[Surprise] Can I use White and not Black Pepper for Turmeric Absorption

Yes, you can use white pepper instead of black pepper to enhance turmeric absorption. White pepper contains the alkaloid, piperine, just like black pepper, and thus improves the bioavailability of turmeric. However, there is limited evidence regarding the use of white pepper as an absorption enhancer, as most studies have been conducted using black pepper and turmeric.

Thus, if you have black pepper, better to give it first preference in terms of using it with turmeric.

Read: Health Benefits of Black Pepper and Turmeric 

White Pepper and Turmeric: Benefits

Can I Take White Pepper Instead of Black Pepper for Turmeric Absorption


Piperine found in white pepper can have several health benefits and therapeutic uses in combination with turmeric.

Let us study these facts in detail.

1. White pepper contains piperine

The main reason for using black pepper along with turmeric is to increase the absorption of curcumin, an active ingredient found in turmeric.

This is because black pepper contains piperine, which is a potent bioenhancer and increases the availability of turmeric and its constituents. [1] [2] [3]

White pepper also contains piperine. Both black pepper and white pepper are obtained from the fruit of the plant Piper nigrum.

Black pepper is obtained when the almost ripe pepper fruit is dried in the sun, giving it its black color. However, white pepper is obtained by drying the ripened fruit after removing the outer coating and hence, is white in color.

The piperine content in peppers can range from 2%to 7.4%. [4]

Black pepper can have 4.6-9.7% of piperine while white pepper can have piperine content ranging from 4.8% to 10%. [5] [6]

As the pepper fruit ripens, the content of piperine in it increases. Thus, white pepper, obtained from ripened fruit has slightly higher piperine content than black pepper and is comparatively spicier.

In spite of its high piperine content, the role of white pepper as a bioenhancer of turmeric cannot be confirmed due to limited evidence.

One study mentions the use of piperine from white pepper to enhance the availability of curcumin. The combination was successful in reducing inflammation in adipose tissues caused by a high-fat diet. [7]

This is the only study reporting the use of white pepper as a bioenhancer, and more research is required to ascertain this effect.

However, another study states that white pepper and piperine have different effects on the absorption of drugs and white pepper decreases oral absorption. [8]

Due to its adequate piperine content, white pepper may affect drug metabolism and absorption, but the insufficient evidence does not give us a conclusive answer.

2. Several health benefits are attributed to Piperine

Most of the health benefits of black pepper are attributed to the presence of piperine. It is proven to improve curcumin’s bioavailability by 2000%. [9]

Given, white pepper has piperine (and of the same percentage) these benefits should extend to white pepper too.

Combination of piperine and curcumin (from turmeric), can help in the treatment of metabolic syndrome [10] [11], obesity [12] [13], hypertension [14], neuropathic pain [15], gallstones [16], cancer [17] [18], ulcerative colitis [19], muscle damage [20], toxicity [21] [22] and DNA damage [23].

It can also improve immunity [24] and lower cholesterol levels [25].

Moreover, it has significant benefits in the prevention of neurological conditions by protecting from neurotoxicity [26], depression [27], cognitive impairment, memory loss, and ageing. [28] [29] [30]

To know more about these advantages, refer to the above-listed benefits. Piperine in black pepper is proven to increase to curcumin’s absorption. Based on the evidence available to date, it is best to use black pepper for optimizing turmeric’s absorption.

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There has always has been confusion whether white pepper will help in absorption of turmeric or not. If we go by logic, yes it would as it has almost the same % of piperine as black pepper. The only small point is that most studies about the ability of piperine to enhance turmeric’s absorption have been conducted on black pepper.

Have you taken white pepper along with turmeric? What is your observation? Do share your feedback and queries by commenting below!  Stay Healthy!

5 thoughts on “[Surprise] Can I use White and not Black Pepper for Turmeric Absorption”

  1. Just wondering if instead of taking black or white pepper with the Turmeric would cayenne pepper work? i ask this because black and white pepper are irritants to the digestive tract whereas cayenne pepper is not.

  2. Piperine increases the bioavailability/absorption of the curcumin in turmeric.
    White pepper (from mature fruits) has a higher concentration of piperine than black pepper.
    Black pepper is the better choice for pairing with turmeric for the bioabsorption of turmeric.

  3. I would like to know which pepper is the best for piperine levels? I know black pepper doesn’t digest well. So I believe White pepper is a better option, however what about Red Pepper ? Many different ones, so please educate me as to the best for absorption with recipe. Your articles and thoughts are appreciated and welcomed. Thanks and Peace

  4. This makes a surprising amount of sense. The main reason black pepper helps with turmeric absorption is the piperine – and different varieties of the same plant do tend to have similar compounds.

    But yes, you’re right that there has been more research conducted on black pepper. That aspect does make black pepper the ideal choice.


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