Pterostilbene is a compound produced by plants, as a response to infection or trauma. It is considered to be similar to resveratrol and scientists suspect it might provide the same health effects. While the properties of resveratrol itself are controversial, some tests have revealed that pterostilbene might be a stronger compound. Nutritional supplements that provide both pterostilbene and resveratrol are considered optimal for cellular health.
From a chemical point of view, pterostilbene resembles the better known resveratrol. It is a nootropic compound with neuroprotective effects that can improve cognitive health and longevity when taken as a supplement.
Pterostilbene is included by chemists in the phytoalexins family. This group includes various compounds that are released by plants in order to resist infection. As a result, it provides both anti-fungal and anti-viral activities that protect the host plant from diseases. It is also known for its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect.
Researchers have also discovered that pterostilbene seems to imitate caloric restrictions. This opens up many interesting possibilities and pterostilbene might be able to delay aging. One of the most effective available strategies to expand your lifespan is to follow a strict calorie restricted diet.
Pterostilbene works at molecular levels and directly influences cell genes. It regulates the genes that trigger apoptosis, which is similar to a pre-programmed death timer for the cell. It also has an impact on certain genes that are involved in the start and development of cancer.
When taken as a food supplement, pterostilbene can reduce the level of lipids and sugars in the blood by boosting the activity of some mechanisms that detect the presence of fats. It also works inside the liver, reducing the amount of some glucose-damaged proteins.
Calorie restriction and pterostilbene share one very important effect: they decrease the production of inflammatory mediators and reduce inflammation in general. Inflammation is a major part of all diseases that are connected to aging, such as atherosclerosis and other chronic inflammatory diseases. Even the mental decline with age has been linked to inflammation. Pterostilbene seems to improve memory by activating a number of brain proteins.
Pterostilbene is found in many plant foods but blueberries are available in stores during the entire year and provide a good amount. You can also source it from wine or grapes, which might be easier to include in a normal diet.
The combination between pterostilbene and reservatrol is said to be particularly effective. These two compounds are able to mimic the normal calorie restriction therapy.
Researchers who have studied the metabolic changes during calorie restriction have discovered that resveratrol activates the same genes that are changed at the beginning of this diet, while pterostilbene works on genes activated later during the process.
The two compounds are often combines in commercial dietary supplements. These pills are known to support a normal level of blood lipids and might prevent serious conditions like diabetes or cancer.
Another effect associated with a diet low in calories is a general inflammatory reduction. Pterostilbene has strong anti-inflammatory effects, with further validates its health benefits.
Pterostilbene can prevent proteins from being damaged by glucose, which is potentially a very dangerous problem. This bioactive compound regulates the activity of several enzymes that control glucose.
Another key effect is the reduction of both high blood sugar levels and high cholesterol levels. If glucose or cholesterol accumulates in the blood stream, they can trigger atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of arteries and can destroy the whole cardiovascular system.
Some people also believe these supplements provide protection against cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer's, even if there are no clinical studies to support this theory yet.
However, the Neurobiology of Aging magazine has published a study in 2012 that claims pterostilbene can delay the decay of the cognitive function by reducing overall inflammation, which might be one of the key factors that cause it. It might also reduce the dopamine loss that destroys memory nodes with aging.
Just like resveratrol, pterostilbene is believed by some scientists to reduce the risk of cancer. It has been linked with various effects, such as stopping tumours from one part of the body from spreading to others. Pterostilbene might also trigger the apoptosis of cancer cells, which is a programmed cell death that destroys cancer by breaking cell expansion cycles.
Pterostilbene is also a very effective antioxidant and research studies have identified a number of other very important health benefits. It seems to boost the production of PPAR, by binding to the specific receptors of this compound. PPAR is needed to control the level of fats such as cholesterol in the blood stream. It can also balance the level of triglycerides, according to the result of some animal tests.
