Black pepper, or to the people in the know it’s piperine (Bioperine™).
Piperine is an ingredient found inside supplements which are more common than most people think.
However, do we really know the full benefits of piperine? Or what it can do for our health apart from adding flavor to our foods?
In summary, piperine will increase the absorption rate of key nutrients in the foods we eat – especially vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
That’s right, it’s not just a food which adds a little peppery spice – it can actually increase the number of nutrients that are delivered throughout the body.
In particular, piperine helps the body absorb certain vitamins and minerals that are key to our health.
This is especially important if you exercise often where oxidative stress builds up. Or you lose minerals during exercise.
The patented formula of Bioperine is made from Piper Nigrum L (Piperine or black pepper extract). This has been shown to stimulate antioxidant capacities, with the added benefit of increased thermogenesis. (01)
This means piperine holds the ability to act as an antioxidant while increasing your metabolism. Ideal for those looking to lose weight, or simply live a healthier life.
But where does Bioperine come from I hear you ask? This simply refers to the trademark name of piperine in supplement form.
What Does It Do?
Apart from the above-mentioned ability to increase the absorption rates of the foods we eat, piperine can also assist in healing gastrointestinal issues.
“Black pepper extract can boost the bioavailability of selenium by 42.6%. And the bioavailability of vitamin C can increase by 52.3%”
The main nutrients that piperine helps to absorb are: calcium, iron, zinc, iodine, copper, vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin D, ginkgo biloba to name a few.
Not only that – piperine can also enhance other antioxidants by increasing their metabolism. Such as turmeric, which on its own, is poorly absorbed. (02)
When taken with piperine, it speeds up the rate at which the healing properties inside turmeric are delivered into the areas needed the most.
Gut Health and Exercise
When you exercise, you are effectively putting your body into a state of repair, a state that becomes weaker and prone to illnesses.
Have you every exercised often, let’s say several times per week with high intensity to only find that you’ve caught a cold the following week? Or you’re feeling run-down and tired?
Apart from the numerous adaptations taking place which involve your central nervous system, the blood that would normally be circulating around your intestines, is now directed towards your muscles for repair.
Why is this important?
This is important as your gut is the epicenter for your health and well-being. A direct link between ill-health and a poor digestion are closely related. (03)
This is where piperine comes into play.
By taking piperine, especially around exercise with your recovery meals, you’re allowing your body to take on extra nutrients.
These nutrients can then be shuttled around the body, that will enable a faster recovery.
Benefits of Piperine
Promotes A Thermogenic Effect
As piperine acts in a similar way to chili peppers. Meaning, once ingested, it can increase your body’s internal temperature, thus forcing your body to use more energy to regulate its internal temperature. Piperine, therefore, demonstrates qualities as a natural thermogenic aid.
In real terms, why is this good for us?
This may be beneficial for those who wish to control their weight, as it increases the body’s metabolism.
Even though these effects may be small, they may be the added step people need to assist in long-term, healthy weight loss.
Improves Food Absorption
As previously mentioned, piperine has the ability to increase the body’s ability at which it can absorb nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals.
Quoting Dr. Alok Mukerjee on the ‘Bioavailability enhancers of herbal origin’
“It has been proved that novel drug delivery system of herbal as well as of chemical origin has been used to increase the bioavailability of the compounds or their respective constituents (in case of herbal extracts)”. (04)
Increases Gut Health
Piperine has been shown to influence the transportation of proteins in the blood, such as amino acid transport activity within the gut lining.
Not only that – piperine can also amplify the ‘pumping‘ effect of p-glycoprotein (an important protein of the cell membrane that pumps many foreign substances out of cells). (05)
In simple terms, this means, piperine can improve the removal of waste products from the body, especially those found in the gut.
What good is this to us?
This means; piperine decreases the production of glucuronic acid in the intestine walls. Thus allowing for more ‘useful‘ substances to be used and absorbed. Hence the popularity in piperine – which increases the bioavailability of the foods we eat.
