What Are Some Potential Side Effects of Piperine?


Quick Answer

Piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper, has been reported to cause death when accidentally inhaled in large quantities, says WebMD. It can also cause irritation of the eyes and may induce a burning sensation when taken orally. There are some concerns that taking large amounts of piperine during pregnancy may induce a miscarriage.

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Full Answer

When applied to the skin or taken orally in the amounts normally used by individuals who use piperine as a medication, it is thought to be safe for unpregnant adults, according to WebMD. However, it is unclear if it is safe for children to use piperine in medicinal amounts.

Some early studies in animals suggested that piperine may have some toxic properties, but additional studies have overturned those findings, according to a review article published in Critical Reviews of Food Science and Nutrition. Piperine is an alkaloid extracted from black pepper. It enhances digestion by stimulating the pancreas and intestine. It also possesses anti-oxidant properties, and enhances the bioavailability of many drugs and supplements by inhibiting their metabolism by the liver.

Black pepper is around 5 to 10 percent piperine, says Wikipedia. It is the compound in black pepper that gives the pepper its pungent bite. It activates receptors on nerves that sense pain, artificially inducing a sensation of heat and pain.

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