Pterostilbene is a Natural Nootropic that is said to improve brainpower and memory, protect against aging, reduce signs of inflammation and improve energy metabolism and hormone balance.
Pterostilbene (4-[(E)-2-(3,5-Dimethoxyphenyl)ethenyl]Phenol) is a plant-based phytoaxin which can be found in berries and grapes. Similar to resveratrol, Pterostilbene is a natural infection-fighter. It limits the effectiveness of inflammatory mediators, reducing inflammation in the body and helping prevent many inflammation-related disorders. This herbal compound plays a role in cell health by regulating genes which cause programmed cell death (apoptosis) and cancer cell proliferation.
Pterostilbene up-regulates brain proteins relating to memory function. It is a neuroprotective extract which can prevent the onset of many age-related degenerative diseases by fighting inflammation. Inflammation is a contributing cause of many of these conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Pterostilbene promotes healthy circulation, lowers cholesterol, and protects against oxidative stress.
It also contributes to healthy mental function by improving vascular health and regulating the loss of Dopamine.
Pterostilbene (trans-3,5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxystilbene, or PTE)is a naturally-derived polyphenol antioxidant primarily found in blueberries and the Indian Kino Tree.
Pterostilbene and Resveratrol are both ‘stilbene’ polyphenols. And both boost cognition, learning and memory. But Pterostilbene works differently than Resveratrol. And is not a replacement for Resveratrol.
Resveratrol has been getting a lot of press lately because of its ability to boost learning, memory and cognitive power. But Pterostilbene is much morebioavailable than Resveratrol. And may be the preferred polyphenol to add to your Nootropic stack.
PTE stands out because of its structural differences from Resveratrol. Pterostilbene has two methoxy groups and one hydroxyl group. Resveratrol has three hydroxyl groups.
This combination in Pterostilbene improves lipophilicity which means it can dissolve in fats, oil and lipids. Lipids are what makes up the shell or membrane encasing each one of your cells.
So Pterostilbene can more easily cross through your cell walls. In fact, several published studies refer to Pterostilbene as having much better bio-activity than Resveratrol.
You can easily add Pterostilbene to your diet. It’s found in blueberries, cranberries, sparkleberries, lingonberries, grapes, and in the bark of the Indian Kino Tree.
But to get the therapeutic benefits of PTE, a preferred way of getting this potent antioxidant is to take it as a supplement.
Pterostilbene has been shown to prevent the loss of the neurotransmitter dopamine from memory centers in your brain. Supplementing with PTE raises its levels in your hippocampus which is where memory is processed.
Pterostilbene also has the effect of caloric restriction on cells which profoundly effects gene expression. This tricks your body into improving memory because it’s thinking there is food scarcity. And it provides an adaptive response.
The polyphenol Pterostilbene increases neuroreceptor sensitivity which improves neuronal signaling. And PTE promotes the formation of new synaptic connections which boosts neuroplasticity. Improving long-term potentiation resulting in formation of long-term memories.
Pterostilbene boosts brain health in several ways. But two in particular stand out.
CREB has a proven role in neuronal plasticity and long-term memory formation in the brain. And has been shown to be critical in the formation of spatial memory.
In several studies, Pterostilbene has been shown to modulate gene expression. PTE up-regulates those genes that stimulate apoptosis (programmed cell death). And down-regulate those genes that allow cancer cells for example, to invade and metastasize.
And this gene modulation is linked to increases in CREB and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). An increase in BDNF helps long-term potentiation needed for the development of long-term memory.
In this study, researchers supplemented aging animals with blueberry extract for 12 weeks. This extract contained PTE. Spatial working memory tasks emerged within 3 weeks of supplementation. And persisted for the remainder of the testing period.
This memory enhancement correlated with the activation of CREB. And increases in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the hippocampus. In fact, PTE was implicated in the entire chain of the ERK-CREB–BDNF signaling pathway that boosts memory.
