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Bio-Enhancer Piperine Makes Our Turmeric Supplement More Bioavailable*

Morgan Chamberlain
Author: Expert reviewer:
Updated on July 18, 2022
Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor
By Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition.
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN
Expert review by
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN
mbg Vice President of Scientific Affairs
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN is Vice President of Scientific Affairs at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's degree in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia.
July 18, 2022

If you've hopped on the turmeric health trend over the past couple of years, we don't have to tell you how powerful the antioxidant herb is.* You may have wondered why it's recommended to always pair turmeric with black pepper, though (especially in sweeter desserts and drinks, like golden milk).

As it turns out, this pairing is anything but random—black pepper helps optimize turmeric's absorption.* But this botanical can stand on its own two feet as well. The secret to black pepper's potent health benefits?* An organic compound called piperine.

What is piperine?

Piperine is a naturally occurring phytonutrient compound (think of it as black pepper's MVP bioactive) that gives freshly ground pepper its sharp, biting flavor. It's found in piper fruits from the Piperaceae family but is most concentrated in Piper nigrum, or black pepper.

Benefits of black pepper extract.

Pepper contains all sorts of compounds—fibers, carbs, proteins, starch, flavonoids, phenols, and alkaloids. Black pepper is a botanical that has been utilized as an ingredient in natural remedies and recipes in ancient Indian (Ayurvedic) and Chinese medicine for centuries to combat oxidative stress, deliver inflammatory regulating actions, enhance blood circulation1, and more.* 

Of all of black pepper’s unique organic compounds, piperine is its most active (and famous), and its many health benefits are touted in modern scientific studies.*

Health benefits of piperine.

Piperine has many bioactive effects in the body. For starters, its antioxidant activity2 supports liver function, a vital organ for many critical pathways in the body—including detoxification.* Piperine also boasts anti-inflammatory actions1, which have direct relevance for promoting a robust and balanced immune response.* And who doesn't need that these days?

Additionally, piperine can support daily digestion by stimulating digestive enzymes in the pancreas and intestines.* Preclinical studies have also found that piperine demonstrates the ability to regulate blood sugar1.*

Piperine's most impressive feat, however, is its ability to enhance the bioavailability of other botanical ingredients.

Piperine as a bio-enhancer.

While piperine's solo health benefits are certainly nothing to scoff at, its role as a bio-enhancer is what makes it a truly valuable ingredient in food, supplements, and beyond. 

In fact, the term “bioavailability enhancer” was first coined by the Indian scientists who discovered and scientifically validated piperine as the world’s first bio-enhancer3 in 1976. Since then, scientific evidence has shown that piperine can help increase the bioavailability of bioactives such as resveratrol4, iron5, and curcumin (the principal bioactive curcuminoid in turmeric).*

It’s exactly why you grind a little fresh pepper into your golden milk, and you better believe it's the reason mbg chose black pepper fruit extract as one of the ingredients in our plant-centric multivitamin formula and our high-potency turmeric supplement (that these Ayurveda experts, longevity physicians, culinary nutritionists, and more are raving about). 

Piperine and resveratrol.

The botanical bioactive we boost with piperine is resveratrol from Japanese knotweed root extract. On its own, resveratrol is a powerful phytonutrient that promotes cognitive function6, aids cardiovascular health7, and supports the immune system8.* Unfortunately, it's tough for the human body to take advantage of resveratrol's health properties from this source because it metabolizes rapidly. When paired with piperine, resveratrol's bioavailability is increased9 and the duo becomes a botanical longevity powerhouse that supports cellular resilience, combats oxidative stress, and protects mitochondrial health.* 

Piperine and turmeric.

Like resveratrol, turmeric’s most active and scientifically popular curcuminoid—curcumin—is notoriously difficult for the body to absorb and utilize. When taken with turmeric through diet or supplementation, piperine has been shown to enhance serum concentrations (i.e., blood levels) of curcumin in both animal and human studies.* 

But how much does piperine enhance curcumin’s health benefits, really? A lot, it turns out: According to a Planta Medica scientific review, piperine increases curcumin’s bioavailability by 2,000% with no side effects!* (So seriously, don’t forget the black pepper next time you’re making curry.)

The takeaway.

Piperine is a dynamic plant bioactive that is highly valued for its bio-enhancing abilities (and a "secret sauce" ingredient for botanical teamwork and absorption).* That’s why we’ve included it in two of our mindbodygreen daily essential formulas.

We're proud of the lineup of revered ancient botanicals (i.e., turmeric, ginger, and piperine from black pepper extract) that promote antioxidant actions in our turmeric potency+ and the longevity botanicals that support cellular functions, integrity, and health in our comprehensive and cutting-edge ultimate multivitamin+.*

Thanks to the power of piperine, our formulas are more bioactive and bioavailable for users, making them prime choices for supporting your daily nutrient and the body's healthy inflammatory response.*

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.
Morgan Chamberlain author page.
Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor

Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.