Black pepper is one of the most well-known and enjoyed spices all over the world. For hundreds of years, people have been using black pepper to add flavor to their meals but, recently, it has been discovered that it can do much more than just improve taste. Black peppercorns contain a chemical within them known as Piperine which has a host of benefits on its own. There are four distinctive benefits to the ingestion of Piperine; it can serve as an anti-depressant and an anti-inflammatory as well as having cancer fighting properties and most importantly, assisting with the absorption of nutrients. While Piperine is generally safe to consume, recent studies have shown that Piperine may be able to increase the absorption rate of more than just nutrients which can possibly lead to negative effects. Piperine benefits and side effects both stem from the chemical having the ability to alter the levels of the other chemicals in our bodies.
Piperine as an Anti-Depressant
In 2008, the Food and Chemical ToxicologyJournal published a study about rats who had shown cognitive improve through the ingestion of Piperine. This is where the chemical was first established as an anti-depressant. A year later, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior posted a study which found that Piperine assisted in increasing the rate of neurotransmissions and in turn raising the levels of serotonin and dopamine, which will vastly improve the lives of those suffering from depression.
Piperine as an Anti-Inflammatory
Sometimes when immune systems are faulty, an unnecessary inflammatory response can occur. Piperine is effective in solving this problem. The European Journal of Pharmacology posted a study which was able to determine that Piperine could lessen the communication of lymphocytes in the immune system and slow down their action.
Piperine’s Cancer-Fighting Properties
In 2008, The Clinical Laboratory Science released a study which showed that Piperine was able to reduce the rate of growth of colon cancer cells and tumors. While this is a remarkably breakthrough, it must be noted that the effects of Piperine and tumor growth has only been tested in the lab and has not determined whether or not Piperine will be able to slow the growth of cancer when in the body.
Absorption of Nutrients
The way in which Piperine is able to increase the rate of absorption of nutrients has been proven by the Journal of Ayruveda and Integrative Medicine. In 2010, they published a study which showed that Piperine was able to raise levels of Vitamin C, Beta-Carotene and many more. This benefit provided by Piperine has become the most acclaimed and revered in society.
Side Effects of Piperine
Minor possible side effects such as gastric discomfort and GI symptoms have been reported with the excessive use of Piperine. The more serious possible side effect is that it may increase the absorption rate of pharmaceutical drugs and raise them to a level which could be very dangerous. However, the Journal of Food Safety determined that the chemical was safe for consumption in moderation.
Ramgopal, S. (2013). Benefits of Using BioPerine | LIVESTRONG.COM. [online] LIVESTRONG.COM. Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/534594-benefits-of-using-bioperine/ [Accessed 24 Jun. 2015].
Raysahelian.com, (2015). Piperine. [online] Available at: http://www.raysahelian.com/piperine.html [Accessed 24 Jun. 2015].