Posted on Oct 08, 2018, 7 p.m.
Resveratrol and turmeric are well known potent antioxidants, but the lesser known inflammation fighter called pterostilbene also deserves attention, this is the predominant polyphenol antioxidant found in blueberries.
Pterostilbene is related to resveratrol but there are substantially less studies in pterostilbene even though they seem to have similar benefits. Both are stilbenes with pterostilbene having superior bioavailability at 80% vs resveratrol at 20%, meaning the body can use it more effectively and efficiently. Experts suggest that the two compounds are better when consumed together and will act synergistically to promote health and help to prevent a number of diseases.
Pterostilbene research suggests it to carry an impressive line of benefits ranging from playing roles in fighting cancer, decreasing inflammation, managing diabetes, decreasing risk of CVD, improve neurological function, help counter aging processes, and much more. Most of the studies are conducted in lab and animal studies, more human clinical trials are required. However pterostilbene rich plants have been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines showing its antioxidant evidence favor.
Pterostilbene is a potent free radical scavenger that helps to reduce oxidative stress. Some studies suggests it may mimic effects of calorie restriction practices that have been shown to increase lifespan and help prevent age related disorders. Pterostilbene increases levels of another antioxidant called glutathione that helps to improve detoxification and oxidative stress in mitochondria.
Pterostilbene is an anticarcinogenic, several studies suggest that it may be an effective anticancer agent based on its antineoplastic properties that prevent, inhibit, or halt tumor development by altering cell cycle, inducing apoptosis, and inhibiting metastasis.
Pterostilbene is suggested to offer neuroprotective benefits with its antioxidant properties that help to prevent oxidative stress. Mice studies concluded it may help to preserve cognitive function and reduce risk of AD in part by reducing inflammation, and was associated with slowing the rate of cognitive decline.
Human clinical trial involving 80 subjects with high cholesterol taking 125 mg of pterostilbene twice a day showed significant reductions in blood pressure, and minor weight loss. In human and animal studies it helped prevent atherosclerosis by inhibiting build up of LDL cholesterol.
Several studies have shown pterostilbene supplements lowered blood glucose levels, suggesting it may play antioxidant roles protecting against diabetes and improving insulin sensitivity. 20 mg/kg of pterostilbene in another animal study was observed to decrease blood glucose levels by 42% and body weight by 20%. Pterostilbene is speculated to act in a similar manner to metformin, with a proposed mechanism for regulating blood sugar by decreasing oxidative stress in the kidneys and liver.
Pterostilbene can be found in food sources other than blueberries such as deeply hued berries including red grape, huckleberries, lingonberries, cranberries, and bilberries. Blueberries contain the highest amounts of pterostilbene, research suggests diets high in berries may help to ward off cognitive decline and promote heart and gut health with as little as a half cup serving per day due to the wide range of antioxidant compounds and fiber they contain. Several plants contain pterostilbene but they are not always edible that have been used in traditional medicines such as bark from the kino tree, a shrub called ku ma du and a rhubarb called dahuang.
A few studies suggest that pterostilbene supplements appear to be safe. But studies haven’t fully evaluated the safety of taking them and additional studies are required. It is always best to talk to your doctor before taking any supplement to make sure it is safe for you. A human clinical trial gave subjects 250 mg of pterostilbene once per day with side effects being comparable to a placebo with subjects experiencing decreases in blood pressure. Typically pills contain 50 mg or 150 mg. Amounts of pterostilbene recommended have not yet been determined as more studies are needed. Benefits are promising and supplements are likely to be safe, but there is not enough human evidence to suggest that it will adequately treat conditions. Pterostilbene food sources on the other hand contain a wide range of compounds that have been shown to promote overall health.
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