One study done a Tufts University in Boston investigated stilbene compounds like PTE and their effect on reversing the effects of aging. The researchers used 344 Fisher rats and gave them either a low (0.004%) or a high (0.016%) concentration of Pterostilbene.
Results from this study showed that PTE was effective in reversing cognitive deficits. And Pterostilbene increased dopamine release. A boost in working memory correlated with Pterostilbene levels in the hippocampus.
As we get older, the chemistry in our brain cells and energy metabolism changes.
↓ Oxidation damages brain cells
All of these age-related changes are contributing factors to the neurodegenerative diseases of aging including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia.
But even if things haven’t degenerated to such a debilitating level, PTE can help.
Pterostilbene helps improve memory and provides neuroprotection through different mechanisms of action than most other nootropics in a typical stack.
PTE works primarily through gene expression. Easily passing through cell walls, PTE modulates genes that influence other proteins, mitochondria and even cell DNA.
We talk a lot about apoptosis (programmed cell death) as a negative event in Nootropic circles. But the reality is that apoptosis is an integral part of a healthy brain.
Pterostilbene stimulates apoptosis to make way for healthy new cells to be born (neurogenesis). And helps down-regulate invaders like cancer cells. Preventing them from invading healthy brain tissue and metastasizing.
Some supplement makers are mistakenly marketing their Pterostilbene as an “upgraded-version” of Resveratrol. Likely because PTE has better bioavailability. But the research shows Pterostilbene and Resveratrol work together to boost cognitive health.
Resveratrol works at the beginning of the cascade of neurochemical events that activates genes leading to cognitive benefits. And Pterostilbene provides its gene expression effects in the downstream portion of this molecular cascade.
Pterostilbene has a kind of ‘reverse effect’ on boosting dopamine. Rather than directly increasing dopamine levels like some nootropics, PTE prevents the loss of Dopamine in brain memory centers.
This is not nearly as strange as it sounds. Because this mechanism of action is similar to how Ritalin works as a stimulant. By preventing the uptake of dopamine by neuroreceptors, Ritalin keeps more dopamine available for increased alertness, cognition and memory formation.
PTE prevents brain injury from lack of blood flow and could have profound applications in the recovery from stroke. This effect could be beneficial even in healthy brains who suffer from brain fog due to poor cerebral circulation.
Pterostilbene provides well-documented antioxidant activity.Affecting neuroreceptor sensitivity for improved neural signaling. PTE even promotes new synaptic connections between neurons. Improving neuroplasticity leading to better learning and memory.
Neurohackers report that supplementing with Pterostilbene boosts energy levels, provides clearer thinking and improved mood.
Taken before an anxiety-producing event, PTE takes the edge off with no sedation.
Aging baby boomers report feeling younger after using Pterostilbene. They feel more alert, less joint and lower back pain, more energy, less anxiety, and better focus.
We have hundreds of studies talking about the benefits of . But mostly animal studies for Pterostilbene. So just bear in mind that life is not a clinical study.
Take what you can from this article on PTE, and read user reviews on some of the major sites. Then add Pterostilbene to your stack and see if it makes a difference in your life.
If you notice a difference, please bookmark this page, come back and leave a comment below this piece. And help other neurohackers out.
A study at the University of Mississippi investigated using Pterostilbene for anxiety disorders. Using mice, the team administered PTE in 1 – 10 mg/kg doses. Measuring the effects of each dose for its anxiolytic effect.
To measure this mood effect, the team evaluated decreases in extracellular regulated kinase 1 and extracellular regulated kinase 2 in the mice. These signaling pathways are involved in mood modulation in both animals and humans.
The research team found that no anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) activity was found at higher doses of Pterostilbene. But at lower doses of PTE (1 and 2 mg/kg), there was significant anti-anxiety activity in the brain. And unlike standard anti-anxiety drugs, there was no impairment of motor movement. In other words, there were no negative physical effects of using PTE for anxiety issues.
