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.

Doctor's Note

More on black pepper:
Boosting the Bioavailability of Curcumin
Boosting Natural Killer Cell Activity
Which Spices Fight Inflammation?

And check out my other “HHH” videos – Harmful, Harmless, or Helpful? – listed below the post.

For additional context, see my blog post: Soy milk: shake it up!

19 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.

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