Posted on Jun 18, 2019, 3 p.m.
A metabolite of biomolecules found within pomegranates and other fruits may help to slow some of the aging processes of mitochondrial health and skeletal muscles, as published in the journal Nature Metabolism.
Recently a clinical trial involving Amazentis and the Laboratory of Integrative Systems Physiology has shown that urolithin A can slow down the process of skeletal muscles beginning to lose strength and mass once a person ages to around 50 years old, by improving mitochondrial functioning, and demonstrated ingesting the compound poses no risk to human health.
This study adds to the body of scientific evidence suggesting that eating healthy is the key to longer and healthier life. Pomegranates contain ellagitannins, which when ingested are converted into urolithin A with the gut. The team found that this compound can slow down mitochondrial aging processes, but not everyone produces urolithin A naturally.
Focused on slowing or reversing this effect of aging the researchers synthesize a compound to try and find a solution to this problem and to ensure all participants received an equal dose. Single doses between 250 and 2,000 mg of of the synthesized UA compound was given to 60 elderly participants who were all in good health; no side effects were observed in the UA group as compared to the control group given a placebo.
Participants were then divided into 4 groups for 28 days: a placebo group, a group receiving 250 mg dose a day of UA, a 500 mg daily group, and a group receiving 1,000 mg a day of UA. Once more no adverse health impacts were observed after prolonged ingestion.
Efficacy was assessed by analyzing cellular and mitochondrial health biomarkers in blood and muscle tissue of the participants; UA was found to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis, which is the process by which cells increase mitochondrial mass, in the same manner as regular exercise.
Urolithin A may be the only known compound that can re-establish cell’s ability to recycle defective mitochondria that occurs naturally in young people, but with age the body starts to lose efficiency in cleaning up dysfunctional mitochondria which causes sarcopenia and weakening of other tissues.
"These latest findings, which build on previous preclinical trials, really crystallize how UA could be a game-changer for human health," says Professor Johan Auwerx.
Previously studies have shown the lifespan of nematode worms exposed to UA increased by 45% compared to the control group, and older mice showed 40% better endurance while running after 2 weeks of treatment; thus urolithin A may have even more secret to reveal about its health benefits.
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