Dietary Supplements and Bioavailability: Bioavailability Boosters

January 27, 2011

Introduced in 1995 by Sabinsa Corp. (East Windsor, NJ), BioPerine is a standardized piperine extract from the fruit of Piper nigrum (black pepper) or Piper longum (long pepper).

Introduced in 1995 by Sabinsa Corp. (East Windsor, NJ), BioPerine is a standardized piperine extract from the fruit of Piper nigrum (black pepper) or Piper longum (long pepper). It can be paired with a number of ingredients to increase their bioavailability. According to Sabinsa, BioPerine’s mechanism of action in the gastrointestinal tract is nonspecific. However, there are several theories on how this ingredient enhances nutrient uptake.

One way might be thermogenesis, the metabolic process that generates energy at the cellular level and plays a role in nutrient uptake. BioPerine’s thermogenic effect on epithelial cells may increase these cells’ demand for nutrient supply, resulting in increased uptake.

Other mechanisms of action may be increasing micelle formation, stimulating the active transport of amino acids, and modifying the epithelial cell wall due to the affinity of piperine towards fats and fatty substances, says Lakshmi Prakash, PhD, vice president of innovation and business development.    

In clinical tests, BioPerine has been shown to enhance the bioavailability of a range of ingredients by 30% and more, including herbal extracts, water- and fat-soluble vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, and minerals. Interestingly, one study showed that in humans receiving a dose of 2 g of curcumin alone, serum levels were either undetectable or very low. Concomitant administration of BioPerine, however, produced a 2000% increase in bioavailability.

NuLiv Science (Walnut, CA) and Nutrition Formulators Inc. (Mirimar, FL) offer an ingredient called AstraGin that the companies say has demonstrated in vitro to significantly improve the absorption of nutrients such as amino acids, glucose, and vitamins. Consisting of ginsenosides extracted from Panax notoginseng and alcohol fraction from Astragalus membranaceous, the ingredient works “through the regulation and paralleled alteration on both the protein and and mRNA expression levels of the sodium/glucose cotransporter 1 (SGLT1) gene.”

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