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Is pomegranate juice a fountain of youth for mitochondria?

As you know, from the age of 50 onwards, the mass and strength of skeletal muscles begin to decline. The good news is that Amazentis, an EPFL spin-off, is jointly publishing the results of its clinical trials in "Nature Metabolism" with the School and the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, and it's reassuring.

Le pur jus de grenade : une véritable cure de jouvence

These clinical trials show that urolithin A, a molecule whose precursors are found in pomegranates, could slow down some of the effects of ageing (1).

This study shows that this process can be slowed by improving the activity of mitochondria, the "energy factories" of cells. This effect is achieved by urolithin A (UA) (1) and (2).

Vitality is in your glass of pomegranate juice? That's a bit of a shortcut. However, it was by looking at the pomegranate, a fruit used by various civilisations for its many health benefits, that researchers found this 'fountain cure' for mitochondria. Like other red fruits, the skin of the pomegranate contains ellagitannin molecules which, when digested by the body, produce AU. However, we are not all equal when it comes to this process, and some people don't produce any at all.

So that everyone can benefit from the same dose of urolithin A, Johan Auwerx from EPFL and his colleagues have isolated the molecule (1).

In a clinical trial, 60 sedentary elderly people were given either placebo or doses of urolithin A ranging from 250 to 2000 mg as a single oral dose, with no side effects observed compared with the placebo group.

The participants then took either placebo or UA at doses of 250, 500 and 1000 mg once a day for 28 days. This prolonged treatment also had no side effects compared with placebo.

The impact of DU was assessed on biomarkers of cell and mitochondrial health in blood and muscle. DU stimulated mitochondrial biogenesis (production of new mitochondria), a phenomenon observed during regular physical activity.

In a young person's cell, the mitochondria are eliminated when signs of weakness appear. With age, this process, known as autophagy, becomes impaired. Many tissues, including muscles, weaken. It is this consequence, known in its most serious form as sarcopenia, that researchers are seeking to halt. (A hormone produced during exercise could treat muscle loss, a cause of loss of autonomy in the elderly).

This is "the first known molecule that can renew deficient mitochondria by stimulating mitophagy," stresses the EPFL press release.

A previous study by the team, published in 2016, showed that nematode worms on which the molecule had been tested increased their lifespan by 45%. Older mice saw their motor skills increase by 40% after two weeks of treatment.

The second piece of good news is that the article published in Nature Metabolism also stresses that ingesting this molecule poses no health risk.

Granaline, your health ally. Take care of yourself, take care of others.

Warning: Under no circumstances should the information and advice provided on this site be used as a substitute for a consultation or diagnosis by a doctor or healthcare professional, who alone is in a position to assess your state of health properly.

Sources :

(1) EPFL

(2) Revue Nature Metbolism

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