Black pepper and its major active ingredient, piperine, have recently received attention as a component in buzz-worthy turmeric supplement. But historically black pepper has been used in folk medicine to treat gastrointestinal disease and promote appetite. More recently studies indicate it may help the human body fight certain types of bacterial infection and sepsis.
How does piperine relate to curcumin?
For all of the anti-inflammatory benefits curcumin is believed to provide, it has dismally low bioavailability due to its poor absorption, rapid elimination, and rapid metabolism by the body. (We are talking a 2% absorption rate in most cases!!) This is where the addition of piperine can be a game changer. In addition to its aforementioned healing capabilities piperine has also been found to increase curcumin’s bioavailability by as much as 2000%. Therefore, when considering which turmeric-curcumin supplement to purchase, make sure to check for the existence of black pepper, or its active ingredient, piperine. You can also extend this consideration to cooking or when adding turmeric to teas, lattes, and smoothies – a pinch of black pepper will help to ensure absorption of this magical miracle spice.
*As always, be sure to consult your physician before beginning any supplement regimen.