Anti-ageing effects of pepper

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Black pepper is more than just a spice that enhances flavour to food. It also offers several health benefits, owing to its active compounds, such as piperine, that may help to help with digestion, immunity, metabolism, and skin problems [1].

Black pepper is a great source for minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, and vitamins such as B-complex vitamins, K and E, as well as moderate amounts of dietary fibre, carbohydrates and protein [2].

The antioxidant properties of black pepper are attributed mainly to piperine, which has been shown to decrease free radical production [3], which may assist in premature aging, and in therapeutic applications such as respiratory infections, cardiovascular problems, metabolic problems, macular degeneration, and memory loss [4-6].

Benefits for skin ageing

According to researchers from King’s College in London, piperine is able to stimulate melanocyte pigments [7], which is a natural way for ageing skin to decrease the risk of damage from UV radiation.

There is some also experimental evidence that black pepper may help to stimulate the formation of collagen [8]. Ageing skin has a progressive decline in collagen formation, and a reduced ability to heal properly from small wounds.

Black pepper has been used in combination with other herbal compounds such as curcumin, to improve their absorption [9] and enhance their skin healing and anti-inflammatory effects.

Assisting with metabolic health

Black pepper may help in the management of metabolic health. In overweight and obese adults up to 65 years of age, one report found that taking a blend of spices that included red pepper immediately after a high-fat, high carbohydrate meal lowered the inflammatory status of cells in the blood [10].

As an enhancer of turmeric absorption, piperine has been demonstrated to be effective in controlling glucose balance and fatty acid levels within the blood of 50–70-year-old adults with metabolic syndrome [11]. Additional studies have shown that the same combination of herbs was able to balance hormones, including adipokines and leptins, that control fat metabolism [12].

Control of Infections

Black pepper has historically been used as an ingredient in traditional Indian and middle eastern herbal medicines for the relief and coughs and colds. This is due to recent discovery of the antiviral  and immune system modulating effects of the herb [13].

Pepper also has antibacterial properties that may help to combat infections. One experimental study reported that piperine was able to inhibit the growth of Golden Staph, E. coli, Salmonella sp. and Bacillus subtilis, with stronger effects as the level increased [14].

Considering that infection risk increases as we get older, regular addition of pepper through food may be another way of contributing to protection from seasonal ailments, along with balanced nutrition and regular exercise.

Summary

Beyond its routine use as a culinary spice and flavour enhancer, pepper has a surprising health potential in the ageing population. Its application to a wide range of potential health areas owes itself to a unique profile of biological actions.

References

  1. Salehi, B., et al., Piper Species: A Comprehensive Review on Their Phytochemistry, Biological Activities and Applications. Molecules., 2019. 24(7): p. 1364. doi: 10.3390/molecules24071364.
  2. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170931/nutrients.
  3. Mollik, M., et al., Isolation, characterization and in vitro antioxidant activity screening of pure compound from black pepper (Piper nigrum). Environ Sci Pollut Res Int, 2022. 8(10): p. 022-19403.
  4. Tripathi, A.K., A.K. Ray, and S.K. Mishra, Molecular and pharmacological aspects of piperine as a potential molecule for disease prevention and management: evidence from clinical trials. Beni Suef Univ J Basic Appl Sci, 2022. 11(1): p. 16. doi: 10.1186/s43088-022-00196-1. Epub 2022 Jan 28.
  5. Yadav, S.S., et al., Therapeutic spectrum of piperine for clinical practice: a scoping review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2022. 7: p. 1-28.
  6. Wightman, E.L., et al., Effects of resveratrol alone or in combination with piperine on cerebral blood flow parameters and cognitive performance in human subjects: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over investigation. Br J Nutr., 2014. 112(2): p. 203-13. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514000737. Epub 2014 May 7.
  7. Venkatasamy, R., et al., Effects of piperine analogues on stimulation of melanocyte proliferation and melanocyte differentiation. Bioorg Med Chem., 2004. 12(8): p. 1905-20. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2004.01.036.
  8. Moreira, K.G., et al., Accelerative action of topical piperonylic acid on mice full thickness wound by modulating inflammation and collagen deposition. PLoS One., 2021. 16(10): p. e0259134. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0259134. eCollection 2021.
  9. Shoba, G., et al., Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med., 1998. 64(4): p. 353-6. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-957450.
  10. Oh, E.S., et al., Spices in a High-Saturated-Fat, High-Carbohydrate Meal Reduce Postprandial Proinflammatory Cytokine Secretion in Men with Overweight or Obesity: A 3-Period, Crossover, Randomized Controlled Trial. J Nutr., 2020. 150(6): p. 1600-1609. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxaa063.
  11. Neta, J.F.F., et al., Effectiveness of the piperine-supplemented Curcuma longa L. in metabolic control of patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Int J Food Sci Nutr., 2021. 72(7): p. 968-977. doi: 10.1080/09637486.2021.1885015. Epub 2021 Feb 14.
  12. Panahi, Y., et al., Curcuminoids Plus Piperine Modulate Adipokines in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Curr Clin Pharmacol, 2017. 12(4): p. 253-258. doi: 10.2174/1574884713666180104095641.
  13. Gautam, S., et al., Immunity against COVID-19: Potential role of Ayush Kwath. J Ayurveda Integr Med., 2022. 13(1): p. 100350. doi: 10.1016/j.jaim.2020.08.003. Epub 2020 Aug 17.
  14. Hikal, D., Antibacterial Activity of Piperine and Black Pepper Oil. BIOSCIENCES BIOTECHNOLOGY RESEARCH ASIA,, 2018. 15(4): p. 877-880.

 

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