Curcumin and Piperine – The Perfect Combo

Curcumin and Piperine - The Perfect Combo

Turmeric, known as the Indian saffron or golden spice, has been used in India, Asia, and Middle Eastern countries for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. Turmeric alone can already provide a long list of health benefits and it may very well be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence. 

Curcumin is a discreet bioactive compound, giving a bright color and acting as the main active component of turmeric. Curcumin is a polyphenol – a strong antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties. As it turns out, despite the proven health benefits of turmeric to the human body, the main issue that lingers with curcumin is that it is not well absorbed in the bloodstream. As a result, you could be missing out on its advantages.

turmeric-roots-black-pepper

Health Benefits

There is a lot of high-quality research that shows turmeric (curcumin) has major health benefits for the body and brain.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY

The curcumin found in turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies have shown that turmeric can reduce inflammation. This anti-inflammatory ability help those with arthritis, as it helps repair damaged tissues in the body. 

CANCER FIGHTER

Studies show that turmeric and curcumin have cancer-fighting properties, including breast, lung, prostate, and colon cancers. It can contribute to the death of cancerous cells, reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors) and reduce the metastasis (spread of cancer). This leads to many changes on the molecular level that could help prevent and even treat cancer. 

BRAIN BOOSTER

Scientists discovered that curcumin helped improve the memory performance of adults without dementia. It is thought that less inflammation in the brain due to curcumin’s antioxidant properties leads to better ability of thinking and reasoning. 

PAIN RELIEF

The spice is also known for relieving pain, especially in arthritis sufferers. 

DIGESTION FRIENDLY

Turmeric helps keep the digestive system running smoothly because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – a condition that causes many digestive issues such as bloating, stomach pain, and diarrhea. 

IMPROVES LIVER FUNCTION

The antioxidant properties of turmeric are so powerful they can help stop toxins from damaging the liver further. 

Turmeric’s most active compound, curcumin, has proven, science-based health benefits, specifically for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Unfortunately, these benefits are often not fully fulfilled because of curcumin’s poor bioavailability, or its poor absorption in the bloodstream. 

curcuma-capsules-powder

Improving Curcumin’s Bioavailability

To improve curcumin absorption and bioavailability, piperine is the key. Piperine is the main active component of black pepper and is also a spice widely used worldwide. It is responsible for black pepper’s rich flavor. Piperine helps the curcumin become more bioavailable, or in other words, more easily absorbed by the body.

Curcumin’s limited bioavailability is due to its low solubility in water. When the body ingests the curcumin it gets metabolized even before it is absorbed in the bloodstream. The digestive enzymes in the stomach, intestines, and liver are responsible for eliminating the curcumin and metabolizing it to be excreted before it is soaked up and utilized inside the body. Piperine’s task is to inhibit the process of metabolizing the curcumin to be excreted and protect it from the different digestive enzymes that are working hard to eliminate it from the bloodstream. 

Piperine undoubtedly boosts the absorption of curcumin and has no reported adverse side effects. Research shows that piperine increases the absorption of curcumin by 2000%.

tumeric powder curcuma capsule

Black Pepper

Aside from its role in helping curcumin be absorbed in the bloodstream, black pepper has many other health benefits on its own. Black pepper contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it potentially helpful for managing inflammatory conditions and reducing free-radical damage. Some of the health benefits of black pepper are as follows:

ANTI INFLAMMATORY – The piperine that is found in the black pepper is found to be effective in fighting inflammation. However, the existing studies on this are not yet fully established in humans.

ANTIOXIDANT – Antioxidants are known to be effective in fighting free radicals that are unstable molecules that damage our cells. The piperine in black pepper has potent antioxidant properties that help prevent or delay the damaging effects of free radicals.

IMPROVES BLOOD SUGAR – There were studies conducted that showed an improvement in insulin sensitivity and improvement in blood glucose. However, it is not clear if it was the black pepper alone that was responsible for the positive effect on blood glucose as there were other plant compound combinations in the study.

IMPROVES BRAIN FUNCTION – In animal studies conducted, it was reported that there was improved brain function among the objects. It has demonstrated potential benefits for symptoms related to degenerative brain conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Yet, studies in humans are still needed to confirm the claims.

piperine-wooden-spoon-turmeric

Must-Try Combinations 

Black pepper as the king of spices has surely made a mark in every kitchen and is likely part of everyone’s daily cooking. Cooking with turmeric, freshly ground black pepper, and oils together is a great combination to increase the absorption of curcumin and reap the optimal benefits that turmeric can provide. Below are some recipes that are worth trying.

Golden Turmeric Tahini Dressing

Blending turmeric and black pepper is one way of restructuring your sauces or dips. This anti-inflammatory dressing also incorporates tahini and lemon juice for a zesty kick. It also works great as a sauce or dip.

Turmeric Oven Scrambled Eggs

Add turmeric and black pepper to oven-scrambled eggs for a new twist on a breakfast classic. The two spices kick up the flavor a notch without adding unnecessary fat, salt, or sugar. Plus, you can make a whole dish of these bright yellow eggs ahead of time and be set for days.

Black Pepper and Turmeric Latte

One of the easiest ways to get a feel for the taste of turmeric and black pepper is to blend the two into a latte, and this tasty drink is a snap to make. In addition to turmeric and black pepper, it also incorporates ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, honey, and vanilla for maximum spice and flavor. 

Turmeric and Black Pepper Roasted Cauliflower

Roast your cauliflower that has been sprinkled with turmeric and black pepper as your main spices.

Turmeric milk

Side Effects

Curcumin with piperine can have many health benefits but can be risky if taken in large doses. Mild side effects include:

  • Upset stomach, dizziness, acid reflux, headache, and diarrhea
  • Turmeric acts as a blood thinner, thus it is not advised to consume large doses if taking blood-thinning medications or have bleeding disorders
  • Turmeric can stimulate contractions; however, pregnant women can still eat foods that use turmeric as a spice but must avoid turmeric supplements. These supplements can stimulate pre-labor contractions that might cause complications. 

Dosage

Curcumin and piperine are generally considered safe. Official recommendations surrounding maximum tolerable intakes have not yet been set but The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) has set the acceptable dietary intake for curcumin as 1.4 mg per pound (3 mg/kg) of body weight per day, or approximately 245 mg for a 175-pound (80-kg) person. 

curcuma-capsules

Curcumin’s effect on the body is enhanced by about 2000% when combined with piperine. Naturally, daily food consumption can’t provide 1 gram of curcumin per day, so to fully reap the benefits of turmeric you may want to consider a supplement combined with piperine. Before adding curcumin supplements to your diet, consult with your doctor, especially if you are taking other medications or have existing health conditions.

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