Pomegranate, powerful anti-aging molecule discovered: first tests published
It was an issue already known that of the "anti-aging" potential of pomegranate, now from science comes a further confirmation that for Giovanni D’Agata, president of the "Sportello dei Diritti," is worth knowing. A molecule in the fruit, transformed by gut bacteria, would generate effects unknown until now. While some tests on humans are still ongoing, researchers have already published the first surprising results on animals, in the journal Nature Medicine. Pomegranate is really a super-fruit that will fight aging’he?
To date, the scientific evidence would be rather irrelevant. And that is why some would cast discredit after certain controversial marketing campaigns. Wanting to look deeper, some researchers from the EPFL (an acronym for the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, i.e., the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne), and the Amazentis company have allegedly shown how a molecule in the fruit, then transformed by the gut microbiome, would allow muscle cells to defend them against the main causes of aging. On nematode worms and rodents, the’effect would be nothing short of amazing. Human trials are ongoing, but the discovery, as mentioned, has already been published in Nature Medicine.
In the course of’advancing age, our cells struggle to recycle their energy factories. These little internal compartments called mitochondria, perform their own activities less and less properly. This degradation affects the functioning of many tissues, including muscles, which s’weaken over the years.
The’accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria is also suspected of playing a role in other age-related diseases such as, for example, in Parkinson’s disease. Researchers were reportedly able to identify the’only molecule that can restore recycling of deficient mitochondria: r. urolithine “This is the only known molecule that can revive mitochondria," explains Patrick Aebischer, co-author. "It is a completely natural substance, but its effect is powerful and measurable”.Initially, researchers tested their hypothesis on the c-worm. elegans. Exposed to urolithine, the life span of the worms was extended over 45% compared to their counterparts in the control group. These encouraging early results have directed researchers to test the molecule on animals closer to humans, for now mice and rats. In rodents, as in C. Elegans, they saw a sharp decrease in the number of mitochondria, a signal that major recycling was underway.
Older mice, about two years old, showed 42 percent greater resistance than the control group. Before you rush to hoard pomegranates, however, you should know that the fruit itself does not contain the molecule in question, only its precursor! The latter is digested and converted to urolithin A by bacteria in the gut microbiome. As a result, rates of urolithin A vary greatly depending on the individual’s gut flora, human or animal.
Some even do not produce any at all. Quinsi, if you are an "unlucky" individual, it is possible that pomegranate may not be of much use. For those whom nature has not provided with good bacteria, researchers are already working on a solution.
Start-up Amazentis, founded by the study's co-authors, has developed products designed to deliver finely calibrated urolithine at doses. The company is currently conducting initial tests on humans in European hospitals. Johan Auwerx, one of the co-authors, finds it almost surprising that urolithine will not be effective in humans. “Extremely archaic species such as the c-worm. elegans and rats, react to the same substance in a similar way. This shows that we have reached a key mechanism of physiology.". The action of urolithin A is the result of tens of millions of years of co-evolution between plants, bacteria and animals – including humans.
According to Chris Rinsch, co-author and director of Amazentis, this explains its efficacy: “pomegranate is the precursor of urolithin A, which is also contained in small amounts in many berries and nuts. To thrive in our gut, the bacteria must be able to digest what we eat. When they produce a substance in digestion that is beneficial, natural selection favors both the bacteria and their host.
Our goal is to follow rigorous clinical validation so that everyone can benefit from the results of millions of years of evolution ".Researchers’approach at EPFL opens a radically new way to combat muscle degeneration and, possibly, other effects of aging. By helping the body regenerate, A urolithine would make positive results where drugs that were intended to increase muscle mass have failed. Johan Auwerx, who recently published a discovery about the effects of another natural anti-aging molecule, highlights the’importance of ongoing scientific research.
For the researcher, “the nutritional approach gives access to new territory that classical pharmaceutical studies have never explored. It is a scientific paradigm shift."