The Lie of Black Pepper in Turmeric Nutraceuticals

We recently sat down with Dr. Carola Leuschner, to discuss why Avie® Nutraceuticals chose to go pepper-free, and why adding pepper does more harm than good.


Why do some turmeric supplements contain black pepper?

Some companies have added black pepper extract (bioperine) to their formula to increase absorption. The addition of black pepper causes an absorption rate to be increased by 2,000% and the metabolic breakdown of the curcuminoids can be reduced, both of which increase bioavailability. However, this addition to turmeric formulas can have adverse effects that we did not want in Avie® products.

What are some of the adverse effects of pepper?

Pepper containing products have adverse effects on the stomach and GI lining that are like the negative effects of aspirin. Pepper causes the destruction of gastric cells that manifests as bleeding in the mucus membranes of the GI tract. Typical side effects include loss of potassium, acid reflux, constipation and nausea.

Pepper can cause allergic reactions like sneezing, hives, rashes swelling of the tongue and mouth, and even profound respiratory reactions in cases of severe allergic reactions.

Adding pepper changes the absorption of toxins when it destroys the natural protective barrier of the stomach and gut lining. The effect of pepper on liver detoxifying enzymes and its absorption enhancing properties, can change the potency of prescription drugs like chemotherapeutics, cholesterol lowering drugs, and heart rate medications. To ensure against the possible side effects we decided to make our formula pepper-free.

So how can absorption and bioavailability be improved for turmeric formulations without adding pepper?

The solution to low absorption of curcumin/turmeric was to make a pepper-free, and water-soluble formulation. Avie® Nutraceuticals offers exactly that in an encapsulated form.

How is that achieved?

We found the key to be ultramicronization, which is a process that grinds the turmeric root into very fine particles so that they can be dissolved in water.

What does that mean for its potency?

We have tested the biological effects of Avie’s Ultramicronized Turmeric/Curcumin™ in the lab and compared the effects with pepper containing water-insoluble formulas. The results were shocking. Avie’s Ultramicronized Turmeric/Curcumin™ had 35,200% more antioxidants and 14,000% more radical scavenging effects, showing 12,600% greater Cox2 inhibition (which is the measure of inflammation).

Why do you prefer Avie’s pepper-free formula?

Avie® products are free of pepper and absorption boosting additives, and each formula only contains the natural composition of the turmeric root for enhanced activity.

I have tried turmeric containing pepper, as well as a formula containing 95% of curcuminoids and the results were very disappointing- I had to take 16 capsules twice daily to find relief!

The water-soluble formula from Avie’s Ultramicronized Turmeric/Curcumin™ works for me and helps me to maintain my mobility and strength during tennis matches, running, and skiing.