Bioperine is an herbal supplement that contains piperine, an extract from black pepper that is responsible for the pungency of pepper. Piperine has a history of use in traditional and ancient medical techniques.


How Piperine Works

Piperine, the main ingredient in Bioperine, has been reported to be an inhibitor of drug metabolism, meaning it keeps the liver from immediately breaking down certain drugs, forcing them to stay in the body longer. This increases the absorption and effects of some drugs and supplements. Piperine may help the body receive more nutrients from both drugs and food.


Problems

The most common side effects of piperine are gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In studies of Bioperine, these side effects have been relatively mild. Consuming excessive amounts of black pepper can irritate the stomach and cause heartburn. Piperine powder can be harmful if it comes in contact with the eyes, and will cause irritation. If inhaled, it can cause irritation in the lungs.


Reproductive Dangers

No long-term studies have been done on human subjects, however a study on mice done at the Agharkar Research Institute in Pune, India, showed that piperine may interfere with reproductive fertility. It may cause female mice to have smaller litters and interfere with the production of sperm in male mice. This finding has been replicated by other studies. However, it is difficult to know how piperine affects human reproductive cycles, as no studies on humans have looked at piperine’s reproductive effects.


Herbal Supplements

As with any herbal supplement, talk to a doctor about any interactions between that supplement and other supplements or medications. Because piperine can affect the way the body makes use of and absorbs certain substances, it may be more likely to interfere with the effects of other supplements or drugs. Food and Drug Administration regulations for herbal supplements are more lenient than those for prescription drugs; herbal supplements do not have to be proven safe and effective before they are released for sale.


No Long-Term Data

Consult a physician for help deciding if Bioperine is a useful and safe treatment. In short-term human studies and some animal studies, piperine has been shown to have minimal safety risks–however, it is difficult to know if long-term use will have adverse affects. If you decide to take Bioperine, use it in the short term only until further studies are done on its long-term effects in humans.