Last updated: October 22, 2018
At nearly every restaurant across the west, ubiquitous salt and black pepper shakers sit ready to enhance any type of food.
Piperine is a black pepper extract and is commonly sold in a branded version called BioPerine. Piperine does little by itself, but is specifically well-known and used because it inhibits specific enzymes that detoxify the body and slow the glucuronidation process . This translates to increased absorption of certain nutrients such as curcumin where it is most commonly used .
Aside increasing absorption of certain compounds, black pepper has a promising safety profile, which makes it ideal for human consumption . That being said, piperine will interact with enzymes that detoxify other free radicals and toxins.
Also Known As
Black Pepper, Piper Nigrum, Piperaceae, Bioperine (as a branded version of black pepper extract)
Editors’ Thoughts on Piperine
This seems relatively safe given it is a major constituent of black pepper and people have been consuming it for ages. My only concern would be using higher doses of piperine every single day. First off, to get a single dosage of piperine via black pepper, one might find it challenging. Modern supplementation makes it easier to take more (and more of a good thing isn’t always a bad thing).
Piperine used with curcumin to boost immune strength during certain periods of illness or a couple of times per week sounds reasonable. Doing it daily might create some long-term enzymatic actions that aren’t always beneficial.
If you are going to take curcumin or think you need to, piperine is a must.
Benefits of Piperine
The biggest benefit of piperine (and reason it became popular) is to facilitate the absorption of curcumin, which is a specific element of turmeric. One study in the 1998 journal Planta Medica, showed that bioavailability increased 2000% when combining piperine with curcumin . That study even concluded all the benefits of piperine and curcumin “…with no adverse effects.” suggesting it is relatively free from side effects in their analysis.
Aside from increasing the bioavailability of certain drugs, there are a smattering of other benefits as well. Namely, piperine is involved with neurotransmitters considered to be antidepressant including serotonin and dopamine . Another 2008 study in Food and Chemical Toxicology suggested there were cognitive enhancement effects, which increased attention and reasoning skills (despite not understanding why) .
Increasing the bioavailability of certain drugs is a major benefit of piperine, but it is not the only interaction. The main mechanism that makes piperine beneficial is blocking enzymatic and blocking processes of the liver . This leads us to…
Side Effects of Piperine
The side effects of piperine are inextricably linked to the benefits. The same mechanism that aids in the absorption of curcumin can cause elevated levels of other drugs that interact with the same enzymes. The liver’s inability to regulate certain compounds is helpful in some cases while not helpful in others.
While most of the side effects of piperine are related to the other variables (i.e: drugs) in your system, it is still helpful to use caution when supplementing with this specific compound.
The piperine dosage you consume will depend heavily on the extract you purchase. One popular extract is called BioPerine, which is a patented method standardized for 95% piperine. This is the extract most people use (including the Qualia smart drug).
On the BioPerine website, they even make claims that their product can increase the absorption of CoQ10 by 31.8%, vitamin C by 52.3%, and beta-carotene by 61.2%, but whether these are scientifically verified or not is unknown.
A dosage of around 10 mg should suffice to increase the absorption of curcumin and many other compounds. Some evidence suggests that the true dosage is 20 mg of bioactive piperine. We recommend you start with 10 – 20 mg.
Piperine Nootropic Stacks
For many nootropics there are stacks and combinations of ingredients that provide synergistic benefits, but with the case of piperine one must proceed with caution. Many times piperine increases the potency of certain drugs because it blocks the metabolism of these drugs over time. An example from the community is with the modafinil class (including adrafinil and armodafinil), which is more intense using piperine.
The same can be said for many drugs, which is one reason why Qualia (which has piperine) is not something we recommend daily. Any use of piperine daily is going to alter the metabolism of some things in a positive way and other things in a negative way.
Even natural nootropics like bacopa, ashwagandha, and rhodiola are not necessarily “safe” because piperine is effective on a broad range of nootropic compounds. Proceed with caution no matter what nootropic you are trying to combine with it.
How and Where to Buy Piperine (BioPerine)
Piperine is an extract from black pepper and is thus found in many local food and grocery stores. You can buy piperine from any of these locations, but just make sure any purchase has the percentage extract so that you are aware what you are getting.
It may be a good idea to use a standardized extract of Bioperine in order to buy piperine in the right dosage (and to make sure you have a safe extract). There are plenty of vendors that sell the specific Bioperine extract for sale and we have selected a recommended vendor for you here.
Selected Community Experiences
“The CYP3A4-inhibition is usually irreversible, meaning that it's “knocked-out” until new CYP3A4 is produced; 3-12 hours. Also depends very much on potency of the inhibition; quercetin (yerba maté, citrus) having a weak inhibitory effect, piperine a much more potent one.” 
“Piperine alongside Modafinil seems to greatly potentiate Modafinil's effects.” 
- References (Click to Expand)