A 34-year-old man sought medical help at a hospital after eating a Carolina Reaper. His case is the first thunderclap headache associated with chili peppers.
The Carolina Reaper holds the Guinness World Record for the world's hottest chili pepper in 2013 and once again in 2018. On April 9, however, doctors have cautioned against consuming the variety after treating the patient.
Carolina Reaper Challenge Sends Man To Emergency Room
A case study published in the journal BMJ Case Reports details the story of the unnamed patient complaining of a thunderclap headache, a condition usually characterized by bleeding in regions surrounding the brain. His symptoms emerged after eating one piece of Carolina Reaper in a hot pepper eating contest. He experienced dry heaves followed by intense neck and occipital head pain. He exhibited the same symptoms in the next few days while under medical care.
The doctors' final diagnosis reveals that the patient had a reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome. Specifically, his arteries have narrowed, resulting in a thunderclap headache.
An active ingredient in chili peppers known as capsaicin may have caused the man's constricted blood vessels, Dr. Kulothungan Gunasekaran explains. He is a senior staff physician at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and was also one of the doctors who looked after the patient.
"People should be cautious about the effects of hot peppers. If they do develop these symptoms, they should seek medical attention," Gunasekaran explains in an exclusive phone interview with Reuters.
Carolina Reaper Reclaims World's Hottest Chili Pepper Award
Meanwhile, PuckerButt Pepper Company announced on April 7 that the Carolina Reaper has once again been declared the world's hottest chili pepper. The company is founded by Ed Currie, the scientist who developed the Carolina Reaper.
"[We are] please to announce that Smokin Ed's Carolina Reaper has been awarded a new world record, at a higher average," the company says on its Facebook page.
Guinness has given the award to Carolina Reaper for reaching the average of 1,641,000 Scoville heat units as recorded on Aug 11, 2017. The Carolina Reaper showed an average of 1,569,300 SHU when it was initially given the title in 2013.
SHU is the measurement of spice heat of chili peppers or other spicy food. In comparison, Jalapeno peppers emit an average of 2,500 to 8,000 SHU.