A big trend that started to take hold in 2014 was the inclusion of black pepper extract in several different kinds of nutritional supplements, ranging from joint formulas to fat burners to muscle-building pre workout supplements.
Although some forms of pepper extracts are used to suppress appetite and burn fat faster, that is not at all the reason why black pepper extract is used.
It’s all about ingredient absorption in your system, and research shows that it may enable stimulants to last longer, allowing you to take less — yielding no crash and fewer side effects.
When you see black pepper extract on a supplement’s ingredient label, normally you’ll see something like “standardized to 98% piperine“. It’s this compound – piperine – that we’re most interested in.
Piperine is an alkaloid that’s responsible for the pungent smell of the black pepper spice. It’s a molecule that may inhibit certain enzymes in your system that would otherwise attack other molecules.
Put simply, piperine prevents the breakdown of other ingredients in the supplement, making them last longer.
Piperine works by downregulating, or inhibiting, phase II detox enzymes in the liver. It also slows the glucuronidation process, which assists in the breakdown of several types of drugs and liver bile acids.
However, the patent for piperine’s extraction and purification (filed in 1995) stated that its complete mechanism of action was not fully known at first. It was postulated that two different things were happening:
- It was affecting transport mechanisms – potentially facilitating the transmembrane transport of amino acids. This is done via the gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase enzyme.
- It was causing enhanced metabolism at a cellular level, which causes a chain reaction that ultimately prevents certain stimuli from being carried out.
It is the first bullet point that we are most interested in, which is how piperine alters the metabolism of certain drugs and compounds.
The curcumin study
The most impressive research study done to prove these effects on both animals and humans was with the anti-inflammatory spice pigment that comes from turmeric: curcumin.
When co-ingesting curcumin with piperine, bioavailability increased by 2000%! And it doesn’t even take much piperine to make this happen – which is why it’s one of the last ingredients in the Nitramine pre workout!
Not all compounds will work this effectively, as curcumin is extremely reliant on the transport mechanism above, but it goes to show that there are serious factors at play here.
Note that on its own, piperine doesn’t do too much of anything – it needs to be “paired” with other ingredients to exert its effects.
The theophylline study
A study performed in 1991 used piperine alongside theophylline, which has a structural similarity to caffeine and theobromine, two ingredients in Nitramine.
The researchers noted that it increased the half-life of the theophylline, which may have implications on our other stimulants – your stimulant feeling should last longer with it.
What’s also interesting here is that the dose does not need to be taken at the same time as its drug/supplement counterpart. Having the black pepper extract active in your system is enough to make it work. In the above study, it was actually given for seven days before any theophylline was administered!
Any potential side effects?
Within sole usage of products like Nitramine or joint formulas that contain curcumin, piperine is extremely safe in the doses provided. The effect will simply be a better, longer-lasting workout!
However, its the misuse of piperine that may cause a problem. The biggest issue with piperine is that it may alter the bioavailability of certain prescription drugs that we do not wish to mess with.
This is why you should never begin a supplementation program when on a prescription drug, and always get your doctor’s consent first.
It is never suggested to take piperine on its own, due to the reasons above (unexpected interactions) and the strength of raw piperine. Measurement is too difficult for the average person. However, the patent filed claimed that a suitable dose for oral administration was 0.0004-0.15mg per kilogram of body weight.
When using piperine, it enables the dose of co-ingested ingredients to be lowered. Again, this is something that must be done by a doctor – it’s not wise to work with this extract on your own.
Raw black pepper contains 5-9% piperine, but you should never consider using this as an alternative due to the differing nature of different poppycorns, and the potential interactions.
Stimulants leaving you unfocused and crashing too soon? Try Nitramine
Myokem Nitramine is one of the few pre workout supplements with piperine inside. The research on stimulant-like compounds is promising, and is potentially one reason why the product feels so powerful with just 150mg caffeine per scoop.
Nitramine is well-known for its focus-enhancing properties, and will get you in the zone each and every time you use it. You can grab a free sample or check the best deals below – but a word of warning – if you take a big whiff of it, the black pepper extract might seriously make you sneeze. Don’t let that discourage you, however – the dragon fruit taste is unbelievably clean.