What is Pterostilbene?
Pterostilbene, also known as trans-pterostilbene, is a stilbenoid often touted as a more potent form of resveratrol. Pterostilbene is a derivative of resveratrol that contains two methoxy groups. This addition dramatically increases pterostilbene’s solubility in fats and boosts its oral absorption rate to 80% compared to resveratrol’s 20%. Pterostilbene occurs naturally in many plants, including blueberries, grapes, and almonds. However, blueberries contain the highest concentrations of pterostilbene.
Pterostilbene is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. It shares many of the same properties as resveratrol, but its much greater bioavailability indicates it is the more potent antioxidant. As such, pterostilbene may support healthy aging and promote longevity. Preliminary research also shows that pterostilbene may support weight loss efforts and promote the health of numerous organs.
Potential Pterostilbene Benefits
Aging and Longevity
The initial interest in pterostilbene focused heavily on its potential as an antioxidant, as it is a chemical relative to resveratrol. It’s a potent antioxidant in its own right that scavenges free radicals before they can inflict oxidative damage. Pterostilbene also stimulates the expression of other antioxidants, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD). Animal studies have reported that pterostilbene may delay age-related cognitive decline. The studies also note that pterostilbene appears to delay illnesses and diseases associated with aging. Pterostilbene also attenuated the oxidative stress commonly associated with aging with much greater efficacy than resveratrol.
Cognition and Mood
Animal studies have reported pterostilbene’s numerous beneficial effects on cognition, mood, and stress. Animals consuming a diet rich in pterostilbene experienced boosts in dopamine, cognitive function, and working memory, with notable decreases in stress and nervousness. Pterostilbene also promoted the growth of new neuronal cells in the parts of the brain responsible for memory and emotion. It also protected the brain against oxidative stress.
Human research discovered that pterostilbene may support weight loss efforts. While the researchers designed the trial to examine pterostilbene’s effects on metabolic processes, they discovered the supplement’s potential for weight loss as the trial progressed. Some possible mechanisms of action include increasing insulin sensitivity, preventing sugars from converting into fat, and inhibiting fat cell proliferation.
Other Potential Pterostilbene Antioxidant Benefits
Pterostilbene is a powerful antioxidant that may benefit several organs. It protects the liver from oxidative damage and may help restore damaged liver cells. Animal studies also noted that it inhibits liver inflammation and scarring. Pterostilbene also exerted similar effects on the heart in animal trials. It boosted the antioxidant response to oxidative damage and helped restore the natural antioxidant balance. Pterostilbene may support eye health through similar antioxidant mechanisms. Researchers believe pterostilbene may help relieve dry eyes caused by oxidative stress.
Potential Pterostilbene Side Effects
Pterostilbene does not appear to cause adverse effects based on the limited human research. Animal studies have also failed to produce significant side effects or identify a toxicity threshold. Pterostilbene may increase LDL cholesterol in individuals with already elevated levels. However, researchers have noted that taking grape seed extract alongside pterostilbene cancels out this effect. Even so, Individuals with high cholesterol should consult with a physician before taking pterostilbene supplements. Individuals taking SSRI or EGFR medications should also discuss pterostilbene supplements with their doctor, as they may enhance the efficacy of these medications. Pterostilbene may increase the effects of acetaminophen and aspirin, too.