Turmeric is a spice and herb native to Asia. Most of its therapeutic value is attributed to its bioactive ingredient, curcumin.
Curcumin is not soluble in water and hence is poorly absorbed in the body. This reduces its therapeutic effect. Piperine, the bioactive ingredient of black pepper, is known for increasing absorption of drugs and boosting their concentration in blood.
Piperine boosts the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%. Therefore supplements of turmeric are formulated to contain curcumin and piperine and even the Golden Paste recipe calls for black pepper.
Interestingly piperine does more than just boosting curcumin’s bioavailabilty. It adds to therapeutic effect of curcumin.
This study published in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, July 2014 shows that piperine adds to cholesterol lowering effect of curcumin.
What happened in this study?
An animal model of hyperlipidemia or elevated cholesterol and blood lipid levels was developed.
They were either administered curcumin alone or in combination with piperine.
Effects on cholesterol and blood lipid levels were observed.
What were the results?
In comparison to curcumin alone, curcumin combined with piperine brought about significant decrease in cholesterol and triglyceride level in blood and liver.
Increased excretion of cholesterol was observed.
The combination also increased the levels of good cholesterol. Curcumin and piperine also increased the activity and expression of genes that regulate cholesterol metabolism.
How did this occur?
Curcumin and piperine regulated the activity of genes involved in cholesterol metabolism. The combination also promoted bile acid formation which serves as a way of excretion of cholesterol.
What does this mean?
Piperine not only enhances curcumin’s bioavailability but also increases its therapeutic effect such as lowering cholesterol levels.
This combination is useful in treatment of hyperlipidemia and metabolic syndrome.
Read paper here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4061201/