Piperine is an alkaloid that gives black pepper (Piper nigrum) its pungency. It is slightly soluble in water and highly soluble in alcohol, chloroform and ether. The extract has a long history of use in some types of traditional medicine. Its primary commercial use is in modern herbal medicine.
The commercial production of black pepper extract generally consists of chemical extraction from black pepper seeds, which contains five to ten percent piperine. The seeds of the long pepper (Piper longum) contain one to two percent and may also be used in extract production. The seeds are dissolved with a solvent such as ethyl acetate and hexane. The solvent-free residue is then treated with a potassium hydroxide solution to remove the resin. The remaining residue is then rinsed in warm alcohol to yield black pepper extract crystals.
The Danish chemist Hans Christian Orsted first isolated the extract from black pepper in 1819. It was later discovered in other Piper species such as long pepper and West African pepper (Piper guineense.) Piperine was first synthesized in 1882 by mixing piperidine and piperoyl chloride.
The primary value of piperine in health supplements is its ability to enhance the bioavailability of some other vitamins and minerals. This mechanism is still being studied, but piperine is known to inhibit the enzymes P-glycoprotein and CYP3A4 in humans. These enzymes are involved in the metabolism and transport of various metabolites. Animal studies also show that piperine inhibits CYP 450 enzymes that metabolize many drugs. In particular, black pepper extract may increase the bioavailability of curcumin by a factor of 20.
- Piperine inhibits enzymes that affect absorption of other supplements and increase the availability of key nutrients. It may also be useful for additional purposes such as support for weight and stress management.
This best compliments curcumin turmeric extract