test-Turmeric & Black Pepper: Why They’re Better Together
Vitamins & Supplements
Turmeric & Black Pepper: Why They’re Better Together
Lindsey Toth, MS, RD • May 22, 2019

Turmeric offers many amazing wellness benefits for body & mind, which researchers say is largely due to antioxidant compounds within turmeric known as curcuminoids.

There are three curcuminoids in turmeric—curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin—and curcumin is understood to be the most active and powerful. You can read more about curcuminoids here: Turmeric vs Curcumin: What’s the Difference?

Unfortunately, the body doesn’t absorb curcumin very well when it’s consumed alone. So, to get maximum benefits from your turmeric or curcumin supplements, you’ll need to give this superfood spice a helping hand.

How to Increase Turmeric Bioavailability

There are two things you can do to help your body absorb turmeric better. Since curcumin is fat-soluble, taking turmeric supplements along with a meal containing fat or oil can help your body absorb it better. But you can also increase the bioavailability of turmeric and curcumin by combining it with black pepper.

Why Does Black Pepper Help Turmeric Bioavailability?

Black pepper contains a substance called piperine, which studies show increases the bioavailability of turmeric’s antioxidant compounds by as much as 2000%.1 Piperine enhances the beneficial effects of turmeric by making curcuminoids more accessible by the body. Experts say it does so in two ways, both of which are related to digestion.

First, piperine helps your body absorb more of the beneficial turmeric compounds by making it easier for those compounds to pass through the wall of the intestines and make it into your bloodstream.2 From there, piperine helps slow the metabolic breakdown of curcumin, so it stays in your system longer, increasing its bioavailability.3

Other Benefits of Piperine & Black Pepper

Turmeric isn’t the only area where piperine lends a helping hand. This black pepper extract can boost bioavailability of many other nutrients and compounds too. In fact, you can get piperine supplements to take alongside your other dietary supplements or with whole foods as a nature-sourced and clinically-validated enhancer of nutrient bioavailability.

The history of black pepper for health and wellness dates back to Ayurvedic traditions, where it was used to stimulate appetite and support respiratory and cardiovascular health.4 Black pepper is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. So, the next time you reach for the pepper grinder at the dinner table, know that you’re enjoying a time-tested wellness tradition with benefits that go beyond adding flavor to your meal.

Turmeric Supplements with Black Pepper

If you’ve been shopping around for the best turmeric supplement, you’ve probably noticed that many turmeric supplements include black pepper right in the formula—and now you know why! Black pepper is one of the best ways to increase bioavailability and maximize the benefits of turmeric.

Want to learn about more terrific turmeric duos? Check out Turmeric & Boswellia: The Perfect Joint-Heath Duo, and Turmeric with Tart Cherry: Your Winning Antioxidant Combo.

Lindsey Bristol, Swanson Health Products

About Lindsey Toth, MS, RD
Registered Dietitian, Swanson Health Products

Lindsey is a nationally-recognized registered dietitian and nutritionist with a soft spot for pie. She empowers people to take charge of their health by finding the balance between the pleasure and nourishment in food.

Her philosophy is that you should take care of your body because it’s the only permanent home you have. It’s what inspired her to pursue a career in nutrition and, ultimately, led her to Swanson Health.


1 Shoba, et al. Planta Med. 1998 May;64(4):353-6. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-957450.

2 Kesarwani, et al. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2013 Apr; 3(4): 253–266. doi: 10.1016/S2221-1691(13)60060-X

3 Is Turmeric Only Effective with Black Pepper? Consumer Lab. https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/is-turmeric-effective-only-when-combined-with-black-pepper/turmeric_black_pepper/

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease