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Piperine

  • Enhances the uptake and absorption of dietary supplements
  • Especially effective for supplements metabolized in the liver
  • Inhibits glucuronidation

 

Piperine (or Piperaceae) is the active compound in black pepper. When taken as a dietary supplement, Piperine has the ability significantly improve the absorption and uptake of many dietary supplements.  Piperine is used for its ability to inhibit phase 2 detoxifying enzymes and to prevent the process of glucuronidation.

 

Piperine may also slow intestinal removal of supplements. These effects allow your body to better absorb many supplements (non-endogenous supplements that are metabolized by the liver). The recommended serving size for Piperine is 20mg. Do not use Piperine if you are taking any medication.

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  • Piperine is an active compound extracted from black pepper (piper nigrum)

  • Piperine is used as an ‘enhancer’ supplement – it allows your body to better absorb dietary supplements and increases their effects

  • Recommended serving size is 20mg taken with supplements metabolized by the liver

 

Background

 

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Background

 

Black pepper (piper nigrum) is a flowering vine that is commonly used around the world as a spice and seasoning. The fruit of the pepper vine is called a black peppercorn. The peppercorn itself is often used in cooking or is crushed as a seasoning. Black pepper includes the dried, wrinkled skin of the black peppercorn, while white pepper refers to the peppercorn with removed skin.

 

When you take supplements or most forms of medication, a natural process called glucuronidation occurs in your liver. This process involves the addition of a glucuronide molecule to the foreign compound, which signals your body to remove it through urinary excretion. [1]

 

Black pepper is a good source of Piperine – a compound with significant effects on your body’s metabolism of biocompounds and supplements. Piperine is used specifically for its ability to downregulate or inhibit phase II detoxification enzymes and prevent the glucuronidation process in the liver.[2] This allows certain supplements (especially water-soluble supplements that are metabolized by your liver) to be better absorbed. This effect has been especially well researched when using Piperine in combination with curcumin or Green Tea Extract. [3]

 

Piperine Effects / Benefits

 

Piperine, also known as Piperaceae, inhibits detoxifying enzymes in your liver that prevent the accumulation and absorption of water-soluble supplements. This means that Piperine is best taken to potentiate (increase) the effects of supplements that are water-soluble and metabolized in your liver. The absorption of catechins found in Green Tea Extract, for example, is significantly improved when taken with Piperine. The same goes for Curcumin – an active compound found in turmeric, which cannot be absorbed without the action of Piperine. [4]

 

Piperine, also referred to simply as black pepper extract, may also improve the absorption of other supplements, including:

 1. Baicalin:

  • A powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory extracted from Blue Skullcap. This supplement is currently being studied for a number of potential health benefits, including the promotion of rest and relaxation, stress reduction, supporting healthy skin, and reducing inflammation.[5]

  • Studies suggest that Baicalin’s absorption is somewhat inhibited by the process of Baiaclian-glucuronide conjugation, which is prevented when using Piperine. [6]

 2. Berberine HCl

  • Berberine HCl is one of nature’s most powerful health-promoting compounds. It has been studied for a wide range of benefits, some with potentially clinical efficiency. Berberine is especially useful in promoting a strong circulatory system and supporting a healthy hormone balance. [7]

  • Pharmacokinetics is the scientific term for the movement of foreign compounds in the body. Pharmacokinetics studies of Berberine HCl show that its absorption is hindered by the process of glucuronidation. [8] Taking Piperine blocks this process and may enhance Berberine absorption.

3. Magnolia Bark Extract 

  • Magnolia Bark extract contains a number of powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, stress-reducing, and mood-lifting plant compounds. Magnolia bark extract may provide relief from pain and stress, while improving mood and helping to support healthy sleep.[9]

  • Studies have indicated that up to around 50% of orally-taken Magnolia Bark extract is excreted through urine as a result of the process of glucuronidation. [10] Taking Piperine with Magnolia Bark extract may help to increase Magnolia Bark uptake.

 

Piperine With Curcumin

 

A lot of research has explored the synergistic relationship between Piperine and curcumin. Curcumin is the active chemical found in turmeric, a common spice used in curries and originating from India. Tumeric has been known to have beneficial effects for a very long time. In Eastern medicine, turmeric is often used as a herbal medicine in tonics or ointments and as an antibiotic, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting natural compound. [11]

 

Scientific research correlates with this traditional knowledge and modern research has shown that curcumin has an amazing range of benefits for a wide selection of health factors. In fact, scientists are currently researching curcumin’s potential benefits in counter-acting against various pro-inflammatory diseases, where they have found exciting results and a very safe chemical profile. [12]

 

However, the healing properties of Curcumin often cannot be utilized because of its poor absorption in the liver. This is a direct result of the process of glucuronidation – where enzymes in your liver add a glucuronide molecule to the curcumin to ‘mark’ it for removal and excretion.  Studies have shown a 2000% increase in absorption in humans when using Piperine with curcumin, compared to curcumin alone! [13]

 

Piperine Recommended Usage

 

Piperine is not your usual supplement in the sense that it is not traditionally taken to produce any noticeable effects on the mind or body.

