The quest for improved health and wellness has inspired numerous scientific studies. A significant percentage of these research programs focus on naturally occurring compounds in our foods.
If you’re a wellness enthusiast interested in healthy diets, you must have stumbled upon the word “pterostilbene.”
Pterostilbene is widely regarded as one of the most therapeutic naturally occurring substances. That’s due to the plethora of health and wellness benefits it can provide. Here’s everything you need to know about the compound, focusing on its ability to promote optimal health.
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Pterostilbene is a stilbenoid that’s chemically related to resveratrol. Stilbenoids are hydroxylated forms of stilbenes, naturally occurring biochemicals belonging to the family of phenylpropanoids.
Pterostilbene is alternatively known as 3,5-dimethoxy-4-stilbenol, 2,5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxy-E-stilbene, and 3,5-dimethoxy-resvetrol. The compound is highly abundant in green plants. Its primary function includes serving as a defense against various diseases.
Difference Between Pterostilbene and Resveratrol
Pterostilbene belongs to the same family as resveratrol, which happens to be formulated in combination with TMG in an NMN supplement. The two compounds are chemically related. However, there are specific structural differences between pterostilbene and resveratrol.
Pterostilbene is generally more fat-soluble than resveratrols. That consequently improves their bioavailability.
Bioavailability is a term for the percentage of a compound that enters the bloodstream relative to the total amount consumed. It’s otherwise known simply as absorption rate.
Due to its higher bioavailability, pterostilbene produces more pronounced effects than resveratrol. However, note that the overall effects of pterostilbene and resveratrol will ultimately depend on the doses of either compound consumed and the reasons for administration.
Benefits of Pterostilbene
1. Protection from Disease
Pterostilbene acts as a powerful antioxidant in plants. It appears those properties apply to humans, too. These compounds exert their antioxidant effects by reducing the oxidative damage to body cells from over-accumulating free radicals.
Certain studies have shown that pterostilbene exhibits direct antioxidant effects while increasing the signaling to antioxidant enzymes. One specific piece of research indicates that the compound produces antioxidant effects by protecting the body cells against oxidative damage triggered by the reactive oxygen species (ROS), one of the most common free radicals. Pterostilbene scavenges these free radicals, inhibiting their ability to damage key cellular components like DNA.
2. Alleviating Inflammation
Pterostilbene’s bioactive properties may help alleviate inflammation. Like most anti-inflammatory chemicals, pterostilbene inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory molecules like cytokines and chemokines.
What makes pterostilbene such a powerful anti-inflammatory compound is that it blocks cytokine and chemokine production at the molecular level. It also inhibits the activation of cellular pathways involved in transmitting inflammatory signals throughout the body.
3. Relieving Pain
Research on the potential analgesic properties of pterostilbene in humans is still a work in progress. However, the chemical’s anti-inflammatory properties point to its efficacy against pain as well. That’s because both pain and inflammatory signals tend to follow the same cellular pathways.
Besides, some experiments have demonstrated that pterostilbene may attenuate pain and swelling in rats with rheumatoid arthritis. Many researchers now posit that those effects can be extrapolated to humans.
4. Enhancing Cognitive Performance
Animal-based studies have found that pterostilbene can improve certain aspects of cognitive functioning, including memory and learning abilities.
The compound may also cushion the brain from neurodegeneration, thereby keeping neurological disorders at bay. Among the problems it might address include brain edema, brain fog, and ischemia.
5. Improving Cardiovascular Health
The heart is yet another vital organ that may benefit from an increased intake of pterostilbene.
There may be mixed studies on the exact cardiovascular effects of pterostilbene. However, most animal studies indicate the compound might reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol levels while ramping up HDL “good” cholesterol levels. That makes it a potential remedy for various cardiovascular issues, such as hypertension and atherosclerosis.
6. Managing Obesity and Diabetes
Obesity and diabetes are leading lifestyle diseases. Fortunately, you can reduce their occurrence or severity by making healthy dietary choices, such as increasing your pterostilbene intake.
Pterostilbene prevents fat accumulation in body tissues, lowering the risks of obesity. The compound can also reduce glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity, making it a welcome addition to a diabetic’s diet.
7. Combating Premature Aging
Most antioxidant compounds combat premature aging by counteracting the adverse effects of free radicals on the skin cells. However, pterostilbene does you one better.
According to research, this compound also promotes longevity by boosting mitochondrial functions. Besides, it stimulates the growth of new mitochondria, ensuring you have sufficient energy to maintain other key cellular processes.
Pterostilbene’s Natural Sources
Pterostilbene is naturally abundant in almonds and various berries in the Vaccinium genus, such as blueberries. Other common natural sources include grape leaves and vines, peanuts, and Indian kinos (Pterocarpus marsupium).
The highest concentrations of pterostilbene tend to be in the leaves, fruits, and heartwood in plants that produce the compound. Its production is usually highest in response to fungal infections.
Besides the natural sources, there are dozens of pterostilbene supplement brands to try out. However, it’s essential to exercise due diligence when purchasing pterostilbene supplements. Ensure the product is free from potentially toxic compounds or chemicals that may inhibit pterostilbene’s bioavailability.
As for the serving amounts, most human-based studies relied on daily doses between 50mg and 200mg.
Pterostilbene could easily be described as a magic pill due to its numerous health benefits. The compound’s high bioavailability allows it to take effect soon enough after intake.
It’s also reassuring to know that there are several natural pterostilbene sources. So, there’s simply no excuse for a deficiency.