Confusion Over Black Pepper Extract
In a recent newsletter, we spoke about the possible downsides to the use of concentrated black pepper extracts, namely BioPerineŽ, the most widely-used, trademarked product. Since this newsletter has been published we have had some confusion expressed about this subject and thus we would like to clarify matters. Essentially, the previous newsletter was referencing specifically the BioPerineŽ ingredient. The active ingredient in this extract is the alkaloid piperine, naturally occurring in black pepper. Here it is concentrated to 95%, which is exceedingly strong (concentrated), and this is where problems may arise.
It's a Matter of Degree
Piperine in an isolated form is available in other forms than the trademarked and concentrated BioPerineŽ. Lesser concentrations than the 95% piperine are used by many supplement manufacturers, and as those ingredients are not so strong, there is not the caution involved that the BioPerineŽ has. To put it in perspective, the amount of piperine in black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) varies from 2% to 7.4% and possibly as high as 9%.
To review, an incredibly concentrated 95% piperine will decrease intestinal impermeabilty and may also potentiate the action of pharmaceutical drugs. This means that the drugs will remain in the body longer, taking much more time to be metabolized and broken down by the liver.
Another issue which was not mentioned previously is its effects on reproduction in males and females. Highly concentrated piperine lowers sperm production and decreases testosterone in males, and may interfere in egg implantation in females. Again, this would occur only in relatively long-term use of a highly concentrated piperine. Therefore, where fertility is an issue, caution may be advised before use.
Black pepper extracts in a lower concentration will increase bioavailabily of substances without the deleterious effects of BioPerineŽ. As mentioned, there are turmeric products available using black pepper (or ginger) as a synergist ingredient. On Evergreen's shelves, both Gaia Herbs and MyKind Herbals use a black pepper extract at a much lower concentration. There is a product for everyone, and we hope that with this knowledge customers may find the best option for them.
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The information provided here is for educational purposes only. None of the research or evidence presented here is intended as a substitute for consulting an appropriate healthcare professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you believe that you may have a disease condition, please consult your healthcare practitioner before using this or any other dietary supplement.
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