Updated: Jan 26, 2020
Often asked about the benefits of our Turmeric and Black Pepper Vegan Capsules, we thought it would be a good idea to put this post together to explain the benefits of both Turmeric and Black Pepper combined
What is Turmeric?
The turmeric plant is a flowering plant, Curcuma longa of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root of the turmeric plant. You probably know turmeric as the main spice in curry. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavour or colour curry powders, mustards, butter, and cheeses. The root is also widely used to make many medicines. Turmeric root is dried in the sun for a couple of days until it loses all moisture content, the dried root is ground to a powder. Turmeric root is very tough and hard, and it’s not a good idea to use a mixer at home.
What is Black Pepper?
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, known as a peppercorn, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. When fresh and fully mature before drying, it is about 5 mm in diameter and dark red and contains a single seed. I visited one of the world’s most famous pepper farms in Kampot, Cambodia. Sothy’s Pepper Farm and fortunate to have a one to one tour of the whole farm and also shown the farms processing techniques.
I was astounded to find that no machinery was used. It was easy to see why whole black pepper fetches the price it does, given such time-consuming processes. Chemicals in the growing process are also absent, and instead, the farm relies on the location, soil condition and weather. Sothy’s do not use chemical fertilisers or chemical insecticides to control insects which damage to the pepper plants. Instead, use specific local plants to make a natural insecticide, and this is true of many pepper farms.
Often called the king of spices, black pepper is known to offer a number of health benefits. The use of black pepper in the diet helps promote weight loss, improve digestion, relieve colds and coughs, boost metabolism, and treat skin problems. Due to its antibacterial properties, pepper is used to preserve food and is also a very good anti-inflammatory agent, but let’s look at why Turmeric and Black Pepper capsules are so popular.
Why Black Pepper with Turmeric?
Turmeric is increasing in popularity for its health benefits, said to have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 5,000 years. Black pepper has an abundant amount of health benefits. It’s a great source of manganese, which helps the body form connective tissues, bones and sex hormones, and more.
There is also another beneficial function of black pepper when combined with turmeric. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which gives turmeric its vibrant colour and is helpful for its anti-inflammatory properties. When you ingest turmeric with black pepper, you are increasing the amount of the curcumin you can absorb and that your body can use.
Curcumin has been associated with numerous health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant, protecting healthy cells from free radicals which can cause damage. The reason black pepper helps a great deal is due to piperine. A compound found in black pepper which slows our liver from metabolising the curcumin too quickly and removing it through urine. By delaying this process, our body can utilise more of the curcumin and its beneficial effects.
Curcumin is quickly metabolised and removed from the body by the liver and the intestinal wall. Due to its poor bioavailability. Piperine is found in black pepper and is what gives black pepper its taste. It’s shown to increase the bioavailability of nutrients in both food and supplements. Including selenium, the B vitamins, and beta-carotene.
So that’s pretty much it on why black pepper is needed, but there are so many benefits to taking black pepper and we’ll do a post on those other benefits in time. I recently visited a black pepper farm in Kampot in Cambodia, said to be one of the best black pepper growing regions in the world, and I was surprised at just how perfect the conditions needed to be, as I will describe in that future note.
What about White Pepper?
Although White and Black Pepper have similar piperine content. Both white and black peppercorns are grown on the same pepper plant Piper Nigrum and a reason why many refer to white pepper as white, black pepper.
White pepper is nearly ripe pepper. In contrast, black pepper is about as mature as it gets, followed by an extensive natural drying process. Both are highly beneficial to health, having a few slight differences but all good. White pepper has a milder taste, while black pepper has a more pungent flavour.
A key reason for using black pepper is that it lasts longer. White pepper can quickly become stale compared with black pepper, which is why black pepper is prefered in turmeric supplements.
The importance of consuming good fats while taking Turmeric and Black Pepper
Curcumin is fat-soluble, so consuming fat at around the same time as consuming turmeric and black pepper will increase curcumin absorption considerably.
Taking capsules while consuming healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, nut oil, almond milk, in cooking or meals will again increase absorption.
It’s all about getting curcumin into the system. Consuming turmeric and black pepper with healthy fats is traditionally done in Indian cuisine, and they understood the benefits very early on.
Turmeric and black pepper should be taken in capsule form and in the recommended daily dosages. Ideally at around the same time as consuming food or drink containing a little of what is considered a good fat is the best way to maximise results.
Proven Health Benefits of taking Turmeric
Turmeric contains bioactive compounds with powerful medicinal properties.
The bioactive compounds in turmeric are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a powerful antioxidant. The best curcumin supplements contain black pepper to increase the effectiveness substantially.Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory compound.
Inflammation is incredibly important, and it helps your body fight foreign invaders and also has a role in repairing the damage. Without inflammation, pathogens like bacteria could easily take over your body and kill you. Although acute, short-term inflammation is beneficial, it can become a significant problem when it becomes chronic and inappropriately attacks your body's tissues.
