If Your Curcumin Doesn't Have Black Pepper, You’re Missing The Boat
Turmeric has long been used in India and other parts of Asia, not just as a spice to flavor foods but also as a powerful natural medicine. Turmeric has a potent component known as curcumin; this wonder spice is believed to hold healing properties that help fight inflammation. It is also an antioxidant that can help reduce cancer risk.
It's easy to confuse turmeric, curcumin, and the different types available. What is very important to know when using turmeric for medicinal purposes is that if it doesn't have black pepper, you are missing the boat. Here we look at why curcumin and black pepper taken together is so vital in reaping the most benefits. (1,2)
What Is the Difference Between Curcumin and Turmeric?
Turmeric is a tall plant with a distinct deep golden color, earning it the title "the golden spice." The plant grows naturally in Asia and Central America. If you've ever enjoyed a bowl of rich, spicy golden curry, that distinct color comes from turmeric. Turmeric is the plant itself, and curcumin is a substance derived from the plant.
Curcumin has been used in India for thousands of years as an important traditional medicine, and numerous modern studies confirm the health benefits. Studies also confirm that combining it with black pepper can improve curcumin's healing powers. (1,2,3)
Possible Adverse Effects Of Curcumin
The side effects of curcumin are important because they have a lot to do with why a supplement with black pepper is preferred. Possible adverse effects are minimal, mostly related to gastric irritation such as nausea or diarrhea. Although not an adverse impact, curcumin is not readily absorbed by the body. Black pepper makes a good partner for curcumin because it helps address these issues. (2)
Studies On The Therapeutic Qualities Of Curcumin
Studies show turmeric is safe, non-toxic, and therapeutic, with many positive effects on the body. The curcuminoids in curcumin appear to be the main active component of the plant. It is what is known as a polyphenol offering many health benefits, including: (2,3,4,5)
It also includes promising results in some cancer treatments. However, as mentioned, one of curcumin's biggest challenges is its poor absorption. (2,3)
Why Black Pepper Works Well With Curcumin
So how does black pepper improve the effectiveness of curcumin? The piperine in black pepper is a bioactive compound. Like the capsaicin that causes heat in peppers, it is an alkaloid. Not only does piperine contain anti-inflammatory properties, but it also assists with nausea and poor digestion, the most common side effect for some people taking curcumin on its own. However, perhaps even more importantly, the piperine helps improve absorption. (6,7,8,9)
Black Pepper Improves Curcumin Absorption
As mentioned, curcumin is not absorbed into the bloodstream very well. Those taking curcumin often don't realize that because of poor absorption, they miss the boat if they don't add the black pepper. Without proper absorption, their body simply can't take advantage of the health benefits. However, when partnered with black pepper, research shows it enhances curcumin absorption by as much as 2000%. Adding just 2 grams of piperine can improve absorption significantly. (2,10,11)
The Best Curcumin with Black Pepper Supplement: Powerful Bioenhancer
As mentioned, piperine is a bioactive compound. As a result, it acts as a bioenhancer, also known as an absorption enhancer. As a bioenhancer, piperine helps manage the absorption of curcuminoids. When piperine is combined with curcumin the curcuminoids more easily reach your bloodstream and pass through the intestinal wall more efficiently. Blood levels of curcumin also increase because the piperine slows down how quickly the liver breaks it down. (12,13,14)
The Best Curcumin with Black Pepper Supplement: Boost Of Curcumin Benefits
The combination of curcumin and black pepper works together to boost the many health benefits they offer, including:
- Pain and Inflammation: When you take curcumin with piperine, studies show the combination can be as effective as over-the-counter pain medication but without side effects. Turmeric has been used to treat arthritis and can relieve pain, while piperine shares these anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties. (15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23)
- Cancer Prevention: As mentioned, curcumin studies show it could be a promising alternative to treat and prevent cancer, including decreasing the development, spread, and growth of cancer with the potential to kill cancer cells. Add to this the possibility piperine can also contribute to potential cancer cell destruction, and it could be a supplement that helps reduce the risk of tumor formation. Together the two can also interrupt breast stem cells from renewing, which is how breast cancer develops. Other cancers the duo might help with include prostate, pancreatic, and colorectal. (24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34)
- Digestion: Curcumin can help reduce flatulence and gut spasms, while piperine can help improve digestive enzyme activity in the gut. The same anti-inflammatory properties in both ingredients also reduce inflammation in the gut, which can help improve digestion. (35,36)
As you can see, the addition of piperine in your curcumin supplement provides a boost to help you see even more benefits. It also helps improve absorption of the curcumin, so you don't miss the boat on the many health advantages of the "golden spice."
For more information about curcumin and black pepper supplements, click here.