I recently wrote about the benefits of curcumin, a compound in turmeric, for pets. In this article, I’d like to delve into the issue of Golden Paste for pets, especially since Golden Paste is such a widely touted home remedy for dogs these days. But, is it necessarily good for our four-legged friends? Read on to find out.
What is Golden Paste?
Golden Paste, as it is known, is a combination of turmeric, black pepper and oil. Here’s why these three ingredients are used:
- Turmeric contains the chemical compound curcumin, which is well known for its powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial, antineoplastic and anti-inflammatory properties. Unfortunately, it is excreted quickly via a process called glucuronidation, which is a way the body metabolizes drugs and other chemicals into inert and non-toxic substance.
- Black Pepper contains piperine, a compound that inhibits the glucuronidation process, giving the body has more time to absorb the potent properties of curcumin.
- Oil allows curcumin to be directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system so that it partially bypasses the liver.
The Golden Paste for Pets Controversy: Piperine
The controversy surrounding Golden Paste for pets revolves around piperine. Studies have shown that the use of piperine does increase the bioavailability of curcumin. The most highly-referenced study on this topic was published in 1998. In the study, the researchers measured serum concentrations of curcumin in the blood of both rats and humans. One set of rats and humans received piperine-enhanced curcumin. The comparative sets of each respective species received only curcumin. The populations that received the curcumin plus piperine had significantly higher levels of curcumin absorption in the blood, with no adverse side effects, than those who received only the curcumin.
In the human group, piperine caused curcumin bioavailability to increase 2000% after 45 minutes. Comparatively, curcumin bioavailability in rats was only increased 154% with piperine for 1-2 hours post drug. That is a huge difference on the effects of curcumin absorption using piperine across the two species.
I do not doubt the results that piperine has a positive effect on curcumin absorption. My concern is the vast difference of absorption between the two species. While we can apply several research studies conducted with other species to dogs and cats, in my opinion, this variability warrants further species-specific studies.
When considering using piperine with curcumin, we should remember the multiple conditions curcumin can fight or prevent. Now the question becomes: Once the curcumin is absorbed and depending on its purpose, could piperine be adversely affecting the result we seek?
One study conducted in 2014 probed this very question with rats induced with diabetes. The researchers concluded that, “Surprisingly, the treatment of diabetic rats with both curcumin and piperine did not bring any advantage to the curcumin effects; on the contrary, the co-administration with a higher dose of piperine impaired the curcumin benefits, suggesting that the biotransformation of curcumin is very important to its antidiabetic and antioxidant activities.”
In my opinion, more research needs to be conducted regarding piperine-enhanced curcumin and the potential side effects in dogs and cats.
My friend and mentor, the highly-respected Dr. Jean Dodds, no longer suggests adding piperine to enhance curcumin’s bioavailability because of the many dogs who have had adverse reactions to piperine. She states this based on pet caregiver feedback and the unknowns discussed above.
Therefore, until more research on this topic is done with dogs and cats, I stand by my recommendation in my Benefits of Curcumin for Pets article and advise giving a curcumin supplement in conjunction with a fatty food such as olive oil or fish oil to increase its absorption.
Note of Caution
Curcumin may increase the risk of bleeding when given in combination with some medications such as NSAIDs, blood thinners and antiplatelet drugs or when given with certain foods such as botanicals, Gingko biloba, garlic and saw palmetto. It may also decrease the effects of some chemotherapy drugs. Therefore, please consult with an integrative veterinarian before adding curcumin to your pet’s diet.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the merits of Golden Paste for pets. As always, I welcome your comments!Do you have something to add to this story? Voice your thoughts in the comments below!
- Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendra R & Srinivas PSSR.(1998). “Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in Animals and Human Volunteers”, Planta Medica, vol. 64, no. 4, pp. 353-356.↩
- Prasad S, Tyagi, AK & Aggarwal BB. (2014). “Recent Developments in Delivery, Bioavailability, Absorption and Metabolism of Curcumin: the Golden Pigment from Golden Spice”,
Cancer Research and Treatment, volume 46, no. 1.↩
- .Arcaro CA, Gutierres VO, RAssis RA, Moreira TF, Costa PI, Baviera AM & Brunetti IL. (2014). “Piperine, a Natural Bioenhancer, Nullifies the Antidiabetic and Antioxidant Activities of Curcumin in Streptozotocin-Diabetic Rats”, PLoS One, vol. 9, no. 12), pp. e113993.↩