Blueberries have been heralded as a remarkably healthy food, in part because they’re exceptionally rich in antioxidants, a category of nutrients that are vital to our survival. Antioxidants help protect us against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and premature aging. Studies show that blueberries help us have stronger, cleaner arteries; better vision and memory; a healthier weight; fewer urinary tract infections; and less overall risk of disease.
Researchers at the USDA have identified pterostilbene (pronounced “tero-STILL-bean”) as a key substance in blueberries that gives them their therapeutic qualities. And it may be the next “big thing” to help keep us in good health.
Among other things, pterostilbene is an antioxidant that's particularly effective at combating free radicals—waste molecules in the body that are missing an electron. Antioxidants come from two sources: some are naturally produced in our bodies, and we get others through our diet. Problems arise if either one of these sources is inadequate.
Traditional antioxidants, such as vitamin C (from diet and supplements), work by donating an electron to a free-radical. But while such nutrients are undoubtedly necessary, they're only part of the equation.
“The new way of reducing oxidation is taking substances that stimulate your body to make antioxidants,” says Kent Holtorf, MD, anti-aging specialist, founder and medical director of the Holtorf Medical Group in California, and a reviewer and guest editor for several medical journals.
Holtorf recommends pterostilbene because it does double duty: It replaces missing electrons like a traditional antioxidant. But it also acts as a building block for the body's internal antioxidant production.
Proven Health Benefits
Numerous animal and cell studies of pterostilbene have been published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Carcinogenesis, The Journal of Neuroscience, and other scientific publications. These show that in addition to being an antioxidant, pterostilbene helps lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides. In fact, its effects are comparable to those of cholesterol-lowering drugs, without the side effects.
Animal and cell studies have also found that pterostilbene helps stabilize blood sugar and insulin, thereby helping prevent and control diabetes. It also improves memory; helps destroy cancer cells; and reduces the chronic inflammation that underlies diabetes, heart disease, and many other debilitating conditions.
The first human clinical trial on pterostilbene is currently being conducted at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, testing the cholesterol-lowering effects of a patented form of pterostilbene called “pTeroPure.” Three more human studies on pTeroPure are expected to begin later this year.
What to Take
Take 50—125 mg of pterostilbene twice daily for general health maintenance. For combination supplements, follow product directions. In animal studies of diabetes, effective dosages would compare to approximately 120—470 mg daily for a 160-pound person, ranging from 1.62—6.48 mg per kilogram of body weight.
In addition to blueberries, pterostilbene is found in other small berries and, like resveratrol, in grapes. Although both are antioxidants and both reduce inflammation, each one works somewhat differently, and a combination of the two—found in some supplement products—produces a synergistic effect."They work much better together," says Kent Holtorf, MD, "so that one plus one equals not two, but three." Other antioxidants that work synergistically with pterostilbene, says Holtorf, include alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) and quercetin.
|Reserveage Organics Resveratrol 250mg + Natural Pterostilbene The pterostilbene comes from Silbinol, which is naturally derived and free of any synthetic additives.||Biotivia PteroMax Described as a "Unique High Potency Stilbene and Polyphenol Complex," Pteromax has 100 mg of pure pterostilbene in each capsule.||Genceutic Naturals pTeroBlue Pterostilbene This advanced blueberry complex features nature identical 99% pure trans-Pterostilbene. Free of GMOs, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and fungicides.|