- Eat Better Feel Better
- Why You Should Combine Turmeric and Black Pepper
- Turmeric and Black Pepper: A Perfect Pair
- Consider Turmeric and Black Pepper Supplements
- 3 Turmeric and Black Pepper Recipes
- Summary: Combine Turmeric and Black Pepper for Greatest Benefit
- Herbs as Medicine
- How Pepper Works With Turmeric
- Other Ways to Boost Turmeric’s Benefits
- Why We Should Be Eating Turmeric with Black Pepper
- Quick education on why activating turmeric is a must
- How to increase absorption from turmeric or curcumin
- 2. Eat it with good fat
- 3. Eat it with purple foods
- 4. Make a paste for golden lattes
- Why Turmeric and Black Pepper Is a Powerful Combination
- What happens when you mix black pepper and turmeric
- Turmeric & Black Pepper: Curcumin Absorption with BioPerine (Piperine)
- Turmeric and Black Pepper
- Curcumin with Piperine: Can Black Pepper Enhance Turmeric Absorption?
- Other Ways to Improve Turmeric Absorption
- Turmeric and Black Pepper Ratio
- Final Thoughts on Turmeric Curcumin with BioPerine
- Turmeric Black Pepper
- Product Overview
- Product Description
- Recently Viewed
- Organic Turmeric with Black Pepper and Ginger Capsules
Eat Better Feel Better
What is Turmeric?
- Turmeric is an herb descended from the ginger spice family and is widely used throughout India, Asia and Central America to enhance the color and flavors of foods. Turmeric’s various medicinal benefits are highly associated with its active ingredient, curcumin. Curcumin is acquired from the stems of the herb and is widely known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients can play an important role in combatting inflammation, arthritis, and problems of the stomach, skin, liver, gallbladder, or certain cancers.
How to enhance Turmeric’s benefits and absorption:
- Curcumin only makes up about 5% of turmeric, similar to black pepper where the active ingredient, piperine also makes up about 5% of the spice. Piperine is responsible for black pepper’s rich flavor and helps inhibit drug metabolism. For example, the liver gets rid of foreign substances by making them water-soluble so that they can be excreted, and piperine can inhibit this process so that curcumin is not excreted. This explains how piperine can help to make curcumin more bioavailable. With just 1/20 teaspoon or more of black pepper, the bioavailability of turmeric is greatly improved, and turmeric’s benefits are further enhanced.
- Another way to increase the bioavailability of turmeric is to consume this spice with a source of fat (such as avocado, nut butters and nuts, fish, etc.), and therefore curcumin will directly be absorbed into the blood stream and bypass the liver.4
How to add more spice (pepper/turmeric) to your life:
- Add some pepper and turmeric to scrambled eggs
- Sprinkle these spices on sautéed or roasted vegetables
- Use these spices for extra delicious flavor in soups
- Add them to a salad or salad dressing
- Turmeric is commonly added into mustards and a little pepper will spice it up!
- Blend some turmeric into a smoothie
- Add extra flavor to rice
- Be creative!
For an easy recipe, try making this salad dressing for topping salads, vegetables, fish or chicken!
- ¼ cup tahini
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon of organic miso (optional)
Whisk together all ingredients until texture is smooth. Can be prepared ahead and last up to 4 days.
Why You Should Combine Turmeric and Black Pepper
Few spices have gained as much attention in recent years as turmeric. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a golden yellow spice that’s sometimes referred to as “Indian saffron.” It’s a key ingredient in many curry recipes, and is also thought to play a role in managing a variety of health conditions, including arthritis, indigestion, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a chapter in the book Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects.
Many of turmeric’s potential health benefits can be attributed to the active compound known as curcumin. Research indicates that curcumin may lower inflammation and improve systemic markers of oxidative stress (a sign of overexposure to free radicals such as those in cigarette smoke and industrial chemicals), according to an October 2017 review published in Foods.
Turmeric may sound like an ideal natural health solution, but there’s an important caveat: It’s hard to ingest enough of the spice to reap any of the health benefits that have been seen in research studies. In order to squeeze the maximum health benefit out of turmeric, you have to add another spice to the mix: black pepper (Piper nigrum L).
RELATED: 6 Ways to Use Turmeric to Boost Your Health
Turmeric and Black Pepper: A Perfect Pair
Black pepper is a potent spice in its own right. This popular, pungent ingredient is made of ground (or whole) peppercorns, which are the small, dried, unripe fruits of the black pepper plant. In addition to flavoring food, it’s commonly used as a medicinal agent, a preservative, and in perfumes, according to a review published in Medicinal & Aromatic Plants.
Like turmeric, black pepper contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it potentially helpful for managing inflammatory conditions and reducing free-radical damage.
Research has shown that piperine, the main active ingredient in pepper, may reduce inflammation associated with chronic diseases like asthma, arthritis, chronic gastritis, and Alzheimer’s, according to a review published in January 2018 in Journal of Translational Medicine.
Why pair black pepper and turmeric? Because piperine helps your body absorb more curcumin, according to Dana Angelo White, RD, the owner of Dana White Nutrition in Fairfield, Connecticut. A study published in Planta Medica found that pairing 20 milligrams (mg) of piperine with 2 grams (g) of curcumin increased the amount of curcumin that could be absorbed by the body (a concept known as bioavailability) by 2,000 percent. And piperine increases the bioavailability of many nutrients, by preventing metabolizing enzymes (enzymes that are used to break down drugs, foods, and other substances) from doing their job, according to a review published in Medicinal & Aromatic Plants.
RELATED: Can Turmeric Help Prevent or Treat Type 2 Diabetes?
