WHAT ARE THE STILBENOIDS?
The stilbenoids are a group of phytonutrients (plant based chemical compounds that have numerous health benefits in the human body but are not classed as essential nutrients) that can be found in various foods including blueberries, grapes and wine.
Whilst the stilbenoids are not classed as essential nutrients, they are powerful antioxidants which can protect your body’s cells from free radicals (harmful substances that are released into your body’s cells during oxygen related reactions). Early evidence suggests that they may also have further health boosting properties but more research needs to be done before these additional health benefits can be confirmed.
In this article I will be expanding on this topic and providing a full breakdown of 2 key stilbenoids:
Health Benefits:- Pterostilbene is a powerful antioxidant. It may also act as an anti-inflammatory (a substance that prevents unnecessary inflammation within the body), prevent cancer, prevent diabetes and prevent mental deterioration. In addition to this, it may prevent heart disease by reducing blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (a type of cholesterol which can cause blockages in the arteries and increase your heart disease risk) and reducing blood levels of triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood that can increase your heart disease risk at high levels). However, currently no human trials have looked at the effects of pterostilbene so more research is required before these health benefits can be confirmed.
Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA):- There is currently no RDA for pterostilbene but some sources suggest consuming between 50 milligrams (mg) and 150mg of this stilbenoid each day will allow you to enjoy its health benefits.
Food Sources:- Pterostilbene can be sourced from blueberries and grapes but the exact amounts they contain are not known.
Overdose Symptoms:- There are no reported overdose symptoms associated with pterostilbene consumption.
Deficiency Symptoms:- Pterostilbene is not classed as an essential nutrient so there are no reported deficiency symptoms associated with its consumption.
Health Benefits:- Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant that also has a number of well publicised potential health benefits. Early studies indicate that it may act as an anti-inflammatory, act as an antitoxic (a substance that fights harmful toxins within the body) and increase the lifespan of people on a high calorie diet. Additionally, it may prevent atherosclerosis (a condition where hard plaques form in the artery walls and restrict the flow of blood which ultimately increases your heart disease risk), prevent Alzheimer’s disease (a mental disorder which leads to the loss of memory, thought and speech), prevent cancer, prevent diabetes, prevent kidney damage and prevent liver damage. Finally, it may protect against ultraviolet (UV) damage (which can damage the skin cells and cause skin cancer) and reduce blood levels of LDL cholesterol. However, none of these resveratrol health benefits have been confirmed in humans so more studies are needed before they can be confirmed.
RDA:- There is currently no RDA for resveratrol but some sources recommend consuming between 20mg and 40mg of this stilbenoid per day will allow you to unlock its health benefits.
Food Sources:- Red grapes (which contain approximately 0.32mg of resveratrol per 100 grams (g)), red grape juice (which contains about 0.38mg of resveratrol per 100g) and red wine (which contains around 0.26mg of resveratrol per 100 millilitre (ml)) are 3 of the best food sources of this stilbenoid. Cocoa powder (which contains about 0.05mg per 100g), peanuts (which contain approximately 0.09mg per 100g) and rose wine (which contains about 0.16mg per 100ml) are also good sources of this stilbenoid.
Overdose Symptoms:- There are no reported overdose symptoms associated with resveratrol consumption. However, it has been suggested that ingesting high levels of this stilbenoid could lead to breast cancer and interfere with blood clotting so people who suffer from breast cancer, suffer from blood disorders, have a history of breast cancer in the family or take blood clotting medications should speak to their doctor before taking any resveratrol supplements. Pregnant women should also avoid resveratrol supplements as it is not fully understood how they affect the development of babies.
Deficiency Symptoms:- Resveratrol is not classed as an essential nutrient so there are no reported deficiency symptoms associated with its consumption.
The stilbenoids have generated a great deal of publicity in health and fitness circles. They are certainly very promising nutrients and may be able to protect your body from cancer, diabetes, heart disease and more. However, currently none of the health benefits associated with stilbenoids have been confirmed in humans. So by all means enjoy the occasional glass of red wine, fill up on blueberries and snack on grapes. Just make sure you save your money and avoid stilbenoid supplements until more research is available.