RELEVATE Nutrients


Key Food Groups: Berries, Wine/Red Grapes

Pterostilbene: Role in Brain Health

Pterostilbene (PTE) is part of a family of nutrients called stilbenoids (which also includes resveratrol), and it is a nutrient involved in neutralizing intracellular toxins and preventing prolonged inflammatory responses in the brain.1,2 As metabolic (energy producing) reactions occur in neurons, they release small amounts of damaging toxins called free radicals that can damage the cell if they are allowed to build up. The damage to cells then drives neuroinflammation to occur, which results in further destruction.2 Antioxidants, like PTE, are involved in collecting and neutralizing these free radicals to prevent such destructive mechanisms from progressing. Otherwise, the long-term buildup of free radicals and the neuroinflammation may continue and increase the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.1

Intake Deficiency and Relevance

Blueberries, one of the only sources of pterostilbene in the diet, are unfortunately not consumed enough in a typical Western diet. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that a healthy diet includes two cups of fruits per day,3 however actual intake amongst Americans is much lower, and berry intake makes-up only a fraction of that.4

RELEVATE’s Form of Pterostilbene

The dose and high-purity form of pterostilbene in RELEVATE is based off diet-achievable recommendations, unlike other supplements that use a concentrations 10,000’s times higher than a diet-informed intake of PTE. Our dose is equivalent to an intake achievable by eating half a cup of blueberries daily and is based off observational evidence that demonstrated better outcomes, such as reduced risk of neurodegenerative disease and cognitive decline.5

Other forms of stilbenoids, the family of antioxidants that PTE comes from, have been considered in supplements. Resveratrol, for example, is often compared to PTE being that they share very similar chemical structures. However, PTE is more bioavailable and is not immediately broken down by the body like resveratrol is. Also, PTE exhibits brain specific properties; one study found that PTE remains in its intact form (rather than metabolized/broken down forms) preferentially in the brain, unlike in other organs.6 This suggests PTE is able to enter the brain and achieve its antioxidant role in its native form.

Concluding Thoughts to Consider

There is a substantial amount of promising research that suggests blueberries (a food source with a high PTE content) have neuroprotective outcomes.5,7,8 Research shows that adherence to the MIND diet, in which berries are a vital component, is associated with significantly lower cognitive decline and incident of Alzheimer’s disease.8 Synergies amongst other antioxidants may also play a role in the beneficial outcomes of these studies, particularly with anthocyanins, which are also a key nutrient rich in blueberries. Overall, PTE is a unique nutrient with brain-specific properties that helps build the right mixture of nutrients for a neuroprotective .


Cited Research

  1. McCormack, D. & McFadden, D. A review of pterostilbene antioxidant activity and disease modification. Oxid. Med. Cell. Longev. 2013, 575482 (2013).
  2. Poulose, S. M., Thangthaeng, N., Miller, M. G. & Shukitt-Hale, B. Effects of pterostilbene and resveratrol on brain and behavior. Neurochemistry International 89, 227–233 (2015).
  3. Agriculture, U. S. D. of & Services, U. S. D. of H. and H. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. (2010).
  4. Guenther, P. M., Dodd, K. W., Reedy, J. & Krebs-Smith, S. M. Most Americans Eat Much Less than Recommended Amounts of Fruits and Vegetables. J. Am. Diet. Assoc. 106, 1371–1379 (2006).
  5. Devore, E. E., Kang, J. H., Breteler, M. M. B. & Grodstein, F. Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Ann. Neurol. 72, 135–143 (2012).
  6. Azzolini, M. et al. Pharmacokinetics and tissue distribution of pterostilbene in the rat. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 58, 2122–2132 (2014).
  7. Chang, J. et al. Low-dose pterostilbene, but not resveratrol, is a potent neuromodulator in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiol. Aging 33, 2062–2071 (2012).
  8. Morris, M. C. et al. MIND diet slows cognitive decline with aging. Alzheimer’s Dement. 11, 1015–1022 (2015).