Consider Turmeric and Black Pepper Supplements
If you’re interested in using turmeric and black pepper for health benefits, you may want to opt for a turmeric or curcumin supplement that also contains black pepper, as opposed to relying on the ground spices to meet your health goals. The reason: The average portion of curcumin found in the amount of ground turmeric you would use in cooking is pretty minimal, according to the registered dietitian Elizabeth Ann Shaw, RDN, owner of Shaw Simple Swaps Consulting in San Diego. In fact, ground turmeric contains only roughly 3 percent curcumin, according to the third-party supplement testing agency ConsumerLab.
Turmeric and curcumin supplements, meanwhile, typically contain 95 percent curcumin and other curcuminoids, according to ConsumerLab. To put that in more concrete numbers, a supplement with 0.5 g of turmeric extract provides roughly 400 mg of curcuminoids, while the same amount of the ground spice provides only about 15 mg.
Be choosy about your supplement, though. Cheap supplements may contain fillers like wheat, which could cause allergic reactions, Shaw warns. It’s also important to note that more studies are needed before curcumin or piperine can be recommended for help with any specific health condition. Check with your healthcare provider before adding this or any other supplement to your routine.
When you find a supplement, make sure it’s been third-party tested for safety by a reliable agency like NSF International, ConsumerLab, or USP. Start by checking out ConsumerLab’s list of top turmeric and curcumin supplements. And of course, make sure the supplement includes black pepper or piperine on the ingredient list.
Turmeric and curcumin supplements with piperine are generally safe, but some populations will have to be especially careful. For example, curcumin in particular may interfere with medications like antidepressants, antibiotics, antihistamines, anticoagulants, cardiac medications, diabetes medications that lower blood pressure, and chemotherapy treatments, according to a review published September 2017 in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
You may also want to steer clear if you’re prone to kidney stones or have an iron deficiency, according to some research. And as with any supplement, check with your doctor first if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, says the Chicago-based registered dietitian Maggie Michalczyk, RDN, owner of Once Upon a Pumpkin.
If you’re all set to take turmeric or curcumin supplements and have your doctor’s approval, just be sure not to overdo it. Though there haven’t been too many negative side effects reported, one small study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that 7 of 24 subjects experienced side effects like diarrhea, headache, skin rash, and yellow stool after taking curcumin in a range of doses (500 to 12,000 mg).
RELATED: Can Too Much Turmeric Pose Side Effects?
Your best bet is to get turmeric in smaller doses. “Most studies have looked at 500 to 2,000 mg of turmeric in the form of an extract,” Michalczyk says. “It’s recommended to stay within that range.”
3 Turmeric and Black Pepper Recipes
If you’re interested in trying turmeric and black pepper in food form, mix up one of these tasty recipes incorporating the dynamic duo!
1. Black Pepper and Turmeric Latte
One of the easiest ways to get a feel for the taste of turmeric and black pepper is to blend the two into a latte, and this tasty drink is a snap to make. In addition to turmeric and black pepper, it also incorporates ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, honey, and vanilla for maximum spice and flavor.
Get the recipe at FrontierCoop.com.
2. Turmeric Oven Scrambled Eggs
Add turmeric and black pepper to oven-scrambled eggs for a new twist on a breakfast classic. The two spices kick up the flavor a notch — without adding unnecessary fat, salt, or sugar. Plus, you can make a whole dish of these bright yellow eggs ahead of time and be set for days.
Get the recipe at CotterCrunch.com.
3. Golden Turmeric Tahini Dressing
Shake up your usual salad dressing by blending together turmeric and black pepper. This anti-inflammatory dressing also incorporates tahini and lemon juice for a zesty kick. It also works great as a sauce or dip.
Get the recipe at EatingBirdFood.com.
RELATED: 8 Flavor-Packed Turmeric Tea Recipes to Try
Summary: Combine Turmeric and Black Pepper for Greatest Benefit
Turmeric and black pepper are powerful, flavorful spices on their own. Both offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, which may help ease or prevent inflammatory conditions and lessen free-radical damage.
But turmeric and black pepper are even more formidable when they’re paired. Piperine, the main active ingredient in black pepper, enables your body to absorb more of the curcumin in the golden spice.
You can try cooking with turmeric and black pepper (check out the recipe ideas above), but you’ll likely reap even greater anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits by taking a turmeric supplement with added black pepper or piperine. Buy a quality supplement that’s been third-party tested for safety, and stick to the dosage recommended on the bottle. And always be sure to check with your healthcare provider before adding any new supplements.
Approach these spices and supplements with caution if you take any medications, are prone to kidney stones, have an iron deficiency, or if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding. When in doubt, ask your doctor or registered dietitian for guidance.
Herbs as Medicine
“Historians from all around the world have produced evidence to show that apparently all primitive peoples used herbs-often in a sophisticated way. Quinine from Cinchona bark was used to treat the symptoms of malaria long before the disease was identified, and the raw ingredients of a common aspirin tablet have been a popular painkiller for far longer than we have had access to tablet-making machinery. Indeed, today many pharmacological classes of drugs include a natural product prototype that we originally discovered through the study of traditional cures and folk knowledge of indigenous people.”
There’s a plant in South Asia called Adhatoda (from adu meaning “goat,” and thoda meaning “not touch” because it’s so bitter even the goats won’t eat it). It has compounds that help open one’s airways and as such, Adhatoda tea has been used traditionally to treat asthma, where the leaves are steeped with black peppercorns. Leaves steeped with black peppercorns? That sounds gross to me—why would they do that? Because they’re smart. Back in 1928, scientists discovered what the people evidently already knew, that adding pepper increased the anti-asthmatic properties of the leaves. Black pepper alone didn’t work: it was the combination. And now we know why.
