Improving CoQ10 Absorption with Bipoerine?, the Herbal Bioenhancer
by Richard Conant, L.Ac., C.N.
CoQ is one of today's top-selling supplements. It has earned this position as a result of more than forty years of research. Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like nutrient found in virtually all cells inside the human body.
CoQ10 belongs to an entire family of compounds known collectively as "CoQ." Found everywhere in the animal and plant kingdom, thus ubiquitous to all life, CoQ also goes by the name "ubiquinone." CoQ is one of the most important organic molecules for living things. CoQ10 is the specific form of CoQ used by human beings.
We could not exist without CoQ10. Our cells require CoQ10 in order to turn oxygen into the energy that powers our cells. Organs like the heart that have high energy requirements are especially dependent on CoQ10. As the hardest working muscle, the heart is the most vulnerable part of our body to a deficiency of CoQ10.
Because the body produces CoQ10 internally, CoQ10 is not a vitamin by definition. But many believe it is an essential nutrient, especially as people age, and the body's CoQ10-making ability declines.
We obtain some CoQ10 from food, but the average person's daily CoQ10 intake is minimal, unless a lot of CoQ10-rich foods such as organ meats are eaten. CoQ10 supplementation is an insurance policy against a shortage of CoQ10. However, CoQ10 can be difficult to absorb. CoQ10 is a large molecule with low solubility in the watery environment of the GI tract. Moreover, studies have shown wide variability in CoQ10 absorption.
Bioperine? A Natural Absorption Booster
Bioperine?, a patented herbal extract derived from the black pepper plant called Bioperine has been shown to increase CoQ10 absorption by over 30 percent. Bioperine? is being called a natural "bioenhancer," that can improve nutrient bioavailability when added to supplements. Bioperine? is the brainchild of the Sabinsa Corporation, a leading supplier of herbs and other raw materials to the dietary supplement industry. Much to its credit, Sabinsa conducts original research on its products. Sabinsa has conducted several clinical studies on Bioperine? and nutrient absorption.
Bioperine?'s roots lie in Ayurvedic medicine, the ancient folk healing tradition of India. Spices such as black pepper and long pepper are often added to Ayurvedic herbal formulas. The black pepper plant contains "piperine," an alkaloid known to promote bioavailability in the digestive tract , thus explaining why pepper has traditionally been used to improve the digestibility of foods. Sabinsa's "Bioperine?" product, an extract of black pepper, contains 95 to 98 percent piperine.
Timing is the key to piperine's effect on nutrient absorption, according to Sabinsa scientists. Dr. Vladimir Badmaev, V.P. of Medical and Scientific Affairs with the company, writes: "Studies indicate that even large doses of piperine that cannot be released in time to interact with the nutrient absorption process will have no effect on nutrient absorption. Hence, placing piperine in the 'right place at the right time' in the digestive tract with a nutrient can result in enhanced absorption, Once the window of opportunity for piperine-nutrient interaction has been missed, however, nutrient absorption is not enhanced." In other words, piperine must be consumed simultaneously with the target nutrient.
Sabinsa's research shows that Bioperine? inn supplements increases absorption of the supplemented nutrients only; it has no effect on other nutrients consumed in the diet. Bioperine? can thus be used to enhance the desired specific nutrients without increasing blood levels of others, which might not be appropriate.
Bioperine?, it should be noted, does not produce excessively high nutrient levels. Sabinsa has conducted several trials measuring the effect of Bioperine? on vitamin B6, beta carotene,