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Chili peppers are widely used to add spiciness to dishes. However, they do much more than burn people’s mouths. Over the years scientists have discovered many uses for the compound responsible for the chilies’ heat: capsaicin. In small doses, capsaicin can control pain and inflammation, help with weight loss and possibly affect microbes in the gut to keep people healthier. Emerging studies have even revealed that capsaicin displays potent anti-tumor activity in several human cancers.

How It Works
So how can the capsaicin in chili peppers enhance performance?

When you eat chili peppers, the capsaicin activates receptors in your mouth, stomach and blood, called TRPV1 receptors. The task of these TRPV1 receptors in the human body is detecting and regulating body temperature. Of course chilies do not have a factual high temperature. However, when you eat them, the capsaicin-activated TRPV1 receptors tell your brain that your body is exposed to extreme heat. That’s why you feel pain. But during extended chili exposure your pain nerve-cells will become de-sensitized. And, along with the pain of the chilies, also other pains, like exercise fatigue, will decline. This drop in perceived exercise fatigue results in improved performance.

Scientific Studies
These findings are supported by recently published scientific studies. In one research carried out at the University of Sao Paulo, male athletes ran a distance of 1,500 meters on two different occasions [1]. On one occasion, the athletes took a placebo before the run and on the other occasion they took a supplement with capsaicin. After ingesting capsaicin the athletes did not only cover the distance faster, they also felt less tired. The researchers concluded that acute capsaicin supplementation can be used as a nutritional strategy to improve performance during running by lowering the rate of perceived exertion.

Other research by the same research group conducted with resistance trained men, resulted in the total higher weight lifted in the capsaicin group while the RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) was significantly less for the capsaicin condition [2].

Even research with mice has shown that capsaicin supplementation was reducing physical fatigue and improving exercise performance [3].

Combining capsaicin and energy will create a synergistic effect. After all, capsaicin reduces the rate of perceived exertion while at the same time carbs provide extra energy. With that respect it’s only helpful that the absorption rate of carbs and capsaicin into the blood stream follow similar patterns.

Why Put Chilies In Energy Chews
Energy chews are a suitable form of energy nutrition to deliver the chili peppers since chews are much easier to dose than gel. You can simply pop one chew at a time versus eating an entire pack of energy gel. Chews are great to take every few minutes so that you can build up the burn and de-sensitization of your pain nerve cells. Of course for those who want, they can take 2 chews at a time or even a handful. In addition, energy chews are a super-convenient way to ingest the easy-to-digest calories and carbs and they are suitable to carry other important nutrients like capsaicin and electrolytes. Bollox Fireballs are sweet fruity-cherry flavored energy chews infused with the pungency of chili peppers. The chews are packed in sachets of 8 Fireballs which combined have 120 calories worth of multi-transportable carbohydrates, dehydration-fighting electrolytes and of course capsaicin.

From the above you may conclude that Bollox Fireballs are not for the faint of heart. And rightfully so! The mode of action is to create a controlled painful sensation in your mouth that eventually will de-sensitize nerve cells which reduces the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Without the initial painful sensation there will be no de-sensitization and no performance enhancing effect. So in case of Fireballs there is much truth in saying “No pain, No gain.”


[1] J Strength Cond Res, Feb 2018, 32(2): 572–577.
[2] J Strength Cond Res, July 03, 2017; doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002109.
[3] Nutrients, 2016, 8, 648; doi: 10.3390.