Should Piperine be fed to small animals ?

Should Piperine be fed to small animals ?

This was Doug English?s response to an article suggesting that Golden paste shouldn?t be fed to small animals because of the piperine:

Article can be found -

Like many other authoritative-sounding articles, it is part truth and part misunderstanding. It is absolutely a myth that turmeric can't be absorbed without pepper. We say this over and over. Turmeric requires the presence of a fat or oil. The piperine in the pepper helps the turmeric stay in the bloodstream for a longer time without being metabolized and eliminated.

However--the article veers from truth to misperception when it says "Turmeric is not very water soluble, meaning that it moves rapidly to the liver before much of it can be absorbed by the gut into the bloodstream. However, even on its own, turmeric is absorbed to a certain degree and does show promising benefits and effects[3]."

Turmeric is indeed not very water-soluble. But it doesn't get to the liver unless it gets into the bloodstream. That's the only way it can get to the liver. It doesn't get into the bloodstream unless it's absorbed in a fat or oil. If it's absorbed in coconut oil, it goes directly to the liver through the portal vein (still the bloodstream). If it's absorbed into some other fat or oil, it eventually makes it into the bloodstream through the lymph system, and thence to the liver. So the statement that turmeric "moves rapidly to the liver before much of it can be absorbed by the gut" is just plain wrong, and an unfortunate misunderstanding of the physiology. On its own, with no fat present in the stomach contents or already in the gut, turmeric will not be absorbed. In many cases, however, there is some fat in the gut from the accompanying feed or meal. So even without added oil, there may some absorption of turmeric. In addition, humans do make a very small amount of short-chain fatty acids in their stomach. Undoubtedly that will help with turmeric absorption if no other fat is present. But it's not absorbed without at least that much.

Like so many others, this author conflates absorption with extended bioavailability. Without absorption, it doesn't matter whether pepper is present or not, because there will not be anything for the pepper to act upon. With good absorption, turmeric will be helpful, just not for as long a time.

The article also states: "Pepper has the same effect of blocking metabolism and breakdown of many components other than those found in turmeric including a number of medications and other active ingredients in food. In many of those cases, you wouldn?t want to prevent them being metabolised and to remain in the body for an extended period of time."

True, but only for a small set of medications. The piperine in pepper acts on the P-glycoprotein substrate. Any other food or medication which uses the same substrate will be slowed in its clearance from the body. But this is not all medications, only a relative few. And certainly one should ask about using turmeric if a horse (or dog or person) is taking routine prescription medications. That's a matter of common sense.

This article is clearly a response from Equi-Liquid Gold to questions about why their turmeric product doesn't contain pepper. They have a right to formulate their product however they want. But they also have an obligation to present the facts in an accurate way.

What you have to realize here is that they are not comparing curcumin with whole turmeric combined in a cooked paste with a healthy oil and with freshly ground black pepper. They're comparing one formulation of curcumin extract with the other formulations of curcumin extract. And of course, it's worded so as to make their product look good in comparison. For example, they say "BIOMOR? Curcumin is formulated with components of turmeric normally removed during the extraction process." Whether or not that is true, what they don't say is that if you have whole turmeric, you get components of turmeric that are removed during BIOMOR formulation too.

Some of the statements are the usual half-truths. For example, "Some formulators add piperine (Piper nigrum) to enhance absorption of curcumin in their products. (4) But the additive is a problem for many consumers because piperine should be taken cautiously (if at all) by anyone taking medications." First of all, in this context, piperine and Piper nigrum are not the same thing. Piperine is an extract (and usually a highly concentrated one) from whole black pepper (piper nigrum). So adding freshly ground black pepper to your turmeric is not the same thing as ingesting highly concentrated piperine by itself. In addition to that, piperine is not a problem with all medications, only those that are metabolized by one specific pathway (which happens to be the same one used by turmeric). If your medication is not metabolized by the liver and by that specific hepatic pathway, having black pepper (or piperine) in your turmeric will not affect it.

Bottom line is that they have good copywriters who are skilled in manipulating consumers into thinking their product must be the best.

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Doug English


Doug English yes I know that we have no definition of piperine effecting absorption specifically in dogs and this is the very reason that I began the TUG page - to trawl for anecdotal evidence. With 211,000 members actively using it there are no anecdotes of piperine causing any real problems, and pepper in itself as a whole food it is very good and not just a condiment for flavour. As is being discovered with most spices now