Answer:

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 not taken with along with fats or oils, which is why it's best to take turmeric and curcumin with a meal containing fats or oils. 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.

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8 Comments

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paul697
May 3, 2015

I can't find any mention of Juvenon reviews? I was told you previously did a review of Juvenon? thanks.

ConsumerLab.com
May 29, 2015

Hi Paul - We have not reviewed this product, however, you may be interested in these CL Answers about related products for aging and cognition:

Do any supplements really help with brain function, like memory and cognition?
https://www.consumerlab.com/answers//supplements_for_memory/

What is Protandim and does it really work?
https://www.consumerlab.com/answers//Protandim/

Does Procera AVH really improve memory and mood?
https://www.consumerlab.com/answers//Procera_AVH/

tom616
March 18, 2015

But, please answer the salient question being asked. Can one add household black pepper to their turmeric spice and experience sufficient bioavailability due to the pepper addition ?

ConsumerLab.com
March 19, 2015

Hi Tom - If you are adding turmeric spice to your food, including some fat in the meal will increase absorption. Adding regular household black pepper could be helpful too, however, keep in mind that the black pepper extract added to supplements is much more highly concentrated and so would have more of an effect.

barbara338
December 31, 2014

why is it that you never review Gaia Herb products???

ConsumerLab.com
January 1, 2015

Hi Barbara - You can find a list of Gaia products we've tested here: https://www.consumerlab.com/Search/Gaia-Herbs-Review

Frank334
December 31, 2014

What is "black pepper extract"?? I see many things listed as "extract" but don't know
what that means or where I buy "extracts".

ConsumerLab.com
January 1, 2015

Hi Frank - Black pepper extract is made from the black pepper plant (piper nigrum) - the same plant from which we get common black pepper, found in many people's kitchen. Some turmeric/curcumin supplements contain this as an added ingredient - you'll see it listed on the label as black pepper extract, or as a brand name, e.g. BioPerine.

Among products we've tested, you'll see this ingredient is also noted in the last column of the Results Table in the Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements and Spices Review under "Bioavailability Enhancer." Black pepper extract is also sold as a separate supplement from brands like Swanson, Source Naturals and others.

More about black pepper extract can be found in the Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements Review: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/turmeric-curcumin-supplements-spice-review/turmeric/#bioavailability

Anthony263
November 9, 2014

why do you almost never review Puritan's Pride vitamins and supplements?

ConsumerLab.com
November 10, 2014

Hi Anthony - Actually, Puritan's Pride is frequently included among the brands in our reports. In fact, it's one of the most often covered brands. See the search results at https://www.consumerlab.com/Search/Puritans-Pride-Review.

Walter C261
November 5, 2014

Thank you for a very helpful analysis of both curcumin and transveritrol. I will be changing some of my supplements soon. Walter C Ward M.D.

John17679
March 26, 2019

Any information on the amount of fat needed for absorption? Type of fat? Thanks.

ConsumerLab.com
March 26, 2019

To aid absorption of curcumin (or other fat-soluble compound), it 's best to take it with a high-fat meal, i.e., one containing at least 15 grams of fat, so as to stimulate bile production needed to aid absorption. That' about 3 teaspoons of oil/fat. It doesn't matter what type of oil/fat, but, for other health reasons, it may be preferable that these not be saturated fats.

John17681
March 26, 2019

Thank you.

freddy1724
May 22, 2015

When are you going to do test on bromelain supplements ??

ConsumerLab.com
May 28, 2015

Hi Freddy - Please see our Review of Digestive Enzyme Supplements for our tests of products that contain bromelain: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews//digestive-enzymes/

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