(NaturalNews) You may not have heard of pterostilbene (pronounced "tero-Still-bean) yet. No, it's not a paleontologist' 160 million year-old dream discovery along with Triceratopsan. It is exciting news nonetheless. Resveratrol grabbed our attention a decade ago with its cardiovascular and cancer-fighting benefits; now pterostilbene is making its debut. A derivative of resveratrol, the compound is found in the skins of red grapes. Prospects are strong for inhibiting breast cancer, diabetes, and LDL cholesterol - for starters. "The more we study pterostilbene, the more we see its huge potential in the human health field," says chemist Agnes Rimando of ARS's Natural Products Utilization Research Laboratory in Oxford, Mississippi.
Found in blueberries, grapes and the bark of the Indian Kino Tree, pterostilbene has been around for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine.
Chemist Rimando began experimenting with pterostilbene as early as the 1990's when its fungicidal and antidiabetic properties had already been established. In 2002 Rimando and her University of Illinois at Chicago colleagues discovered pterostilbene mimicked the cancer-fighting properties of resveratrol. In that same study, Rimando, Oxford physiologist Stephen Duke, and scientists at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina found that pterostilbene claimed yet another benefit as a powerful antioxidant.
More recently Rimando and scientists at the University of Medical Science in Poznan, Poland held a study led by Renata Mikstacka, that showed pterostilbene's exciting potential as a cancer inhibiting compound with regard to certain enzymes. "Pterostilbene showed strong inhibitory activity against a particular form of cytochrome P450, which may explain the cancer preventive property it demonstrated," but she says more studies are needed to explain this process.
Korean cancer researchers agree there is growing evidence that pterostilbene provides chemoprevention, which is the use of natural or laboratory-made substances to prevent a disease such as cancer. Pterostilbene's antioxidant strength and anti-inflammatory actions help block the inflammation/cancer connection.
In another study using rat liver cells, university scientists compared the lipid-lowering effects of pterostilbene to that of ciprofibrate, a drug used for controlling lipids. Lipid tests are often part of preventative care that helps determine whether there is significant risk for arteriosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries that interferes with blood flow.
They based their comparison on each compound's ability to activate PPARa, short for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha. Activation leads to lowering of lipids in the blood. Pterostilbene outperformed resveratrol and was as effective as ciprofibrate in activating PPARa.
It is remarkable what potential health benefits pterostilbene could offer. Increased life span, improvement in age related disorders such as atherosclerosis, chronic inflammatory diseases, cognitive decline, learning and memory, cancer prevention, and enhanced insulin sensitivity all stand as hopeful beneficiaries of this mighty chemical cousin of resveratrol. Be on the watch for this rising star.
Life Extension winter edition 2009-2010/The Other Resveratrol by Tiesha D. Johnson, RN, BSN
About the author
Deanna Dean is the Wellness Director for Your Health Coach, a company dedicated to health and wellness education. website: yourhealthcoachdee.com Dee is a Wellness & Weight Loss Coach, a Certified Natural Health Professional, is pursuing an ND degree-Naturopathic Doctor, is a certified Raw Chef, certified in Dietary Guidelines from the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, former Personal Trainer, Yoga and Fitness Studio Owner, TV and Radio Guest, Health Columnist. Deanna develops customized programs to enhance the health of her clients, educates, and coaches dieters for safe weight loss.
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