什么是紫檀?What is Pterostilbene?

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This potent polyphenol is promising in scientific research because of its molecular structure and bioavailability. But it might be able to do more than we even know.

这种有效的多酚由于其分子结构和生物利用度,在科学研究中具有广阔的应用前景。但是它可能比我们所知道的还要有用。

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In 2003, researchers gave red wine drinkers everywhere reason to raise a glass when they announced that resveratrol — a natural chemical found in, among other things, grape skins — might have benefits.

2003年,当研究人员宣布白藜芦醇(一种存在于葡萄皮等物质中的天然化学物质)可能有好处时,他们让各地的红酒饮用者都有理由举起酒杯。

Resveratrol, they found, impacted yeast in unique ways. Plus, it seemed to induce gene expression changes that gave them reason to believe the compound might be beneficial to humans.

他们发现,白藜芦醇以独特的方式影响酵母菌。另外,它似乎引起了基因表达的变化,使他们有理由相信这种化合物可能对人类有益。Researchers have pinned their hopes on a new rising star called pterostilbene (pronounced tear-oh-STILL-bean). 研究人员将他们的希望寄托在一颗新的冉冉升起的新星上,这颗新星叫做紫檀(发音为 tear-oh-stillbean)

But 15 years and thousands of scientific studies later, and resveratrol hasn’t lived up to its initial promise. The trouble is, it disappears from the body in roughly 15 minutes — meaning, in scientific terms, it isn’t very bioavailable.

但是经过15年的科学研究,白藜芦醇并没有达到它最初的预期效果。问题是,它在大约15分钟内就从人体中消失了ーー也就是说,用科学术语来说,它的生物可利用性不是很强。

So researchers have pinned their hopes on a new rising star called pterostilbene (pronounced tear-oh-STILL-bean), which is very similar to resveratrol but with one tiny but crucial structural difference: It has just one hydroxyl group, compared to resveratrol’s three. Hydroxyl groups facilitate metabolization (the way to get rid of the molecule) by the body. Fewer hydroxyl groups make it harder for the body to eliminate the molecule — no bad thing when the molecule has benefits. The upshot is that pterostilbene’s slightly different molecular structure allows it to cross cell membranes more easily and hang out in the body longer than resveratrol.

因此,研究人员将他们的希望寄托在一种新兴的明星——紫檀(pterostilbene)身上。紫檀与白藜芦醇非常相似,但有一个微小但至关重要的结构差异: 它只有一个羟基,而白藜芦醇只有三个。羟基促进身体的新陈代谢(消除分子的方法)。羟基越少,身体就越难清除这种分子ーー如果这种分子有好处,这也不是什么坏事。结果是紫檀的分子结构略有不同,这使得它比白藜芦醇更容易穿过细胞膜,在体内停留的时间更长。

“Resveratrol was like the poster child for polyphenols,” says Ryan Dellinger, Elysium’s director of scientific affairs whose doctoral research involved pterostilbene. There is no great reason for this: Dellinger thinks it’s likely because, with limited money and time for scientific research (and more than 500 “promising” polyphenols to study), companies and scientists focused on the one that —at the time— seemed the most promising.

“白藜芦醇就像是多酚的典型代表,” Ryan Dellinger 说,他是 Elysium 的科学事务主任,其博士研究涉及到紫檀。这里没有很好的理由: 戴林格认为,这很可能是因为,由于科学研究的资金和时间有限(而且有500多种“有前途的”多酚类物质可供研究) ,企业和科学家们关注的是当时似乎最有前途的一种多酚。

One good thing: Pretty much everything you know about resveratrol is true for pterostilbene, Dellinger says. Only it’s more potent.

有一点是好的: 你所知道的关于白藜芦醇的几乎所有东西都适用于紫檀,Dellinger 说,只不过它的效力更强。

How Pterostilbene Works

紫檀是如何起作用的

Pterostilbene is a polyphenol, a type of molecule that occurs in plants, particularly small berries and nuts. Blueberries are a particularly rich source of pterostilbene; although it is found in grapes, pterostilbene (unlike its cousin resveratrol) doesn’t survive the wine-making process.

紫檀烯是一种多酚类化合物,是一种存在于植物中的分子,尤其是小浆果和坚果。蓝莓是一种特别丰富的紫檀木素的来源,虽然它存在于葡萄中,但是紫檀木素(不像它的近亲白藜芦醇)在酿酒过程中并不存在。

What’s a polyphenol? “Phenol” refers to a certain chemical structure (in this case, a hydroxyl group linked to a benzene ring); “poly” just means the molecules have more than one of the structure. One of polyphenols’ main jobs is to help the plant fight off pathogens. When eaten by humans, polyphenols may serve as powerful antioxidants.

什么是多酚?“苯酚”指的是一种特定的化学结构(在这种情况下,一个羟基连接到一个苯环) ; “多”只是指分子有一个以上的结构。多酚类物质的主要作用之一是帮助植物抵抗病原体。当人们食用时,多酚类物质可以作为强有力的抗氧化剂。

Scientists have been aware of phenols since the early 19th century — Joseph Lister, the pioneer of antiseptic surgery, reported on one phenol’s disinfectant properties in 1867 — though the term “polyphenol” didn’t have its first recorded use until 1894.

自19世纪早期以来,科学家们就对酚类物质有所了解。1867年,防腐手术的先驱约瑟夫 · 利斯特(Joseph Lister)报道了酚类物质的消毒性能,尽管“多酚”一词直到1894年才首次被使用。

As with the rest of polyphenols, researchers don’t fully understand how pterostilbene works. Dr. Jose M. Estrela, a professor of physiology at the University of Valencia (Spain) who has studied pterostilbene says “the good thing is that pterostilbene works, but the bad thing is that we cannot fully explain its potential health benefits with the information that we have.”

与其他多酚类物质一样,研究人员并不完全了解紫檀的作用机理。西班牙华伦西亚大学的生理学教授 Jose m. Estrela 博士研究过紫檀,他说: “好的一面是紫檀可以起作用,但坏的一面是我们无法用我们所掌握的信息完全解释它对健康的潜在益处。”

The Future of Pterostilbene

紫檀的未来

Pterostilbene’s connection to sirtuins is just one of the reasons scientists are so excited by the compound.

这种化合物之所以让科学家们如此兴奋,其中一个原因就是 Pterostilbene 与去乙酰化酶的联系。

But more benefits of pterostilbene are likely to be uncovered. Consider this: There are about 11,000 published scientific papers about resveratrol, versus barely 400 on pterostilbene. But research on pterostilbene is at least 10 years behind resveratrol. Give it time.

但是紫檀还有更多的益处可能被发现。考虑到这一点: 已发表的关于白藜芦醇的科学论文大约有11000篇,而关于紫檀的只有400篇。但是紫檀的研究至少比白藜芦醇落后10年。给自己一点时间。

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