Any compound commonly referred to as “better” than another is worth researching. Pterostilbene, while sounding odd, is a derivative of resveratrol with more promising antioxidant and anticancer properties.
While pterostilbene has considerably less research, it is still called “better resveratrol” colloquially. Existing evidence suggests that pterostilbene can reduce inflammation of the brain slightly better than resveratrol , can help reduce feelings of anxiety and improve mood , and enhance cognition . Almost all of the existing studies are done on animals rather than humans.
In contrast, the nootropics community is less enthusiastic about pterostilbene given the bungled research (and marketing) of the related resveratrol products.
Also Known As
trans-3, 5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxystilbene, 3, 5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxystilbene
Editors’ Thoughts on Pterostilbene
I have never taken pterostilbene, but I have a lot of faith in certain community members and a single quote from “gwern” (displayed below) has given me some bias to the compound.
Although some of the evidence seems okay, there isn’t anything that suggests this is a new wonder pill. It’s commonly used in Alpha Brain (which isn’t a surprise). The fact that some people may think that it is feels reminiscent of the resveratrol craze.
Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor
Benefits of Pterostilbene
The benefits of pterostilbene are manifold although not all have been tested within humans. The mammalian (i.e: rat) models are showing relatively positive trends, however. A 2008 study in Chemico-Biological Interactions found that pterostilbene was more effective at reducing inflammation of the brain than the related resveratrol drug .
Given that neuroinflammation is a major cause of brain fog and (more seriously) degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, any tool that can reduce inflammation of the brain is worthwhile. A 2012 study suggested low-dose pterostilbene could modulate aging and Alzheimer’s disease specifically .
While the connection seems tentative and somewhat unexplored, one of the main pterostilbene benefits seems to be reducing the impacts of aging on the brain.
Another major benefit of pterostilbene, which can help people in the short-term, is anxiety reduction. There is no direct correlation yet, but studies show pterostilbene facilitate mechanisms in the hippocampus , which is related to anxiety and mood .
Again, these correlations only exist with low-doses of pterostilbene rather than the high ones.
The final benefit of pterostilbene for the brain is memory and learning. Over 12 – 13 weeks, aged rats could improve cognitive abilities . While this is obviously highly preliminary (for aged humans), there is some evidence it could help healthy adults as well.
Side Effects of Pterostilbene
Not much is known about pterostilbene, which means the side effects are not well studied. In one of the human trials, researchers concluded that there was no toxicity or side effects that were different than a placebo .
In the study, participants took 250 mg per day (125 mg daily), but this is a relatively low dose compared to the recommended dose for pterostilbene. In any case, one participant dropped out of the experiment due to increased cholesterol, which may be a side effect of pterostilbene in some people .
There seem to be a few people using pterostilbene online in communities like Reddit and Longecity without any side effects. While this doesn’t mean it will be the same for everyone, it is a good sign for a compound that has scarce scientific research and evidence.
The pterostilbene dosage depends highly on the desired effect. As mentioned above, those who are trying to reduce anxiety and improve brain inflammation must seek a low-dosage of pterostilbene. For example, a human dose of pterostilbene might be 5.5 – 15 mg.
In contrast, someone trying to use pterostilbene for glucose and lipid metabolism would need a dosage of 215 all the way to 730 mg. All of these doses are extrapolated from the current literature suggesting the mg / kg dosage in rats and then humans.
For those who are just starting out with pterostilbene, there are few concerns about side effects, but it might be worthwhile to start with an extremely low dose of 2 – 4 mg to check for reactions and then move up to the desired effect. This would prevent any unexpected consequences of using pterostilbene because there is so little data on the topic.
How and Where to Buy Pterostilbene
The pterostilbene compound is not easily found at your local health and grocery store. Most people have to buy pterostilbene online and there are a host of different vendors who provide the product. Sometimes nootropics users don’t even have to go to a specific vendor to get pterostilbene. For example, the compound is found in the 250 mg dosage in Alpha Brain.
Although there is little research that the pterostilbene nootropic will provide significant cognitive effects at this dose range, it is consumed by millions within the Onnit product.
Most of the evidence points towards smaller doses being helpful for cognitive enhancement, which means pterostilbene products should come in smaller doses. One such option is Jarrow Formulas brand which can be found here.
If you decide to buy pterostilbene, make sure to do so without huge expectations. As helpful as it may be, there is little evidence that this will be a drastic, life changing drug.
Selected Community Experiences
“Given how much of a mess resveratrol and sirtuin research has been in the past years, with negative results and outright fraud, I’m not sure it’s worth asking – all you’re going to get is placebo, likely…”  – gwern
“According to my brain training apps I am getting good results with pterostilbene. I have seen an increase in my scores and there have been no other changes except the addition of pterostilbene…”  – realneil
- References (Click to Expand)