Piperine is an alkaloid of black pepper, a spice widely used in Ayurvedic medicine thanks to its many healthy characteristics. Specifically, piperine is a crystalline substance that covers the outer part of the pepper and it can be colorless or of a pale yellow; it belongs to the family of "pungent" and irritating substances, as well as capsaicin, a component of chilli pepper. Piperine has dietetic properties mainly due to its thermogenic action that stimulates the metabolism and helps to burn fat, and it also stimulates intestinal transit, promotes digestion and more.
The first studies on piperine were conducted in 1820 by a Danish chemist of the University of Copenhagen, Hans Christian Ørsted, who isolated its molecular structure, although in Indian and Chinese medicine it was already used to treat some disorders of the gastrointestinal tract (diarrhea, constipation, slow digestion), heart disease, joint pains, gangrene and angina. But let's find out more about piperine and if there are any side effects.
Healthy characteristics of piperine
Let's see in particular the main characteristics of piperine that are healthy for our organism.
Piperine helps to lose weight: piperine provides a thermogenic action that helps burn fat, promoting weight loss: you can buy in fact some food supplements based on piperine, to be taken only after consulting a doctor. In the past, piperine was already used to treat metabolic disorders and to strengthen the gastric system by performing a toning action. Then piperine performs a dietetic action, not only because it stimulates metabolism, but also because it fights the formation of adipose cells, accelerating the secretion of digestive juices, speeding up digestion and helping keep nervous hunger at bay. Obviously, piperine alone does not help to lose weight but it must be associated with a balanced diet and a constant physical movement.
Piperine stimulates intestinal transit helping to fight constipation and to promote digestion: piperine also improves intestinal transit, thus helping in case of constipation, often caused by a lack of fiber intake, and it also facilitates the absorption of important nutrients such as coenzyme Q10 and beta-carotene, precursor of vitamin A. Furthermore, piperine stimulates gastric secretion and improves digestion.
Piperine facilitates tanning and improve mood: by promoting the absorption of beta-carotene, piperine stimulates the production of melanin, facilitating tanning. In addition, piperine would also have a positive effect on mood, helping to counteract depression as it increases the production of serotonin and dopamine.
Piperine has an antioxidant action: piperine also acts as a mild antioxidant counteracting the damaging action of free radicals and slowing down cellular aging, also helping to prevent cancer.
In addition, piperine has an expectorant and anti-inflammatory action, helping to reduce or eliminate inflammation, it also promotes muscle relaxation and purifies the organism, thanks to its diuretic action, and helps to tone mind and body by increasing the levels of energy.
How does piperine work?
Piperine increases the absorption of substances contained in foods thanks to the action it provides for gastric secretions and nutrients transport. Therefore it increases the bio-availability of many important nutrients such as coenzyme Q10, beta-carotene and curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, which provides an antioxidant, anti-tumor, antibacterial and antiviral action.
Piperina: where to find it and how to use it
Piperine, as we already said, is a component of black pepper, so you just have to add a pinch to your dishes to take advantage of its healthy characteristics: no more than 5mg per day. Otherwise you can find it in herbalist’s shops in the form of food supplements, but it is also contained in some spice mixtures to make tea or herbal tea. These teas and infusions provide a thermogenic action, and also help to purify the organism. On the market there are also creams based on piperine that are useful in case of joint or muscle pains, to deflate contusions, but also for the treatment of vitiligo.
In which cases is it advisable to take in piperine as a food supplement?
Food supplements based on piperine can be recommended by the doctor in case of absorption shortages, reduced intake of essential nutrients through diet or to keep under control the weight, especially in cases where there is a need to stimulate the metabolism.
Side effects of piperine
Piperine, taken through the consumption of pepper, has no side effects, except in case of intolerance: in the kitchen, it is in fact used in small quantities. As for food supplements based on piperine, they should not be taken for more than a month, and then suspended for a period equal to the duration of the intake. Given the high concentration of piperine in food supplements, it is not recommended for use in cases of gastritis, ulcer, hemorrhoids, hypertension and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Furthermore, food supplements based on piperine should not be consumed during pregnancy and lactation and it is advisable not to administer food supplements based on this substance to children. In any case, before taking it, it is necessary to consult a doctor.