Is Black Pepper Bad For You?

Is Black Pepper Bad For You?
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Does ground pepper have inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effects in the body?

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You are dining at your favorite upscale restaurant, and the wait staff comes over and offers to grind some fresh pepper onto your salad. Studies have shown that injecting the human equivalent of about a half cup of ground pepper into the veins of mice kills them in a slow, agonizing way. But what have the new human studies shown?

Who says black pepper is harmful? “Back away from the table, leave my salad alone!”

Harmless; could go either way?

And who thinks the latest science says black pepper is actually nutritionally helpful? According to the latest and greatest, good for you. Anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, anticancer effects. 

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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

You are dining at your favorite upscale restaurant, and the wait staff comes over and offers to grind some fresh pepper onto your salad. Studies have shown that injecting the human equivalent of about a half cup of ground pepper into the veins of mice kills them in a slow, agonizing way. But what have the new human studies shown?

Who says black pepper is harmful? “Back away from the table, leave my salad alone!”

Harmless; could go either way?

And who thinks the latest science says black pepper is actually nutritionally helpful? According to the latest and greatest, good for you. Anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, anticancer effects. 

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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

23 responses to “Is Black Pepper Bad For You?

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  1. 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.

  2. 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??

  3. 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?

  4. 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

  5. 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?

  6. “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?

    1. 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.

  7. I am craving pepper, a lot of it on my food. I used to not put a lot, just a tad to add flavor but now add more and more. Is this a medical condition?

  8. I recently took my 6 yr. old nephew out for dinner, he asked for the pepper and overly smothered his plate with it, I was very concerned. His father stated not to worry he loves pepper of any color. Is there such a thing as too much of the stuff in or on food?

  9. I found in one of the websites while looking for pros & cons of black pepper that “powdered black pepper are bad”.
    Is that true? If yes, how?
    Thank you.

  10. I like black pepper, the taste in a lot of dishes is so much better with that ‘zing’, I think it also smells different than without. The only problem I have, is: whenever I use/eat black pepper (no matter in which form, be it freshly ground or pre-ground, or even white pepper and cayenne) my facial skin experiences always at least one or two red, very hurtful pimples, they stay for a quite a few days, and mostly leave a little reddish spot on (mostly) my cheek or the area on top of my cheek bones, sometimes on my chin. I am desperate, because the older I get, the red dots don’t go away anymore, so I have to use on this areas some concealer. Since I love turmeric, and apparently turmeric is more ‘active’ with black pepper, what should I do? Love to put always 1/4 tsp of turmeric in my daily 3 or 4-cup smoothie, but the ‘pimples’ keep me now away from doing so. ALL kinds of pepper, if it is Cayenne, Chili, black/white pepper….as soon as it is ‘hot’ (not sriracha, interestingly), my face gets these pimples. Ginger seams to be the best source of ‘heat’ for me, which I also love, taste-wise and in each form, preferable fresh. I had when I was younger some tests done about allergies, but nothing came up. Not even pepper. And whenever I asked a ‘doctor’, they just shrug and say: don’t eat pepper. LOL. So, what can you tell me about that? Is there any scientific research about ‘pepper’ (black/white/red) and facial skin reaction? Btw., I never had acne. I was always admired for my beautiful clear skin (fair skinned,blue-eyed). Thank you in advance. Your red-dotted fan (:

  11. Hi, Ina! A quick PubMed search for adverse effects of black pepper, or piper nigrum, did not turn up anything except this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14635474 I did not find anything related to dermatological effects. While you may get slightly less benefit from the turmeric alone, it appears you may be sensitive to black pepper. While it is generally beneficial to most people, it may not be for you. I hope that helps!

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