Whilst it is best known as a household spice, black pepper has been used extensively as a medicine by our ancestors extract. BioPerine or black pepper extract contains the active compound piperine, which is thought to be responsible for much of black pepper's health benefits. Extracted from the black pepper fruit, cultivated in nutrient-rich soil regions of southern India, the delicate berries are harvested and sun dried for optimum quality. BioPerine is used in sports supplements to enhance the bioavailability of nutrients through increased absorption. BioPerine is the only product sourced out of piperine to obtain a patented status for its ability to increase the bioavailability of nutritional compounds. Clinical studies in the U.S. have substantiated the safety and efficacy of piperine for nutritional use.
BioPerine For Bodybuilders
While there is no conclusive mechanism by which black pepper extract (BioPerine) works, it is purported1 that it may be able to increase absorption of several nutrients by:
- Increasing blood supply to the gastrointestinal tract.
- Increasing emulsifying content of the gut.
- Increasing active nutrient transport.
Advantages of BioPerine for Bodybuilders
BioPerine has been shown in clinical trials to increase absoprtion of several nutrients including co-enzyme Q10, selenium, curcumin, vitamin B6 and Vitamin C1. Piperine has also been shown to help with thermogenesis, which is the metabolic process that generates energy in the human body, a key factor in maintaining weight loss. Piperine has been shown to help with fat metabolism and be able to accelerate energy metabolism2 in the body.
In the clinical trials1:
- Serum levels of coenzyme Q10 increased with 14 days supplementation of BioPerine - Coenzyme Q10 has been studied extensively with benefits shown for heart health3, radiation injury4, Parkinsons5 and other health issues.
- Bioavailability of curcumin was increased 2000% when consumed with BioPerine - Curcumin is a popular spice which has also been studied extensively for its possible antitumour6 and antioxidant7 effects.
- Serum levels of selenium were higher at 2 and 6 weeks with co-ingestion of BioPerine - Selenium is an essential micronutrient for the human body and is involved in antioxidant reactions8.
- Vitamin B6 levels in the blood were 3 times higher when a vitamin B6 supplement was ingested with
- BioPerine compared to intake of the vitamin alone - Vitamin B6 is important for intracellular processes and for controlling levels of homocysteine in the body - a factor for good heart health8.
- Maximum plasma concentrations of vitamin C were higher when consumed with BioPerine - Vitamin C is also another essential micronutrient shown to have antioxidant properties.8
BioPerine vs. Black Pepper for Athletes
As biologically active compounds in foods need to be digested before its release from the foods, similarly ingesting black pepper to obtain piperine may result in a slower time for the compound to activate its bioavailability enhancing properties. A pure extract of piperine such as BioPerine can help speed this process up so that the absorption of nutrients from your food is maximised at time of ingestion.
BioPerine & Sports Nutrition
For 6000 years traditional formulas containing a special blend of ingredients, including black pepper, have been administered for this purpose. Clearly, the key to better nutrition lies in the efficient delivery of nutrients to the body, rather than in just what is ingested.
A nutrient ingested, but not absorbed, is a wasted nutrient. As history has demonstrated, the use of black pepper extract can assist with the absorption of vital nutrients which is important for the bodybuilder keen on getting the most out of their training and nutrition. Look out for BioPerine on the ingredient listings on supplements such as protein powders, amino acids, as well as pre, intra and post workout supplements, as it can help ensure you are getting the most out of your supplements. It is important and vital to know that as with all supplements and even foods, individuals will have different reactions towards them. If a product affects you adversely, discontinue use or seek medical advice. However, since BioPerine has so many advantages, it may be worth considering for future bodybuilding success.
BioPerine Negatives and Side Effects
Some outdates studies have suggested that piperine may exhibit toxic qualities. However, these have been disproved, and it is now accepted that piperine is safe. This should be no surprise considering pepper is one of the most widely used spices. In animal studies, it has been found that the use of up to 250 times the normal intake of pepper or piperine did not appear to show any adverse effects.9
Although piperine has been shown to increase the bioavailability of a number of nutrients and drugs, it is still a good idea to check with your healthcare professional before self-admitting piperine in order to complement the effects of any medication you may be using.
Piperine Recommended Doses and Ingredient Timing
The effect of piperine on boosting the bioavailability of nutrients has been found to be effective at 5 mg/day.10 Because of the actions of piperine on digestion, it is best taken with, or around the time of a meal or with other supplements.
1. BioPerine.com. Accessed 20th April 2011
2. Malini T, Arunakaran J, Aruldhas MM, Govindarajulu P. Effects of piperine on the lipid composition and enzymes of the pyruvate-malate cycle in the testis of the rat in vivo. Biochem Mol Biol Int. 1999;47(3):537-45
3. Parthasarathy, S; Steinberg, D; Witztum, JL (1992). "The role of oxidized low-density lipoproteins in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis". Annual review of medicine 43: 219–25
4. Koryagin, A. S.; Krylova, E. V.; Luk'yanova, L. D. (2002). "Effect of ubiquinone-10 on the blood system in rats exposed to radiation". Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine 133 (6): 562–564.
5. Shults, C. W.; Oakes, D; Kieburtz, K; Beal, MF; Haas, R; Plumb, S; Juncos, JL; Nutt, J et al. (2002). "Effects of Coenzyme Q10 in Early Parkinson Disease: Evidence of Slowing of the Functional Decline". Archives of Neurology 59 (10): 1541–50
6. Choi, Hyunsung; et al. (July 2006). "Curcumin Inhibits Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1 by Degrading Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Nuclear Translocator: A Mechanism of Tumor Growth Inhibition". Molecular Pharmacology (American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics) 70 (5): 1664–71
7. Shukla, PK; Khanna, VK; Khan, MY; Srimal, RC (2003). "Protective effect of curcumin against lead neurotoxicity in rat.". Human & experimental toxicology 22 (12): 653–8
8. Essentials of Human Nutrition 3rd Ed. Jim Mann and A Stewart Truswell. Oxford University press 2007. p 100-233.
9. Srinivasan (2008), Black Pepper and its Pungent Principle-Piperine: A Review of Diverse Physiological Effects. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 48: 735-748
10. Badmaev et al (2000), Piperine derived from black pepper increases the plasma levels of coenzyme q10 following oral supplementation. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 11: 109-113