The compound of the moment is called pterostilbene (PSB). Though PSB is not a new discovery, this is the first time that researchers have explored its immunosuppressive properties. The Tokyo University of Science team figured out that PSB has similarities to resveratrol (RSV), the antioxidant that people site as the basis for the supposed health benefits of red wine.
“RSV, a polyphenol, was known to have pronounced immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects on animal models of colitis ulcer,” says Takuya Yashiro, Ph.D., study author, “Therefore, we investigated the possibility of other compounds structurally similar to RSV as a new type of treatment for IBD.”
When a person has IBD, their gut often has ulcers due to chronic inflammation, which is caused by an elevated immune response. After analyzing the impact of a range of plant-derived compounds on the immune response, Yashiro’s team found that PSB was able to calm it down. This led them to believe that the plant compound could be an inroads to potential new treatments for IBD symptoms.
They are now testing the efficacy of PSB as a treatment for IBD by administering it to mice. Because the compound is naturally found in foods, it’s readily absorbed by the body—in mice, and likely in humans, making it a great candidate for drug development.