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Is Black Pepper Bad For You?

Does ground pepper have inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effects in the body?

August 20, 2008 |
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Transcript

You are dining at your favorite upscale restaurant and the waitstaff comes over and offers to grind some pepper on your salad. Studies have shown that if you inject the human equivalent of about half a cup of ground pepper into the veins of mice they die slow agonizing deaths, but what have new human studies shown? Is black pepper harmful? Harmless? Helpful? How many say harmful, back away from the table, leave my salad alone! How many people say harmless, could go either way. And how many think the latest science says black pepper is actually nutritionally helpful?

According to the latest and greatest: good for you. Anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, andticancer effects. When it comes to having that heart-to-heart with your pet mouse about shooting up, though, tell her Just Say No.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other “HHH” videos (Harmful, Harmless, or Helpful?). Also, there are over a thousand subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

For some context, please check out my associated blog post: Soymilk: shake it up!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other “HHH” videos (Harmful, Harmless, or Helpful?). Also, there are over a thousand subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/toxins/ Toxins

    WHEW! Good to know! I thought you were gonna say bad for you!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/yummy/ yummy

    Hi Doc…please discuss the irradiation of spices since many of the spices in the stores may have been through this process…is this harmful, helpful or neither….should we seek out organic spices instead? I love your short videos and have viewed most of them several times.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/7worships/ 7worships

    What about cayenne pepper? Is it harmful or helpful? Does it matter if you heat it. I heard recently that it is full of antioxidants in its natural state but can be toxic when heated. Is there any truth to that statement??

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      See my video Are Chili Peppers Good For You? Never heard of the heated bit, though. I’ll keep an eye out.

  • wchiwink

    i LOVE blackpepper, cayenne too (organic only) – eat ‘em everyday – even put ‘em in deserts!

  • uzma

    Does consumption of black pepper cause wrinkles?

  • Rene

    Does this study consider the fact that black pepper is derived from green peppercorns that are not yet ripe when picked and when dried and ground they are sharper than white pepper and can cause gastrointestinal irritation and micro-bleeding for some people?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ryanseaton Ryan 船 Seaton

    Why have I been hearing for years the analog of how black pepper is insoluble and how it seals out our arteries like it would the a busted truck Radiator ? I’d really love if we could prove this wrong because greater bio-availability sure sounds appealing from using Black Pepper

  • zania

    hi, i need o know about carob powder if good or bad

  • M. K.

    So I know black pepper has great anti-oxidants and such, but is it possible that these good aspects can be negated in certain individuals who notice gastro-intestinal distress from black pepper?

  • dg

    “In order to maintain excellent health and true internal cleanliness, you
    must avoid all harmful, irritating substances (such as salt, pepper,
    and hot spices) and eat a diet rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants.” Says Dr Fuhrman on his blog. Is this true?

    • Thea

      dg: This video explains some of the benefits of black pepper. Other videos on this site share additional positive research about black pepper as well as other hot spices (cayenne, etc.).

      http://nutritionfacts.org/index.php?s=pepper

      So, while I haven’t seen Dr. Fuhrman’s blog to see where he is coming from, I don’t think the data supports the sentence as written. Plus, since spices seem to be fully of phytochemicals and antioxidants, it seems to me that you would only be following Dr. Fuhrman’s ultimate advice if you add lots of spices to your diet.

      The salt reference is a different matter, though. This site has at least one video recommending that people stay away from table salt. Though I believe that there is a fair amount of controversy on the topic of salt.