Lowering Cholesterol with Pterostilbene

Pterostilbene for lowering cholesterol is one of the hottest emerging topics in natural health. This naturally occurring antioxidant with the tongue-twisting name is the active ingredient in the oldest heart tonics, wines made from grapes or berries, and in the newest nutritional supplements, such as Life Extension Resveratrol with Pterostilbene Veggie Caps.

A Novel Method for Lowering Cholesterol

Plants make pterostilbene when they are under stress. When a grape vine or a berry bush is attacked by a fungus, it makes this antioxidant to limit damage from any infections and also to help it deal with heat and drought.

It turns out that this compound also has protective effects in humans. This plant chemical lowers cholesterol not by paralyzing enzymes in the liver that make cholesterol, or by providing fiber to absorb cholesterol while it is still in the gut. Pterostilbene works by activating a gene called peroxisome proliferator-activated factor alpha, or PPAR-alpha.

PPAR-alpha is activated when we don’t eat enough food for our daily needs. It enables enzymes that burn fat, and it keeps the liver from turning dietary fat into LDL cholesterol by “turning off” a gene called AIP. Activating PPAR-alpha also makes it easier for cells to use insulin to absorb sugar, lowering blood sugar levels while it lowers blood cholesterol levels.

Not Easy to Get By Drinking Wine or Eating Blueberries

Although pterostilbene, which is chemically similar to the heart-protective red grape compound resveratrol, is abundant in grapes, it is even more abundant in blueberries. Drinking red wine and eating blueberries, however, will not deliver enough pterostilbene to make large differences in your blood cholesterol readings.

That is why natural products makers extract this important phytochemical from a plant called heartwood. In Ayurvedic medicine this plant is known vijyasar, and in botany it is known as Pterocarpus marsupium. Extracts made from the plant allow users of the supplement to get far more pterostilbene without the sugar, calories, and alcohol of drinking red wine.

A Substitute for a Low-Fat Diet?

Drugs that activate PPAR receptors often lower cholesterol regardless of diet, but throwing away your list of foods that help lower cholesterol is premature. The best results from using pterostilbene will always result from a combination of low-calorie diet (if not necessarily low-fat diet), exercise, and any needed medications.

It is only honest to note that the benefits of pterostilbene are only proven by traditional use of the Ayurvedic herb vijaysar and by laboratory experiments with animals. The best nutritional supplements combine pterostilbene with another chemical found in grapes and berries, resveratrol. The resveratrol in the formula acts quickly while the pterostilbene acts slowly, providing maximum protective effect.