pepper, the spice used to add heat to any dish was found to have beneficial effects on liver damage.
The study conducted by European Association found that capsaicin, a compound present is chilli pepper was found to reduce the activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) in mice models. HSCs are the major cell type involved in liver fibrosis, which is the formation of scar tissue in response to liver damage.
The mice were divided into two groups where the bile duct of the experimental mice was obstructed by a procedure, Bile duct ligation (BDL), leading to bile accumulation and liver fibrosis in one group and another group was infused with carbon tetrachloride treatment (CCl4), one of the most potent hepatotoxins.
Capsaicin partially reduced liver damage in the BDL mice and inhibited further progression of the injury. In the other group of CCl4-treated mice, capsaicin prevented further liver damage but did not reduce the fibrosis when it was already established.
The results support the need for further investigation into capsaicin for the treatment and prevention of liver injury and fibrosis.