Black pepper is an ancient remedy used to treat several health disorders. It is native to India and is popularly used to add flavour to various dishes.
But we must be cautious of the amount of black pepper we consume as too much of it can have some severe health complications, including gastric troubles.
In this post, we have discussed the possible side effects of black pepper.
What Are The Side Effects Of Black Pepper?
1. Can Cause Gastrointestinal Issues
Studies show that black pepper may cause gastric mucosal injury. A subject administered with black pepper showed symptoms of gastric bleeding. The study concludes by stating that the long-term safety of spices (including black pepper) needs further study.
The piperine in black pepper (which is also one of its most beneficial compounds) can leave a sharp, ‘burning’ aftertaste. Though this is just a characteristic of black pepper, consuming it in excess can leave a similar burning sensation in your throat and stomach.
2. May Cause Your Body To Over Absorb Certain Drugs
Black pepper promotes the absorption of certain drugs. These include those that boost hepatic metabolism and antihistamines that fight allergies.
Piperine plays the role of a bio enhancer in drug absorption. Though this could be beneficial if a medication is poorly absorbed, it may also lead the over absorption of certain medications to dangerously high levels.
3. May Interact With Certain Drugs
The piperine in black pepper can interact with certain coadministered drugs. Though this may lead to benefits in some cases, it can also cause adverse effects. This is because piperine can inhibit or stimulate the activity of certain metabolic enzymes and transporters.
Piperine was also found to inhibit the metabolism of carbamazepine (medication used for epilepsy).
The compound also inhibits the activity of CYP3A, an important body enzyme that plays a role in the removal of toxins in the body. This attribute of black pepper might lead to the accumulation of harmful toxins in the body.
4. May Affect Pregnancy
The scientific community recommends against the use of black pepper during pregnancy. Its pungency can cause a burning sensation to the body of the infant.
In a female mice study, the piperine in black pepper was found to interfere with several reproductive events. It also decreased the mating performance and fertility in the mice.
The piperine in long pepper (a different variant of black pepper) was found to inhibit pregnancy by 80% in studies conducted on female rats. The compound may exhibit contraceptive activity, and research recommends against its use during pregnancy and lactation.
Piperine might also inhibit uterine contractions in women. This can cause issues during delivery or pregnancy.
5. May Affect Male Fertility
Piperine may affect male fertility as well. In a rat study, the compound was found to damage sperm. It increased the concentration of harmful radicals in the epididymis (a duct in the male reproductive system where sperm is stored).
6. May Cause Skin Redness
There is limited research on this aspect. A study states that cosmoperine, a compound isolated from black pepper, causes skin reddening due to vascular engorgement (when the vascular tissue fills with blood and other fluids). This is also accompanied by a skin-tingling sensation.
7. Can Make You Sneeze
This may not be a serious side effect, but it is important to be aware of it. The piperine in black pepper is an irritant. Inhaling the smell of black pepper can irritate the nerve endings in the nasal mucous membrane. This causes you to sneeze as the nose wants to excrete the irritant.
Black pepper could be a popular and common ingredient in most dishes. But it is important we know when not to have it – as some of its side effects can be severe.
Before we wrap up, we would like to discuss the ideal dosage of black pepper. That way, you can be careful in preventing the side effects.
What Is The Safe Dosage Of Black Pepper?
There is no official recommendation on the dosage for piperine. But piperine constitutes 0.4% to 7% of black pepper. This means, to take 1 full gram of piperine, you need to consume about six teaspoons of black pepper. This is highly unlikely.
Hence, stick to using black pepper only in normal food amounts.
Black pepper is healthy. Though overindulging in it is unlikely (given its pungent flavour), it can cause problems. Hence, stick to normal food amounts.
Pregnant or lactating women and anyone with gastrointestinal or fertility issues must stay away from black pepper. We also recommend them to consult their doctor.