Urolithin A, a metabolite of biomolecules found in pomegranates and other fruits, could help slow certain aging processes.
EPFL spin-off Amazentis, in conjunction with EPFL and the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, has published a paper in the journal Nature Metabolism outlining the results of their clinical trial.
It is a fact of life that skeletal muscles begin to lose strength and mass once a person reaches the age of 50. A recent clinical trial involving two EPFL entities – spin-off Amazentis and the Laboratory of Integrative Systems Physiology (LISP) – showed that urolithin A, a compound derived from biomolecules found in fruits such as pomegranates, could slow down this process by improving the functioning of mitochondria – the cells’ powerhouses. A joint paper presenting the results of the trial, published today in Nature Metabolism, also demonstrates that ingesting the compound poses no risk to human health.
Slowing mitochondrial aging
The claim that healthy eating is the key to longer life might seem too convenient – but it is now further backed by scientific evidence. Pomegranate, a fruit prized by many civilizations for its health benefits, contains ellagitannins. When ingested, these molecules are converted into a compound called urolithin A (UA) in the human gut. The researchers found that UA can slow down the mitochondrial aging process. The catch is that not everyone produces UA naturally.
To get around that problem, and to make sure all participants received an equal dose, the team synthesized the compound. Some 60 elderly people, all sedentary yet in good health, took a single dose of between 250 and 2,000 mg of UA. The researchers observed no side effects when compared with the control group, who were given a placebo. The participants were then split into four groups, each receiving a placebo, or a 250, 500 or 1,000 mg daily dose of UA for 28 days. Again, no adverse health impacts were found, even after prolonged ingestion. The team then assessed the efficacy of UA by looking at cellular and mitochondrial health biomarkers in the participants’ blood and muscle tissue. The results were compelling: UA 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 re-establishes cells’ ability to recycle defective mitochondria. In young people, this process happens naturally. But as we age, our body starts to lose its power to clean up dysfunctional mitochondria, causing sarcopenia (loss of skeletal muscle mass) and the weakening of other tissues. The team focused on slowing, or even reversing, this natural effect of aging.
The paper, published today, also confirms that the compound is safe to eat. Amazentis, based at EPFL’s Innovation Park, hopes to harness the promising results to quickly bring the product to market. “These latest findings, which build on previous preclinical trials, really crystallize how UA could be a game-changer for human health,” says Johan Auwerx, a professor at LISP, the EPFL lab involved in the trial. An article published in 2016 showed that the lifespan of nematode worms exposed to UA increased by 45% – from around 20 to 30 days – when compared with the control group. Likewise, older mice showed 40% better endurance while running after two weeks of treatment. The compound may thus have even more secrets to reveal about its benefits for human health.
The Latest on: Urolithin A
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The Latest on: Urolithin A
- Food giant Nestle pivots to gain a foothold in the personal nutrition marketon October 17, 2019 at 1:54 pm
Earlier this year, Nestle Health Science acquired an equity stake in Amazentis and now has global rights to use its patented Urolithin A technology for dietary supplements and medical nutrition ...
- Clinical Trial Suggests Pomegranate Molecule Has Anti-Aging Benefitson October 16, 2019 at 2:53 pm
Supplementation with Urolithin A, a pomegranate metabolite is suggested to safely offer anti-aging benefits due to its impact on mitochondrial and cellular health found in the first human double blind ...
- First Human Clinical Trial Results on the Anti-Aging Compound, Urolithin A, PUblished by Amazentis and Researchers From the EPFL and SIBon June 14, 2019 at 10:01 am
Breakthrough translational science of dietary supplementation with Urolithin A, a pomegranate metabolite, on mitochondrial and cellular health in humans published in the journal Nature Metabolism ...
- First Human Clinical Trial Results on the Anti-Aging Compound, Urolithin A, PUblished by Amazentis and Researchers From the EPFL and SIBon June 14, 2019 at 8:54 am
This is an important first clinical validation that shows Urolithin A could be a promising solution for the management of healthy muscle function during aging.” “Mitochondrial and cellular health ...
- The mitophagy activator urolithin A is safe and induces a molecular signature of improved mitochondrial and cellular health in humanson June 14, 2019 at 8:15 am
Urolithin A (UA) is a natural dietary, microflora-derived metabolite shown to stimulate mitophagy and improve muscle health in old animals and in preclinical models of aging 1. Here, we report the ...
- Nestlé Health Science invests in global strategic partnership with Amazentis to develop its new cellular nutrient Urolithin Aon April 2, 2019 at 5:03 am
Nestlé Health Science will take an equity stake in Amazentis and receive global rights to use Amazentis' patented Urolithin A technology for dietary supplements, select foods and beverages, and ...
- Amazentis announces successful phase 1A/1B study results for urolithin A in healthy elderly subjectson April 27, 2017 at 12:16 am
Urolithin A holds great promise for the treatment of age-related decline in mitochondrial and skeletal muscle function, for which there are currently no pharmaceutical therapies and where nutritional ...
- Amazentis SA Announces Successful Phase 1A/1B Study Results in Healthy Elderly Subjects with the Food Metabolite Urolithin Aon April 27, 2017 at 12:12 am
The clinical findings demonstrated: “We are pleased to report these first clinical data that demonstrate both the safety of Urolithin A and the translation of its biological effects to elderly human ...
- Urolithin A found in pomegranates may improve muscle strength and endurance during agingon July 10, 2016 at 5:00 pm
Amazentis is presently evaluating urolithin A in a first human clinical trial with results expected in 2017. Urolithin A is generated by gut microflora as a natural metabolite of ellagitannins, a ...
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