How Pepper Works With Turmeric
Just like approximately 5% of the spice turmeric is composed of an active compound called curcumin, about 5% of black pepper by weight is comprised of this compound called piperine. Curcumin is responsible for the yellow color of turmeric and piperine for the pungent flavor of pepper. Piperine is a potent inhibitor of drug metabolism. One of the ways our liver gets rid of foreign substances is making them water soluble so they can be more easily excreted. But this black pepper molecule inhibits that process.
And it doesn’t take much. If people are given a bunch of turmeric curcumin, within an hour there’s a little bump in the level in their blood stream. We don’t see a large increase because our liver is actively trying to get rid of it. But what if the process is suppressed by taking just a quarter teaspoon’s worth of black pepper? Then you see curcumin levels skyrocket (See Boosting the Bioavailability of Curcumin). The same amount of curcumin consumed, but the bioavailability shoots up 2000%. Even just a little pinch of pepper—1/20th of a teaspoon—can significantly boost levels. And guess what a common ingredient in curry powder is besides turmeric? Black pepper.
Other Ways to Boost Turmeric’s Benefits
Another way to boost the absorption of curcumin is to consume it in the whole food, turmeric root (fresh or dried as a powder) because natural oils found in turmeric root and turmeric powder can enhance the bioavailability of curcumin seven to eight fold. When eaten with fat, curcumin can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system thereby in part bypassing the liver.
How is it prepared in India? With fat and black pepper. Amazing how they could figure that out without double blind trials. (Though maybe it just tastes good, and it’s merely coincidence?) Their traditional knowledge certainly failed them with ghee, however, which is practically pure butter fat, which may explain India’s relatively high rates of heart disease despite all their turmeric.
Why would we care about boosting curcumin levels? Learn why in my videos Which Spices Fight Inflammation? and Spicing Up DNA Protection, Turmeric Curcumin and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Turmeric Curcumin and Osteoarthritis. It’s also good to know Who Shouldn’t Consume Curcumin or Turmeric.
I’ve previously covered this topic of food synergy in videos such as Apples and Oranges: Dietary Diversity and Garden Variety Anti-Inflammation that emphasize the importance of eating a variety of plant foods to take advantage of some of these interactions.
The black pepper mechanism reminds me of the grapefruit (Tell Your Doctor If You Eat Grapefruit) and broccoli (The Best Detox) stories. A testament to the power of plants.
The painkilling properties of aspirin mentioned in the video are actually found throughout the plant kingdom: Aspirin Levels in Plant Foods.
In some circumstances, traditional medicine wisdom seems incredible (Tomato Effect); in others, dangerous (Get the Lead Out). But that’s what we now have science for!
For all our videos on the latest research on turmeric, visit our Turmeric topic page.
-Michael Greger, M.D
PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 – 2015 presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.
Why We Should Be Eating Turmeric with Black Pepper
Daisy has worked for an NHS funded project, the Diabetes Prevention Programme; and shadowed a nutritionist in Harley Street.
About Lucy Bee Limited
Any information provided by us is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. We always recommend referring your health queries to a qualified medical practitioner.
Lucy Bee is a lifestyle brand selling food, skincare and soap products all completely free from palm oil and with minimal use of plastic. Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, organic, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and empowering people to make informed choices and select quality, natural products for their food and their skin.
Murray, M. T. Pizzorno, J. E. and Pizzorno, L. (2005). Black Peppercorn, Turmeric. The Encyclopaedia of Healing Foods, pp. 502-523.
Suresh, D. and Srinivasan, K. (2010). Tissue distribution & elimination of capsaicin, piperine & curcumin following oral intake in rats. Indian J Med Res, 131 pp. 682–691
Turmeric for health, http://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-benefits/health-benefits-of-black-pepper-and-turmeric
Quick education on why activating turmeric is a must
Chances are you’ve read about the turmeric craze and decided you best get on the bandwagon so you too can start increasing the growth of new neurons and neutralise some of those free radicals zooming about the place, not to mention the anti-Alzheimers and arthritis benefits of this potent anti-inflammatory. But sprinkling it into your tea, it turns out, is not enough. You need to activate your turmeric.
But, surely, you activate muscles, or Siri, on your iPhone, when in a bind. But spices? I didn’t really understand – at what point had I ever deactivated my turmeric? All the other spices think it’s the favourite – I keep it in a pretty special, hexagonal, clip top jar right by the teas – not in the spice rack with all the others, so I would have thought, in the line of spice duty – my turmeric was as active as they come.
But of course, when we pay special attention to nature, the body and the way in which we re-integrate with all that potential – there are underlying processes that, once we know them, allow us to benefit from natures’ bounty far more than previously thought possible.
So, on to how to activate your turmeric. Let’s get those neurons growing, shall we?
Essentially it all comes down to absorption. The active good guy inside turmeric, is a substance called curcumin. So, the bio-curcumin supplements out there are offering you this key ingredient at a far higher dose.
But according to scientific studies, turmeric and its comprising curcumin have a low absorption rate and therefore a rather low bioavailability, meaning the good stuff is in there, but our bodies struggle to access it. Most of the curcumin is absorbed directly into the lining of the liver and stomach wall, as opposed to the bloodstream, where we want it in order to reap the health benefits.
How to increase absorption from turmeric or curcumin
The liver makes certain substances water soluble so they can more easily pass through our systems. But when we add pepper, high in a compound called piperine, the absorption of the curcumin is slowed down, thanks to the drug inhibiting components of piperine. So eating turmeric with pepper increases the absorption, I’ve read, up to 2000%.
