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Quest Vitamins LTD,
8 Venture Way,
Aston Science Park,
B7 4AP.

Tel: 0121 359 0056
Fax: 0121 359 0313
Registered in England No. 2530437

Issue # 66.4 - The Influence of Piperine and Curcumin

Does piperine increase bioavailablity?

A significant number of problems faced by people over the age of sixty may be attributable to nutritional deficiencies. Many elderly people have malabsorption problems, in which the nutrients in food are not properly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract due to the decrease of the production of digestive enzymes. There are also many disorders that are associated with an inability to absorb nutrients successfully such as IBS, Crohn's disease and Ulcerative colitis. A lack of nutrients may lead to serious conditions which may be life threatening. So the question is 'What can naturally increase the bioavailability of nutrients?' Piperine is a phytonutrient and is the active ingredient of black pepper. It is lipid soluble therefore alters the structure of the cell membranes, thereby increasing the permeability of the intestinal cell membranes which leads to better absorption of nutrients. It is regarded as a thermonutrient as it can stimulate thermogenesis. This means that it can increase energy available for nutrient absorption by increasing the activity of an enzyme which breaks down ATP. Piperine can also increase blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract and can also increase the levels of enzymes involved in transport of nutrients into intestinal cells. A study was designed to investigate the absorption dynamics of piperine in the intestine on oral absorption, using human intestinal cells as a model. The results suggested that piperine is easily absorbed across the intestinal barrier and it may increase the permeability of the intestinal cell membrane, thus helping efficient transport across the intestinal wall. Another study also demonstrated that piperine may have the ability to increase the bioavailablity of certain nutrients. This study used coenzyme Q10 as the nutrient and the results showed that piperine did increase plasma levels of coenzyme Q10 and it is thought that this bioenhancing mechanism is non-specific and possibly based on its description as a thermonutrient. The bioenhancing effects of piperine have been demonstrated in several other studies which show that piperine can improve the absorption of many nutrients. These include: Vitamin C, Selenium, Beta-carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, and Coenzyme Q10.

Indian J Exp Biol 1998 Jan;36(1):46-50

Mol Cell Biochem 1998 Dec; 189(1-2):113-8

Nahrung 2000 Feb; 44(1):42-6

Could piperine derived from black pepper increase the plasma levels of coenzyme Q10?

A study showed that supplementation of 120mg coenzyme Q10 with 5mg piperine for 21 days produced a statistically significant, approximately 30% greater levels of coenzyme Q10 in the plasma than was observed with placebo. It is postulated that the bioenhancing mechanism of piperine to increase plasma levels of supplemental Q10 is based on its thermonutrient nature.

0955-28632000 Feb 1;11(2):109-113

Inhibits the growth of H. pylori?

Curcumin, a polyphenolic chemical constituent derived from turmeric (Curcuma longa), has been shown to prevent gastric and colon cancers in rodents. Many mechanisms have been proposed for the chemopreventative effects, although the effect of curcumin on the growth of Helicobacter pylori has not been reported. H. pylori is a Group 1 carcinogen and is associated with the development of gastric and colon cancer. A methanol extract of the dried powdered turmeric rhizome and curcumin were tested against 19 strains of H. pylori. Both the methanol extract and curcumin inhibited the growth of all strains of H. pylori in vitro with a minimum inhibitory concentration range of 6.25-50 micrograms/ml. These data demonstrate that curcumin inhibits the growth of H. pylori strains in vitro, and this may be one of the mechanisms by which curcumin exerts its chemopreventative effects.

Anticancer Res. 2002 Nov-Dec;22(6C):4179-81

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