Piperine - Supplements are Better with Bio-Enhancement

Piperine - Supplements are Better with Bio-Enhancement

If you've never heard of bio-availability, you need to read this.

One of the most valuable foods in your diet is one of the most common. Black pepper is a household spice, and as far as a functional food, is somewhat well known as a thermogenic, increasing metabolism. One of its lesser known, but most important qualities is as a bio-enhancer. This is a substance which when combined with certain other nutrients in the human body, enhances their effects, and is therefore, very useful.

One compound in black pepper (piper longum) fruit called piperine, which gives it its spicy aspect, is responsible for its bio-enhancing properties. Studies have consistently shown that piperine increases the availability and efficacy of nutrients, so it has found successful use for people suffering from malnutrition, helping the body absorb and utilize more of whatever is ingested. Studies show piperine increases the absorption of beta-carotene, curcumin, minerals like selenium, vitamins like A, C, B-6, amino acids, co-enzyme Q10, many herbal compounds, and particularly drugs. Bioperine (TM) is a standardized extract version patented specifically for its ability to increase bio-availability.

Despite black pepper being used as a common spice for thousands of years (adding much-needed flavor to ubiquitous dried food), it wasn't until the early 19th century that the Danish chemist Hans Christian Orsted first identified the compound piperine, which makes up around 7% of the peppercorn (found in other peppers too.) In the lipid family, its effects are broad reaching, even if its precise workings are still a bit of a mystery. We do know that piperine increases thermogenesis, the cellular energy generation process, and fat metabolism.

Piperine's bio-enhancing characteristics are believed to derive from its ability to increase active nutrient transport, to increase blood supply to the gastrointestinal tract, to help emulsify the contents of the stomach, to activate the γ-glutamyltranspeptidase, to inhibit certain enzymes, and to inhibit the degradation of many compounds. Simply put, when you consume piperine at the same time as other substances, your body will absorb and fully use more of the substances.

Better health results not from simply ingesting nutrition, but from the efficient delivery of nutrients to the body.

In trials, forms of piperine were shown to:

  • Increase serum levels of coenzyme Q10 with 14 days supplementation

  • Increase serum levels of selenium with 2 to 6 weeks supplementation

  • Increase maximum plasma concentrations of vitamin A, C, and B-6.

  • Increase bio-availability of curcumin by over 2000%

(see references below)

In addition to its bio-enhancing effects, piperine has been used as an Immuno-modulator. Immune function can malfunction and create disease. Piperine has been shown to decrease inflammatory response, reduce immune dysfunction, and is a potent anti-oxidant. A study published in the "European Journal of Pharmacology" concluded that piperine "may decrease the communication of lymphocytes in the immune system, thereby slowing down their action."

It has also been utilized for its anti-tumor and anti-cancer effects. "Clinical Laboratory Science" published research suggesting that piperine inhibits the growth of colon cancers cells.

Finally, piperine may have an anti-depressant effect. Studies published in "Food and Chemical Toxicology" provided evidence that the supplement had mood-enhancing and cognitive-enhancing effects, and "Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior" reported that piperine increased serotonin and dopamine levels, the so-called "feel good" chemicals in our brains that are often deficient in depression sufferers.

Much of this research is in early stages and needs more data, but it has become clear that piperine is an important nutritional compound for many reasons.

From our own perspective at 4 Organics, we have done a lot of testing of formula efficacy in concert with piperine and have found highly beneficial results. Not only does the addition of piperine improve the effectiveness of certain formulas, but as a result of an increased bio-availability, dosages can be reduced. When combined with our stronger supplements like JUMPSTART EX energy stimulant, or APPETITE AWAY weight loss aid, it has increased their potency significantly. 

Beyond benefits to supplementation, this has obvious value with drugs, which are much safer at lower doses and consequently less expensive. It also means less tolerance build-up so drugs like antibiotics retain their effectiveness. For example, in India, where drug costs are critical, piperine is used with the tuberculosis drug Risorine to increase its effect per dose. There is simply no question that piperine is important and highly useful nutrition. Supplements by the nature of the production process often struggle with bio-availability, so piperine plays a major role in increasing their efficacy and benefit to our bodies.

One serious warning: do not combine piperine with any prescription drug unless you have discussed it with your doctor first. Taking a compound that increases the effect of drugs can be dangerous without medical supervision. Make sure you talk to your doctor about your regimen and whether it is safe for you to use a supplement containing any form of piperine.

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Atal CK. A breakthrough in drug bioavailability-a clue from age old wisdom of Ayurveda. I.D.M.A. Bulletin. 1979;
Johri RK, Zutshi U. An Ayurvedic formulation ‘Trikatu’ and its constituents. J Ethnopharmacol. 1992;
Zutshi RK, Singh R, Zutshi U, Johri RK, Atal CK. Influence of piperine on rifampicin blood levels in patients of pulmonary tuberculosis. J Assoc Physicians India. 1985;
Patil UM, Singh A, Chakraborty AK. Role of piperine as a bioavailability enhancer. International Journal of Recent Advances in Pharmaceutical Research 2011
Dudhatra GB, Modi SK, Awale MM, Patel HB, Modi CM, Kumar A et al. A Comprehensive review on Pharmacotherapeutics of herbal bioenhancers. Scientific World Journal 2012
Food and Chemical Toxicology: Piperine, the Potential Functional Food for Mood and Cognitive Disorders
Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior: Anti-Depressant Like Effect of Curcumin and its Combination with Piperine in Unpredictable Chronic Stress-Induced Behavioral, Biochemical and Neurochemical Changes

The opinions expressed in this article are of the author. Content and other information presented on the site are not meant to be medical advice or any substitute for professional advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider.

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