Let’s talk a bit of physiology, chili peppers and its benefits for athletes. Everybody knows that chili peppers create a burning sensation. That painful burning associated with the consumption of chili peppers comes from a compound called capsaicin.
When capsaicin reaches our mouths, it interacts with a special type of proteins located on the surface of our nerve cells. These proteins, called TRPV1 receptors, act as sensors for the nerve cells giving them information about the outside world. For example TRPV1 receptors are activated by physical heat, above 43˚C (109˚F) and cause a signal to be transmitted to the brain into thinking it is being burned. Thus, not only physical heat but also capsaicin will ‘switch on’ the TRPV1 receptors and cause the same signal to be transmitted to the brain even though there is no actual heat present.
Endorphins and ‘Runners High’
The brain responds by releasing a type of messenger chemicals (neurotransmitters) known as endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural way of relieving pain by blocking the nerve’s ability to transmit pain signals.
So also in response to the chili's sting these natural painkillers are released. Endorphins are said to induce a pervasive sense of happiness. Actually, endorphins are well known to athletes who regularly exercise, and give rise to what is known as a 'runner's high'. Their release is caused by basically all forms of pain, including that caused by chilies.
Some people find this 'rush' from endorphins addictive, and may exercise excessively. And others, because spicy food also induces a ‘natural high’ will turn to eating chili peppers. Thus a dose of hot chilies will cause the release of endorphins, without any permanent harm. One could argue that eating chili peppers is a form of thrill-seeking, feeding our brains' desire for stimulation.
Fortunately, although you can come to crave spicy foods, your body will not develop a dependence on them like you would to truly addicting molecules like caffeine or nicotine.
‘Runners High’ and Bollox Fireballs
So what does that mean for the efficacy of Bollox Fireballs? It means that the capsaicin from chili peppers in Bollox Fireballs not only improves athletic performance by lowering one’s rate of perceived exertion (because of the desensitization of pain nerve-cells) during exercise. It will also induce a ‘runner’s high’ even during exercise, which euphoric feeling possibly contributes to the performance improvement.
And even if you are looking for an endorphin response during your ‘rest days’, taking a handful of Bollox Fireballs may be the easiest and tastiest way to get a sense of euphoria similar to a “runner’s high.”
So next time you need a little pick-me-up consider giving into the power of Bollox Fireballs and chances are you will start to Embrace the Burn, even when you’re not exercising!