When this molecule gets transformed by microbes in the gut, it enables the muscle cells to protect themselves against ageing and also increases the muscle mass.
As we age, our cells increasingly struggle to recycle the mitochondria and are no longer able to carry out their vital function and thus gets accumulated in the cell. This degradation affects the health of many tissues, including muscles, which gradually weaken over the years and leads to age-related various diseases. Urolithin A has been found to re-establish the cell’s ability to recycle the components of the defective mitochondria. “It’s the only known molecule that can relaunch the mitochondrial clean-up process, otherwise known as mitophagy,” said Patrick Aebischer, President, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne– a research institute in Switzerland.
“It’s a completely natural substance, and its effect is powerful and measurable,” Aebischer added. For the study, the team tested their hypothesis on the nematode C.elegans - roundworm - which is considered elderly, after just 8-10 days.
The lifespan of worms exposed to Urolithin A increased by more than 45 per cent compared with the control group. In the rodent studies, older mice, around two years of age, exposed to Urolithin A showed 42 per cent better endurance while running than equally old mice in the control group. Pomegranate itself doesn’t contain the miracle molecule, but rather its precursor.
Depending on the species of animal and the flora present in the gut microbiome, the amount of urolithin A produced can vary.