How Much Black Pepper to Take With Turmeric for Good Absorption?

Turmeric is an awesome herb considering there are 4000+ studies reported in the Pubmed database.

Is it all about curcumin, the most actively researched therapeutic component of turmeric? Well, turmeric as a herb has more to it than curcumin

But in studies assessing the effect of curcumin supplements, it has been found that curcumin is not well absorbed and has low bioavailability. Black pepper contains active components that enhance curcumin’s absorption.

Ever wondered how much black pepper you should take with turmeric? Let’s find out.

How much black pepper to take with turmeric for absorption?

The answer is : ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper can be taken with 1 tsp turmeric powder. There is no predefined value and this an approximation. Supplements use a 100: 1 ratio of turmeric extract (curcumin) and black pepper extract (piperine) but since the active ingredient content differs in the spice varieties, this ratio cannot be followed for whole spices.

Let’s understand how black pepper helps and why this approximation.

How Much Black Pepper to Take With Turmeric for Good Absorption

1. Piperine in black pepper increases curcumin’s absorption

Curcumin has limited solubility and absorption in the body. (Read How to improve turmeric’s bioavailability?)

Ayurveda, the Traditional Indian Medicinal System, has used black pepper since centuries as a bioenhancer (to increase absorption of drugs). Science has identified piperine as the active constituent of black pepper that contributes to this effect.

Research suggests that piperine may increase curcumin’s bioavailability by 2000%.

2. Proprietary formulation ratio of turmeric supplements is not applicable to whole herbs

Our Golden Paste recipe calls for 1.5 tsp black pepper powder for ½ cup turmeric. Proprietary supplements utilize a ratio of 100:1 for curcumin to piperine.

It is difficult to extrapolate this to turmeric and black pepper because based on the species the curcumin and piperine content differs. The average content of curcumin ranges from 4-7% of the whole turmeric while piperine ranges from 2-7% (even as high as 9%) in whole black pepper.

If you were to do the math (I do not encourage you to do it) the amount of black pepper (for 1 tsp turmeric) to be used to match the 100:1 ratio would be very less.

We cannot compare the ratio of standardized extracts of bioactive ingredients to whole herbs. Therefore ¼ tsp of freshly ground black pepper with one tsp turmeric powder should suffice.

Why freshly ground black pepper? Piperine, present in black pepper and necessary for absorption of curcumin, is lost if stored for long periods. If you observe store-bought black pepper powder loses its pungency over the time.

Therefore freshly grinding black pepper helps retain its volatile oils, piperine, and its pungency. But if that is not an option for you, then you can use store-bought black pepper to make Golden Paste but do store it in airtight container.

There is no defined amount but to keep things simple we recommend ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper to one tsp turmeric powder.

How to take turmeric and black pepper for daily health benefits?

Including turmeric in the diet is the best way to take the herb. Please check our list of recommended organic turmeric brands. The Golden paste is an effective way to take turmeric as it contains healthy fats and black pepper to enhance absorption. You can Golden Paste from fresh turmeric roots as well.

Black pepper has its own set of health benefits (Read Health benefits of Black Pepper) and adds to turmeric’s absorption and therapeutic activity.

Start with small doses such as 1/4-1/2 tsp and if you see no side effects then increase the dose gradually to 1 tsp 2-3 times a day over a few weeks.

It is best taken with food to avoid acid reflux. Avoid taking it at the same time when you take meds.

1 cup Turmeric Milk or Turmeric Tea daily can help with pain relief in arthritis.

If opting for supplements, please consult a health practitioner prior. Read 8 Popular Turmeric Supplements Available In Market Today

A few precautions to be noted when taking turmeric:

  • Opt for organic turmeric powder.
  • Avoid taking turmeric supplements if experiencing bleeding disorders or taking antiplatelet medications. (Read Curcumin: Side effects & Precautions)
  • Discontinue turmeric supplements two weeks before surgery.
  • Limit or avoid turmeric powder if you have kidney stones or gout. Opt for supplements if needed. (Read Side Effects of Turmeric)
  • Limit turmeric intake in case of gallbladder stones.
  • Avoid taking turmeric on an empty stomach. (Read Precautions with Turmeric Use)
  • Start with small doses of turmeric and increase gradually to minimise gastric side effects.
  • Avoid turmeric supplements in pregnancy and lactation.

