Pterostilbene: Healthy Effects for you

Blueberries are packed with healthful phytochemicals such as pterostilbene, which has been shown to lower cholesterol in some lab animals.

Standing to reap benefits from pterostilbene’s renown are producers of blueberries and grapes, two fruits known to contain this compound. The pterostilbene has great potential in the human health field.

Pterostilbene is one of many aromatic hydrocarbons called “stilbenes.” It’s a derivative of resveratrol, a compound found in large quantities in the skins of red grapes. Technician Gloria Hervey collects blueberry extracts for analysis of pterostilbene and other phytochemicals.

Originally isolated from red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus), pterostilbene had already been touted for its fungicidal and antidiabetic properties—and showed potential for lowering blood glucose—when Rimando started experimenting with it in the early 1990s.

After isolated pterostilbene from a plant from Thailand back when I was a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), At that time, It to be toxic to a few cancer cell lines, especiallly breast cancer cells. Later, when had a renewed interest in whether pterostilbene might inhibit cancer when Pterostilbene was reported to have cancer-preventive activity.”

Through experiments using mice, rats, and hamsters, Rimando and collaborators have since helped add chapters to what’s known about pterostilbene and what it can do.

Rimando and UIC collaborators made a huge discovery in 2002, when—in tests using rat mammary glands—they found that pterostilbene possessed cancer-fighting properties at similar effective concentrations as resveratrol. Also in that study, Rimando, Oxford plant physiologist Stephen Duke, and scientists at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina found that pterostilbene is a powerful antioxidant.

Then, in 2004, Rimando solidified pterostilbene’s standing with two major announcements to the American Chemical Society. First was the finding—with colleagues in Agriculture and AgriFood in Canada, Oregon Freeze Dry Inc., and North Carolina State and Idaho State universities—that pterostilbene had been detected for the first time in some berries of Vaccinium, a genus of shrubs that includes many types of berries. The research revealed that blueberries are a ready source of the compound. Pterostilbene was already known to exist in very small amounts in red-skinned grapes. Laboratory animal model studies have provided evidence that stilbenes, phenolic compounds present in grapes and blueberries, play a role in inhibiting the risk of certain cancers. Pterostilbene, a naturally occurring stilbene from blueberries, was tested for its preventive activity against colon carcinogenesis. Experiments were designed to study the inhibitory effect of pterostilbene against the formation of azoxymethane-induced colonic aberrant crypt foci (ACF) preneoplastic lesions in male F344 rats. The results of the study suggest that pterostilbene, a compound present in blueberries, is of great interest for the prevention of colon cancer.

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