Black Pepper isn’t necessarily an ingredient you’d see associated with amazing health benefits, but you’d be surprised! Black pepper, more specifically the plant compound piperine found within the peppercorn, has been included in Ayurvedic medicine for generations. Piperine is incredibly beneficial to have on the regular, especially in conjunction with other vitamins and nutrients.
You may also see black pepper extracts used under the name BioPerine® (https://bioperine.com/), this is the patented version of piperine that is commonly found in supplement products. Black pepper on its own only provides 5-9% Piperine whereas products using BioPerine® are guaranteed to contain a high quality extract of at least 95% Piperine.
Increases Nutrient Absorption
Piperine is commonly used in supplements alongside other active ingredients, vitamins, and minerals to increase the body's ability to absorb and process all the good things it’s partnered with.
Piperine enhances the absorption of natural compounds by restricting a protein in the body known as Multi-Drug Resistance Protein 1 (MDR1). Ordinarily, this protein limits the maximum absorption of a number of natural compounds so by reducing the ability of MDR1 to do this, we give the body a better chance at receiving far more benefit from the active ingredients found in supplements and superfood blends.
Research has in fact shown that when paired with Piperine, Curcumin is absorbed up to 2000% more effectively. (Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers - PubMed (nih.gov))
Antioxidant, anti inflammatory and digestive properties
Piperine has been shown to have an antioxidant effect in the body and help protect cells from damage by free radicals. It is also a powerful anti inflammatory, especially when used in the early stages of the acute inflammatory process. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2688199/#:~:text=We%20found%20that%20piperine%20significantly,inflammatory%20effects%20in%20other%20systems.)
Piperine is thought to stimulate the digestive enzymes within the pancreas, improving digestion and shortening the amount of time food stays in the gastrointestinal tract. Fun fact, piperine is actually the compound responsible for giving black pepper its signature ‘hot’ flavour!
Black pepper is considered a thermogenic food, meaning it has positive effects on metabolism and encourages an increase in calorie expenditure by slightly increasing the core body temperature.
It has also been shown through its thermogenic properties to speed up fat metabolism, encourage the feeling of being satisfied or ‘full’ after eating and reduce oxidative stress in cells caused by a high fat diet.