Resveratrol bioavailability boosted by piperine: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Resveratrol

Resveratrol is often touted as the bioactive compound in grapes and red wine
Resveratrol is often touted as the bioactive compound in grapes and red wine
Combining resveratrol with piperine may enhance its bioavailability and help translate the potential benefits of the compound to humans, suggests a new study with mice.

Compared to resveratrol alone, combination with piperine was found to increase the degree of exposure to resveratrol to 229 percent, while exposure to the compound’s principle metabolite decreased by about 80 percent, according to data published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research​.

“Given our results, the strategy of piperine co-administration may allow for a significant decrease in the dose of resveratrol (and capsules) in clinical settings,”​ wrote the researchers led by Professor Nihal Ahmad from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

“As a result, we are currently in the process of enrolling subjects into a phase I clinical trial in healthy volunteers to study the effect of piperine on the bioavailability of resveratrol in a clinical setting.”

Resveratrol’s rosy potential

Resveratrol is often touted as the bioactive compound in grapes and red wine, and has particularly been associated with the so-called 'French Paradox'. The phrase, coined in 1992 by Dr Serge Renaud from Bordeaux University, describes the low incidence of heart disease and obesity among the French, despite their relatively high-fat diet and levels of wine consumption.

Interest in the compound exploded in 2003 when research from David Sinclair and his team from Harvard reported that resveratrol was able to increase the lifespan of yeast cells. The research, published in Nature​, was greeted with international media fanfare and ignited flames of hope for an anti-ageing pill.

According to Sinclair’s findings, resveratrol could activate a gene called sirtuin1 (Sirt1 – the yeast equivalent was Sir2), which is also activated during calorie restriction in various species, including monkeys.

Since then studies in nematode worms, fruit flies, fish, and mice have linked resveratrol to longer lives. Other studies with only resveratrol have reported anti-cancer effects, anti-inflammatory effects, cardiovascular benefits, anti-diabetes potential, energy endurance enhancement, and protection against Alzheimer’s.

Interest in the molecule is increasing. At the recent SupplySide East show in New Jersey Datamonitor’s Tom Verhile told attendees: “New food and beverage product launches containing resveratrol tripled in 2009-2010. This is an ingredient to watch…”


Despite a raft of pre-clinical studies touting potential health benefits, the University of Wisconsin researchers note that “the poor in vivo bioavailability of resveratrol due to its rapid metabolism is being considered as a major obstacle in translating its effects in humans”​.

Their new study investigated if combining the ingredient with piperine could enhance its bioavailability, and the results suggested that it could.

Study details

Using mice, Prof Ahmad and his co-workers analyzed the level of exposure and maximum blood levels of resveratrol achieved by combining 100 milligrams of resveratrol per kilogram of animal with 10 mg/kg of piperine. The study used Sabinsa’s trans​-resveratrol and piperine, and the company is acknowledged by the authors for providing the ingredients. The study was partially supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Compared to resveratrol alone, combination with piperine was found to increase the degree of exposure to 229 percent, and the maximum levels in the blood by a whopping 1,544 percent.

“Our study demonstrated that piperine significantly improves the in vivo bioavailability of resveratrol,”​ report the researchers.

“However, further detailed research is needed to study the mechanism of improved bioavailability of resveratrol via its combination with piperine as well as its effect on resveratrol metabolism.”


The study was welcomed by Sabinsa, supplier of the ingredients used. Dr N. Kalyanam PhD is the President of New Jersey R&D at the Sabinsa Corp, told NutraIngredients-USA that this was the first study on the combination of resveratrol and piperine on animal models.

In terms of the implications for manufacturers, Dr Kalyanam added: “The study will likely result in lower consumption of resveratrol resulting in considerable cost savings for supplement manufacturers.”

Source: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research
Special Issue: Resveratrol – Current Status and Outlook, Volume 55, Issue 8, pages 1169–1176
“Enhancing the bioavailability of resveratrol by combining it with piperine”
Authors: J.J. Johnson, M. Nihal, I.A. Siddiqui, C.O. Scarlett, H.H. Bailey, H. Mukhtar, N. Ahmad

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