Does piperine increase bioavailablity?
A significant number of problems faced by people over
the age of sixty may be attributable to nutritional deficiencies. Many elderly
people have malabsorption problems, in which the nutrients in food are not properly
absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract due to the decrease of the production
of digestive enzymes. There are also many disorders that are associated with
an inability to absorb nutrients successfully such as IBS, Crohn's disease and
Ulcerative colitis. A lack of nutrients may lead to serious conditions which
may be life threatening.
So the question is 'What can naturally increase the
bioavailability of nutrients?' Piperine is a phytonutrient and is the active
ingredient of black pepper. It is lipid soluble therefore alters the structure
of the cell membranes, thereby increasing the permeability of the intestinal
cell membranes which leads to better absorption of nutrients. It is regarded
as a thermonutrient as it can stimulate thermogenesis. This means that it can
increase energy available for nutrient absorption by increasing the activity
of an enzyme which breaks down ATP.
Piperine can also increase blood flow to the gastrointestinal
tract and can also increase the levels of enzymes involved in transport of nutrients
into intestinal cells. A study was designed to investigate the absorption dynamics
of piperine in the intestine on oral absorption, using human intestinal cells
as a model. The results suggested that piperine is easily absorbed across the
intestinal barrier and it may increase the permeability of the intestinal cell
membrane, thus helping efficient transport across the intestinal wall.
Another study also demonstrated that piperine may have
the ability to increase the bioavailablity of certain nutrients. This study
used coenzyme Q10 as the nutrient and the results showed that piperine did increase
plasma levels of coenzyme Q10 and it is thought that this bioenhancing mechanism
is non-specific and possibly based on its description as a thermonutrient.
The bioenhancing effects of piperine have been demonstrated
in several other studies which show that piperine can improve the absorption
of many nutrients. These include: Vitamin C, Selenium, Beta-carotene, Vitamin
A, Vitamin B6, and Coenzyme Q10.
Indian J Exp Biol 1998 Jan;36(1):46-50 Mol Cell Biochem
1998 Dec; 189(1-2):113-8 Nahrung 2000 Feb; 44(1):42-6
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