Q: Hi Dave,
I love chiles–all kinds–but at times, when I eat spicy foods, I get an instantaneous reaction which is a bit difficult to describe. Most accurately, it makes my head "swim" and my eyes want to close. This happened in a very pronounced manner this evening at a Thai restaurant. We had a very spicy soup, and I have felt off kilter for the remainder of the evening. Have you ever heard of this and do you have an answer?
A: Hello Leslie:
Eating chiles causes the brain to release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Many people say if they eat particularly hot ones they are affected with what is best described as a "runner’s high." Most of the time this is described as a pleasant feeling.
However, it is possible that you are particularly sensitive to capsaicin and that your symptoms reflect this sensitivity. In this way, perhaps you are slightly allergic to capsaicin. My only advice would be to limit your consumption to mild or medium foods on the heat scale.