Our Members Asked:
I recently read that turmeric is only effective if it is combined with black pepper. Is this true?
Black pepper is not necessary for turmeric to be effective, but it can be helpful. Black pepper contains a compound, piperine, which inhibits the metabolic breakdown of turmeric compounds in the gut and the liver. This allows higher levels of turmeric compounds to remain in the body (i.e., it increases its bioavailability), which may increase the effects of turmeric. Keep in mind that this can also affect the breakdown of other compounds, including certain drugs. You can get more details about this in the Turmeric (Curcumin) Supplements Review.
Be aware that the biggest problem with turmeric is making sure that its compounds are absorbed from the gut. You will absorb little if turmeric is taken without fats or oils. For this reason, it's best to take turmeric and curcumin with a meal containing fats or oils (typically 15 grams or more). Although supplements such as fish oil also provide fat, taking such supplements with curcumin would probably help only a little (if at all) since the amount of fat in a fish oil capsule is only about 1 gram. Black pepper does not help with absorption. Special formulations of turmeric and curcumin supplements have been developed to increase absorption and bioavailability of turmeric compounds. Details about these are also found Turmeric (Curcumin) Supplements Review, noted above.