Lifespan extension and other anti-aging properties of pterostilbene
Pterostilbene sounds like a name for prehistoric creature, but it is actually a compound that usually found in blueberries. For the long time it was the subject of intense research on longevity because it can activate three essential molecular pathways of aging. Pterostilbene is unique in the way how it behaves in life-extending process.
It’s almost pterostilbene has a mind of its own – it chooses the malignant cells and induces apoptosis, meaning it is programming those cells for death. But in the same time it causes completely opposite effect in the cardiovascular system, protecting endothelial cells and reducing the risk of atherosclerosis by doing so. In addition to that, this compound removes the buildup of cellular waste products that can hinder biological activity in the entire body. But the most important benefits of pterostilbene lie in its anti-aging properties.
Pterostilbene recreates calorie restriction effects
Calorie restriction has been shown to extend lifespan is by activating the genes relevant to long-term survival. Researchers have been intrigued to find that pterostilbene recreates many of the same broad preventive and therapeutic properties of calorie restriction. Actually, pterostilbene affects multiple anti-aging factors involved in cardiovascular, hematologic, inflammatory, metabolic, and neurological disorders. Also studies suggest that pterostilbene acts as a powerful anti-tumor agent in multiple malignity cases.
Pterostilbene activates anti-aging molecular pathways in the similar way as calorie restriction usually does. There are 3 key pathways that are related to the extended lifespan – mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), and srtuins.
Right now mTor is the main focus of research on slowing aging. Reducing this gene expression is considered to extend lifespan for many mammal species, and these models are related to humans.
The key function of mTOR is to regulate the cell proliferation and metabolism. This pathway also controls many processes related with generating huge amounts of nutrients and energy. When something goes wrong, the cascade of harmful events is triggered, including development of different cancer, as well as variety of chronic diseases that comes with age.
Pterostilbene has been found to naturally inhibit the mTOR pathway. This reduction in mTOR provides a powerful way of regulating cellular growth and metabolism, and combating some of the primary factors involved in aging and disease.
While pterostilbene has been shown to naturally inhibit the mTOR pathway, it has been found to beneficially activate a separate important pathway associated with an increase in lifespan and a decrease in degenerative disease. Called AMPK, this cellular energy sensor regulates the ways our bodies use and exhange energy. In young age higher levels of activated AMPK are present, which protects us against many conditions, including obesity and diabetes. But with time, AMPK activation decreases, which can lead to weight gain and accelerated aging.
By increasing AMPK activation through the use of various nutritional compounds including pterostilbene, we can achieve a reduction in many of the destructive factors of aging, enabling our cells to return to their youthful vitality. Preclinical research shows that enhanced AMPK activity is associated with an approximate 20% increase in lifespan. It has also been shown to shrink body-fat stores, lower blood sugar and lipid levels, and keeps in check chronic inflammation—all of which are key indicators of a reduction in the aging process.
Activating AMPK can also help protect against Alzheimer’s disease because it suppresses the formation of beta-amyloid plaque and tau tangles, two of the primary markers of this neurodegenerative disease. It has also been found to limit oxidative stress that leads to hypertension, increase cell survival during hypoxia (oxygen deprivation), and promote autophagy to reduce memory impairment. Activating AMPK is a critical component for warding off degenerative disease. Pterostilbene helps activate this important longevity pathway.
Pterostilbene regulates the activation of key anti-aging molecules known as silent information regulators (SIR), or sirtuins. Sirtuins act across multiple cellular pathways that regulate gene expression, aging, DNA repair, metabolism and apoptosis. Studies have also examined the vital role that sirtuins play in maintaining telomere length. These are critical longevity factors, since shortened telomeres are associated with reduced lifespan. In a cell study model of ischemia-reperfusion injury, pterostilbene was found to protect heart cells from apoptosis by stimulating the activity and enhancing the expression of sirtuin-1. Study investigators concluded that pterostilbene could be used clinically to alleviate heart muscle injury due to a heart attack.
Removing cellular waste
Pterostilbene can also extend longevity and suppress age-related diseases by preventing the buildup of cellular waste products. These components of damaged and cross-linked proteins, known as lipofuscin, are detrimental to normal cell functions.
The rate of lipofuscin formation is closely related to the level of cellular oxidative stress. Different researchers claim that lipofuscin may be involved in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease by causing mitochondrial dysfunction and by activating an innate immune response that can damage neurons.
Our body has its own small garbage cleaners within cells called lysosomes that are designed to eliminate harmful lipofuscin. When lysosomes do no work as they are suppose to, it leads to the accumulation of lipofuscin. The progressive accumulation of this cellular debris is considered to be a reliable marker of aging.
In addition to accelerating the aging process, these junk-laden cells contribute to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and they have been found in vascular lesions in the retina. By preventing the buildup of cellular garbage, pterostilbene helps keep the body’s systems running more smoothly and efficiently—an important factor in maintaining youthful vigor while also preventing age-related diseases.
Pterostilbene and reveratrol work in synergy
Pterostilbene is especially effective when combined with other specific antiaging compounds and CR (calorie restriction) simulation.
One of the most significant relationships is with resveratrol. Pterostilbene and resveratrol are both stilbene compounds and are structurally similar. Pterostilbene and resveratrol naturally occur together in certain varieties of berries and grapes. Both compounds have been shown to mimic the anti-aging effects of caloric restriction, and multiple studies have confirmed their synergistic health benefits. Resveratrol is known for its potential ability to combat cancer and diabetes, while protecting against cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s. Pterostilbene affects longevity-related molecular pathways “downstream” from the sites activated by resveratrol, thereby increasing the anti-aging effects. Together, these effects make these two compounds especially beneficial when taken together.
Combining pterostilbene with resveratrol has been shown to be a beneficial therapy for treating estrogen receptor-alpha-negative breast cancer cells when combined with standard-of-care anti-hormonal therapy. Additionally, combined treatment with pterostilbene and resveratrol has been shown to significantly and synergistically inhibit the growth of triple-negative breast cancer cells, a type of breast cancer that is especially aggressive and very difficult to treat. This cell study found no harmful effects of the treatment on healthy control breast cells, demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of the two compounds. Pterostilbene’s established ability to work in concert with other CR simulations provides an opportunity to take advantage of the compound’s synergistic lifespan-extending effects.
The presence of pterostilbene in blueberries explains the health and extended lifespan benefits of blueberries that were shown by the multiple researches. Structurally it’s similar to the red wine molecule resveratrol which also simulates the work of calorie restriction to increase longevity. But the amount of blueberries you can have without endangering your health is of course much higher than that of the wine.
Still you must take in consideration that pterostilbene works in synergy with resevatrol in the ways of how they extend the lifespan. Pterostilbene has a huge variety of preventive and therapeutic properties that allow it to beneficially impact factors involved in cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic disorders, and cancer.