Pterostilbene Used As a Nootropic Supplement
What is Pterostilbene?
Pterostilbene is a very potent antioxidant, stimulates Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, promotes neuroplasticity, is anti-anxiety, boosts dopamine, and helps cognition, learning and memory.
Pterostilbene is gaining a reputation in the nootropics community for controlling brain inflammation, boosting dopamine, helping reverse cognitive decline and fighting brain cell aging.
●Neuroplasticity. Pterostilbene increases hippocampus neurogenesis, boosts insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and modulates the receptor kinase pathway that is central in the learning and memory process. Increasing neuroplasticity in the hippocampus improves learning and memory functions.
●Neuroprotectant. Pterostilbene is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It reduces reactive oxygen species (ROS), and increases the antioxidant glutathione and superoxide dismutase (SOD). Crucial to overall brain health, maintaining signaling pathways and leading to improved learning and memory.
●Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). Pterostilbene has been shown in clinical trials to elevate BDNF in the hippocampus. Improving learning and memory.
How does Pterostilbene work in the brain?
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.
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.
Pterostilbene Reduces Anxiety
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.”
Pterostilbene Improves Cognition
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).
Pterostilbene Protects Neurons
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 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 as a nootropic supplement
Your body does not make Pterostilbene supplement on its own. You can get some Pterostilbene from blueberries and a few other fruits. But studies have shown we may not get an adequate supply of Pterostilbene from food sources in our diet. Especially if you don’t eat a lot of fruit every day.
Pterostilbene has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years as a “blood tonic”.
Pterostilbene helps protect neurons, and boosts other antioxidants that shield your brain cells from oxidative stress. Protecting brain cells in memory centers of the brain helps boost dopamine. Resulting in better alertness, learning and memory.
The boost in memory and learning also comes from Pterostilbene’s ability to promote neuroplasticity. And PTE helps maintain cerebral circulation by protecting brain blood vessels from lack of oxygen, and oxidative stress.
Pterostilbene is especially helpful for those dealing with anxiety. PTE provides an anxiolytic effect without the sedation you’d normally get from using anti-anxiety drugs.
I 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.
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