The team concluded that, “These results suggest that Pterostilbene has the potential for therapeutic drug development for anxiety disorders.”
Recent studies have shown that Pterostilbene and Resveratrol protect against age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s. So this study looked at comparing the two ‘stilbenes’ to find out which was more effective in improving cognitive deficits, and Alzheimer’s pathology.
The pathology of Alzheimer’s can be broken down into; cellular stress, inflammation and other pathology markers known to be altered in the disease.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio looked at the mechanism of action behind each of these pathology markers. They used SAMP8 mice which are bred to model age-related Alzheimer’s.
Two months of a Pterostilbene diet (but not Resveratrol) improved radial arm water maze function in these mice compared to controls who were fed a standard mouse diet.
This is where it gets good. Markers of cellular stress, inflammation, and Alzheimer’s pathology were all positively modulated by Pterostilbene.
The team concluded that “diet-achievable doses of Pterostilbene is a potent modulator of cognition and cellular stress”. Much better than Resveratrol.
The research team said that this success in improving cognition with Pterostilbene was due to its ability to increase peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (NR1C1) expression.
This particular receptor is encoded by the pPARA gene. And as you may recall from earlier in this article, Pterostilbene’s big claim to fame is ‘gene expression’ and modulation.
The team also noted that PTE works better than Resveratrol because of its increased ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. And superior bioavailability.
Pterostilbene is one of the only Nootropics that improves cognition directly by modifying genes (gene expression).
Blueberries have been reported to provide long-term neuroprotective effects. But researchers in China wanted to dig deeper to determine what in blueberries provided this benefit. Was it Pterostilbene?
The research team dosed mice with 2.5 – 80 mg/kg of PTE for 3 days. Then induced a middle cerebral artery occlusion for 90 minutes. In other words, they gave the mice a stroke.
The team gave the mice another dose of PTE immediately after the stroke, at 1 hour and at 3 hours. The team found the most therapeutic window for neuroprotection was 1 hour after the stroke dosed at 10 mg/kg.
Pterostilbene improved motor function, eliminated the blood flow disruption, increased neuron survival and reduced cell apoptosis (cell death). The team concluded that you could protect the brain from stroke using Pterostilbene.
And this neuroprotective effect of Pterostilbene was associated with preventing oxidative stress and neuron death.
Pterostilbene comes in tablet or capsule form and is available by several well-known supplement makers. Some pre-made nootropic stacks like Mind Lab Pro include PTE in their formula.
TeroPure® is a branded form of Pterostilbene derived from blueberries. And marketed as yielding 99.9% purity.
You can also get Pterostilbene from blueberries. But you’d have to eat a lot of berries to get your quota of 50 mg per day. Blueberry extract supplements contain Pterostilbene. But do not typically indicate exactly how much is in the extract.
We suggest starting with a dose of at least 10 mg daily. And Pterostilbene is a great compliment to a stack including any Nootropic. It works particularly well when combined with Resveratrol.
Supplementation of Pterostilbene for the purpose of aiding glucose and lipid metabolism tends to be around 20- 40mg/kg oral ingestion in rats, which is an estimated human dosage range of:
* 215-430mg for a 150lb person
* 290-580mg for a 200lb person
* 365-730mg for a 250lb person
Possible anxiolytic properties of Pterostilbene are seen at 1-2mg/kg in mice, which is an estimated human dose of:
* 5.5-11mg for a 150lb person
* 7.3-14.5mg for a 200lb person
* 9-18mg for a 250lb person
Which is notable as 5-10mg/kg in these mice (slightly over double the dose) has failed to have the same anxiolytic effects, suggesting a bell-curve that may favor lower dosages such as is found in food consumption rather than higher dosages from supplementation.
Limited human studies have used either 50mg twice a day or 125mg twice a day, and the addition of Grape Seed Extract (100mg at both dosing times) with the low dose may mitigate some adverse effects on cholesterol seen with Pterostilbene in isolation.