Blueberries may contain two potent anti-cancer agents.

Blueberries may contain two potent anti-cancer agents.

A few years ago I told you about pterostilbene, an antioxidant compound found in blueberries, cranberries, and grapes. Laboratory and animal research from the USDA has found pterostilbene and resveratrol (another antioxidant found in the same fruits) to be toxic to some cancer cell lines.

Now a new USDA study, presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, shows that pterostilbene significantly blocked the development of pre-cancerous lesions in the colons of rats. The compound also inhibited inflammation, another cancer risk factor.

Hopefully this research will lead to human trials of this versatile compound. In the e-Alert “A Jug of Jam and Thou” (5/29/02), I noted that pterostilbene has also been shown to lower blood glucose levels. In fact, in one study where it was compared to metformin (the drug most often prescribed for type 2 diabetes), pterostilbene lowered plasma glucose levels in rats with high blood sugar by more than 40 percent – statistically equal to the performance of metformin in the same study.

Pterostilbene also has antifungal qualities, as does resveratrol.

“Pope’s Brazil Visit Puts Social Justice in Spotlight” Julie McCarthy, National Public Radio, Morning Edition, 5/8/07,
“Blueberry Compounds Linked to Colon Cancer Prevention” Stephen Daniells, NutraIngredients-USA, 3/26/07,