The researchers discovered that a compound created in the stomach after eating certain types of fruits and nuts had an anti-aging effect on humans. Called urolithin A, this compound is produced in the human intestine from biomolecules called ellagitannins, found in pomegranates and other fruits and some nuts. There is, however, a problem: not everyone naturally produces the compound during digestion.
Ellagitannins are a type of polyphenols that are found in a number of fruits and nuts, the most notable being commonly available products such as strawberries, black raspberries, walnuts, pomegranates, almonds and similar products. Polyphenols as a whole are known to offer a number of important health benefits, including ellagitannins.
According to a new study by EPFL, Amazentis and the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, these molecules are converted in the human intestine into a compound, urolithin A (AU), which slows down the mitochondrial aging process. Unfortunately, not everyone produces this compound after consuming the molecules.
As part of the study, the researchers administered 60 healthy elderly people with various doses of synthesized AU to determine possible side effects. Single doses of up to 2000 mg and up to 1000 mg daily for 28 days had no adverse effect on health. This is good news because it has been discovered that the same compound stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis, a process that increases the mitochondrial mass.
According to the study, this is the same effect resulting from regular physical exercise, making AU the only known compound capable of restoring the body's ability to recycle defective mitochondria. This offers a potential way to address skeletal muscle loss and general tissue weakness that begins once someone has reached the age of 50.
The entities at the origin of the study hope to market a product in UA in the relatively near future.