Almonds, blueberries, cocoa, mulberries, red grapes and peanuts – what do they all have in common?
There’s a new wonder drug in town. Pterostilbene (pronounced as “tero-still-been”) is making quite a lot of noise with the huge potential it offers the health world and, ultimately, human health.
A naturally occurring antioxidant, pterostilbene is commonly found in blackberries, grapevine varieties and heartwood of red sandalwood. Naturally generated by plants as a defense against microorganisms that cause diseases, this phytoalexin has been found to have pronounced potential in addressing several human maladies and health conditions.
Pterostilbene is similar to resveratrol, a compound commonly found in red grapes, and is said to have antioxidant and anticarcinogenic effects. However, pterostilbene differs from resveratrol in terms of molecular structure.
Whereas resveratrol has three hydroxyl groups, pterostilbene only has one, with two methoxyl groups replacing the two that resveratrol has. This gives pterostilbene higher bioavailability, which means it has a faster rate of absorption in the body.
In the University of Mississippi-approved study on pterostilbene effects on metabolic parameters, pterostilbene was seen to have demonstrated the highest capacity to activate the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) alpha-receptor that controls lipid metabolism, among other functions. This promises a pro-longevity advantage that may help extend a person’s lifespan and improve human quality of life overall.
Among the positive effects that pterostilbene may offer humankind are the following:
1. Promotes cognitive function
Aging, unfortunately, comes with a greater risk for neurodegenerative conditions such as such as Alzheimer and Parkinson’s diseases. While there are no known cures yet for both conditions, the best way to go is to prevent them from happening.
Recent studies show that pterostilbene, with its potential antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties, may help as a neuroprotector. By reducing the oxidation and inflammation that causes stress to the brain, pterostilbene has also shown a capacity to reverse cognitive insufficiencies.
It also helps increase the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine plays a key role as a chemical messenger between brain cells and helps people move, affects, moods, and aids in learning and memory.
IGF-1, on the other hand, is important in the growth and development of neurons and blood vessels in the hippocampus and displays anabolic effects in adults.
2. Supports cardiovascular health
Cardiovascular diseases, which include related conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels, are the leading cause of death worldwide.
Hypertension, stroke and coronary heart disease are some of the better-known conditions that continue to plague people today. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, cardiovascular diseases remain at the top of the high-risk health list.
There are multiple factors that lead to the development of these diseases including lack of physical activity and poor diet. Some experts believe that chronic inflammation is the leading cause of cardiovascular conditions and that eating colorful fruits such as berries can help prevent this.
However, choosing a natural way to ingest pterostilbene by eating berries may not reach the desired result, as you will need to eat buckets of blueberries to get the suggested daily amount. It is recommended that a safe dosage through pterostilbene supplements should be considered.
As a phytochemical, pterostilbene protects the blood vessels because of its reactivity to free radicals. Pterostilbene has also been shown to reduce blood pressure in adults when taken in 250 mg doses. Similar blood pressure results were also observed if taken in 50 mg doses twice daily and paired with grape seed extract.
3. Promotes healthy blood circulation
Pterostilbene has the ability to safeguard red blood cells from bacteria, parasites and drugs that would typically kill them. It also decreases oxidative stress in arteries and veins thus decreasing the vascular endothelial cells that line up the whole circulatory system.
Excess levels of fat and cholesterol in the body contribute to the general decline of the circulatory system. Because of its PARR alpha activation ability, it also helps lower fat and cholesterol levels in the bloodstream, lessening the chances for blocked arteries and atherosclerosis.
4. Offers anticancer effects
In a review of the antioxidant property of pterostilbene in relation to disease modification, there is substantial evidence that supports the ability of pterostilbene in addressing various human diseases and disorders.
Further preclinical trials also add that pterostilbene’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties have shown promising combative effects against certain malignancies.
So far, pterostilbene has exhibited the capacity to help reduce the proliferation rate and metastasis of cancer cells as well as preventing cells from becoming malignant. It has also been found to inhibit cell death in some types of cancers.
Its ability to upregulate oxidation and downregulate telomerase in precancerous, cancerous, and malignant cells poses a huge potential for it to deal with cancer prevention and treatment in the future.
The promise of a healthier future
Pterostilbene’s numerous benefits continue to be a subject of scientific interest all over the globe. The huge potential for this natural health source can make a big difference in the quality of life that people lead.
While continued research and studies are being conducted to explore the many therapeutic abilities of pterostilbene, current supplements that are regarded as generally safe are available to help promote healthy cellular function and blood circulation, improve cognitive function, and support better cardiovascular health.
Taken as a supplement and combined with a proper diet complete with essential vitamins and minerals and regular exercise, you can look forward to a fitter, healthier, more youthful you.
Frank L. Jaksch Jr. is the Chief Executive Officer and a co-founder of ChromaDex. He oversees research, strategy and operations for the Company with a focus on scientific and novel products for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical markets. Mr. Jaksch earned a B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from Valparaiso University.