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Cayenne pepper disaster (black out)

Ok firstly i am going to say that what i did was very stupid and i am aware of that. I would just like to know what happened.

So i use cayenne pepper alot and found that when used in capsules it improves my digestion. However i always kept food in my stomach and put some cayenne on my tongue before taking the capsuled to prime my digestion.

I recently got '90 heat unit cayenne pepper" which was much hotter then the old stuff. A pinch on a meal would make it very spicey. I never tried it in capsules untill last night...

I filled an 00 capsule with the 90HU cayenne pepper (500mg) and before bed popped it with some magnesium. I put some on my tongue to prime my digestion..

I lied down and 10min later my stomach started to burn. No big deal so i got up and walked to my fridge to get some milk. As i was walking the burning became intense and i started slowly losing consciousness.

I drank 1 quart of milk and started hyperventilating. My vision was practically 5% working and my entire body seemed to be shutting down on me. I alerted my housemate to call an ambulance as i thought i may have burnt a hole in my stomach. I then blacked out and had a very mysterious psychadelic type dream and awoke again.

After regaining consciousness my vision slowly started to come back online and i was back to normal 30min later. I called off going to the ER.

Now i have had a few pannic attacks in my life but never have i experienced something like this. My guess was the hit of cayennne dropped my blood pressure.

Does anyone know what the hell happened?


Senior Member
No not really. But I ate a red habanero a month ago I think. Im generally reacting well to strong food and its a great taster and I think it may have some health benefits. But this one was way to much for me it gave me strange nerve feelings all over the place. Not in the stomach but just very hard to explain neuroloical symtoms and it was like that in two days. Capsaicin is used as a painkiller in cream form so Im sure it can effect the nerve system.

I think I heard about someone fainting from hot food but Im not sure, breathing could be a problem if you eaten to hot food. It is something you should increase slowly if you want higher scoville.


Senior Member
I found this. Not to scare you, but be careful:

We often focus on the pain capsaicin can provoke, but this chemical can elicit a range of other physiological responses. People who eat foods with hot peppers may complain of gastrointestinal issues, which are likely the work of capsaicin. Capsaicin also irritates the skin and mucous membranes (lining the eyelids, nose, mouth, genitals), provoking an inflammatory response often marked by redness and swelling, as well as sensations of warmth and pain.

If inhaled, capsaicin stimulates bronchopulmonary nociceptive C-fibers which can provoke apnea (temporary cessation of respiration), rapid shallow breathing, mucus secretion, bronchoconstriction (constriction of the smooth muscle of the airways in the lungs), and cough. In the most extreme cases, death by asphyxia3 (lack of oxygen) has occured.

In addition to chemical irritation of the respiratory system from capsaicin, particulate chili pepper products can physically irritate this system. Chili powder, like many particulates, can irritate and overwhelm our respiratory system. Inhalation of ground chilies can cause coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose, but the problem with particulates in our nose, trachea, bronchi, and lungs goes beyond coughing, sneezing, and running nose. Inhalation of particulates can physically block airways and lead to death by asphyxia3 (lack of oxygen). Their ability to mechanically obstruct airways adds to any type of physiological effect they might have. Particulates can cause asphyxia deaths by chemically or physically effecting respiration — or by doing both.



Senior Member
Do you have MCAS or any mast cell/allergic issues? I do not tolerate even black pepper or most spices and for me, I think this is why. But it may not apply to you. Hope you feel better soon from this incident!
I'll do some looking around, @jengonwin but the psychadelic ep is not uncommon with super-spicy things.

I'm going to go for "massive vasodilation made you pass out" but I'd go to pubmed next and do some research on the matter.

Le evidence of vasodilation: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20223533

Seeems like it. It was like my eyes totally lost bloodflow so they couldnt operate. For 1 minute i was awake with 5% of my original vision. Honestly thought id perforated my stomach and my body was shutting off lol. That paper says hypertension. It felt more like HYPOtension. My heart was slowing down and my eyes were getting 0 blood. Was like i was a machine losing electricity or something. I thought i had a NDE type experience. I wonder if my heart stopped for 5 seconds or if it was just a blackout

I have never experienced anything like it. The dose that i took 500mg i eat with no issues. It was something to do with the capsule popping open and quickly releasing it i guess.

Do you have MCAS or any mast cell/allergic issues? I do not tolerate even black pepper or most spices and for me, I think this is why. But it may not apply to you. Hope you feel better soon from this incident!

No. I eat spices all day and they boost my mood.

Thanks i feel fine now. It was so weird it felt like a near death experience. But feeling the opposite of a panic attack (heart rate slowing, body shutting off)
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Senior Member
I know that my youngest brother used to rather like Nagas claiming that it was a kind of reverse hangover. terrible pain followed by a long high. His assumption was that the chillies were causing an endorphin rush.

I do not know that was what was happening though, and I cannot say that they had that effect on me when I ate one by accident. (I meant to eat a chilli just not one that was that hot.)

Interesting that you say that it helps with digestion, is it something you can put your finger on like acid generation or motility, or do you just find that things improve.

oh and I'm glad you're all right.