The health benefits of black pepper

Black pepper, and its alkaloid component, piperine, are associated with numerous health benefits, including anti-inflammatory effects and potential cancer-fighting properties. People have used pepper in traditional medicine for thousands of years, especially in Ayurveda,
Indian traditional medicine system. Men mainly used it to treat menstrual disorders and disorders of the ears, nose and throat. However, consuming too much black pepper can lead to gastrointestinal side effects, so care must be taken not to consume too much.

Currently, there are no dietary recommendations on how much black pepper a person, regardless of gender or age, should consume. However, adding herbs and spices can help add flavor to a dish when trying to reduce one’s dietary intake of added sugar, salt and saturated fat.

Health benefits of black pepper

Black pepper has several potential health benefits for the body and brain, most of which come from piperine, a compound in black pepper.

High in antioxidants

Piperine, the plant compound in black pepper, has strong antioxidant properties. The body creates free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage cells, both naturally and in response to environmental stresses. Excess damage from free radicals can lead to serious health problems, including inflammatory diseases, heart disease and certain cancers. Research has shown that eating a diet high in antioxidants can reduce free radical damage. For example, a review of test-tube and rodent studies showed that black pepper and piperine supplements can prevent or slow the progression of free radical damage and related diseases, such as atherosclerosis. , diabetes and cancer.

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Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Although there is no extensive human research on the anti-inflammatory benefits of black pepper and piperine, several rodent studies suggest that piperine may help reduce inflammation.
For example, in a study to determine if piperine could suppress heart damage associated with the cancer drug doxorubicin, researchers found that lab mice injected with piperine had reduced inflammation.

Another rodent study suggests that piperine’s anti-inflammatory properties may help protect against kidney tissue damage associated with ischemia-reperfusion. Ischemia-reperfusion refers to tissue damage that occurs when a part of the body does not receive enough oxygen.
Researchers have also found that certain piperine supplements may help reduce chronic inflammation. experienced by people with metabolic syndrome.

Antibacterial properties

A handful of reviews and studies point to the antibacterial potential of piperine. For example, after a brief review of studies investigating black pepper’s antibacterial properties against gram-positive bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, researchers concluded that the spice could be a powerful ingredient for future disease therapies. infectious and foodborne pathogens.

Similarly, a test-tube study found that piperine and piperlongumine, a component of long pepper — may help fight multidrug-resistant pathogens. The study authors concluded that both compounds could be useful as bioactive compounds for new antibacterial drugs.

Anti-cancer properties

Although there have been no human studies to date, several laboratory studies suggest that the piperine in black pepper may have anti-cancer properties. For example, a comprehensive review of Spices and Cancer Treatments indicates that studies have shown piperine to suppress cancer cell replication in breast, prostate, and colon cancers. Likewise, this substance has shown promise as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. However, scientists need to conduct more studies to fully investigate this effect.

Contribute to blood sugar control

A small 2013 study in humans on the effects of a supplement containing several bioactive dietary ingredients, including piperine, on insulin resistance found an improvement in insulin sensitivity. This means that the hormone insulin was better able to regulate glucose uptake.

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Better nutrient absorption and gut health

Black pepper can help boost nutrient absorption, as well as exhibit prebiotic-like behavior, helping to regulate gut microbiota and improve gastrointestinal health.

Stimulate brain functions

Several animal studies have shown that piperine can improve brain function, especially for symptoms associated with degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. For example, researchers found that piperine helped improve memory in rats with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as reduce the formation of Alzheimer’s disease.

Risks and Side Effects of Black Pepper

There isn’t much scientific evidence to suggest that black pepper has any major health risks and side effects. Eating too much black pepper can cause digestive upset, but most herbs and spices do. And eating large amounts of black pepper can cause burning sensations in your mouth and throat.
However, some research suggests that black pepper, or more specifically piperine, can potentially cause adverse effects in certain situations.

For example, studies involving rodents and humans have shown that piperine can promote the absorption of certain medications, such as antihistamines. This can be useful for poorly absorbed drugs, but it can cause other drugs to be absorbed too high.

Black pepper and health: what to remember

For thousands of years, folk and traditional medicine systems have incorporated black pepper and its main active ingredient, piperine. Although most of the research on the health and wellness benefits of black pepper is preliminary and focuses more on animals than humans, it is promising and warrants further study. Pepper is an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects, among other health benefits. It can also stimulate brain functions.

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Abdallah, EM, et al. (2018). Black pepper fruit (Piper nigrum L.) as antibacterial agent: A mini-review.

Addor, FAS (2017). Antioxidants in dermatology.

Ba, Y., et al. (2018). Potential of piperine in modulation of voltage-gated K+ current and its influences on cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells.

Bedada, SK, et al. (2016). The influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of fexofenadine, a P-glycoprotein substrate, in healthy volunteers [Abstract].

Butt, MS, et al. (2013). Black pepper and health claims: A comprehensive treatise [Abstract].

Jin, M.-J., et al. (2010). Effect of piperine, a major component of black pepper, on the intestinal absorption of fexofenadine and its implication on food-drug interaction [Abstract].

Lobo, V., et al. (2010). Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health.

Mohammadi, M., et al. (2020). Protective effect of piperine in ischemia-reperfusion induced acute kidney injury through inhibition of inflammation and oxidative stress.

Pastor, RF, et al. (2010). Supplementation with resveratrol, piperine and alpha-tocopherol decreases chronic inflammation in a cluster of older adults with metabolic syndrome.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace medical advice.

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