Lifespan-extending compound discovered in blueberries

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blueberries-extend-lifespan(NaturalHealth365)  As new research emerges on the surprising benefits of blueberries, conventionally trained physicians and holistic healthcare providers alike are beginning to recommend consuming them as a natural way of slowing age-related decline.  But recent studies have shown that this familiar, tasty little berry has more to offer than its healthful compounds – which include such powerful antioxidants as quercetin and anthocyanins.

A specific substance found in blueberries can actually activate three different pathways involved in aging – and may significantly prolong life.

Pterostilbene found inside blueberries has an amazing effect on cancer cells

Pterostilbene, found exclusively in blueberries, has been shown in studies to induce apoptosis – programmed cell death – of malignant cells and to act against tumors.  At the same time, it prevents the buildup of cellular waste and protects fragile endothelial cells in the arteries, thereby decreasing the risk of atherosclerosis.

In addition, pterostilbene can mimic the effects of calorie restriction, which scientists say enhances anti-aging factors in the cardiovascular, neurological, and bloodstream systems and activates genes related to long-term survival.

Although caloric restriction can offer major preventive and therapeutic benefits – many natural health experts maintain that it slashes the risk of many chronic diseases in half – few people are able to voluntarily restrict their food intake enough to realize the benefits.

The good news is that you don’t have to.  Certain nutrients – including whey protein, quercetin, resveratrol, grape seed extract, black tea extract, and fisetin – are very successful at mimicking the effect of calorie restriction.  Pterostilbene, however, is among the most effective.

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Pterostilbene acts on three key pathways that extend life

Pterostilbene limits the expression of the mTOR signaling pathway, which helps to regulate the growth, survival, and proliferation of cells.  However, when this pathway malfunctions, it can trigger the development of cancer and other chronic degenerative conditions.

Suppressing the mTOR signaling pathway has been shown in animal studies to extend lifespan – in fact, scientists say that inhibiting the pathway by 25 percent can translate to a 20 percent increase in lifespan.

Pterostilbene also increases the activity of the AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase) pathway, which regulates the production of energy, reduces chronic inflammation, lowers blood sugar and fat levels, and reduces body fat stores.

Not surprisingly, sluggish AMPK activation – which occurs with age – causes weight gain and accelerated aging.  Enhancing valuable AMPK activity can improve memory while suppressing the formation of beta-amyloid plaque and tau tangles – both indicators of Alzheimer’s disease – and can cause an additional 20 percent increase in lifespan.

The third and final pathway that pterostilbene can modulate is the sirtuin pathway. Anti-aging sirtuin molecules regulate DNA repair and help maintain telomere length – an important longevity factor.  By stimulating a molecule called sirtuin-1, pterostilbene protects heart cells from dying – to such an extent that researchers are currently hopeful that pterostilbene has the potential to mitigate heart muscle injury following a heart attack.

Pterostilbene also has another beneficial effect on heart health.  In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, researchers discovered that it significantly reduces both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Resveratrol and pterostilbene – the power of two

Resveratrol, a beneficial flavonoid and another caloric restriction mimetic has been found to work synergistically with pterostilbene – each increasing the effect of the other to form a potent combination.

Found in grapes, and berries, resveratrol has shown promise in fighting cancer and diabetes and in helping to prevent heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.  The latest research suggests that this powerful combination could be a promising therapy for treating breast cancer cells when used alongside other anticancer protocols.

Laboratory studies show impressive results

In a study published in BMC Cancer, researchers noted that a combination of resveratrol and pterostilbene helped to down-regulate a sirtuin molecule called SIRT1 – combating breast cancer cells by interfering with their telomerase activity, inhibiting their growth and causing cell cycle arrest.

The breast cancer cells inhibited by the combination were of a notoriously aggressive type known as triple-negative.  Researchers expressed hope that the combination could be used in future recalcitrant triple-negative breast cancer cell prevention and therapy.

Blueberries may alleviate Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia

With tens of millions of elderly people worldwide suffering from dementia, researchers have been exploring the use of natural substances to prevent and alleviate age-related cognitive disorders.

Although pterostilbene is a key constituent of blueberries, it is not the only beneficial polyphenol.  In a review published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the authors noted that blueberries are also extremely rich in anthocyanins, chlorogenic acid, arbutin, and myricetin – antioxidants that have strong neuroprotective effects and can prevent age-related change in the brain and improve cognition.

How can I get maximum health benefits from blueberries?

Naturally, you can consume healthy amounts of fresh, organic blueberries or blueberry juice to get the benefits of all the combined polyphenols, which include pterostilbene, resveratrol, and quercetin – a virtual trifecta of life-prolonging compounds.

Pterostilbene is also available in standardized formulas – for best results, opt for a formulation that includes resveratrol.  Whey protein – which contains all 18 amino acids plus the anti-aging antioxidant glutathione – makes a stellar accompaniment to blueberry powder products.

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