Nutrition Notes

Pterostilbene: A Molecule to Support Cellular Regeneration

Pterostilbene (trans-3,5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxystilbene) is a type of bioactive molecule called a stilbenoid. Blueberries are a dietary source of pterostilbene. It is structurally similar to resveratrol, a plant compound found in both grape skin and berries that has been shown to support cardiovascular health, cellular function, a healthy gut microbiome, and a healthy inflammatory response.* 

Pterostilbene contains two methoxy groups that help facilitate absorption due to its highly bioavailable molecule. Animal studies indicate that pterostilbene may have up to 80% bioavailability as opposed to 20% for resveratrol. Pterostilbene has been shown to support antioxidative status, a healthy inflammatory response, and cellular health. It has been shown to modulate certain age-related biochemical processes, including telomere attrition, cellular senescence, and sirtuin activity. Pterostilbene also increases superoxide dismutase and glutathione activation through the nuclear factor erythroid 2- related factor (Nrf2) signaling pathway. 

The aging process involves many biochemical pathways that affect cellular health. Pterostilbene has been shown to influence many processes to support cellular regeneration and healthy aging. It may play a protective role in high glucose-induced oxidative injuries through the activation of Nrf2 in hippocampal neuronal cells. Animal and laboratory studies indicate that pterostilbene may modulate certain pro-inflammatory agents, including interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-18, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and vascular endothelial growth factor. It has also been shown to help attenuate hypoxia-reoxygenation injury in cardiomyocytes

Preclinical studies indicate that pterostilbene may support cellular health in the presence of certain cellular disruptions. A laboratory study involving breast cancer cells reported the role of pterostilbene in the modulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis by influencing p53 and caspase-3. It was also shown to help support healthy glutathione peroxidase and hydrogen peroxide levels.  

Pterostilbene may support many systems in the body. In animal studies, while assessing the efficacy of pterostilbene in support of neurological health, it was shown to help increase cognitive function and task performance, and help modulate pathways associated with oxidative stress and neuroinflammation, including manganese superoxide dismutase and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha. Cardiovascular studies have shown that pterostilbene may help play a protective role against atherosclerosis in vascular smooth muscle cells and vascular endothelial cells. It may also support intercellular communication, liver health, and healthy metabolism. Pterostilbene has been shown in animal studies to help support healthy glucose metabolism, antioxidative status, and a healthy response to inflammation.  

Although more research is needed, particularly in the clinical setting, studies indicate that pterostilbene may support many biological pathways. It may also support cellular health, antioxidative status, and a healthy response to inflammation. 

By Colleen Ambrose, ND, MAT