I’m sure by now, we have all heard about the health benefits of Resveratrol. It’s probably one of the most talked about anti-aging ingredients out there that has stood the test of time. Resveratrol is one of those compounds that we are just beginning to grasp how it affects our longevity, especially in regards to the SIRT1 gene.
If you are new to the world of longevity and anti-aging and have never heard of Resveratrol or Ptsersotilbene, then I will give you a little background of what each is and also what makes them different.
Resveratrol is this potent polyphenol compound primarily found in the grape skins, blueberries, red wine, mulberries, peanuts, raw cacao and pomegranate. Resveratrol places this “hermetic effect” on the body. This “hermetic effect” simply means that it acts as a stressor to our bodies because of the plant’s defense systems it created to maximize it’s survival and health. So in return, we take on that plants anti-oxidant power. Pretty neat… huh?! Now that you know what this buzzword is all about. Ever wondered which plant contains the highest concentration of Resveratrol. Not just any grape will do here. The highest concentration of this compound resides in the Muscadine grapes, which are known for their thick skin and that’s exactly where the Resveratrol originates. It’s important to understand these types of grapes are different from the grapes you see at your nearby grocery store.
Whether Resveratrol extends life in mammals is still up for to debate. More research is needed to prove its effectiveness long term. However, there are some impressive health benefits for taking Resveratrol. This one study in the Journal of Cell Metabolism looked at the effects of resveratrol supplementation on energy metabolism and metabolic profile in obese humans for 30 days. They took 11 healthy, obese men with placebo and 150 mg/day of Resveratrol in a randomized double blind study for 30 days. What the researchers found was that Resveratrol decreased sleep and resting metabolic rate. It also activated AMPK, boosted SIRT1 and PGC-1 protein levels. Even more impressive is that it improved muscle mitochondria respiration and insulin sensitivity.
A little backstory on what the above abbreviations mean. AMPK is an enzyme involved cellular energy homeostasis. SIRT1 is a gene commonly found in humans and other mammals that gets activated when food is limited and scarce. Lastly, is PGC-1, which is this transcription co-activator that plays a role in cellular energy metabolism. This transcription co-activator gets activated during events of cold exposure or an extreme heat stimuli like a sauna or exercising in hot temperatures.
Here are some pictures of some of the more popular sirtuin containing foods. You might be surprised that you consume these on a daily basis.
Let’s move onto Pterostilbene. This compound is a dimethylated version of Resveratrol and for specific reasons is supposedly the superior form of Resveratrol. I will explain more in detail later about why it might be the better choice over Resveratrol. You can find pterostilbene in wild blueberries and other anthocyanin rich foods like spirulina.
So let’s get back to why Pterostilbene might be the superior version over Resveratrol. I mentioned the di-methylated form. Essentially the chemical structure of both Resveratrol and Pterosilbene are similar. However, the main differences between the two are that Resveratrol has three hydroxyl groups at its extremities. Pterostilbene has two of the hydroxyl groups replaced with methoxy groups. This difference in the chemical structure is what makes it a more bio-available form. This translates to pterostilbene being better absorbed through the stomach lining and staying in the person’s system for a longer period of time and resulting in a more potent effect on their health and gene expression.
Here a few areas where pterostilbene shines! The first area is in regards to weight control and DNA repair. I’m sure most of you are aware of the anti-aging benefits of calorie restriction (CR) and its effect on the aging process. Well, apparently pterostilbene has similar effects on our genes in the same way CR does. These effects keep inflammation down, enhance mitochondria function, create less oxidative stress from normal day living, preserve cognitive function and preserve telomere length.
This is pretty neat if you ask me because what this is saying is that you can get the same benefits without having to always be on a calorie restrictive diet your whole life. You could incorporate pterostilbene and add in some intermittent fasting and exercise to get similar benefits!
To bring everything together, it is important to understand that this popular topic of using pterostilbene and reservatrol to enhance our health span is still in its infancy stage and with that there is still lots we don’t know about yet. Most studies and clinical trials have been done on mice with great promise. To make the assumption that humans will respond in the same way as mice isn’t logical. It’s much more complex than that.
To wrap things up, the idea and science is intriguing and needs more research to really showcase the potential these compounds can do for
boosting our health span. The future is bright for these fascinating compounds though! Have you tried these supplements, if so, what health benefits did you notice from it?
- 25 Aug 2015
- Optimized Nutrition