Pomegranates reveal its powerful anti-aging secret
could this fruit, a pomegranate, hold the key to anti-aging? work in our laboratory discovered a totally new mechanism about how the substances in this fruit work and actually counteract aging related disease.
It’s totally new, the mechanism exposed is not related to any of the old and known anti-aging mechanisms. Pomegranate counteracts aging by re-establishing a process called mytophagy. All of our cells are filled with small energy generators called mitochondria.
When mitochondria get old they become less efficient or even toxic. These old mitochondria are recycled by the cell into new mitochondria. This is mytophagy. But with age this recycling process becomes sluggish.
Cells end up with bad mitochondria leading to many problems like muscle weakness. how does pomegranate work? Pomegranates anti-aging properties are surprisingly powerful but they are indirect. They contain molecules called ellagitins.
When ingested, bacteria in the gut transform these ellagitins into another molecule called urolithin A. But not all of us have the right bacteria. Urolithin A is the first and only known compound that can reestablish the recycling process of mitochondria.
First we tested urolithin with worms and we showed an extended lifespan by 50%. Then we tested it with rodents, showing an improved endurance by about 40%. The fact that it works in two evolutionary distant species makes us very hopeful that it also works in humans which is the ultimate goal of our research.
Currently we’re starting to test urolithin A in clinic. Urolithin A could be a powerful anti-aging compound and achieve effects which are not available when you just get pomegranate because you need the help of the bacteria in your gut to extract urolithin A from pomegranate.
Our work showed for the first time the importance of mytophagy in the aging process. In addition we provided a compound contained in a natural product, pomegranate, that could activate mitophagy and counteract age-related disease as frailty, sarcopenia or metabolic diseases linked with aging.