2. Eat it with good fat
Turmeric is fat soluble – meaning it dissolves in fats. Without the fats binding it, the turmeric struggles to make it through the liver and stomach without being absorbed prematurely, and into the small intestines where it can be transferred through to the blood. So, by eating the turmeric with good fats, like avo or coconut oil (or in delicious curries), you’re more likely to absorb more of it into your bloodstream.
This is also why golden lattes are so popular. They all involve dissolving a turmeric paste with coconut milk (which is where the fats come in) and usually include the required pepper too.
3. Eat it with purple foods
These foods, like berries, red grapes (that includes a glass of red wine for dinner with your turmeric curry) and onions, and then also apples and green tea, all contain a plant pigment known as quercetin. This flavanoid is another enzyme inhibitor, of one in particular that deactivates curcumin. Your deeply coloured foods are richest in this flavanoid, so chuck some turmeric in a blueberry smoothie next time (as turmeric is also heat sensitive – which you’re avoiding in a smoothie completely).
4. Make a paste for golden lattes
You can pre-activate your turmeric for bed-time brews by mixing it with pepper and simmering on the stove for a while. The paste can be stored in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Here’s a recipe for the stovetop turmeric paste. Or you could enjoy the golden latte, piperine rich benefits of turmeric in the Taka Turmeric premixes for lattes and smoothies.
If you’re craving a more in-depth look at the science behind turmeric activation, check out this post on healthy-holistic living on boosting the power of turmeric.
And regardless of how you’re choosing to activate your turmeric, always make sure you get high-quality organic turmeric to begin with.
Why Turmeric and Black Pepper Is a Powerful Combination
While curcumin and piperine each have their own health benefits, they’re even better together.
Fights Inflammation and Helps Reduce Pain
Turmeric’s curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
In fact, it’s so potent that some studies have shown it to match the power of some anti-inflammatory drugs, without the negative side effects (12, 13, 14).
Studies also demonstrate that turmeric may play a role in preventing and treating arthritis, a disease characterized by joint inflammation and pain (15, 16, 17).
Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties are often praised for reducing pain and temporary discomfort.
Piperine has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties as well. It helps desensitize a specific pain receptor in your body, which can further reduce feelings of discomfort (18, 19, 20).
When combined, curcumin and piperine are a powerful inflammation-fighting duo that can help reduce discomfort and pain.
May Help Prevent Cancer
Curcumin shows promise in not only treating but even preventing cancer (21, 22).
Test-tube studies suggest that it can decrease cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level. It could also contribute to the death of cancerous cells (23, 24, 25, 26).
Piperine seems to play a role in the death of certain cancer cells as well, which can decrease your risk of tumor formation, while other research indicates it, too, might inhibit the growth of cancerous cells (27, 28).
One study showed that curcumin and piperine, both separately and in combination, interrupted the self-renewal process of breast stem cells. This is important, as this process is where breast cancer originates (29).
Further studies point to curcumin and piperine having protective effects against additional cancers, including prostate, pancreatic, colorectal and more (22, 23, 27, 30).
Aids in Digestion
Indian medicine has relied on turmeric to help with digestion for thousands of years. Modern studies support its use, showing that it can help reduce gut spasms and flatulence (31).
Piperine has been shown to enhance the activity of digestive enzymes in the gut, which helps your body process food more quickly and easily (32).
Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory properties of both turmeric and piperine may aid in reducing gut inflammation, which can help with digestion.
Summary When combined, curcumin and piperine tend to have a greater effect on inflammation, digestion, reducing pain and fighting cancer.
What happens when you mix black pepper and turmeric
Traditional physicians and naturopathy practitioners would swear by the medicinal properties of natural products and its greater effect on the human body as compared to pills, tablets, syrups and injections. For centuries, mankind has relied on more nature-friendly solutions to cure illnesses, such as herbs and spices. One of the many such natural solutions to battle many problems is a concoction made by mixing black pepper and turmeric.
Both black pepper and turmeric are healthy spices, which are used to enhance the flavour and colour of food. Turmeric has been used as a medicine to treat a variety of problems like rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and dementia . So why add black pepper to an already medicinal food? Curcumin is an ingredient present in turmeric is what is responsible for giving it its medicinal properties. The problem is that curcumin is not absorbed well in the body. This is where black pepper comes in. It contains a compound called piperine, which when combined with turmeric, increases the absorption of curcumin by upto an astonishing 2000%.
There are two theories to explain how piperine helps in increasing the absorption of curcumin. Firstly, piperine slows the breakdown of curcumin by the liver, increasing its blood levels. Secondly, piperine makes it easier for curcumin to pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. As a result of the combination, the health effects of turmeric get enhanced, making it a more beneficial spice altogether.
So once black pepper and turmeric are combined, what benefits do we get? For starters, the mixture helps with digestion. Curcumin has been shown to have digestive properties, and piperine enhances the activity of digestive enzymes in the stomach, helping the body process food more quickly and easily. Moreover, both black pepper and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties which reduce gut inflammation, which help with digestion.
The mixture can be used as a natural pain reliever. The anti-inflammatory property of both the spices help in desensitizing the pain receptors in the body, which reduce the feeling of pain or discomfort, therefore acting as a substitute for pharmaceutical painkillers. It is most effective when used to ease musculo-skeletal injuries.
