Man gets bad headaches after eating world's hottest chili peppers

10 April, 2018, 20:14 | Author: Tina Rodriquez
  • Carolina Reaper pepper. courtesy

But he got a lot more than he bargained for after popping the world's hottest chili pepper, the Carolina Reaper, into his mouth.

A 34-year-old man participated in the contest to eat the "Carolina Reaper" apparently the hottest pepper in the world was admitted to the hospital with constricted blood vessels in his brain because of a chili pepper.

A team of doctors from NY and MI published details of an unusual medical case to the journal BMJ Case Reports this week and it reads like a culinary horror story. His symptoms began with dry heaves, followed by severe neck pain and whole-head headaches. Over the next few days he suffered thunderclap headaches, with excruciating pain that eventually sent him to the emergency room. A CT scan taken several weeks later showed his affected arteries were back to normal.

Dr. Aneesh Singhal of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston was the first to describe RCVS, in 2001, in a patient who developed thunderclap headaches after eating red hot peppers.

Greg Foster of Irvine, California, holds the Guiness World Record for Carolina Reaper eating.

"Our patient's symptoms improved with supportive care - he had no further thunderclap headaches", Mr Gunasekaran said.




The Carolina Reaper definitely isn't your average chili pepper - it's the hottest chili pepper on the planet. "Capsaicin, the key ingredient in the pepper, is a vasoactive substance, so it could potentially narrow the blood vessels to the most important organs like the heart and brain", he added. It is far less common, however, that eating a chili pepper leads to an urgent need for medical attention.

"He thought it would go away, but it did not", said Dr. Kulothungan Gunasekaran, one of report's authors. It doesn't always have an obvious cause, but can occur as a reaction to certain prescription medications or after taking illegal drugs. The researchers said that cayenne pepper, on the other hand, has been previously linked to sudden constriction of the coronary artery and subsequent heart attacks.

The Carolina Reaper is the stuff of internet legend, from ghastly YouTube videos to testimonials in gourmet cooking magazines.

The journal said that there is no particular treatment for the thunderclap headaches.

It's not the first time chilli peppers have triggered serious repercussions. In 2013, it snatched the title of world's hottest pepper from Trinidad Scorpion "Butch T" by Guinness World Records.

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