Can Cayenne Treat Prostate Cancer?

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Perhaps you have heard that it’s important to include cayenne pepper (Capsicum annuum; also known as red hot chili pepper) as part of your diet. Before we talk about how to get cayenne in your diet, wouldn’t you want to know why you should make this effort?

What’s special about cayenne?

Cayenne peppers contain a high amount of capsaicin, a substance that has demonstrated an ability to boost metabolism (and thus has the potential to help with weight loss), promote healthy liver function, and facilitate better digestion. Capsaisin also has been shown to have anticancer properties, which makes it a potential candidate to help in the fight against prostate cancer.

In fact, a recent report from experts at Georgia Cancer Center and Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University, noted that capsaicin is among the “prime candidates for use as adjuvant or mono-therapies” for prostate cancer. Another recent study found that capsaicin helps prevent spread of prostate cancer cells.

How to get cayenne in your diet

  1. Salsa (look for brands that contain chili peppers; most tomato and vegetable based salsas do)
  2. Enchilada sauce
  3. Habanero hot sauces
  4. Tabasco sauce
  5. Grilled and/or stuffed chili peppers (poblanos are a mild chili pepper often used for these purposes)
  6. Add cayenne pepper or chopped chili peppers to vegetables, chili, soups, stews, stuffing, sandwiches, and salads. Chili peppers range from mild (e.g., poblanos, Hungarian cherry peppers) to medium to fire engine hot! (e.g., jalapenos, Scotch bonnet, habaneros)
  7. Try a Mexican touch by shaking some cayenne into a cup of hot cocoa

Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.


Kallifatidis G et al. Bioactive natural products for chemoprevention and treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer. Seminars in Cancer Biology 2016 Oct; 40-41:160-60

Ramos-Torres A et al. The pepper’s natural ingredient capsaicin induces autophagy blockage in prostate cancer cells. Oncotarget 2016 Jan 12; 7(2): 1569-83