Nutrition Market

Black Pepper as a Nutritional Supplement Ingredient

Black pepper, scientifically known as Piper nigrum, is a commonly used spice derived from the berries of a flowering vine plant. In recent years, black pepper extract and its key active compound piperine have also gained attention as ingredients in nutritional supplements.

What Is Black Pepper Extract?

Nutritional supplements featuring black pepper typically contain concentrated black pepper extract, which has undergone processing to isolate and standardise the content of active compounds like piperine.

Black pepper extract provides a much higher dose of piperine than regular dietary black pepper. It ensures each capsule or tablet provides an equivalent amount of the active phytochemicals.

Why Is Black Pepper Added to Supplements?

Black pepper extract is commonly included in nutritional supplements for its ability to enhance the absorption and bioavailability of other compounds.

The key active compound piperine has been shown by research to help improve the absorption of various nutrients. It assists with the transportation of compounds across the intestinal lining and into the bloodstream.

This means that adding black pepper extract allows supplement formulas to work more efficiently. The other complementary nutrients and botanicals in a formula become optimally bioavailable.

Essentially, black pepper can help you get more benefits from an already robust nutritional supplement.

Key Health Benefits of Black Pepper

While first renowned as a spicy table seasoning, research has revealed medicinal uses for concentrated black pepper fruit extract.

Some evidence-based wellness benefits associated with piperine and black pepper extract include:

Let's analyse the key findings around these benefits in more detail:

Absorption Enhancing Effects

The absorption boosting ability of black pepper extract supplements allows the ingredients it's paired with to work more efficiently.

For instance, one study found participants absorbing much higher levels of the green tea molecule EGCG - considered a very healthy antioxidant - when supplemented alongside BioPerine® (a branded black pepper fruit extract containing 95% piperine).

Gastrointestinal Support

Piperine shows protective effects on stomach ailments when tested in laboratory settings. An animal study revealed black pepper extract shielded against stomach ulcer development. The same study highlighted piperine assists with maintaining digestive enzyme function.

This data indicates black pepper extract may promote already normal gastrointestinal health. Although human clinical trials are still needed in this area.

Cognitive Function

Early lab tests bring to light the cognitive and memory supporting potential of piperine.

One animal model displayed piperine administration upholding brain neurotransmitter levels. While another study reported subjects showing enhanced memory retention after piperine supplementation.

Again, human trials have not yet confirmed similar brain boosting effects for black pepper extract pills. But the preliminary data is interesting.

Inflammatory Response

Chronic low-grade inflammation is now linked to a swathe of health issues. And unhealthy inflammatory levels appear potentially mitigated by regular black pepper consumption.

For example, piperine administration substantially suppressed inflammatory markers in rats with arthritis during lab testing. Along with being associated with reducing cytokine production in animal models. Again though, human studies still need to replicate these findings.

Supporting Weight Management

A crossover study had participants take a supplement with BioPerine® - branded black pepper extract - as the key ingredient. The result was modest but noticeable weight loss effects compared to the placebo.

The influence on weight management may link back to black pepper's assumed thermogenic properties. Although more trials are required focusing specifically on body composition and piperine supplementation.

So in summary, enhanced nutrient absorption is the only well-proven benefit right now according to research. The other associated wellness effects show promising signals but still require substantiating through larger scale human trials.

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