When we speak about the benefits of black pepper in arthritis, the principles by which it works is by reducing inflammation and pain.
Inflammation is the most important marker of arthritis. Alleviating inflammation can have significant benefits in arthritis and protect all systems in the body in addition to joints and bones.
It has been observed that black pepper can help improving arthritis. Piperine is the principal component of black pepper that holds therapeutic benefits in arthritis. Let’s understand this fantastic spice better.
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What is black pepper?
Black pepper is a flowering vine belonging to the family Piperaceae, usually dried to form a black colored spice. It is native to South India and Vietnam.
It has various uses as a spice and in traditional medicine. It is the world’s most traded spice. It is used as a seasoning for foods and often paired with salt.
It provides the body with various active elements such as capsaicin which help in the management of conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
It is available in powdered and peppercorn form. Its active component capsaicin is also available in the form of creams for topical application.
It has been seen that black pepper proves to be very beneficial in arthritis as it has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and immunomodulatory properties. The means by which it helps in the management of arthritis would be discussed in the next section.
Proven Benefits of Black Pepper for Arthritis
Black pepper is beneficial in arthritis is several ways. Black pepper is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent, thanks to the presence of piperine in black pepper and thus helpful in swelling and tenderness of joints. Black pepper also has an analgesic action which helps in reducing pain sensation in arthritis. Lastly, its active ingredient piperine, mudulates immune system which can prove helpful in auto-immune arthritis cases.
Black pepper has been used for ages in traditional medicine to treat various conditions. You would be amazed to learn of the various awesome ways it helps arthritis patients in managing their condition. Here are the benefits explained in detail –
1. Black pepper acts as an anti-inflammatory agent
Inflammation in arthritis is evidenced by swelling, warmth and tenderness in joints. In certain cases, this inflammation could spread to other parts of the body such as eyes and heart and cause complications.
Piperine is an active phenolic compound present in black pepper extract and is proven to have anti-inflammatory properties.
A study was conducted to study the anti-inflammatory and antiarthritic effects of piperine in human interleukin fibroblast like cells and in animal arthritis models.
The fibroblast-like synviocytes (cells located inside joints in the synovium) were derived from patients who have rheumatoid arthritis. The levels of various inflammatory markers like interleukin, metalloproteinase, cyclooxygenase pathway and prostaglandin were analyzed using ELISA and PCR.
The analgesic and anti-arthritic properties were investigated on animal models.
It was observed that piperine inhibited the expression of interleukin 6 and reduced the production of prostaglandins in a dose-dependent manner. It also targets the cyclooxygenase thromboxane pathway.
All of these markers and pathways are linked to inflammation and proliferation of arthritis. Thereby, by reducing the expression of these proinflammatory pathways, black pepper helps in reducing inflammation and managing arthritis.
Since it targets cyclooxygenase pathway, which is key to arthritis progression, and is not targeted by NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), it reduces the dependence on NSAIDs and provides a natural alternative.
Results showed that piperine considerably reduced ankle inflammation.
Thus, the study stated that piperine possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic qualities and should be further developed as a therapeutic agent.
Another study stated that piperine inhibits the interleukin induced expression of inflammatory mediators in osteoarthritis chondrocyte cells (cells of cartilage). Osteoarthritis is considered to be a degenerative joint disease with inflammatory components that cause the degeneration of cartilage.
It was observed that black pepper extract reduced the interleukin stimulated expression of proinflammatory markers and nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is involved in inflammatory processes and the inhibition of which can decrease inflammation significantly.
It was observed that the treatment of different cells with black pepper extract inhibited NF-kappaB pathway.
Hence, black pepper has a potential role in the suppression of NF-kappaB expression and reducing inflammatory responses in human osteoarthritis chondrocytes.
What does this mean?
Black pepper contains piperine which regulates the expression of various pro-inflammatory markers like interleukin 6, cyclooxygenase, prostaglandin, nitric oxide, etc. and help in the reduction and management of arthritic inflammation.
2. Black pepper is an efficient analgesic and improves function
In addition to being an effective anti-inflammatory agent, piperine also shows analgesic properties.
An animal study was conducted to assess the effects of piperine on pain sensation. It was observed that piperine exhibited analgesic effects that could be mediated by opioid receptor pathways.
In another study, it was determined that piperine at high doses exhibited significant analgesic effects after 60 minutes. These effects increased slightly in a dose dependent manner.
What does this mean?
Black pepper contains piperine which can potentially be used as potent analgesic agent in managing arthritic pain. These reduce pain by blocking various pain receptors and decreasing pain hypersensitivity in a dose dependent fashion.
3. It is an immunomodulatory agent
Certain forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, involve aberrant immune system reactions. Regulating these immune responses can be beneficial for the treatment of such arthritis forms.
A study published in Genetics and Molecular Research, 2012 demonstrates that piperine can inhibit the production of inflammation-causing agents from immune cells and thus serve as a natural immunosuppressant.
What does this mean?
Piperine modulates the immune system through various mechanisms. These prove especially beneficial in autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. These inhibit T cell activation and immune response.
Dosage of Black Pepper for Arthritis
Although there is no recommended dosage, it is advisable to consume 5-10 mg of bioactive piperine to enhance the absorption of other nutrients in our body.
It is best to use piperine in combination with curcumin, the active principle of turmeric, for arthritis. For arthritis treatment, opt for standardized 95% curcumin with bioperine supplements.
250 mg- 2 g of black pepper powder is considered safe for consumption in divided doses per day.
Black pepper oil can also be used topically, twice daily.
Since there is no prescribed dosage, it is better to consult a health practitioner before usage and consumption.
Black pepper overall is considered safe for use, but it has some side effects like stomach upset, swelling in certain patients, hypertension, etc.
Inhalation of black pepper can be detrimental and can cause respiratory distress, swelling, and anoxia. Therefore, users are cautioned against inhaling the
Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised against the usage of black pepper.
Black pepper can interact with diabetes-related drugs and may lower blood sugar levels causing hypoglycemia.
Piperine interferes with drug metabolism and increases the absorption of medications. Avoid consuming piperine supplements close to the time of taking any medicine. Maintain a 3-4 hour gap.
People with autoimmune diseases are recommended to use black pepper cautiously after consulting a health practitioner.
Black pepper is a natural therapy that has been used for ages in traditional medicine for treating various conditions like arthritis, inflammation, colon cancer, etc.
It possesses various active components such as piperine and capsaicin which help in the management and treatment of the arthritic condition. These compounds act as anti-inflammatory, analgesic and immunomodulatory agents and can also improve the blood circulation throughout the body.
All the evidence suggests that black pepper can be developed into a natural, potent therapeutic agent with minimum side effects for helping patients suffering from arthritis.