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Ask Dr. Mike: Dosing for Capsaicin & Is There More EMF in Larger Cellphones?

Here you'll find the answers to a wealth of health and wellness questions posed by Healthy Talk fans. Listen in because what you know helps ensure healthy choices you can live with. Today on Healthy Talk, you wanted to know:

Hi Dr. Mike, I love salsa and chili peppers. I love the extreme burn. However, my question is about dosing for capsaicin. Is the hotter the pepper even better?

No, the hotter is NOT better. However, like everything, there is a dose range where capsaicin has extremely powerful health benefits. The dose range of getting these benefits is 500-1000 milligrams.

Are the bigger cellphones releasing more EMF than smaller ones?

EMF stands for Electromagnetic field, and some believe that EMF can cause oxidative stress, cognitive issues, cancers, and DNA mutations.

However, the real debate is really centered around how long you actually have to be exposed to EMF for these side effects to occur. So to answer the question, yes. The bigger the cell phone, and the larger the current (battery), the greater the EMF will be.

If you have a health question or concern, Dr. Mike encourages you to write him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call in, toll-free, to the LIVE radio show (1.844.305.7800) so he can provide you with support and helpful advice.

RadioMD Presents:Healthy Talk | Original Air Date: March 25, 2015
Host: Michael Smith, MD

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DR. MIKE: Alright. My next question is a follow up to a segment I did on chili peppers. I think the segment was titled, "Feel the Healthy Burn of Chili Peppers". I talked a little bit about how I, coming from Texas, eat a lot of chili peppers and salsa, but I'm not that crazy with it, right? The jalapeno is about as hot as I can go.

So, here's the question. It's a follow up. "Hi, Dr. Mike. Like you, I love salsa and chili peppers, but I love the extreme burn! My question is about dose, really, in regards to capzasin. Is the hotter the pepper better?"

Well, first of all, I told you before. I love follow up questions because that means somebody is listening, but what's really cool about this question, what I love about this, because I've talked about dose before. I've talked about dose range, appropriate dose, more is not always better. These are common themes that you'll hear in my segments and stuff, so this is great. I love this question.

"So, is the hotter the pepper, better?"

Again, this is in terms of, you know, of capzasin dose. Because the hotter the pepper, the more capzasin. Again, the heat of a pepper is measured in the Scoville unit or sometimes what is simply called a "heat unit". So, very simply the answer to that question is "no". The hotter is not better. Like everything—and I've said this before—like everything, there is a dose range and capzasin is the same way. Capzasin does have health benefits if you ingest it, both in the food source and in a dietary source which means it has a dose range, okay? If you're below that dose range...As a matter of fact, I mean, lots of money is spent by pharmaceutical companies, for instance, trying to figure out dose range of their chemical prescription drug. I mean, most of the money goes into that.

You have to know what's going to be the lower end of the dose and the higher end of the dose where I get maximum and I minimize side effects. That's the dose range. Benefit is high. Risk is low. That's what you want. If you take something like capzasin, for instance, and you're below that range, right? That ideal range. I say "range" because most things are a range. It's not like there's one, absolute perfect dose. Usually, it's between 50 and 100 mg. Or, you know, whatever. There's usually a range, right? And, on the lower end of that range, you get a little bit of benefit. Almost no side effect.

On the upper end of that range, you get lots of benefit, but then the side effects start coming in, so you have to be careful. Don't get too high. So, that's what I mean by dose range. It's all about benefit/risk. Capzasin is the same thing. If you're going to ingest it, right? If you're going to eat the pepper or take a capsule. There are capsules of capzasin. So, if you're below that range, you're not going to get any benefit. You're not going to get any side effects either, but it's just not going to do you any good. You're wasting your money. But, if you're above that range, that's where benefit is gone and side effects come on. So, I looked up capzasin which, by the way, you can find chili pepper supplements and you're going to find them concentrated with capzasin or another name you're going to see is "cayenne". It's basically the same thing, cayenne/capzasin. Same thing.

So, I just did a search of all the capzasin-based chili pepper products out there and the dose range to get the benefit of maybe resting metabolism which will affect weight; cardiovascular; immune; all those things that we've talked about; pain; that capzasin can play a role in. That range was 500-1000mg. Now, there were a few that were higher than that. There was one product that went up to about 1500mg of capzasin, but if you just look at the research and you look at the products available, you're talking about a range of about 500-1000mg of capzasin.

Now, some of the products, though...They don't list necessarily the milligram dose of the capzasin. What they're listing is called the "heat units" or "h.u." So, 500-1000mg or so of capzasin would be equivalent to 20,000 – 40,000 heat units. So, you have two different ways of measuring capzasin.

You've got the milligram way and the heat unit way. The milligram way, 500-1000. The heat unit way, 20,000-40,000. That seems to be the right dose. So, if you're just going to eat...In that segment I did, what was the name of that hottest pepper? Carolina Reaper? Yes. Carolina Reaper made by some guy in the Carolinas. He figured out a way to...It's like...I can't even remember what. It's like over 2 million heat units. Crazy.

So, if you eat that, you're way over the capzasin dose range, basically, so, yes. You're not getting a lot of benefit from it, but, boy, you're getting a lot of side effects. Perfect example. So, no, the hotter the pepper is not necessarily better. You want to be in a nice, appropriate range. Good. Love that question. Moving on.

"Is the bigger cell phone releasing more EMF than smaller ones?"

So, let's first talk about EMF, electromagnetic frequency or radiation. Anything that has a current in it releases an EMF and if you're really close to that current or that EMF, there are some people that believe that that can lead to DNA mutations, cancers, immune dysfunction, oxidative stress. I mean, there is a whole list of things. Confusion, cognitive issues. You know, and I don't know if anybody really argues that a lot of EMF can do those things. The question is how much, how long, how close do you have to be? I think that's what most of the debate is really centered around. This is a fantastic question.

It's funny, isn't it? When cell phones first came out, they were huge, right? Remember the late 80's, 90's, it was like a brick? Then, they got smaller and smaller and smaller. I even had one phone, I don't know. Not even long ago. Maybe 10 years ago and it was like not even palm was bigger. I mean, it was like the smallest little thing. Now, the trend is completely the opposite. They're getting bigger and bigger. I now have a smart phone that's pretty big. You know? It's like twice what, they are getting bigger. I think this is a really good question. If you are worried about EMF, I don't want this to be a debate about EMF. Let's just make the assumption that we want to avoid EMF, this electromagnetic frequency from phones, as much as possible. Let's just make that assumption for now. The question being, "Is a bigger cell phone, some of these smart phones, worse for you than the smaller ones?" You know, my gut feeling is "yes" because the more current that has to be generated to run the cell phone.

For instance, maybe a bigger battery, you know, the worse the EMF is going to be. The greater the EMF is going to be. The greater the impact it could be. So, I think my gut feeling to this is "yes" and if that's an issue for you, you might want to avoid the smart phones will all those apps. You might want to go with a smaller phone. They still offer some of those around. So, that's my gut feeling.

If you a better answer, a more specific answer, some references for me, please share it with me: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Tell me what you think the answer is, send me your reference. I'm all about learning. I learn every day, you know? I love it. So, I'm just kind of giving you my gut answer here.

To me, yes, the bigger the cell phone, the greater the current, the greater the EMF, potentially the more damage. So, there you go. Use a smaller one. That's my best advice. Alright. Thank you very much. This is Healthy Talk on RadioMD. I'm Dr. Mike. Stay well.