This week's Wellness Wednesday is brought o you by BioStar Performance Whole Foods. New research published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry (April, 2012) highlights that one of the major components of black pepper (known as piperine) blocks the creation of fat cells. This is big news when 1/3 of Americans are obese, and nearly 1/2 of Americans are overweight. Black pepper has been used for centuries in traditional Eastern medicine to treat gastrointestinal distress, pain, inflammation, and to aid in weight management. Previous studies have shown that piperine reduces fat levels in the bloodstream. Other studies have demonstrated that black pepper increases metabolism. But this new study, conducted in Korea, is the first to highlight piperine’s ability to block the creation of fat cells.
Black Pepper is called The King of Spices; it provides potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese, iron, and magnesium. It also contains many of the B-complex nutrients including B-1, B-2, B-3, and B-6. Black pepper is a rich source of antioxidants including vitamin C, vitamin A, and flavonoid polyphenolics like lycopene and zea-xanthin.
Piperine enhances the bioavailability of other nutrients and medications. It stimulates amino acid transporters in the intestinal lining which helps to increase intracellular residency time. For example, when black pepper is added to curcumin (an important inflammation fighter found in the turmeric plant) it increases curcumin’s bioavailability by a factor of 20. That means that curcumin is 20 times more bioavailable with piperine than without piperine.
Piperine has also been found to increase beta-endorphins in the brain, and increases seratonin production.
Freshly ground whole peppercorns provide the greatest levels of piperine. It’s best to add after a food is cooked, so that the heat does not destroy many of the nutrients, particularly the antioxidants.
For weight loss, ½ to 1 teaspoon per meal is recommended, sprinkled over food.