Test tube studies have shown that curcumin can not only treat cancer, but can also help in preventing it. It can decrease the chances of cancer by killing cancerous cells and stopping the development of such cells at the molecular level. Even piperine plays a role in killing cancer cells, reducing the risk of tumours. A study showed that both curcumin and piperine worked individually and in sync to interrupt the self renewal process of breast stem cells. This is vital as this process is where breast cancer originates. More studies have linked black pepper and turmeric with having protective effects against other cancers like prostate and pancreatic.
Both black pepper and turmeric contain compounds that offer medicinal properties. When mixed together, they for a sort of potion where the effects of curcumin, the compound present in turmeric, increases manifold. It is a good idea to regularly consume these two spices as part of a healthy diet to reap their benefits.
Turmeric & Black Pepper: Curcumin Absorption with BioPerine (Piperine)
It’s no secret that turmeric is the center of attention in modern natural medicine. With so many dietary supplements emerging daily, curcumin continues to reign supreme with study after study demonstrating numerous health benefits.
The curcuminoids within turmeric root extract are the antioxidants responsible for the majority of its healing properties. However, turmeric is notorious for having poor bioavailability, which calls its real-world effectiveness into question. Can black pepper extract (piperine) enhance turmeric absorption?
Turmeric and Black Pepper
There are many practical uses for turmeric across a broad spectrum of conditions that researchers have uncovered in recent decades. Curcumin has shown promise for arthritis and joint pain, blood pressure, and even anxiety and depression. This potent spice can also help with diabetes and blood thinning.
While most studies yielded impressive results, it was clear that turmeric, by nature, had very poor absorption within the body. Thus, additional studies tested black pepper’s capacity to boost bioavailability and metabolism so the body can maximize curcumin’s potential. (1)
What is Bioavailability (Absorption)?
We’ve made a couple of references to bioavailability so far, but what exactly does it mean? In pharmacology, bioavailability refers to the fraction of an administered dosage that enters the bloodstream, reaching what is known as systemic circulation. In layman’s terms, it means “absorption.” (2)
The branch of pharmacology describing the movement of drugs within the body (such as its bioavailability) is known as pharmacokinetics. Besides absorption, this branch also studies the metabolism, distribution, and excretion of a drug.
In other words, pharmacokinetics studies the entire process of administering a drug or supplement, monitoring its effect on the body, and observing how it leaves the body. (3)
What is Black Pepper Extract (Piperine)?
Piperine and black pepper are similar, but not the same. Piperine is the alkaloid extracted from black pepper and is responsible for its strong flavor and pungent smell. This extract was discovered in 1819, isolated from the Piper nigrum plant. (4)
There are several benefits in using black pepper as a standalone supplement, including reducing oxidative stress, improving Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and lowering cholesterol levels. Piperine may also help treat cancer and reduce appetite to promote weight loss.
For the purposes of turmeric supplements, piperine’s most significant benefit is its ability to enhance curcumin’s absorption. (5, 6)
What is BioPerine?
The trademarked version of piperine that you’ll see listed on many turmeric supplement fact panels is called BioPerine, manufactured by Sabinsa Corporation. Directly on their website, they reference a study that increased curcumin’s absorption by 20 times using a 2,000 mg dose of curcumin with only 20 mg of BioPerine. (7)
This result is just one study of many. In this article, we’ll discuss the science and research surrounding piperine’s ability to enhance turmeric absorption. We will also cover breakthroughs identifying alternative methods to make curcumin more bioavailable.
Curcumin with Piperine: Can Black Pepper Enhance Turmeric Absorption?
The first study we’ll look at is the same one referenced on Sabinsa Corporation’s website regarding BioPerine. However, there are many additional details worth noting, according to the study’s full abstract.
The poor bioavailability of turmeric is due to its quick metabolism in the intestinal wall and liver, as well as its rapid systemic elimination. This trial sought to test if absorption could be enhanced using both human volunteers and rats. The results indicated that:
- With curcumin and piperine administration in rats, bioavailability improved by 154%
- In human subjects using piperine, bioavailability increased by 2,000%
When human volunteers consumed 2,000 mg of curcumin alone, serum levels were nearly undetectable or extremely low. By adding 20 mg of piperine, serum concentration, and the extent of turmeric absorption increased significantly. Additionally, there were no adverse side effects in any of the subjects. (8)
Animal studies in the past suggested that the oral bioavailability of turmeric by itself may be as low as 1%. But what makes black pepper extract so unique, and what is the mechanism of action?
Piperine binds to several sites on the enzymes responsible for increasing the solubility of curcumin. It also intercalates with curcumin to form a hydrogen-bonded complex. Piperine has shown an ability to stimulate gut amino acid transporters and inhibit drug metabolism, which delays its elimination from cells.
These mechanisms facilitate metabolic transport, ultimately increasing absorption and permeability, making turmeric more bioavailable within the body. (9, 10)
Other Ways to Improve Turmeric Absorption
Another study tested the absorption of curcuminoids with multiple formulations. Although none of them contained black pepper extract, the study highlights the importance of enhancing absorption by adding other compounds.
The trial analyzed the following curcuminoid formulas compared to the standardized curcumin extract with no bioavailability enhancers added. The researchers measured curcuminoids appearance in the blood following administration.
- Curcumin phytosome (CP) – 9-fold increase in absorption
- Volatile oils of turmeric rhizome (CTR) – 3-fold increase in absorption
- Curcumin with a combination of cellulosic derivatives, natural antioxidants, and hydrophilic carrier (CHC) – 9-fold increase in absorption
The study’s outcome demonstrates that, even though piperine is the preferred bioavailability enhancer for turmeric, other combinations can enhance absorption as well. (11)
Further research reviewed different delivery methods of turmeric and their effect on uptake. This trial contained 13 women and 10 men, consuming 500 mg of curcumin orally. The supplementation of turmeric was done randomly using either native powder, liquid micelles, or micronized powder.
