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Black pepper has been looked into for its potential anti-cancer properties, among other benefits.

Black Pepper’s Impressive Anti-Cancer Arsenal

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Black Pepper’s Impressive Anti-Cancer Arsenal (And More)

Piperine, a compound found in Piper nigrum (black pepper, to its friends), has many health benefits. It’s included as a minor ingredient in some other supplements, because it boosts bioavailability. In its form as a kitchen spice, it’s definitely a superfood.

What does it do?

First, three things that generally go together:

These things often go together for the simple reason that oxidative stress, inflammation, and cancer often go together. In each case, it’s a matter of cellular wear-and-tear, and what can mitigate that.

For what it’s worth, there’s generally a fourth pillar: anti-aging. This is again for the same reason. That said, black pepper hasn’t (so far as we could find) been studied specifically for its anti-aging properties, so we can’t cite that here as an evidence-based claim.

Nevertheless, it’s a reasonable inference that something that fights oxidation, inflammation, and cancer, will often also slow aging.

Special note on the anti-cancer properties

We noticed two very interesting things while researching piperine’s anti-cancer properties. It’s not just that it reduces cancer risk and slows tumor growth in extant cancers (as we might expect from the above-discussed properties). Let’s spotlight some studies:

It is selectively cytotoxic (that’s a good thing)

Piperine was found to be selectively cytotoxic to cancerous cells, while not being cytotoxic to non-cancerous cells. To this end, it’s a very promising cancer-sniper:

Piperine as a Potential Anti-cancer Agent: A Review on Preclinical Studies

It can reverse multi-drug resistance in cancer cells

P-glycoprotein, found in our body, is a drug-transporter that is known for “washing out” chemotherapeutic drugs from cancer cells. To date, no drug has been approved to inhibit P-glycoprotein, but piperine has been found to do the job:

Targeting P-glycoprotein: Investigation of piperine analogs for overcoming drug resistance in cancer

What’s this about piperine analogs, though? Basically the researchers found a way to “tweak” piperine to make it even more effective. They called this tweaked version “Pip1”, because calling it by its chemical name,

((2E,4E)-5-(benzo[d][1,3]dioxol-5-yl)-1-(6,7-dimethoxy-3,4-dihydroisoquinolin-2(1 H)-yl)penta-2,4-dien-1-one)

…got a bit unwieldy.

The upshot is: Pip1 is better, but piperine itself is also good.

Other benefits

Piperine does have other benefits too, but the above is what we were most excited to talk about today. Its other benefits include:

Enjoy!

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