Everything You Need to Know About Pterostilbene
What is Pterostilbene?
Pterostilbene (trans-3,5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxystilbene) is a natural dietary compound and the primary antioxidant component of blueberries. It has increased bioavailability in comparison to other stilbene compounds, which may enhance its dietary benefit and possibly contribute to a valuable clinical effect. Multiple studies have demonstrated the antioxidant activity of pterostilbene in both in vitro and in vivo models illustrating both preventative and therapeutic benefits. The antioxidant activity of pterostilbene has been implicated in anticarcinogenesis, modulation of neurological disease, anti-inflammation, attenuation of vascular disease, and amelioration of diabetes. In this review, we explore the antioxidant properties of pterostilbene and its relationship to common disease pathways and give a summary of the clinical potential of pterostilbene in the prevention and treatment of various medical conditions.
How Pterostilbene Works
Pterostilbene (trans-3,5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxystilbene) is a naturally derived compound found primarily in blueberries and Pterocarpus marsupium (PM) heartwood. The amount of daily pterostilbene consumption varies according to dietary fruit intake, and it has been estimated that pterostilbene content per blueberry varies from 99 ng to 520 ng/gram depending on the type of berry ingested. Substantial evidence suggests that pterostilbene may have numerous preventive and therapeutic properties in a vast range of human diseases that include neurological, cardiovascular, metabolic, and hematologic disorders. Further benefits of pterostilbene have been reported in preclinical trials, in which pterostilbene was shown to be a potent anticancer agent in several malignancies. Pterostilbene is structurally similar to resveratrol, a compound found in red wine that has comparable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic properties; however, pterostilbene exhibits increased bioavailability due to the presence of two methoxy groups which cause it to exhibit increased lipophilic and oral absorption. In animal studies, pterostilbene was shown to have 80% bioavailability compared to 20% for resveratrol making it potentially advantageous as a therapeutic agent.
The multiple benefits of pterostilbene in the treatment and prevention of human disease have been attributed to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic properties leading to improved function of normal cells and inhibition of malignant cells. Treatments with blueberry extract and PM in similar disease models have yielded paralleled results possibly due to the antioxidant activity and underlying mechanisms of pterostilbene. The evidence presented in this review shows that pterostilbene reduces oxidative stress (OS) and production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and superoxide anion (O2 −), which are implicated in the initiation and pathogenesis of several disease processes . In addition, various cell lines treated with pterostilbene have shown increased expression of the antioxidants catalase, total glutathione (GSH), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GR), and superoxide dismutase (SOD).
The very best food sources of pterostilbene are foods high in antioxidants, including blueberries, cranberries and other berries, and, to a lesser degree, red grapes.
A number of other plants that are less widely available are also sources, including heartwood, which is the source for an herbal remedy made from the bark of the Pterocarpus marsupium tree. You may have never heard of pterostilbene sources like heartwood before, but heartwood powder and extract have been utilized as natural antidiabetic treatments in many cultures for thousands of years.
Here is a list of pterostilbene food and plant sources that have been discovered so far:
●Blueberries, including blueberry juice and extract. Pterostilbene had been detected in berries of the Vaccinium genus, a group of shrubs that includes many types of berries, of which blueberries and cranberries are the most widely available.
●Other berries including cranberry, bilberry or whortleberry, lingonberry or cowberry, and huckleberry.
●Red grapes, both the berries and leaves of red grape trees. While this hasn’t been extensively studies, pterostilbene is also believed to be found in large concentrations in red wine (just like resveratrol).
●Heartwood, also called Indian Kino Tree (Pterocarpus marsupium).
●Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea).
●Sandalwood (pterocarpus santalinus), which is also the source of rosewood and known in China as Zita.
●Narra tree (Pterocarpus indicus).
●The Dracaena genus of plants.
●Roots of the Rheum rhaponticum plant.
How much pterostilbene is in top sources like blueberries? It’s estimated that the content in blueberry varies from 99 nanograms to 520 nanograms per gram of blueberries. The amount that berries contain depends on the specific type of berry. Other factors can also affect how much plants will contain, such as the growing conditions, maturity of the plant and when the plants/fruits are harvested.
In alternative medicine, pterostilbene is touted for the prevention and treatment of the following health problems:
●high blood pressure
It's also said to protect against certain forms of cancer and preserve memory as you age.
Although there is currently a lack of clinical trials testing the effects of pterostilbene, a number of preliminary studies indicate that pterostilbene may offer several health benefits. Here's a look at several key findings from the available research.
Pterostilbene shows promise for protection against atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, according to a 2012 study published in Apoptosis. In tests on human cells and on mice, scientists demonstrated that pterostilbene may inhibit the buildup of LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol. The study also found that pterostilbene may help fight oxidative stress, a destructive biological process thought to be a key factor in the development of heart disease.
Pterostilbene may help protect against Alzheimer's disease and aging-related cognitive decline, according to an animal-based study published in Neurobiology of Aging in 2012. In tests on mice, the study's authors determined that pterostilbene may help preserve cognitive function, in part by reducing inflammation.
A number of preliminary studies suggest that pterostilbene may offer anti-cancer benefits. In a 2012 report published in the Journal of Surgical Research, scientists reviewed the available research on pterostilbene as an anti-cancer agent and found that pterostilbene may hinder cancer growth by altering cancer cell cycles, inducing apoptosis (a type of programmed cell death essential for stopping the proliferation of cancer cells) and inhibiting metastasis (the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another). The review also determined that pterostilbene's antioxidant effects may play a key role in cancer protection.
What's more, several recent animal-based studies and studies on human cells have found that pterostilbene may be effective for protection against breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.
At this time, experts recommend getting pterostilbene from food sources as much as possible, rather than from supplements. Pterostilbene supplements are still beneficial, but they seem to have decreased bioavailability/absorption compared to food sources. Taking it as part of a meal may also help you absorb more, since taking it in a fasted state/on an empty stomach seems to reduce absorption.
Below are recipe ideas using foods that provide this beneficial compound:
●Healthy Blueberry Cobbler
●Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins
●44 Creative Cranberry Recipes
●Cranberry Apple Cider
●Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs
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