Black Pepper Extract Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage And Stacking

black pepper extract

What Is Black Pepper Extract?

Most of the herbs that produce the spices you cook with and the essential oils you use also have medicinal properties. They can treat everything from sore throats to upset stomachs to more serious conditions like cancer. Herbs and the other parts of plants they come from were used in Chinese and Ayurveda medicines, and by indigenous tribes around the world. Although western doctors also made poultices, teas, and remedies from them, many herbal remedies were eventually replaced by pharmaceuticals, which were prescribed by doctors. However, there has been a resurgence in the use of homeopathic remedies using herbs to treat a wide variety of medical conditions. Many people are rediscovering herbal supplements because they are less expensive than pharmaceuticals and there are fewer adverse side effects.

Some of the spices in your pantry found in many home remedies include:

  • Cinnamon
  • Sage
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Ginger
  • Cayenne Pepper

Another spice with many medicinal properties that people use every day when cooking is black pepper. There are many health benefits to using the peppercorns or black pepper extract. An extract of an active component of black pepper, called piperine, is what gives black pepper most of its medicinal qualities and its flavorful bite.

Black pepper, which is native to Kerala in the southern part of India, has long been valued around the world as a spice. It is not a seasonal plant, so it is available throughout the year. Black pepper extract has been studied for its many health benefits, including helping the body absorb nutrients and its ability to protect the liver. However, it may have some drawbacks as well, such elevating the level of certain drugs in the bloodstream.

Black Pepper Extract Dosage

Black pepper extract can usually be found any place that sells herbal supplements. However, if you cannot find it, look under the brand name Bioperine. If you still cannot find it in local stores, you can order it online from many websites.

Since it can be potent, you should start out taking low doses of it, approximately 5mg to 10mg every day. Gradually increase the dosage once you are familiar with its effects on you and any medications you take. The ideal dosage for increasing metabolism and absorption is 15mg per day.

Before you begin to take this supplement, or any other supplements, talk to your doctor about possible interactions with any medications that you regularly take.

What Are The Top Benefits?

Research has shown that there are many benefits to using black pepper extract as a herbal supplement, including those below.

Increases in Bioavailability

Piperine can increase the potency of other supplements by increasing their bioavailability. The best example of this benefit is with curcumin. When it is taken as a supplement, curcumin’s bioavailability is poor because it is quickly metabolized by the liver and the intestinal wall. Black pepper extract can help slow intestinal transit and gastric emptying, so it gives the curcumin more time to be absorbed into the bloodstream. One study was able to show that piperine increased the bioavailability of curcumin as much as 2000%1.

Another study found it also could increase the bioavailability of resveratrol, which is a compound called polyphenol. This compound helps to protect the body against damage in much the same way as antioxidants. By increasing the bioavailability of other substances, it can give them more time to be absorbed by the body.

Better Absorption of Nutrients

Black pepper extract may help to increase the absorption of nutrients in the intestine, which could help treat malnutrition and conditions involving the malabsorption of nutrients. Some of the nutrients listed in an article published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine that were better absorbed included:

  • Selenium
  • Vitamin C
  • Beta-carotene
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Coenzyme Q

Blocks Fat Cell Formation

Black pepper may be able to break down fat cells and help people lose weight, but piperine has been shown to stop their formation. A study that was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry said the compound has the ability to block the formation of fat cells called adipocytes. The study also noted that piperine could reduce fat levels in the bloodstream, which could help people manage their weight. The researchers said the compound might set off a metabolic reaction that could keep fat in check in other ways too.

Produces Antidepressant Effects

A study on mice showed that piperine could increase the levels of the brain chemicals that help reduce or prevent depression. An hour after being injected with 60mg of the black pepper extract, the levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine had increased. Researchers also found that the extract could help inhibit both MAO-A and MAO-B, which are enzymes that can break down neurotransmitters in the brain. These neurotransmitters include serotonin, dopamine, and others. The study found piperine had the same antidepressant effect on the brain as Prozac.

Protects Against Alzheimer’s

In a study conducted in Thailand using rats, it was found that black pepper extract significantly improved memory impairment. It also reduced neurodegeneration in the hippocampus when the rats received the compound after Alzheimer’s like conditions were induced into their brains. It was thought that the way piperine helps with Alzheimer’s is by decreasing the oxidative effect on lipids. It may also help decrease the acetylcholine enzyme that inhibits its production. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that helps cells communicate with each other. The function of this neurotransmitter is important for memorization, concentration, reasoning, cognitive functions, and in growing new synapses in the brain. Diseases like Alzheimer’s, ADD, and ADHD can be the result of the lack of acetylcholine.

Watch this video to learn some more information about the benefits of black pepper extract:

What Are The Potential Side Effects?

Since piperine is usually taken in small doses, there are few reported side effects. However, there is some evidence that shows black pepper has carcinogenic effects due to the presence of procarcingenics like tannins, safrole, and some terpene compounds.

The carcinogenic effects were only noted with topical applications2 and not while taking the supplement orally. While the supplement is usually safe, it does enhance the effects of other drugs, so be careful while taking prescription medications.

This supplement should only be taken in small dosages or as recommended because consuming larger quantities could be dangerous because of its ability to increase bioavailability of some drugs and supplements. For instance, one user on Reddit found it sped up the reaction when taken with kratom, and it was stronger as well.

