In our last two articles we've discussed pterostilbene SIRT1 activation and pterostilbene AMPK activation. We’ve been waxing lyrical about pterostilbene and its effects on longevity. Pterostilbene is often compared to its cousin, Resveratrol, as both have a reputation of being an ‘anti-aging’ supplement in recent years. Like pterostilbene, resveratrol is also considered to be within the classification of stilbenoids, which are plant-like compounds known to have many benefits.
Resveratrol is found primarily within the skin of red grapes. Ever heard of the French Paradox? The paradox describes how the French, despite their diets high in saturated fats, actually have low incidences of coronary heart disease. It seems to be that the secret in unlocking the answer to this paradox lies in Resveratrol and the French’s fondness for red wine.
Pterostilbene is also found in red grapes, but also in blueberries, almonds, grape leaves and mulberries. It’s the reason why blueberries and almonds are labelled as ‘superfoods’ and are in trend these days.
Both supplements have become extremely popular in recent years, although resveratrol has been around for longer.
Resveratrol was first discovered by Michio Takaoka in 1939, but it took half a century later until researchers began discovering its biological effects. Pterostilbene on the other hand, was first addressed in a now defunct German life sciences journal, Experentia, in 1977. But like resveratrol, it took decades before researchers began to understand the health benefits of pterostilbene.
Resveratrol received a great deal of spotlight in 1998 when a publicly traded biotech company, Sirtris, who was pioneering research around the compound at the time was bought out by the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in a deal worth $720 million.
The research seems to correlate resveratrol in having a role in activating the AMPK and SIRT1 pathway - both which we now know play important roles in extending one’s lifespan. As we alluded in our previous articles, pterostilbene too, has a role in activating these two pathways. So the question now is: which one is better - pterostilbene or resveratrol?
Despite having more research to back up its claims, resveratrol seems to be poorly absorbed by the body. It has an extremely short half-life, quickly degraded by light and heat and oxidizes easily when exposed to air. For these reasons, high doses of resveratrol are needed to reap the benefits.
On the other hand, pterostilbene is much better absorbed by the body:
- 80% bioavailability vs 20% bioavailability of resveratrol
- Half-life of 105 minutes vs 14 minutes of resveratrol
- Less sensitive to light
- Less easily oxidized by air
Despite its superior bioavailability, there is a severe lack of scientific evidence to back up pterostilbene. Most of the growing body of research for both supplements have come in the last few years; thousands of research articles on resveratrol coming out each each and less than 100 for pterostilbene. Resveratrol has been tested in a variety of lab animals, such as yeast cells, roundworms, fruit flies, fish and mice.
On the other hand, pterostilbene has only had one test done on mice to study its effects on longevity. In this study from the University of California, mice were given a combination of nutraceuticals, which contained blueberry extract containing a small amount of pterostilbene. The study found that the mice taking the combination of nutraceuticals did not have their lifespan increased compared to the control.
So while a lot of the spotlight has shifted in recent years from resveratrol to pterostilbene due to its superior bioavailability, and the end of the day, having the evidence to back it up is what matters most. And until pterostilbene has enough studies to back up its claim, the winner here is still resveratrol.
NutraRez is an excellent resveratrol complex that combines both pterostilbene and reseveratrol. And if you just want those to ingredients VitaMonk also makes a resveratrol with pterostilbene supplement.