As an antioxidant, it can preserve the health of brain cells and support the nervous function. Adults suffering from memory issues can use pterostilbene based supplements for improved cognitive abilities and motor functions.
Another related bioactive compound is trans-pterostilbene. This chemical seems to provide multiple health benefits, reducing irritation, improving cognitive function and balancing blood sugar levels. Pterostilbene was found to have a positive impact on human health by both in vitro and in vivo studies. It can stimulate the body to produce adiponectin and other compounds that increase the rate of healing.
People with a high blood pressure can benefit from a diet rich in pterostilbene because it seems to balance tension and bring it back to a normal level.
A new study on the effects of pterostilbene was conducted of a group of 80 people of both sexes with ages from 45 to 54. The results were published in 2014 and the method was to split the people in two groups.
One group was given a placebo while the other was treated for 8 weeks either with 125 mg of pterostilbene twice per day or a smaller dose of 50 mg twice per day. The higher dose proved to be effective and the patients in that group had a lower blood pressure at the end of the blind study.
Pterostilbene might also be a handy tool in weight loss diets, offering a natural therapy without any side effects that can help people who want to shed a few pounds. This was an unexpected side discovery of the blind study mentioned above, which observed that people who took pterostilbene lost a bit of weight at the end.
Without further evidence, it is unclear if pterostilbene really helps decrease weight, or what the exact mechanism is. More scientific studies are needed until it can actually be used effectively in diets.
The same is true about the effects of pterostilbene on arthritis. While it is widely considered to treat the disease, the evidence is quite slim. A single serious study dating from 2010 currently supports this claim with scientific arguments.
The 2010 study was conducted on rats suffering from arthritis, which were given either a placebo or pterostilbene supplements. The rats that ingested pterostilbene had a lower level of blood neutrophils. These chemicals are part of the immune response and in large concentrations can lead to rheumatism and other severe inflammatory conditions. The results seem to indicate that pterostilbene might be a useful treatment against immune system diseases like arthritis and rheumatism.
Aging can cause a common disease known as atherosclerosis, which starts when plaque accumulates in the main blood vessels. It greatly increases the risk of having a fatal stroke or heart attack and it gets worse with age.
Pterostilbene can be useful to shield artery walls and prevent plaque from building up on them. This effect greatly decreases the risk of strokes, heart attacks or other serious events.
Another study investigated the effects of this compound on corneal cells. Pterostilbene protects them from inflammation and oxidative stress, according to a recent study concluded in 2016. It might also reduce the risk of macular degeneration and other eye diseases, due to its antioxidant strength.
There are many strong antioxidant compounds in nature but most of them can't protect neural cells from the destructive action of free radicals because they are unable to cross the brain barrier. Pterostilbene might be critical for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and other diseases caused by oxidative stress, since it is one of the few that can enter the brain.
The antioxidant effects are active in other areas of the body as well and can protect the liver and other internal organs. A relevant study was conducted on rats that had damaged livers induced through hepatoxicity. Their treatment lasted 15 days and consisted of a combination of milk thistle and pterostilbene supplements. Intense antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects were noted and scientists consider this compound to be an effective liver protector.
The antioxidant properties of pterostilbene are special. While it protects healthy cells from oxidation, it seems to do the opposite for cancerous or mutated cells. It makes them more vulnerable to oxidants, which reduces the expansion of tumours. Some of the types of cancer that can be treated with pterostilbene supplements are prostate, breast, colon and lung cancer.
The various completed studies have concluded that the best daily dosage for pterostilbene supplements is between 50 and 250 mg. Similar to other dietary supplements, it is best taken in the morning and late afternoon, in two doses.
Pterostilbene must be taken in two doses because it doesn't last long inside the body. This way it will be available during the entire day, despite the short half-life.
Many drug producers include a high number of additives in their pterostilbene supplements. You should avoid such products and try to find the compound in pure form. Despite its very useful health benefits, you should start with a low dose and gradually increase it in time, after your body gets used with its effects.