In Summary: Why Is Piperine Beneficial To Our Health?
Let’s consider this; Are you someone who exercises regularly? Or maybe you’re living a busy life? Heck, let’s even say you live a sedentary life, yet, you still eat a wide variety of foods…
Foods which has been locally sourced, organically grown without the use of pesticides?
If you are lucky enough to be able to eat these types of food. Even then, you’re still going to miss out on many important vitamins and minerals…. why is that?
Because, the foods we’re eating ‘right now‘ compared to those of 40 years ago contain almost 50% less the original nutrient content.
“Professor Michael Crawford and Yoqun Wang of London Metropolitan University found that a chicken in 2004 contained more than twice as much fat as in 1940”. (06)
The Supplement Solution
I touch on this in other articles throughout sportnutrituinexpert.com – but I will reiterate the point once more;
Supplements are a means to enhance your health and well-being where your diet may be missing.
Why? Because our foods fail to meet the necessary standards we once thought were acceptable.
Piperine, when used intelligently, can help the body absorb more out of the foods we eat.
The topic of using a supplement to promote good health is becoming more of a necessity due to the ‘re-aggregation‘ of ‘worn-out‘ soils.
This farming process is leaving the nutrient content of our foods vastly diminished.
Therefore, using supplements such as piperine are now becoming an important part of our health rituals globally – and for good reason. (07)
It’s recommended to take anywhere between 5 – 20 mg per day of piperine to see and feel the best results.
For cases where ‘gastric emptying’ and ‘intestinal transit’ are important, meaning;
If you are concerned, and wich to improve how long it takes your body to digest and remove the foods you eat – a dose of 1mg/kg-1.3mg/kg body-weight should be obtained. (08)
As piperine (black pepper) is common in most peoples diets, it’s safe to say there are no adverse side effect associated with piperine.
However, if you’re taking piperine with another supplement which already contains piperine, be aware this may cause some unwanted interactions with some medications supplied by your doctor.
This is due to the way piperine increases the speed at which nutrients (and chemicals) are absorbed into the body.
While this may sound beneficial in some cases, it might an unwanted wanted occurrence for people on certain medications – where timed release is an important factor.
Piperine (Bioperine™) or black pepper to most of us is a powerful, natural, holistic aid for the delivery of key nutrients throughout the body.
For those who may be taking part in an exercise on a regular basis, supplementing with piperine or using black pepper in your food (especially post workout) is a great way to make sure your body is getting a fighting chance at absorbing important elements in the foods you eat. Which ultimately, will help to repair your body.
This doesn’t mean piperine is only for athletes, it can also be used for anyone wishing to increase their mental and overall physical health.
As our intestines are often referred to as the ‘second brain’, it makes sense that many illnesses, both physical and mental start in the gut.
Therefore, taking precautionsns, such as the use of pre-biotics, piperine, and glutamine to name a few, is a great way to make sure your body has the right environment to perform at its best – all year long.
For ideal dosages, you should aim to take anywhere between 5-20 mg per day when required.
In summary, I would recommend piperine to anyone who may feel their digestion could be improved. Especially those who may be experiencing large amounts of oxidative stress (external stress related).
Or perhaps anyone who is recovering from an illness – as piperine will assist in the delivery of vitamins to keep you feeling strong and healthy.
(01) Recent Developments in Delivery, Bioavailability, Absorption and Metabolism of Curcumin: the Golden Pigment from Golden Spice. (source)
(02) Role of curcumin in systemic and oral health: An overview. (source)
(03) Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis. (source)
(04) Bioavailability enhancers of herbal origin: An overview. (source)
(05) Wikipedia – P-glycoprotein. (source)
(06) The Guardian – It’s supposed to be lean cuisine. So why is this chicken fatter than it looks? (source)
(07) Reduced plasma half-life of radio-labelled 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in subjects receiving a high-fibre diet. (source)
(08) Piperine inhibits gastric emptying and gastrointestinal transit in rats and mice. (source)
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