Pterostilbene: The Better Sister of Resveratrol for Health and Longevity

From the perspective of chemistry, pterostilbene (trans-3,5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxystilbene) is a doubly methylated analog of the more familiar compound called resveratrol (trans-3,4,5'-trihydroxystilbene). Pterostilbene and resveratrol are both found at highest concentrations in grapes, berries, and peanuts, and of course red wines.

Pterostilbene, like resveratrol, is made by plants primarily in response to some form of metabolic challenge such as pathogen invasion or toxic compound exposure. In various animal model systems resveratrol has been shown to exert anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anti-obesity, and anti-cancer effects with the anti-aging effects being primarily the result of the activation of the SIRT pathway. Pterostilbene has been shown to be a more potent activator of the anti-aging related SIRT pathways. And best of all, pterostilbene has a much higher level of bioavailability than resveratrol, meaning when you consume it it is delivered to your cells much more effectively than is resveratrol. Indeed, many so-called resveratrol supplements are effectively useless since the compound does not get absorbed effectively from the gut nor delivered to the cells of your body where it is needed.

A recent study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry demonstrated that pterostilbene is a potent anti-obesity compound through its ability to markedly suppress white adipose tissue (e.g. abdominal fat) formation while simultaneously enhancing energy expenditure and oxygen consumption which combined resulted in reductions in overall fat accumulation in mouse models of obesity. A major finding in this study was the fact that pterostilbene promoted fat metabolism rather than carbohydrate metabolism.

Pterostilbene, a dimethylated analog of resveratrol, promotes energy metabolism in obese rats

In this study, using an obese mouse animal model, the authors found that pterostilbene potently activated SIRT1 and also the transcriptional regulator, PPARĪ± (peroxisome proliferator activated receptor alpha). SIRT1 is a potent regulator of gene expression via its histone deacetylase activity and PPARĪ± is a master regulator of lipid metabolism. The net effect of these changes mediated by pterostilbene were increased fatty acid oxidation resulting in reduced white adipose tissue accumulation in these animals. These results indicate that pterostilbene consumption may exert an important anti-obesity effect in humans.

So what to do? Where does one acquire significant quantities of pterostilbene in the diet. Of course the consumption of red wine is a great source but if excess alcohol consumption is not your choice means to a leaner longer life then eating grapes (NOT the seedless kind since these important compounds are at highest concentrations in the seeds) and blueberries is a great place to start.

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