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,
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 02/02/2016 18:50:03 by _system »


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 (, 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...