Scientists now believe that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic, Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer's and various degenerative conditions.Therefore, anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is of potential importance in preventing and even treating these diseases.
Curcumin is strongly anti-inflammatory. In fact, it’s so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory medications, without the side effects.
Turmeric dramatically increases the antioxidant capacity of the body
Oxidative damage is one of the mechanisms behind ageing and many diseases. It involves free radicals, highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons. Free radicals tend to react with important organic substances, such as fatty acids, proteins or DNA.
The main reason antioxidants are so beneficial is that they protect your body from free radicals. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that can neutralise free radicals due to its chemical structure. Also, curcumin boosts the activity of your body's antioxidant enzymes. In that way, curcumin delivers a one-two punch against free radicals. It blocks them directly.
Curcumin boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor, linked to improved brain function and a lower risk of brain diseases
It was once believed that neurons weren't able to divide and multiply after early childhood. However, it’s now known that this does happen.
Neurons are capable of forming new connections, but in some regions of the brain, they can also multiply and increase in number. It may also improve memory and make and make you smarter according to some, although controlled studies in people are needed to confirm that.
Curcumin should lower your risk of heart disease
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world, and researchers have studied it for many decades and learned a lot about why it happens. Unsurprisingly, heart disease is incredibly complicated, and various things contribute to it.
Curcumin may help reverse many steps in the heart disease process. Perhaps the main benefit of curcumin when it comes to heart disease is improving the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of your blood vessels.
It’s well known that endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease and involves an inability of your endothelium to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and various other factors.Several studies suggest that curcumin leads to improvements in endothelial function. One study found that it’s as effective as exercise while another shows that it works as well as the drug Atorvastatin.
In addition, curcumin reduces inflammation and oxidation (as discussed above), which play a role in heart disease as well.One study randomly assigned 121 people, who were undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery, either a placebo or 4 grams of curcumin per day, a few days before and after the surgery. The curcumin group had a 65% decreased risk of experiencing a heart attack in the hospital.
Turmeric can “help prevent (and perhaps even treat) cancer”
Now that’s a bit of a bold statement on the healthline.com website, as cancer is a terrible disease, characterised by uncontrolled cell growth. Although advances have been made in treating certain cancers, some cancers have shown to be pretty much unstoppable, regardless of the treatment or supplements at this time.
There are many different forms of cancer, which still have several things in common. Some of them appear to be affected by curcumin supplements. Curcumin is studied as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment affects cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level.
Studies have shown that it can contribute to the death of specific cancerous cells and reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumours) and metastasis (spread of cancer). Multiple studies indicate that curcumin can reduce the growth of cancerous cells in the laboratory and inhibit the growth of tumours in test animals. Whether high-dose curcumin (preferably with an absorption enhancer like piperine) can help treat cancer in humans has yet to be adequately studied.
Curcumin may be useful in preventing and treating alzheimer's disease
There are many benefit claims surrounding turmeric. Alzheimer's disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia. Unfortunately, no proper treatment is available for Alzheimer's yet. Therefore, preventing it from occurring in the first place is of utmost importance.
There may be good news on the horizon because curcumin might cross the blood-brain barrier. It’s known that inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer's disease, and curcumin has beneficial effects on both. A key feature of Alzheimer's disease is a build-up of protein tangles called amyloid plaques.
Studies show that curcumin can help clear these plaques. Whether curcumin can really slow down or even reverse the progression of Alzheimer's disease in people is currently unknown and needs to be adequately studied.
Arthritis patients respond very well to curcumin supplements
Arthritis is a common problem in Western countries. There are several different types, most of which involve inflammation in the joints. Given that curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory compound, it makes sense that it may help with arthritis.
Several studies show this to be true. In a study in people with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was even more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug. Many other studies have looked at the effects of curcumin on arthritis and noted improvements in various symptoms.
Studies show that curcumin has incredible benefits against depression
Curcumin has shown some promise in treating depression. In a controlled trial, 60 people with depression and randomised into three groups. One group took Prozac, another group one gram of curcumin and the third group both Prozac and curcumin. After 6 weeks, curcumin had led to improvements that were similar to Prozac.
The group that took both Prozac and curcumin fared best. According to this small study, curcumin is as effective as an antidepressant. Depression is linked to lower levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). A shrinking hippocampus, a brain area with a role in learning and memory. Curcumin boosts BDNF levels, potentially reversing some of these changes.
There is also some evidence that curcumin can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
Curcumin may help delay aging and fight age-related chronic diseases
If curcumin can help prevent heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's, it would have obvious benefits. For this reason, curcumin has become very popular as an anti-ageing supplement. But given that oxidation and inflammation are believed to play a role in ageing, curcumin may have effects that go way beyond just preventing disease.
Stephen PeelDirectorResult Nutrition ® www.resultnutrition.co.uk