The blood and urine samples collected after 24 hours revealed that micronized curcumin saw a 9-fold improvement in bioavailability. The liquid micellar curcumin saw a massive 185-fold increase in absorption. In addition to adding BioPerine to a turmeric formula, this study reveals the excellent potential of alternative delivery methods. (12)
A rat study tested a curcumin–phospholipid complex to see if there were any notable differences in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. The results showed that the addition of phospholipids helped maintain higher concentrations of curcumin in rat serum for a more extended period. (13)
Turmeric and Black Pepper Ratio
The most reliable study on the subject used a 2,000 mg dosage of curcumin to a 20 mg dose of piperine. This ratio of turmeric to black pepper resolves to 100:1.
Although we don’t have a ton of studies testing various ratios, a significant portion of human trials are now using BioPerine in their research. The results have been wildly successful in a wide range of ailments, suggesting that curcumin’s benefits improve significantly with the simple addition of piperine.
Final Thoughts on Turmeric Curcumin with BioPerine
Does black pepper extract increase turmeric absorption? The answer is a resounding, yes. The main issue with curcumin has always been its poor bioavailability. After all, if your body can’t use it, what’s the point?
While there are other methods to increase absorption, such as liquid delivery or the addition of phospholipids, these approaches are not yet mainstream. Perhaps this will change in the future.
- Difference between turmeric vs. curcumin.
For now, make sure your turmeric supplement has piperine, preferably in the form of BioPerine. This combination will give you the best results and maximum absorption. (14)
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Item # 00901800 Servings per Container 60 Form Capsule
- Each caplet contains:
- 1050mg of Turmeric Root Extract, standardized to provide NLT 95% Curcuminoids
- 20mg of Black Pepper Fruit Extract, standardized to provide NLT 50% Piperin (Standardized â€“ delivers a consistent amount of active ingredient in every caplet)
- Research proven that Piperin enhances the bioavailability of Curcuminoids for better absorption
- Suitable for vegetarians
Reg. No: MAL18056160T
- Anti-inflammation and anti-oxidant properties
- Help to relieve pain and swelling.
- Soothe stiff and achy joints, more flexible movement.
- Anticancer properties
- Potential in prevention and treatment of cancer.
- Suppress inflammation and inhibit growth of cancer cells.
- Support fat digestion and healthy cholesterol control
- Promote healthy bile production crucial for fat digestion and cholesterol control.
- Reduce occurrence or discomfort caused by indigestion of oily food such as bloating and gas.
Adults take one caplet once daily after meal.
Each 1419.745mg caplet contains:
|Turmeric Root Extract (Curcuma longa)(Standardized to contain NLT 95% Curcuminiods)||1050mg|
|Black Pepper Fruit Extract (Piper nigrum)(Standardized to contain NLT 50% Piperine)||20mg|
No Added Sugar, Starch, Artificial Colors, Artificial Flavors, Preservatives, Sodium, Wheat, Gluten, Corn, Soy, Dairy, Yeast.
This is a traditional medicine.
Please consult your pharmacist/doctor before taking this product. Contraindicated in pregnant women. Insufficient reliable data in breastfeeding women.
Consult your physician prior to using this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition. Discontinue use two weeks prior to surgery.
Store in dry place below 30°C.
Protect from light and moisture.
Reg. No: MAL18056160T
Organic Turmeric with Black Pepper and Ginger Capsules
See what Dr Axe says about Turmeric
Turmeric (Curcuma longa), the main spice in the Indian dish curry, is arguably the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. Turmeric benefits include so many healing properties that currently there are over 10,000 peer-reviewed articles published proving turmeric benefits, especially one of its renowned healing compounds, curcumin.
This puts turmeric on top of the list as one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in all of science. The next most popular studied herbs include garlic, cinnamon, ginseng, ginger and milk thistle.
to help you introduce the super herb into your daily diet!
Turmeric comes from the Curcuma longa plant, which grows in India and other Southeast Asian countries. The dried root of the Curcuma longa plant is ground into the distinctive yellow turmeric powder. There are several chemical compounds found in turmeric, known as curcuminoids. The active substance in turmeric is curcumin.
Of the 10,000+ studies referencing ≈, the most interesting finding is that when it’s compared to conventional medicine, turmeric benefits equal that of many pharmaceutical medications. In fact, a number of studies have even reported that using curcumin is more advantageous than certain prescription drugs.
Areas of Your Health that Curcumin Benefits May Apply?
When examining the research, turmeric benefits go beyond that of these 12 kinds of conditions and treatments:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Antidepressants (Prozac)
- Anticoagulants (Aspirin)
- Pain killers
- Diabetes drugs (Metformin)
- Arthritis medications
- Inflammatory bowel disease drugs
- Cholesterol drugs (Lipitor)
- Skin Care
Now let’s jump deeper into the research on turmeric benefits at potentially reversing specific diseases.
12 Turmeric Benefits that Beat Medications
Although the list is much longer, we’ve selected 12 conditions and their treatments where drugs pale in comparison to turmeric extracts, in potentially reversing disease. As you read this report, keep in mind that one of the most powerful advantages curcumin has over the traditional medical approach is the lack of side effects.
Medical intervention generally includes the following medications to slow and prevent blood clotting:
Unfortunately, for people with conditions that are treated by these drugs (i.e. deep-vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism), this approach may not always be the wisest decision. Ibuprofen overdose is one such common problem. In addition to common side effects like excessive bleeding and hemorrhage, the risks associated with anticoagulants abound and include everything from back pain to headaches to difficulty breathing. (1)
Turmeric, on the other hand, has relatively no known side effects unless taken in extremely excessive amounts.
