Trilby Beresford
July 26, 2016 4:11 pm
Amanda Mills/Creative Commons

As we all know, sudden muscle cramps are ridiculously annoying, and can sometimes be debilitating. Wouldn’t it be great if we could find a solution to this pesky (and painful) problem?

Well as it turns out, a molecular neurobiologist and Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry by the name of Rod MacKinnon is making leaps and bounds in this field of research. As well as finding that cramps are not related to hydration, MacKinnon stumbled upon something that could be a game changer.

According to him, there is a very simple antidote for cramps. Are you ready for it?

Spicy food.

Yes, really. MacKinnon used himself as a guinea pig to test the theory, creating naturally spicy concoctions using ginger and cinnamon. After drinking them, he stimulated cramps with electrical impulses (like you do) and discovered that it was harder to summon cramps after chowing down on spicy drinks.

So! MacKinnon concluded that eating and drinking food with a high spice content might prevent muscle spasms, or at least lessen their effects. “The primary origin of the cramp is the nerve, not the muscle,” he told The Wall Street Journal. “The strong sensory input causes inhibition of the motor output.” 

In other words, spice literally gives a giant shock to the nervous system.

MacKinnon studied this idea further in scientific trials, and even presented his findings to the American College of Sports Medicine. Apparently, athletes took notice and started consuming more spicy drinks before working out!

That positive reaction encouraged MacKinnon to partner with a biotech entrepreneur to produce special workout beverages called Hotshot – a mix of ginger, cinnamon, and capsicum (not for the faint of heart).

The research continues, but it seems like spicy food might have more benefits than improving our lifespan, providing an all-round health kick, and clearing out our nasal passages.

Yay for science! You never let us down. Now for some chili pepper…

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