What is Piperine Used For?

Piperine is a black pepper extract that’s a popular ingredient in weight loss supplements. It’s sometimes added in the form of Bioperine. It’s main function is to increase absorption of the primary ingredients.

Piperine used in supplements for absorption

Black pepper is one of the most popular spices in the world. It’s also got a long history of use in medicinal roles.

As a folk medicine, it’s been used to treat numerous maladies including fevers, rheumatism, muscle pain, and digestive problems, and migraine headaches.

Modern science shows most of the curative and health-boosting abilities of black pepper are due to piperine.

What Is Bioperine and Why Is It Superior to Other Extracts

Bioperine is a branded form of piperine that is standardized to provide consistent potency.

Normal black pepper is only 5% to 9% piperine. When you just see the word “piperine” on a supplement label, you cannot be sure how strong the extract is. It may be super-concentrated, then again it may not.

When you see the name Bioperine on a label, you can be sure you are looking at a high-quality extract that is standardized to be at least 95% piperine.

What Is Piperine?

Piperine is the alkaloid that furnishes black pepper with its distinctive taste and smell.

The compound was first isolated in 1820 by the Danish physicist and chemist Hans Christian Ørsted. A noted scientist, Ørsted was also the man who discovered electromagnetism. [1]

Although it has other capabilities as well, it’s generally put in supplements because it increases the bioavailability of other ingredients and ensures maximum absorption.

Piperine as a Bioavailability Enhancer

Many studies prove piperine has the ability to enhance the absorption of drugs and therapeutic natural compounds, such as those used in supplements.

It enhances absorption by inhibiting P-glycoprotein (P-gp), also known as Multi-Drug Resistance Protein 1 (MDR1).

P-gp is an important protein that pumps foreign substances out of the cells. It probably developed as a defense mechanism. Unfortunately, P-gp also interferes with the absorption of many medications and certain natural compounds, such as curcumin.

In the normal state of affairs, very little of the curcumin that enters the digestive system actually makes it into the blood.

Research shows piperine boosts curcumin absorption by up to 2000%. [2]

The fact that piperine is so good at inhibiting P-gp makes it an especially valuable inclusion for any formulation that contains ingredients that provide curcumin, resveratrol or CoQ10.

Additional Piperine Benefits

Despite the fact that its mainly used for boosting the absorption of other ingredients, the alkaloid also has some other interesting capabilities.

It Increases Thermogenesis

Thermogenesis is the process that causes the body to expend energy and produce heat. It’s the process that makes the flesh of human beings and other mammals feel warm.

There are three different types:

  1. Exercise-associated thermogenesis (EAT)
  2. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)
  3. Diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT)

EAT happens during exercise. It’s what causes you to work up a sweat.

NEAT is the energy the body expends doing everything that is not eating, sleeping or exercise. Many daily activities such as walking, operating machinery, or brushing the teeth increase NEAT. It actually accounts for most of the body’s non-resting energy expenditure. [3]

DIT is the form of thermogenesis that occurs when the body expends energy to digest food. It’s often referred to as the Thermic Effect of Food.

Foods that are difficult to digest cause greater energy expenditure and, therefore, a higher level of thermogenesis.

Using fat as an example. Each gram you eat contains nine calories. That more than double the amount provided by carbs and proteins. To make matters worse, due to it’s greasy texture, it slides through the digestive organs without offering much resistance. Fat is so easy to digest it does very little to increase DIT.

Meats and other high-protein foods are harder to digest and have a much greater thermic effect. Certain nutrients also increase thermogenesis. Piperine is one of them. This gives it value as weight loss aid as well as a bioavailability booster.

It Reduces Inflammation

Research suggests piperine has anti-inflammatory capabilities that may give it value as a treatment for arthritis.

Curcumin also reduces inflammation so, when combined, the two may be a particularly powerful combination.

Inflammation can occur for many reasons. Arthritis is just one of them. Obesity can cause inflammation as well. [4]

So, when piperine is put in weight loss formulations, it may offer support in unexpected ways.

It’s and Antioxidant

Among its other virtues, piperine is also an antioxidant and, as with any other antioxidant, it offers protection against the damaging effects of free radical toxins.

These toxins get into the body via food. They are also present in the atmosphere around us. Our bodies manufactures free radicals as well. They are a byproduct of certain biological activities. Muscle contraction is just one of them.

Free radicals can make the body more susceptible to disease and can harm it in many ways. They are also appear to have an aging effect.

The fact that piperine is an antioxidant does not make it unique. Fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants too. However, unique or not, the fact that piperine is an antioxidant is too important to overlook.

It May Reduce Depression and Boost Cognitive Function

More than one study suggests piperine can lift the mood and boost cognitive function. This appears to be largely due to its ability to function as a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor.

MAOs are highly regarded for their ability to function as powerful anti-depressants. They are also useful for treating social phobia and panic disorder.

Rat-based research suggests piperine may also boost learning ability and enhance memory.

It’s early days yet. There’s a need for further study. Just because it can do these things for rats does not necessarily mean it can do the same for humans. It is, nonetheless, an interesting avenue of investigation.

Health Considerations

Piperine is a natural ingredient that does not cause side effects. However, some people are allergic to black pepper.

Fortunately, such allergies are rare. Any adult who has this problem will have become aware of it very early in life and will know to avoid black pepper and anything that contains extracts taken from it.

Piperine can also interact with many medications. Anyone who is using medication of any kind should obtain a doctor’s approval before using supplements that contain it.

Apart from the risk of interaction issues, the alkaloid may cause the medication to enter the blood too easily, making the amount present in the blood unfavorably high.

Piperine FAQs

Is piperine the same as Bioperine?

Bioperine is a branded form of piperine.

What does piperine do?

Piperine has many virtues, but probably offers the most value as a helper ingredient that boosts the absorption of other compounds.

Is piperine a fat burner?

Yes. However, although it increases thermogenesis there are other ingredients that offer greater value in this regard. Piperine’s main value lies in other areas.

Do you have to take piperine with turmeric?

No. Piperine does not require any help from turmeric. However, supplements that contain turmeric will work better if they contain piperine as well. The active ingredient in turmeric (curcumin) is not easily absorbed. Piperine boosts curcumin absorption by up to 2000%.

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