Additionally, ever since several groundbreaking studies in the mid-1980s, the curcumin in turmeric has been suggested by researchers as actually being a better option for those with vascular thrombosis. (2)
Although few studies have been conducted on humans, dozens of research trials have proven that turmeric benefits include being especially effective in correcting depression symptoms in laboratory animals.
To address this issue, the journal Phytotherapy Research published the results of an amazing, innovative study this past year. The study took 60 volunteers diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD), such as manic depression (bipolar disorder), and split the group to determine how patients treated by curcumin fared against fluoxetine (Prozac) and a combination of the two. (3)
Not only was it discovered that all patients tolerated curcumin well, but they discovered curcumin was as effective as Prozac in managing depression.
According to the authors, “This study provides first clinical evidence that curcumin may be used as an effective and safe therapy for treatment in patients with mild depression.”
Arguably, the most powerful aspect of curcumin is its ability to control inflammation.
The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds and found that aspirin and ibuprofen areleast effective, while curcumin is among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world. (4)
This news should have reached every household in the world after the study was conducted because inflammation puts people at risk for almost every disease process known to man.
Diseases today such as cancer, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, high cholesterol and chronic pain can be the result of inflammation.
The anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin have also been studied as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. At this point, evidence for turmeric’s effects on Alzheimer’s patients is inconclusive; it’s not certain that turmeric can prevent or treat the disease. However, perhaps further research might result in the development of future treatments. (5)
As you will see below in several other articles related to chronic illness, keep this in the back of your mind: Turmeric’s key to disease reversal may be its ability to keep inflammation at bay.
4. Skin Condition Treatments
Turmeric benefits include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that have proven effective in treating skin conditions. Turmeric benefits for skin include speeding up wound healing; calming the pores to decrease acne and acne scarring; and controlling psoriasis flares. (6) Try my Turmeric Face Mask for Glowing Skin.
Turmeric can stain the skin and it may cause an allergic reaction. Do a patch test by applying a dime-size amount to your forearm. Then wait 24–48 hours to check for any reaction before applying turmeric to your face.
5. Arthritis management
Because curcumin is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing characteristics, a study was conducted on 45 rheumatoid arthritis patients to compare the benefits of curcumin in turmeric to the arthritis drug Diclofenac sodium, which put people at risk of developing leaky gut and heart disease.
The study split these volunteers into three groups: curcumin treatment alone, Diclofenac sodium alone, and a combination of the two. The results of the trial were eye-opening:
The curcumin group showed the highest percentage of improvement in overall scores and these scores were significantly better than the patients in the diclofenac sodium group. More importantly, curcumin treatment was found to be safe and did not relate with any adverse events. Our study provides the first evidence for the safety and superiority of curcumin treatment in patients with active RA, and highlights the need for future large-scale trials to validate these findings in patients with RA and other arthritic conditions.
Published by Phytotherapy Research in 2012, the results of this study have encouraged more human research to evaluate the amazing effects curcumin-rich plants like turmeric have on people suffering from various different types of arthritis. (7)
6. Cancer treatment
Of all the various topics scientists have tackled in regards to curcumin and disease reversal, cancer (of various types) is one of the most thoroughly researched topics. In the words of global authorities like Cancer Research UK: (8)
A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin does have anticancer effects. It seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the best effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells.
A July 2017 study by researchers at Baylor Scott & White Research Institute found that curcumin may even be able to break through chemo-resistance in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer. (9) Doctors commonly face the challenge of patients initially responding to chemotherapeutic drugs and then later developing resistance. Curcumin appears to re-sensitize these patients’ cancer cells to the drugs, although the exact mechanisms of curcumin’s chemo-sensitization remain ambiguous. Study author, Ajay Goel, PhD, director of gastrointestinal research and translational genomics and oncology at Baylor Scott & White Research Institute stated: (10)
Food-based botanicals have the potential to restore a healthier gene expression in patients but without the toxicity of certain drugs.
Bottom line: Turmeric benefits include working incredibly well to help naturally treat cancer as well as breast cancer, colon cancer and skin cancer. It may also help with chemotherapy resistance in patients with PDAC.
7. Diabetes management
For lowering blood sugar and reversing insulin resistance, there’s arguably no better natural treatment than adding turmeric into your diet.
In 2009, Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Communications published a study out of Auburn University that explored how supplementing with turmeric can help reverse diabetes. (11) The study discovered that curcumin in turmeric is literally 400 times more potent than Metformin (a common diabetes drug) in activating AMPK which improves insulin sensitivity which can help reverse Type 2 Diabetes.
In addition to correcting the causes of diabetes, curcumin has also been proven to help reverse many of the issues related to insulin resistance and hyperglycemia.
Take, for instance, diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy. One of the most common complications of diabetes is damaged blood vessels, which cause blindness. A study found that supplementing with curcumin can delay this horrible complication of diabetes because of its anti-inflammatory andantioxidant properties. (12)
A study published in the journal Biofactors showed that curcumin can help promote weight loss. (13) The researchers found that the anti-inflammatory properties in curcumin were effective at suppressing the inflammatory processes of obesity, therefore helping to reduce obesity and its “adverse health effects.”
9. Gastrointestinal treatments
Oftentimes, people with digestive and stomach complaints become intolerant to medical interventions because the stomach flora is already compromised and drugs can literally tear up the mucosal lining.