Drug Interactions

Since black pepper extract can increase the bioavailability of other drugs or supplements, it needs to be taken carefully. Studies done with the supplement suggest it increases plasma concentrations of drugs, which could enhance their effects. Some of the drugs in the studies included:

  • Midazolam – used as a sedative before medical procedures or surgeries
  • Carbamazepine – treats seizures
  • Diclofenac – is an NSAID that treats pain, migraines, and arthritis
  • Phenytoin – helps to treat and prevent seizures
  • Warfarin – this drug is a blood thinner
  • Fexofenadine – is an antihistamine for treating allergies, skin hives, and itching
  • Digoxin- this drug is mostly used to treat arrhythmias

If you are on these drugs or taking piperine and are prescribed any medications, talk to your doctor about possible interactions and whether you should keep taking the piperine.

Supplementing Your Diet With Piperine

Black pepper extract can usually be found any place that sells herbal supplements. However, if you cannot find it, look under the brand name Bioperine. If you still cannot find it in local stores, you can order it online from many websites.

Since it can be potent, you should start out taking low doses of it, approximately 5mg to 10mg every day. Gradually increase the dosage once you are familiar with its effects on you and any medications you take. The ideal dosage for increasing metabolism and absorption is 15mg per day.

Before you begin to take this supplement, or any other supplements, talk to your doctor about possible interactions with any medications that you regularly take.

Black Pepper Extract Tea

Many herbal supplements can be made into teas instead of taken as pills or powders. The tea often has the same benefits as the other forms of the supplement and, sometimes, the tea can be more beneficial.

As previously mentioned, piperine increases the bioavailability of polyphenols, such as resveratrol, which are in teas as well. Polyphenols help protect the body against cell damage in the same way that antioxidants do. In fact, teas, especially green tea, are high in antioxidants.

Even though it isn’t made from the extract, the piperine in black pepper helps produce many benefits when you consume black pepper tea. To make black pepper tea, you can use this basic recipe.

  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. raw honey (optional)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 heaping tsp. grated fresh ginger (optional)

Directions:

  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the other ingredients to the water and turn off the heat.
  3. Steep it for three to five minutes.
  4. Strain into two mugs and drink it while hot.

Black pepper tea has many benefits, especially respiratory benefits. It can help:

  • Cure coughs and colds due to black pepper’s antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
    Soothe sore throats.
  • Ease sinus pressure by clearing a stuffy nose.
  • Add powered black pepper extract to black tea to help with depression since it has cognitive benefits.

The tea can also help loosen phlegm in the throat and chest as well. Use honey in your tea if you cannot tolerate the spiciness of the black pepper.

Stacking

When used in combination with other supplements, which is called stacking, piperine can help enhance their effects. Here are some of the combinations that contain piperine.

Fat Burning Stack

You can create a good fat burning stack from your pantry known as the Double-Pepper Curry Bomb. This combination of spices can help burn more calories by creating heat in the body, which is known as thermogenic. It includes:

  • Black Pepper Extract
  • Red Pepper Extract, the hotter, the better
  • Curcumin

As mentioned previously, piperine can increase the absorption of curcumin and the heat from the capsaicinoids, like the capsaicin found in red pepper extract, helps increase metabolism. Hot sauces like sriracha also work so that you can use those on your food instead of red pepper extract. Just grind the ingredients in your food to taste.

Focus and Energy Stack

If you feel tired and cannot concentration, you can use this stack to help give you more energy and sharpen your focus. It consists of:

  • 275mg Bacopa monnieri
  • 200mg L-threonine
  • 100mg Caffeine
  • 500mg Curcumin
  • 5mg Piperine

Cognitive Enhancement Stack

Use this stack to improve cognitive functions and maintain your overall health. It contains:

  • 250mg Acetyl L-Carnitine
  • 30mg Schizandrol A
  • 2mg Piperine
  • 150mg Coleus forskohlii
  • 200mg Rhodiola Rosea
  • 100mg Gingko Biloba
  • 5mg Vinpocetine
  • 100mg Phosphatidylserine
  • 75mg Centrophenoxine
  • 250mg Aniracetam
  • 250mg Oxiracetam

The supplements in this stack can be taken up to three times a day.

Alternatives to Piperine

Probably the best alternative to black pepper extract is black pepper, but you don’t want to consume too much of it because it can cause sneezing if inhaled or stomach upset if too much is taken. Since piperine is in black pepper, it is going to help give you some of the same reactions, but diluted since it isn’t the pure extract.

Long peppers, also called Pippali or Piper Longum, also contains piperine, but at a smaller concentration. While there is a concentration of about 6% to 9% of piperine in black pepper, it is only about 4% in long peppers, and 4.5% in Piper retrofractum.

These other peppercorns are not substitutes for black pepper extract, but they also have health benefits of their own.

Conclusion

Black pepper extract has been found generally safe for adults of all ages to use to benefit their overall physical and mental health. However, if you take prescription drugs, be careful as piperine can enhance their effect.

Be aware of the drug interactions especially if you take drugs for Type 2 diabetes, blood thinners, or anti-seizure medications. If you’re going to have surgery or an anesthetic is needed for another procedure, inform your doctor that you are taking the supplement.

As long as you take it in small amounts of no more than 20mgs, then black pepper extract can be beneficial for you. That is the reason we recommend taking this supplement if you want to enhance your cognitive abilities, lose weight, or protect your brain against diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Scientific & Reference Citations

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9619120
  2. https://examine.com/supplements/black-pepper/
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