Do You Really Need to Add Pepper to Turmeric?


Do You Really Need to Add Pepper to Turmeric?Why is pepper added to turmeric?
What effect does black pepper have on turmeric?
Firstly there are over 500 patents and 9000 publications on turmeric and its constituents. This shows how hard the big pharmaceutical industry is working to find the secret behind the magic of Turmeric!


The reason for adding black pepper is to increase the absorption/bio-availability of curcumin. But the mechanism of how curcumin induces its anti-inflammatory effects could be from actually in the gut instead of being absorbed into the bloodstream.

In summary, to induce the anti-inflammatory effects, the action of Curcumin needs to be BIO-EFFECTIVE on the mucosa of the gut and NOT BIO-AVAILABLE in the blood stream.

Research has shown that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-γ) has been associated with anti-inflammatory effects.

This PPARγ is a nuclear receptor highly expressed in adipose tissue but also in the gut/intestine.

These receptors play a key role in regulation of insulin resistance and inflammation.

The major effects of curcuminoids are required within the gut, mucosa (MALT and GALT), enterohepatic circulation, liver and within the regions that it moves naturally.

In these places, it can modulate immunity (80% of immune system is in the gut mucosa), anti-inflammatory and have antioxidant NRF2 gene activation.


Adding black pepper to enhance the absorption of curcuminoids to bypass the targets mentioned above by improving bioavailability actually stops it from working within the gut location.

So by adding black pepper, this actually counteracts one of its major detoxification functions in the liver and gut. Glucuronidation is induced by NRF2 gene activation by turmeric to help detoxify xeno estrogens, estrogen and other pollutants, plastics etc.

When black pepper is added, it blocks this action so turmeric can sneak past (absorbed through) the digestive system, mucosa and liver.

But this is unwanted as turmeric’s anti-inflammatory actions are activated in these locations.

Current research into the effects of the whole turmeric plant is still incomplete with the effects and that just isolating curcumin as the ‘active’ agent is unnatural in recreating its effects in the animal study models.

Therefore we leave it up to you to add the black pepper if you are still onboard with bio-availability instead of bio-effectiveness.

The results and feedback without black pepper suggests CEN Gold has an effective mode of action in horses. We combined organic turmeric (5% curcumin), rosehip and with a quality fat source, stabilised linseed meal (tested around 25% Omega 3) so that some curcumin is absorbed but some stays in the gut to act on the mucosa PPARγ receptors to illicit the anti-inflammatory effect.


Written by Bryan Meggitt (BMedSc. PGCrtMedSc.)
Biochemist / Senior Scientist and Co-founder of CEN Horse Nutrition

Bryan is passionate about improving equine health through nutrition according to science & nature.



The Essential Medicinal Chemistry of Curcumin

Do We Really Need Black Pepper To Absorb Turmeric?

Turmeric Truth… Does it REALLY need the Black Pepper?

Mechanism of the Anti-inflammatory Effect of Curcumin: PPAR-γ Activation

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