An in-depth analysis of all the studies evaluating curcumin’s ability to manage inflammatory bowel disease (IBS, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis) found that many patients were able to stop taking their prescribed corticosteroids because their condition improved so dramatically by taking curcumin! (14)
For many patients with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) corticosteroids reduce their pain symptoms, but damage the intestinal lining over time actually making the condition worse. (15)
However, supplementing with curcumin did not have these side effects and, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, actually helped heal the gut and supported the growth of good bacteria (probiotics).
10. Cholesterol regulators
One of the reasons heart disease is such a problem in the U.S. is that people are developing pre-diabetes (high blood sugar) at an alarming rate.
In turn, diabetics and non-diabetics alike are suffering from a common complication called oxidative stress, which damages the inside of blood vessels. Because of this damage to the arteries, cholesterol begins to build up to patch up the damaged areas, which leads to high levels of LDL cholesterol.
Traditionally, statin drugs (like Lipitor) are widely known to harm the kidneys and liver and cause a number of deadly side effects. They do bring cholesterol down, but they never address the actual cause, which is oxidative stress that is caused by high blood sugar levels and inflammation.
Thankfully, medical doctors are becoming more and more aware of the dangerous side effects of statin-drugs and prescribing natural alternatives like curcumin and fish oil instead.
A study done by Drugs in R & D found that curcumin was equal to, or more effective than, diabetes medications at reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the treatment of high cholesterol. (16)
Studies like these are leading pharmaceutical companies to try to design a synthetic form of curcumin that, unfortunately, will not work as well as the real thing.
One of the more widely accepted properties of curcumin in scientific communities is its ability to manage pain.
Just this past year the European Journal of Pharmacology published research that discovered curcumin naturally activates the opioid system in diabetic rats. Typically manipulated by drugs, this natural process serves as the body’s inherent pain-relieving response. (17)
Not being limited to diabetic pain conditions, an interesting study also published late last year gives us a clue as to the wide array of pain conditions that can be treated by curcumin.
Take, for instance, severe burns. Typically, burn victims are treated with dangerous opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories. However, because of its anti-inflammatory benefits, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research suggests that, curcumin should be used to treat burns instead of these conventional medications. (18)
The trend should be becoming clear at this point. Therapeutic use of turmeric and other curcumin-rich plants are displacing conventional medical treatments and proving it’s a legitimate natural painkiller.
Lastly, we’ll take a look at how turmeric benefits the many conditions normally treated by corticosteroids, such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic pain
In a 1999 breakthrough clinical study, it was found that curcumin has the ability to cure chronic inflammation of the eye. (19) Typically this condition was only treated with steroids, but today it’s common for medical doctors who practice functional medicine to prescribe curcumin instead.
What cannot be overstated, however, is that although statistically “comparable” to steroids in managing and reversing chronic disease, “The lack of side effects with curcumin is its greatest advantage compared with corticosteroids,” as stated by the authors in the above study out of K.G. Medical College.
To give you a sense of the amount of suffering alleviated by curcumin, the following is a sample of steroid side effects listed by the UK’s National Health Services (NHS): (20)
- Delayed wound healing
- Diabetes onset
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Increased appetite (oftentimes leading to increased weight)
- Kidney and thyroid issues
- Mood disturbances (including aggression, irritability, and rapid mood swings mimicking bipolar disorder)
- Muscle weakness
- Risk of infection
- Stunted growth in children
- Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
- Thinning skin (leading to easy bruising)
Ultimately, when taking into account the large amount of deadly complications these drugs put your body at risk for, it is easy to see how taking therapeutic curcumin is superior to most medicines.
If you have any of the diseases above, you will want to consider this natural approach first. For those of you who aren’t sick, taking turmeric will serve you well as a preventative measure. (21)
Turmeric Side Effects
What are the side effects of turmeric? Some people have reported allergic reactions to turmeric, especially after skin exposure. Typically this is experienced as a mild, itchy rash. In addition, high doses of turmeric have been observed to cause:
- Increased risk of bleeding
- Increased liver function tests
- Hyperactive gallbladder contractions
- Hypotension (lowered blood pressure)
- Uterine contractions in pregnant women
- Increased menstrual flow
People taking certain medications should also be careful when using turmeric in their food or supplementing with it. Turmeric may interfere with anti-coagulants like aspirin, clopidogrel and warfarin. It also can affect medications such as non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. As with any herb or supplement, use as directed.
If you’re in the position where you must be on prescription medications, don’t discount the need to include ample amounts of fresh, organic turmeric in your diets because it will help reduce the adverse affects of the medicine.
A study that was published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology describes how combining curcumin with prednisolone (a steroid) effectively reduces the side effects of this dangerous medication. (22)
You may be wondering how to use turmeric. One of my favorite recipes to incorporate turmeric benefits in your diet is turmeric tea “liquid gold.”
Also, consuming turmeric eggs for breakfast and curried carrot soup is an excellent way to get more turmeric in your diet.
Amazingly, anti-arthritic activity and a marked reduction in steroid toxicitywas seen when supplementing with curcumin.
At the end of the day, the research speaks for itself and we cannot think of one reason why EVERYONE shouldn’t be taking some form of turmeric every day.
Whether as a supplement or a spice to flavor your food, you will certainly be satisfied with turmeric benefits for your body!
So, how do you take turmeric? Along with adding turmeric into your diet, you may also consider taking it or curcumin in supplement form. I personally recommend consuming a CO2 extracted form of turmeric.
Also, according to a study, published in Planta Medica, taking turmeric in combination with black pepper, which contains piperine, improves turmeric absorbability throughout the entire body. They added 20mg of piperine to 2,000mg turmeric, and it increased the bioavailability of turmeric 154 percent! (23)