Next time a waiter armed with a giant pepper mill asks whether you’d like some fresh-ground, say, “Yes, please. And how!”
In a recent lab study, the ingredient responsible for black (and white) pepper’s pungent zing — called piperine — appeared to stop cancer cells from growing and dividing.
Shaking Up Stem Cells
The study focused on breast stem cells — amazing tissue-repair cells that can morph into dangerous, long-lived cancer cells if their DNA is damaged. When researchers mixed piperine with these stem cells, the compound inactivated the cells with early signs of trouble — reducing the size of rogue cell colonies and silencing signals involved in making cells live far longer than normal (an avenue to cancer development).
Pick Up the Pepper Mill
The best news of all? In the lab study, piperine left healthy cells alone. Smart little compound. Researchers think that in the future, piperine might even be used in cancer-prevention drugs. But for now, it’s worth sprinkling on the black stuff liberally and often.