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Black Pepper use while Breastfeeding

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 6, 2023.

Black Pepper Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding

Summary of Use during Lactation

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) contains piperine, which is the main pungent component. Piperine is often incorporated into turmeric products because it enhances the oral bioavailability of curcumin. Piperine can be found in breastmilk after maternal ingestion, but the piperine levels appear to be far below the taste threshold after ingestion of typical dietary amounts of pepper.[1] No studies have been performed with ingestion of piperine-containing pharmaceutical products.

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. Thirteen nursing mothers who were nursing their infants were served a curry dish that contained an average piperine concentration of 264 nmol/gram (75 mcg/gram) of the curry sause. The peak piperine concentration in milk of 31.2 nM (8.9 mcg/L) occurred at 1 hour after the meal in these mothers with a low basal piperine concentration in milk. The authors assumed that the concentration of piperine was too low for conscious detection by the nursing infant, but that it could contribute to a sensory desensitization toward pungency in later life.[1]

Infant Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects in Breastfed Infants

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.


N'Diaye K, Debong M, Behr J, et al. Dietary piperine is transferred Into the milk of nursing mothers. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2021;65:2100508. [PubMed: 34633734]

Substance Identification

Substance Name

Black Pepper

Scientific Name

Piper nigrum

CAS Registry Number


Drug Class

Breast Feeding


Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors

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Further information

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