Whilst it is best known as a household spice, black pepper has been used extensively as a medicine by our ancestors extract. Piperine or black pepper extract contains the active compound piperine, which is thought to be responsible for much of black pepper’s health benefits. Extracted from the black pepper fruit, cultivated in nutrient-rich soil regions of southern India, the delicate berries are harvested and sun dried for optimum quality. BioPerine is used in sports supplements to enhance the bioavailability of nutrients through increased absorption. Clinical studies in the U.S. have substantiated the safety and efficacy of Piperine Extract for nutritional use.
Piperine Extract For Bodybuilders
While there is no conclusive mechanism by which black pepper extract (BioPerine) works, it is purported1 that it may be able to increase absorption of several nutrients by:
Increasing blood supply to the gastrointestinal tract.
Increasing emulsifying content of the gut.
Increasing active nutrient transport.
Advantages of Piperine Extract for Bodybuilders
BioPerine has been shown in clinical trials to increase absoprtion of several nutrients including co-enzyme Q10, selenium, curcumin, vitamin B6 and Vitamin C. Piperine has also been shown to help with thermogenesis, which is the metabolic process that generates energy in the human body, a key factor in maintaining weight loss. Piperine has been shown to help with fat metabolism and be able to accelerate energy metabolism in the body.
In the clinical trials:
Serum levels of coenzyme Q10 increased with 14 days supplementation of BioPerine – Coenzyme Q10 has been studied extensively with benefits shown for heart health3, radiation injury, Parkinsons and other health issues.
Bioavailability of curcumin was increased 2000% when consumed with BioPerine – Curcumin is a popular spice which has also been studied extensively for its possible antitumourand antioxidant effects.
Serum levels of selenium were higher at 2 and 6 weeks with co-ingestion of BioPerine – Selenium is an essential micronutrient for the human body and is involved in antioxidant reactions.
Vitamin B6 levels in the blood were 3 times higher when a vitamin B6 supplement was ingested with
BioPerine compared to intake of the vitamin alone – Vitamin B6 is important for intracellular processes and for controlling levels of homocysteine in the body – a factor for good heart health.
Maximum plasma concentrations of vitamin C were higher when consumed with BioPerine – Vitamin C is also another essential micronutrient shown to have antioxidant properties.
Piperine vs. Black Pepper for Athletes
As biologically active compounds in foods need to be digested before its release from the foods, similarly ingesting black pepper to obtain piperine may result in a slower time for the compound to activate its bioavailability enhancing properties. A pure extract of piperine such as BioPerine can help speed this process up so that the absorption of nutrients from your food is maximised at time of ingestion.
Piperine & Sports Nutrition
For 6000 years traditional formulas containing a special blend of ingredients, including black pepper, have been administered for this purpose. Clearly, the key to better nutrition lies in the efficient delivery of nutrients to the body, rather than in just what is ingested.
A nutrient ingested, but not absorbed, is a wasted nutrient. As history has demonstrated, the use of black pepper extract can assist with the absorption of vital nutrients which is important for the bodybuilder keen on getting the most out of their training and nutrition. Look out for BioPerine on the ingredient listings on supplements such as protein powders, amino acids, as well as pre, intra and post workout supplements, as it can help ensure you are getting the most out of your supplements. It is important and vital to know that as with all supplements and even foods, individuals will have different reactions towards them. If a product affects you adversely, discontinue use or seek medical advice. However, since BioPerine has so many advantages, it may be worth considering for future bodybuilding success.
Piperine Negatives and Side Effects
Some outdates studies have suggested that piperine may exhibit toxic qualities. However, these have been disproved, and it is now accepted that piperine is safe. This should be no surprise considering pepper is one of the most widely used spices. In animal studies, it has been found that the use of up to 250 times the normal intake of pepper or piperine did not appear to show any adverse effects.
Although piperine has been shown to increase the bioavailability of a number of nutrients and drugs, it is still a good idea to check with your healthcare professional before self-admitting piperine in order to complement the effects of any medication you may be using. Pregnant and lactating women should also consult a qualified health professional before using this product. Piperine is not suitable for use by children. Should not be used in conjunction with any form of cancer medication. Piperine has been shown to interfere with the metabolism of certain medications which may delay their breakdown and enhance any side-effects.
Piperine Extract Recommended Doses and Ingredient Timing
The effect of piperine on boosting the bioavailability of nutrients has been found to be effective at 5 mg/day.10 Because of the actions of piperine on digestion, it is best taken with, or around the time of a meal or with other supplements.
More Studies to Read:
A recent study found that piperine, extracted from black pepper, caused an increase in bioavailability for ions and macromolecules and this might be of pathophysiological importance with respect to food allergy and intolerance.
This study was designed to investigate and understand the absorption dynamics of piperine in the intestine on oral absorption, using human intestinal cells as an experimental model. The results suggested that piperine is absorbed very fast across the intestinal barrier and it may modulate membrane dynamics due to its easy partitioning thus helping efficient permeability across the intestinal
Another study also demonstrated that piperine may have the ability to increase the bioavailability of certain nutrients. This study used coenzyme Q10 as the nutrient and the results showed that Piperine Extract did increase plasma levels of coenzyme Q10 and it is thought that this bioenhancing mechanism is non-specific and possibly based on its description in the literature as a thermonutrient.(3)
A recent study was designed to investigate the mode of action regarding piperine’s bioenhancing effect. The results showed that piperine may be inducing alterations in membrane dynamics and permeation characteristics, along with induction in the synthesis of proteins associated with cytoskeletal function, resulting in an increase on the small intestine absorptive surface, thus assisting efficient permeation through the epithelial barrier. (4)
The bioenhancing effects of piperine have been demonstrated in several other studies which show that piperine can improve the absorption of many nutrients. These include: Vitamin C, Selenium, Beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin B6, Coenzyme Q10. This action is thought to be non-specific which is demonstrated by the range of nutrients which had improved absorption. (6)
Piperine Extract is Antioxidant:
Piperine was shown to be an effective antioxidant in this recent study. The results suggested that piperine modulates the oxidative changes by inhibiting lipid peroxidation, which may mean that piperine could be an important nutrient for the prevention of atherosclerosis. (7)
Piperine Extract is Digestive Enzyme Stimulator:
This recent study investigated the effect of piperine on the secretion of digestive enzymes from the pancreas. Other dietary spices were also used including curcumin, ginger and mustard, and most spices, including piperine, were shown to increase the activity of the pancreatic enzymes, amylase and lipase. Piperine was also shown to increase the activity of enzymes released by the small intestine, trypsin
and chymotrypsin. (8)
Interactions and Contraindications:
Piperine Extract has been shown to interfere with the metabolism of certain medications which may delay their breakdown and enhance any side-effects. This study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of piperine on the bioavailability of drugs such as vasicine (brain stimulant) and sparteine (used to induce labour by stimulating the contraction of the womb).
1) J Nutr 1998 Mar; 128(3):577-81
2) Indian J Exp Biol 1998 Jan; 36(1):46-50
3) Mol Cell Biochem 1998 Dec; 189(1-2):113-8
4) 0955-2863 2003 Feb 1; 11(2): 109-113
5) Phytomedicine 2002 Apr; 9(3): 224-31
6) Nahrung 2000 Feb; 44(1): 42-6
7) J Ethnopharmacol 1981 Sep; 4(2): 229-32