Black pepper (Piperine) increases absorption of nutrients; antioxidant properties

Posted on Sep 28, 2016

(Nutrient Journal) Piperine is a naturally occurring compound of black pepper (Piper nigrum Linn) and long pepper (Piper longum Linn) [1] and is one of the most widely used among spices. Piperine, an alkaloid (1-peperoyl piperidine), has been previously evaluated for its potential to enhance the serum levels nutrients in animals and humans.[1,2]

It has been shown that piperine can dramatically increase absorption of selenium, vitamin B, curcumin, vitamin C, coenzyme Q10 [1] and beta-carotene, [2] as well as other nutrients. Piperine favorably stimulates the digestive enzymes of pancreas which enhances the digestive capacity and significantly reduces the gastrointestinal food transit time.[3] The results of clinical studies of piperine with drugs indicate that piperine administered orally at a single dose ranging from 20 to 50 mg may significantly increase serum drug levels by reducing the clearance of drugs, from natural or synthetic source.[1] The mechanisms by which piperine increases the absorption may involve increased gastrointestinal blood supply [4], postulated thermogenic properties [5] and the increase in bioenergetic processes [6].

Piperine can also attenuate free radicals and reactive oxygen species and has been shown to protect against oxidative damage in vitro.[7]

Safety and toxicity of black pepper

According to “It is generally recognized as safe for human consumption.”[8]


1. Badmaev, Vladimir, Muhammed Majeed, and Lakshmi Prakash. “Piperine derived from black pepper increases the plasma levels of coenzyme Q10 following oral supplementation.” The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 11.2 (2000): 109-113.

2. Badmaev, Vladimir, Muhammed Majeed, and Edward P. Norkus. “Piperine, an alkaloid derived from black pepper increases serum response of beta-carotene during 14-days of oral beta-carotene supplementation.” Nutrition Research 19.3 (1999): 381-388.

3. Srinivasan, K. “Black pepper and its pungent principle-piperine: a review of diverse physiological effects.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 47.8 (2007): 735-748.

4. Annamalai, A. R., and R. Manavalan. “Effect of “Trikatu” and its individual components and piperine on gastrointestinal tracts.” Indian Drugs 27.12 (1990): 595-604.

5. Kawada, Teruo, et al. “Some pungent principles of spices cause the adrenal medulla to secrete catecholamine in anesthetized rats.” Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine (New York, NY). Vol. 188. No. 2. Royal Society of Medicine, 1988.

6. Reanmongkol, Wantana, et al. “Effects of piperine on bioenergetic functions of isolated rat liver mitochondria.” Biochemical pharmacology 37.4 (1988): 753-757.

7. Brewer, M. S. “Natural antioxidants: sources, compounds, mechanisms of action, and potential applications.” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 10.4 (2011): 221-247.

8. Black Pepper. “” Retrieved 20. March 2013

Last Updated: 13th October, 2013

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