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Bio-enhancers have captured the attention of researchers in recent years because of a growing need to support better assimilation of certain foods and supplements.
A bio-enhancer is an agent, typically herbal, that can enhance the bio-availability and bio-efficacy of another compound that it is taken with. (1)
In Ayurvedic tradition, any substance that could boost the availability or effectiveness of another substance or food that it was taken with was called yogavahi. Other terms to describe the drivers or carriers in an Ayurvedic formulation are “vehicles” or “anupan.”
In Ayurveda, there are numerous yogavahi agents. Here are a few:
- Bhasmas (mineral powders)
- And even the distillate of cow’s urine has been found in many studies to be a natural bio-enhancer. (1-3)
Trikatu –The World’s First Bio-Enhancer
Based on the concept of yogavahi, the term “bio-availability enhancer” was first coined by researchers at the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine in Jammu, India in 1979. This was when they discovered that one of Ayurveda’s most popular and prized formulations, trikatu, was a powerful bio-enhancer. (1)
Trikatu, which translates as “the three acrids” in Sanskrit, consists of black pepper (Piper nigrum), long pepper (Piper longum) and ginger (Zingiber officiale). On LifeSpa.com, we call this formula Warm Digest.
The researchers were initially curious as to why trikatu was found in so many Ayurvedic formulations. It was found in 210 out of 370 formulations evaluated!
They discovered that the active ingredient in black pepper and long pepper, piperine, was a potent bio-enhancer. It had the power to boost the absorption of turmeric by a whopping 200%, and numerous other compounds by 30-200%. (1)
Later, researchers discovered that ginger was also an effective bio-enhancer, making trikatu a formula that can drive the bio-availability of many other substances it is taken with. (2)
Ginger acts powerfully on the intestinal tract’s mucous membrane lining. The role of ginger is to regulate intestinal function to facilitate absorption. In one study, ginger boosted bio-availability/bio-enhancing activity by 30–75%. When piperine from black pepper and long pepper were combined with ginger, bio-availability was boosted by 10–85% depending on what it was ingested with.
These three spices are found in classic Indian dishes like curry, which is consumed daily in traditional Indian cuisine, and alongside the daily intake of turmeric, these spices are thought to deliver extraordinary preventative health.
Trikatu (Warm Digest on LifeSpa.com) is my most effective herb to re-boot digestive strength and the natural production of hydrochloric acid (HCI), which is needed to break down proteins like gluten, casein and others in the stomach.
In addition to being a powerful health-promoting formula, the piperine in Warm Digest has been found to boost the bio-availability of many foods rich in beta-carotene, resveratrol and quercetin, as well as turmeric, coenzyme Q10 and numerous others. (1-3)
Consider taking one Warm Digest (trikatu) capsule with hard-to-digest or late-night meals, or along with other herbal supplements or nutraceuticals.
Warm Digest is spicy, so this formula is not indicated for folks who experience occasional heartburn or do not tolerate spicy food.