Black pepper, just like salt, is one of the most commonly used spices. Opposite to "the white death", black pepper has many interesting properties which make it valuable addition to the diet. The advantages of this spice are so significant, that, in a form of extract, it is a compound of many diet supplements. What is worth knowing about pepper?
Few words of introduction
The tradition of using pepper as a culinary additive is over four thousands years old. It had such a big value, that it was treated as a kind of currency during different transactions, as an equivalent of money. Of course, nowadays nobody does that anymore, however, black pepper has many various uses. Apart from being a valuable additive to different types of dishes giving them distinctness and piquancy, it is also used as a part of diet supplements. Additionally, a research has been done on the influence of the substances found in pepper on the following aspects:
- bio availability of medicines and other active substances,
- production of inflammable factors,
- skin pigmentation,
- many others.
Piperine, the extract from black pepper
I think everybody, who is interested in supplements, has noticed that the integral part of many products is piperine. It can be mainly found in so-called fat burners with thermogenic activity, but not only there. Piperine is also present in many vitamin supplements, as well as in vitamin-mineral, aminoacid, pre-workout products, and others. This additive is there to make other compounds from supplements, such as B group vitamins or curcumin, more bio available. However, that's not all.
Piperin itself, apart from the influence on bio availability of many substances, also shows antioxidant properties, thanks to which it helps prevent the body from excess activity of free radicals. Its thermogenic potential is also worth mentioning. The scientific research proved that this alcaloid increases the production of heat and increases the process of burning amino acids in the energetical processes. The anti depressive properties of piperine, which is connected with its positive influence on the beta-endorphins releasing and serotonin production, are very intriguing, too.
Enough is enough
Pepper, and piperine found in it, have advantages, but they also have disadvantages, which can be noticed with too high intake of this spice. Most of all, it should be remembered, that pepper includes substances which irritate the mucous of the digestive tract. Excess intake of this compound will be connected with the feeling of discomfort, and in some cases, it may lead to increased intestinal permeability. Additionally, a compound called safrole, which is a carcinogene, is found in pepper. High exposure to the activity of this substance may be potentially dangerous.
Pepper seems to be a valuable addition to our diet, and piperine found in it is a good completion of the ingredients of many supplements. The increased absorption of other bio-active substances, as well as thermogenic properties, are the basic advantages of pepper. However, it should be remembered that it's good to stay moderate, just like with other things - because excess amount of this compound is harmful.