Black Pepper and Blood Glucose

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a commonly used spice, more so in the south of India and especially in Kerala. It is known to have been used back in ancient Rome, where southern India was the supplier, and its uses included the culinary, medicinal and religious. Most often, I see it sprinkled on fried eggs, perhaps a bit on a salad and maybe the odd peppery dish. If you’re diabetic, here’s why you should considering eating more of this spice.

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The chief alkaloid present in black pepper is a substance called Piperine, which has a wide variety of uses. One of them is its impact on blood glucose levels.

  1. A number of studies point to the blood glucose lowering effects of Piperine.​1–3​
  2. It appears to have multiple mechanisms that explain its effect on blood sugar, which include lowering insulin resistance, up-regulating the metabolic rate of resting muscle and improving carbohydrate metabolism.​4–8​
  3. While a combination of Piperine and Curcumin (as found in Haldi/Turmeric) is thought to be potent​9​ as a blood glucose lowering agent, there is research that disagrees.​10​
  4. The dosage of Piperine matters, as more isn’t necessarily good, in the context of lowering blood sugar, as too much may actually increase blood sugar levels.​11​
  5. Piperine may have a favorable effect on dyslipidemia, which can be useful in the case of many type 2 diabetics.​12​
  6. Piperine can help reduce hepatic steatosis or fatty liver disease.​13–15​

All of these are good reasons for us to being eating more pepper in our meals. That, combined with the craving killing effects of chili heat is sure to work well for us.


  1. 1.
    Salehi B, Ata A, V A, et al. Antidiabetic Potential of Medicinal Plants and Their Active Components. Biomolecules. 2019;9(10). doi:10.3390/biom9100551
  2. 2.
    Atal S, Atal S, Vyas S, Phadnis P. Bio-enhancing Effect of Piperine with Metformin on Lowering Blood Glucose Level in Alloxan Induced Diabetic Mice. Pharmacognosy Res. 2016;8(1):56-60. doi:10.4103/0974-8490.171096
  3. 3.
    Sama V, Nadipelli M, Yenumula P, Bommineni M, Mullangi R. Effect of piperine on antihyperglycemic activity and pharmacokinetic profile of nateglinide. Arzneimittelforschung. 2012;62(8):384-388. doi:10.1055/s-0032-1314849
  4. 4.
    Rondanelli M, Opizzi A, Perna S, et al. Improvement in insulin resistance and favourable changes in plasma inflammatory adipokines after weight loss associated with two months’ consumption of a combination of bioactive food ingredients in overweight subjects. Endocrine. 2013;44(2):391-401. doi:10.1007/s12020-012-9863-0
  5. 5.
    Maeda A, Shirao T, Shirasaya D, et al. Piperine Promotes Glucose Uptake through ROS-Dependent Activation of the CAMKK/AMPK Signaling Pathway in Skeletal Muscle. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018;62(11):e1800086. doi:10.1002/mnfr.201800086
  6. 6.
    Liu C, Yuan Y, Zhou J, Hu R, Ji L, Jiang G. Piperine ameliorates insulin resistance via inhibiting metabolic inflammation in monosodium glutamate-treated obese mice. BMC Endocr Disord. 2020;20(1):152. doi:10.1186/s12902-020-00617-1
  7. 7.
    Kim J, Lee K, Lee D, Lim K. Piperine enhances carbohydrate/fat metabolism in skeletal muscle during acute exercise in mice. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2017;14:43. doi:10.1186/s12986-017-0194-2
  8. 8.
    Nogara L, Naber N, Pate E, Canton M, Reggiani C, Cooke R. Piperine’s mitigation of obesity and diabetes can be explained by its up-regulation of the metabolic rate of resting muscle. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016;113(46):13009-13014. doi:10.1073/pnas.1607536113
  9. 9.
    Kaur G, Invally M, Chintamaneni M. Influence of piperine and quercetin on antidiabetic potential of curcumin. J Complement Integr Med. 2016;13(3):247-255. doi:10.1515/jcim-2016-0016
  10. 10.
    Arcaro C, Gutierres V, Assis R, et al. Piperine, a natural bioenhancer, nullifies the antidiabetic and antioxidant activities of curcumin in streptozotocin-diabetic rats. PLoS One. 2014;9(12):e113993. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113993
  11. 11.
    Atal S, Agrawal R, Vyas S, Phadnis P, Rai N. Evaluation of the effect of piperine per se on blood glucose level in alloxan-induced diabetic mice. Acta Pol Pharm. 2012;69(5):965-969. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23061294
  12. 12.
    Shah S, Shah G, Singh S, et al. Effect of piperine in the regulation of obesity-induced dyslipidemia in high-fat diet rats. Indian J Pharmacol. 2011;43(3):296-299. doi:10.4103/0253-7613.81516
  13. 13.
    Panahi Y, Valizadegan G, Ahamdi N, Ganjali S, Majeed M, Sahebkar A. Curcuminoids plus piperine improve nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: A clinical trial. J Cell Biochem. Published online June 6, 2019:15989-15996. doi:10.1002/jcb.28877
  14. 14.
    Choi S, Choi Y, Choi Y, Kim S, Jang J, Park T. Piperine reverses high fat diet-induced hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance in mice. Food Chem. 2013;141(4):3627-3635. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.06.028
  15. 15.
    Jwa H, Choi Y, Park U, Um S, Yoon S, Park T. Piperine, an LXRα antagonist, protects against hepatic steatosis and improves insulin signaling in mice fed a high-fat diet. Biochem Pharmacol. 2012;84(11):1501-1510. doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2012.09.009

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