Can I tolerate spicier food when I'm ill?

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Offline thedoc

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Can I tolerate spicier food when I'm ill?
« on: 02/02/2016 18:50:03 »
Anthony asked the Naked Scientists:
   Good morning my friends.
When I am sick, especially with a head cold, I have a desire for hot sauce. Makes sense to help clear congestion. My question targets the taste buds. I can tolerate a larger amount of hot sauce compared to not being ill. Can you elaborate on this more? I'll venture to guess it has something to do with my olfactory being compromised(?).

I browsed the questions and I apologize if I missed a question related to the matter.

I've started listening to your podcast for a little while now and its quite addicting. In a healthy way. Entertaining and full of data that is digestible.


Thank you and keep up the fantastic work,
Anthony
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 02/02/2016 18:50:03 by _system »

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Offline chiralSPO

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Re: Can I tolerate spicier food when I'm ill?
« Reply #1 on: 02/02/2016 19:16:58 »
I doubt that olfaction would be important for the perception of spiciness, which is caused primarily by the action of capsaicin (which not particularly volatile) on TRPV1 receptors (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRPV1), many of which are present in the skin and oral mucosa (inner surface of the mouth).

My guess as to why spice-tolerance might be associated with illness: it could be psychological. People have different tolerance for pain depending on their mood. Also thinking that it is good for you might also allow for more tolerance... Just guessing...