black pepper and turmeric

annbeck62 Posts: 994 ✭✭✭✭

I was listening to a webinar today. I don't remember the name of the "expert" but they said something I'm curious if anyone here can collaborate. They were talking about using black pepper with turmeric and how most people think it increases the bioavailability of the turmeric (I'd include myself in that category) but if used for more than a very short time, black pepper actually causes inflammation. I did a little bit of research but couldn't find anything to support that statement. So I was wondering if anyone here has heard of and agrees with that viewpoint.


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    @annbeck62 As with anything, there are individuals who may be sensitive to black pepper. In some people it could irritate the mucosal membrane.

    But .... In general, the piperine in black pepper is anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive (pain-relieving). In addition to its very well studied anti-inflammatory effects for arthritic pain, it is also useful in some cases of IBD and has shown a cardioprotective effect.

    I couldn't find any research saying that there were inflammatory side effects from taking black pepper. In many of the studies using turmeric and black pepper together, they are fairly long term. 4-12 weeks. They don't report any side effects that could be attributed to the black pepper.

    What was the subject of the webinar?

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 994 ✭✭✭✭

    @Torey thank you for looking into it. It's on supplements. I don't know how I got on the email list, but thought it would be interesting so I went ahead and signed up. Anyone can be an expert online so when I heard that I was skeptical but kept an open mind. But that's why I asked the question here.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    On the topic of black pepper increasing the bioavailability of turmeric, its not just turmeric. In Wild Rose's Herb-Drug-Nutrient Interaction course, there are a large number of drugs that could be affected by black pepper's ability to increase cell permeability. This could be quite dangerous if taking anti-coagulant or anti-platelet meds or with pharmaceuticals that require a specific balance in the body, such as lithium. So one shouldn't increase or decrease the amount of black pepper that is normally used, when taking these meds, or the dosage might appear to need adjusting.

    On the other hand pepper has been shown in a variety of studies to increase the absorption of herbs that might not be as bioavailable. Stephen Buhner mentions that it assists juniper and goldenseal as well as turmeric. Black pepper has also be shown in studies to assist with the absorption of vitamins and minerals, in particular, iron. There is also some evidence that ginger (ginerols) and black pepper (piperine) together can increase the bioavailability effect even further.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,415 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is very interesting. I had not heard of this benefit of black pepper before. What quantity of black pepper would be necessary to make a difference in vitamin and mineral absorption?

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    @Michelle D Its going to vary a bit with the different substances that pepper is combined with. Its anywhere between 1-5% of a formula. It seems to depend on the individual manufacturer. When I made my own turmeric tincture recipe I used 8 oz. turmeric root, 2 oz. ginger root and 1/2 oz. black peppercorns. So that works out to about 5% of the formula being black pepper.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,911 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've never heard of inflammatory responses to black pepper, and given how popular it has been in European cuisine for about a thousand years, I think it would be common knowledge if it created problems.

    Rare individuals might have an issue, but I don't how it could be common.

    I don't know about effect of black pepper on bioavailability of other nutrients, but I have seen quite a bit written about how the bioavailability of the same nutrient in different forms from different sources can be very different. So it is plausible.

  • heirlooms777
    heirlooms777 Posts: 208 ✭✭✭

    @Torey Does the black pepper sort of preoccupy the body so it will absorb other nutrients?

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    @heirlooms777 In some cases black pepper increases cell permeability, assisting in better absorption. In other cases, black pepper may slow the excretion of some substances, making them available to the body for a longer period of time.

    For those who have the bio-technical language skills for this explanation: "Piperine was found to modify the rate of glucuronidation by lowering the endogenous UDP-glucuronic acid content and also by inhibiting the transferase activity (Singh et al. 1986). Piperine was also found to inhibit UDP-glucose dehydrogenase (UDP-GDH) activity in both liver and intestine via non-competitive inhibition."