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Is Pterostilbene better than Resveratrol?

Next time you’re at a dinner or cocktail party find a person sipping on a glass of red wine and say, I heard that red wine is actually healthy... And they will invariably respond, Yeah, thanks to Resveratrol!

This is because the red wine industry has done an amazing marketing job rebranding red wine as “healthy.” Unfortunately, red wine isn’t actually healthy, unless you’re drinking really high quality, organic “biodynamic” wine. Red wine does include Resveratrol, a well researched anti-aging compound that has a mechanism flipping the epigenetic switches in our genome. As much I enjoy red wine from time to time, the lesser-known compound Pterostilbene has a more potent anti-aging effect.

What are the advantages of Pterostilbene?

  • More bioavailable - Improved Lipophilicity over Resveratrol which taken orally is just not that bioavailable.
  • Better bioactivity - It’s able to cross cell membranes better.
    • It’s more of a classic Nootropic - It has cognition and memory-enhancing effects.
    • Doesn’t blunt exercise gains - I don’t take Resveratrol because there’s evidence from two human clinical trials that Resveratrol hurts the gains that you might make in the gym, particularly in aerobic and cardiovascular exercise.


    There are over 500 scientific papers about Pterostilbene published and several clinical trials.

    A landmark randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled 2017 American study was published in the respected journal Nature.

    About the study

      • 120 elderly participants (that’s a statistically relevant amount) between ages 60-80.
      • Pterostilbene was taken alongside Nicotinamide Riboside, an NAD+ precursor, which they called NRPT.
      • NAD+ hack - The two together increases NAD+ levels in humans safely and sustainably. In the standard dosage group, NAD+ increased by 40% after 4-weeks and in the double dosage group NAD+ increased by 90%.
      • Mobility hack - There was a significant improvement in chair stand and power walking exercises. The researchers speculated that NRPT may support overall muscle health and/or energy in an older population. 
  • It has an excellent safety profile, out of the 120 in the trial, one [adverse effect] mild in intensity assessed as possibly related to NRPT 1X (nausea) - so just one elderly person experienced a bit of nausea. That’s not bad!
  • The study produced some helpful dosage recommendations...

    Standard Dosage 250 mg of Nicotinamide Riboside plus 50 mg of Pterostilbene

    Double Dosage 500 mg of Nicotinamide Riboside plus 100 mg of Pterostilbene

    The article was actually updated in 2018 (I love it when scientists notice errors in their work and correct them!)


    What else does science suggest about Pterostilbene?

    • Sirtuin Hack - It fuels the Sirtuins, the light switches of the genome.
    • Decreases Insulin Resistance - As an antioxidant it suppresses palmitic acid mediated insulin resistance in HepG2 cells by reducing oxidative stress and triglyceride accumulation, according to a recent Indian study.
    • Weight loss and Diabetes - It suppresses liver glucogenesis, a mechanism not dissimilar to Metformin.
    • Boost BDNF - By upregulating hippocampal BDNF mRNA, according to a 2012 animal study, it also has a positive impact on spatial learning performance...
    • Boosts Dopamine - The neurotransmitter that empowers motivation, good mood, and cognition. We could all probably do with a bit more Dopamine. 
    • It contains important polyphenols which improve brain performance - I watched some Youtube video that said that Pterostilbene improved brain performance by up to 17%, and I’ll admit that I thought to myself, that sounds true! Unfortunately, I have to report back that after scouring the internet I could find no supporting evidence for this. I’m sure it improves brain performance but by how much, who knows!


    The Epigenetic Vitamin NMN could be potentiated Pterostilbene, according to a Scientific American article

    NAD boosters might work synergistically with supplements like resveratrol to help reinvigorate mitochondria and ward off diseases of aging.

    While resveratrol has hogged the anti-aging spotlight over the past decade, unsung researchers in places like Oxford, Miss., have quietly shown that pterostilbene is a kind of extra-potent version of resveratrol. The pterostilbene molecule is nearly identical to resveratrol's except for a couple of differences that make it more "bioavailable"...

    "You can think of resveratrol as the accelerator pedal for the sirtuin genes, and NMN as the fuel."


    Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) is another NAD+ precursor

    I would choose it over the Nicotinamide Riboside used in the American study mentioned above. The science isn’t clear which is better, they both seem to deliver about an equal uptick in NAD+ levels, but, according to a not insignificant number of anecdotes, NMN is more stimulating - it delivers more of the classic Nootropic effect.


    I would modulate the American study’s protocol a little and instead use NMN and Pterostilbene.


    Epigenetic Awesomeness Protocol

    This protocol will give you the epigenetic and Insulin sensitization benefits of both the Resveratrol and Pterostilbene while allowing you to experiment with the NMN dosage. Some report that doubling the NMN dose to a gram daily makes a huge difference, others find 500 milligrams daily impactful. You’ll have to experiment for yourself...

    Month 1

    500 milligrams NMN daily 

    50 milligrams Pterostilbene daily

    Month 2

    500 milligrams NMN daily 

    200 milligrams Resveratrol daily

    Month 3

    1000 milligrams NMN daily 

    50 milligrams Pterostilbene daily

    Month 4

    1000 milligrams NMN daily 

    50 milligrams Resveratrol daily

    Month 5

    500 milligrams NMN daily 

    50 milligrams Resveratrol daily

    50 milligrams Pterostilbene daily

    In the final month, you would take all three together, however, I suspect that this is a bit of overkill, unless you’re struggling with a serious chronic condition. The studies indicate that taking Resveratrol or Pterostilbene increases the baseline NAD+ level for weeks, even after ceasing dosage. When it comes to natural compounds, the effects on our health tend to linger, I think even with the 1-month cycles you’ll enjoy some synergy between the pharmacokinetics of the Resveratrol and Pterostilbene.


    Despite their similarities, it would be a mistake to replace Pterostilbene with Resveratrol.

    They work together achieving an anti-aging effect, there’s a reason why you find them together in nature in the skin of grapes. If you can afford to you would probably want to take a little of both or cycle them. If you need to be selective, I think Resveratrol is more for those suffering from Diabetes, obesity or heart disease. I would prefer Pterostilbene, again, because I don’t have to worry about it robbing any of the gains of my aerobic exercise and I do typically end my gym workouts with 15 intense minutes on the bike.


    Treat your epigenome right and you can enjoy guilt-free the simple pleasures in life, like a glass of vino.

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