Dr. Dean

Will Spicy Food Kill My Taste Buds?

Posting Date: 11/08/2000

Rob: Will eating spicy, hot food now burnout my taste buds when I'm older?

Dr. Dean: No, because it is the pain fibers on the tongue, not the taste buds, that respond to spicy food. Why we like pain on our tongues is anyone's guess.

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Some people claim that capsaicin, which is the main ingredient in a lot of spicy foods, relieves everything from arthritis, to migraines, to psoriasis.

I think spice was originally used as a food preservative, because germs don't like spice. So spices were a means of keeping food bacteria-free.

So far no evidence of damage from spicy food exists; it doesn't even aggravate ulcers as we used to think.