Piperine is an alkaloid you have never heard of that is found in something you may use every day. Piperine is what gives black pepper, white pepper, and long pepper that pungent kick that we all know. Each has a varying range of piperine in it, with long pepper only having about 1 to 2 percent and white and black pepper having 5 to 10 percent. While piperine can be obtained by consuming pepper on your food, for a more concentrated version, it is often extracted using an organic solvent.
Aside from giving black pepper its pungent flavor, piperine is also the main active compound that gives health benefits to pepper for those that consume it. Not only does piperine aid in increasing nutrient bioavailability to help your body absorb the nutrients it needs but it provides a range of other health benefits. Similar to other spices, piperine is defined by an antioxidant nature, this can aid in helping to reduce your risk of chronic illnesses by combating excessive free radicals in your body. Free radicals can be naturally produced within our bodies; however, certain factors can increase them to the point of excess which can lead to potential illnesses. These factors include pollution, smoking, and even sun exposure and illnesses can range from cardiovascular disease to neurological conditions.
Piperine, surprisingly or not, can also aid in your digestion as well as your gut health. Since it acts to stimulate a compound known as hydrochloric acid that is found within your stomach, it helps your body digest and absorb your food. This in turn can help reduce and prevent discomfort from gas buildup. Piperine is also purported to aid in strengthening your immune system by boosting your white blood cell count. White blood cells are important in your body’s ability to fight of bacteria and viruses that make you sick.
While more studies need to be done with people, studies with rats show a purported use for black pepper’s piperine in fighting inflammation. An anti-inflammatory nature showed to reduce arthritis related inflammation and airway inflammation related to asthma and allergies in rats. If future studies show similar effects in humans, black pepper and piperine based supplements could have a major impact in treatment of these conditions. Similar to the purported anti-inflammatory nature, piperine has a potential benefit in aiding the reduction of symptoms related to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, however, human studies are needed. However, so far in rat studies, it has been seen to reduce amyloid plaque formation which is related to Alzheimer’s and improve memory.
If you have problems with cholesterol, black pepper may be able to help you out. While more studies are needed, so far studies have shown black pepper to aid in decreased cholesterol levels for rats on a high-fat diet. It is also purported to help increase absorbency of other dietary supplements such as turmeric, which may increase by up to 2,000 percent. Piperine can also aid in the absorption of calcium which is very important in maintaining our body along with all of our other vitamins and minerals.
The main thing to look out for with black pepper is whether or not it has the potential to interact with any of your medications as it can affect how your body absorbs them. Speak to your doctor about black pepper and your medications before increasing how much black pepper you consume outside of what would normally be on your dishes or if you potentially have to avoid it altogether. While some supplements you take may already be designed to have an increased absorption rate and bioavailability, like Vidafy’s turmeric and curcumin based supplements, others may benefit from black pepper in your diet allowing them to be better absorbed and used in your body.