 

Piperine is better used as an ‘enhancer’ supplement – taken in COMBINATION with supplements that are metabolized by the liver. The liver is the organ that is responsible for dealing with foreign compounds and toxins. Almost all supplements that are not found endogenously in your body (not amino acids or neurotransmitters like GABA, choline, melatonin, or 5-HTP) will need to be metabolized in the liver before being taken into your bloodstream.

 

Piperine blocks enzymes in your liver called ‘Phase 2 detoxifying enzymes’ as well as inhibiting the process of glucuronidation. Furthermore, Piperine may also slow the gastric intestinal transit speed, meaning that it will prolong the time your body takes to remove supplements.[14] As a result, Piperine has a strong potential to effectively increase the effects of most dietary supplements.

 

When using Piperine to improve the effects of dietary supplements, the recommended dosage is around 20mg. [15]

 

Piperine Side Effects / Warnings

 

Black pepper is generally regarded as safe and is used around the world in food as a seasoning. Piperine is the extracted active compound from black pepper. There is limited information about the toxicity of Piperine in humans. However, animal studies show an LD50 value (the dosage at which half the animals are killed) of between 33.5 – 514 mg/kg bodyweight. [16]

 

In a 75kg human, this would equate to a massive acute serving of between 2.5 and 38.5 grams of pure Piperine. Given that the recommended serving size is around 20mg, Piperine as a dietary supplement is considered to have a very low toxicity. 

 

Importantly, there may be significant interactions between Piperine and medication. If you are taking any medication, it is very important that you consult with your doctor before using a Piperine supplement.

 

References:



[1]Glucuronidation’, ScienceDirect Topic, available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/glucuronidation [Accessed October 26, 2017]

[2] Di, X., Wang, X., Di, X., Liu, Y. Effect of piperine on the bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of emodin in rats. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2015 Nov 10;115:144-9.

[3] Lambert, J.D., et al. Piperine enhances the bioavailability of the tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate in mice. J Nutr. 2004 Aug;134(8):1948-52.

[4] Martins, C.A., Leyhausen, G., Volk, J., Geurtsen, W., Curcumin in Combination with Piperine Suppresses Osteoclastogenesis In Vitro. J Endod. 2015 Oct;41(10):1638-45

[5] Scutellaria baicalensis, Examine.com, available online at https://examine.com/supplements/scutellaria-baicalensis/ [Accessed October 26, 2017]

[6] Srinivas, N.R., Baicalin, an emerging multi-therapeutic agent: pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and considerations from drug development perspectives. Xenobiotica. 2010 May;40(5):357-67

[7] Lan, J., et al., Meta-analysis of the effect and safety of berberine in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, hyperlipemia and hypertension. J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Feb 23;161:69-81

[8] Liu, Y., Oxidative demethylenation and subsequent glucuronidation are the major metabolic pathways of berberine in rats. J Pharm Sci. 2009 Nov;98(11):4391-401.

[9] Woodbury, A., Yu, S.P., Wei, L., García, P., Neuro-Modulating Effects of Honokiol: A Review. Front Neurol. 2013; 4: 130.

[10] Arora, S., et al., Honokiol: a novel natural agent for cancer prevention and therapy. Curr Mol Med. 2012 Dec; 12(10): 1244–1252.

[11] Chapter 13: Turmeric, the Golden Spice, Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Sahdeo Prasad and Bharat B. Aggarwal., Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors.

Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011.

[12] Gupta, S.C., Patchva, S., Aggarwa, B.B., Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials. AAPS J. 2013 Jan; 15(1): 195–218.

[13]  Shoba, G., et al., Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med. 1998 May;64(4):353-6.

[14] Bajad, S., et al., Piperine inhibits gastric emptying and gastrointestinal transit in rats and mice. Planta Med. 2001 Mar;67(2):176-9.

[15] Piperine, Examine.com, available online at https://examine.com/supplements/black-pepper/ [Accessed October 26, 2017]

[16] Piyachaturawat, P., Glinsukon, T., Toskulkao, C., Acute and subacute toxicity of piperine in mice, rats and hamsters. Toxicol Lett. 1983 May;16(3-4):351-9.

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