Urolithin A, a metabolite of biomolecules that is found in pomegranates and other fruits, could help slow down some aging process. The spin-off of EPFL, Amazentis, in collaboration with EPFL and the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, published an article in the journal Metabolism of nature describing the results of their clinical trial.
It is common knowledge that skeletal muscles begin to lose strength and mass after 50 years. A recent clinical trial involving two EPFL entities – the Amazentis spin-off and the Integrative Systems Physiology Laboratory (LISP) – showed that urolithin A, a compound derived from biomolecules found in fruits such as grenades, could slow down this process by improving the functioning of the mitochondria, the engine of the cells. A joint document presenting the results of the test, published today in Metabolism of nature, also demonstrates that the ingestion of the compound poses no risk to human health.
Slowing down mitochondrial aging
The assertion that a healthy diet is the key to a longer life may seem too convenient, but it is now further supported by scientific evidence. Pomegranate, a fruit popular with many civilizations for its health benefits, contains ellagitannins. Once ingested, these molecules are converted to a compound called urolithin A (UA) in the human intestines. The researchers discovered that AU can slow down the mitochondrial aging process. The problem is that not everyone produces UC naturally.
To solve this problem and ensure that all participants receive the same dose, the team synthesized the compound. Some 60 elderly people, all sedentary but in good health, took a single dose of 250 to 2000 mg DU. The researchers did not observe any side effects compared to the control group, which received a placebo. The participants were then divided into four groups, each receiving a placebo or a daily dose of 250, 500 or 1000 mg AU for 28 days. Again, no negative health impact has been found even after prolonged ingestion. The team then assessed the effectiveness of AU by examining biomarkers of cellular and mitochondrial health in participants' blood and muscle tissue. The results were convincing: AU stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis – the process by which cells increase mitochondrial mass – in the same way as regular exercise.
UA is the only known compound that restores the ability of cells to recycle defective mitochondria. In young people, this process occurs naturally. But as we get older, our body begins to lose its cleaning power of dysfunctional mitochondria, causing sarcopenia (loss of skeletal muscle mass) and weakening of other tissues. The team focused on slowing or even reversing this natural aging effect.
The paper, released today, also confirms that the compound is safe to eat. Amazentis, based at the EPFL Innovation Park, hopes to exploit the promising results to market the product quickly. "These latest findings, which build on previous preclinical trials, show how the AU could change the game for human health," says Johan Auwerx, professor at LISP, the laboratory of the US. EPFL involved in the test. An article published in 2016 showed that the life span of nematode worms exposed to AU increased by 45%, from about 20 to 30 days, compared to the control group. Similarly, older mice showed a 40% higher endurance when they ran after two weeks of treatment. The compound may therefore have even more secrets to reveal about its benefits to human health.
The pomegranate finally reveals its powerful anti-aging secret
Penelope A. Andreux et al. Urolithin A, an activator of mitophagy, is safe and induces a molecular signature of improved cellular and mitochondrial health in humans, Metabolism of nature (2019). DOI: 10.1038 / s42255-019-0073-4
An anti-aging pomegranate-based human compound successfully passes the human trial (June 17, 2019)
recovered on June 17, 2019
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