Pterostilbene (terro-STILL-bean) is found naturally in blueberries, grapes, and in the bark of the Indian Kino Tree (Pterocarpus marsupium). The name Pterocarpus derives from ancient Greek and means “wing fruit”, referring to the shape of the seedpods in this genus. Preparations of the Indian Kino Tree have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries in relation to inflammation and blood-sugar balance. Similarly, resveratrol, a structural cousin of pterostilbene, has been touted for effects related to the heart.*
Pterostilbene has been shown to have the same antioxidant potential as resveratrol in a standard assay of antioxidant potential (Trolox). However, the two methylated hydroxyl groups make pterostilbene more lipophilic and less susceptible to conjugation-induced degradation; this leads to a greater half-life in the body compared to resveratrol (105 vs. 14 minutes). These specific structural differences seem to make resveratrol more adept at combating reactive oxygen species (ROS) in whole blood and lymphocytes and pterostilbene better at targeting extracellelular ROS.* Such extracellular ROS are often responsible for tissue damage with imbalanced inflammatory response, amongst other things. As such, pterostilbene and resveratrol tend to be more complementary in their action than competitive. Work in animals has even suggested synergies between the two, along with quercetin. This is one reason both are included, along with quercetin and other components found in grapes, in a related Jarrow Formulas product: Resveratrol Synergy.
Reduced oxidative stress and a properly modulated inflammatory response seem to be at the root of enduring health, particularly cardiovascular health. In vitro and animal studies suggest pterostilbene has positive effects on multiple inflammation-related biomarkers.* But as we know, a healthy heart and network of blood vessels also involves balanced levels of blood lipids and blood sugar. It’s understood that chronically high plasma levels of glucose lead to advanced glycation end products (AGE), which in turn cause the deterioration of bodily tissues, and an increased risk of developing insulin resistance. Pterostilbene seems to offer some protection from AGEs and may offer defense against metabolic change associated with elevated blood sugar.* When it comes to blood-lipids, pterostilbene has been found to activate peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARa). PPARa is involved with blood-lipid regulation, synthesis, and metabolism; in vitro and animal studies suggest that through this interaction pterostilbene can have positive effects on blood-lipids.*
Emerging research suggests that pterostilbene may have something to offer brains too. For instance, pterostilbene may help to defend against a decrease in release of the neurotransmitter dopamine following exposure to an oxidative stressor (hydrogen peroxide).* In rats, pterostilbene leads to a decrease in the distance traveled and a decrease in the time to get to a platform between two trials in the Morris water maze test (i. e. suggesting memory support).* How this may work remains an open question, but it is known that PPARa agonists, like pterostilbene, confer a protective effect on cortical areas of the brain, like the hippocampus.* So it’s possible a similar mechanism could be at the root of both brain and cardiovascular effects.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.