Conclusion

There is no exact science or ratio as to how much black pepper you should take with turmeric. ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper with one tsp turmeric powder can provide health benefits and aid in the absorption of curcumin.

Golden Paste is a great way to take turmeric daily. Let us know how you take turmeric and black pepper daily in the comments section below.

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13 Comments

  1. PLEASE EXPLAIN THE PROBLEM WHEN TAKING SYSTEMIC ENZYMES AND TURMERIC WITH BLACK PEPPER. ENZYMES ARE NOT DRUGS AND ARE 100% NATURAL SO HOW DO THESE GET INTERFERED WITH BY TURMERIC AND BLACK PEPPER? AND WHY IS THIS INTRACTION NOT REPORTED SOONER?

    1. Hi. We are not really sure which particular enzyme you are referring to but if it is serratiopeptidase or serrapeptase then yes there are some proprietary blends that combines these two as natural anti-inflammatory agents. We have not come across any study that examines the interaction between these two but the concern presented by some researchers is that taking natural agents like turmeric, garlic, fish oil with serratiopeptidase may increase risk of bleeding or bruising. Again, there are no concrete studies proving this.

      Dietary turmeric should not pose any risk. If taking large doses of turmeric powder or Golden Paste or turmeric supplements, keep a 3-4 hour gap between taking the two. Please do confirm with a health practitioner as well.

  2. I squirt liquid turmeric onto a saucer and sprinkle black pepper into it and mix the two with the stopper. Any residue I clean up with my finger so nothing is left on the saucer. When my supply of liquid turmeric is over I am going to make the paste and see what it is like. I have no cartilage left in my knee and a fractured shoulder. So I need pain supplements as refuse to be operated due to others having been so unsuccessful.

  3. Useful information – thanks.

    I’ve noticed many sites talk about black pepper for absorption but don’t give specific amounts. It’s easy to see why, the research isn’t entirely there. But, the estimate you give is a great place to start.

  4. I am not a official on turmeric. One thing I have read many times is that the amount of pepper in proportion to the turmeric is much smaller. I have often read 1/4 C. of turmeric and 1tsp. black pepper is really all that’s needed. -of course both should be organic.

    1. Hi. It is difficult to comment on how much black pepper you would need to add to 1 kg turmeric. For daily intake we recommend 1/4 tsp black pepper powder for 1 tsp of turmeric.

  5. one problem is ‘how do you know that you’re buying organic turmeric’ — there’s really no validation that a consumer can do, especially here in the West. And what is the difference in organic vs non-organic? Why would something as basic as Turmeric need the ‘organic’ label. It’s like saying that whole cumin seeds are organic? it’s a non-statement, contributing nothing to its real value, except to demand a higher price

  6. I am taking tincture of Turmeric so put black pepper in a little saucer and then add my liquid Turmeric by sucking it up through the dropper. My Turmeric comes from GLOBAL HEALING CENTRE AND IS TURMERIC SPAGYREX EXTRACT.

  7. Hello
    I’m confused about the quantities of black pepper to turmeric powder as the ratio here is 1:4 but is much less pepper to turmeric in your golden paste recipe. I would be really grateful if you could clarify for me. Also, which capsules available in the UK have the best combination of ingredients to replicate the golden paste quantities? Golden paste isn’t convenient when travelling and I often seem to find turmeric stains on my clothes!
    Many thanks
    Isabelle

    1. Hi. The turmeric -black pepper ratio can be really confusing. Supplements use a ratio of 100:1 of curcumin and piperine. And its difficult to replicate that in real life.
      The ratio mentioned above (1tsp turmeric and 1/4 tsp black pepper powder) is for those who take turmeric powder directly (like in water or juice or just plain).

      Obviously this differs in case of Golden Paste but that does not mean that the paste is ineffective. Cooking turmeric in GP and adding oil compensates for the difference in black pepper proportion. Besides you are free to add more black pepper but whats mentioned in the recipe is sufficient. The recipe is a convenient yet effective way of taking turmeric at home and any other changes like adding ginger and cinnamon are permissible.

      About supplements while travelling, for daily health benefits and also those that are similar to Golden Paste (minus the oil), please check this:
      https://www.turmericforhealth.com/curcumin-benefits-and-dosage/turmeric-curcumin-bioperine-supplements