BERN: A compound called Urolithin A (UA) 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.
For this study, the team synthesized the UA compound, and administered it in various dose sizes to a group of 60 elderly test subjects.
These people all lived fairly sedentary lifestyles but were in good health at the time of the experiment.
The test was run to determine the safety of the compound, as well as how well it may work.
In the first round of tests, the researchers gave some participants a single oral dose of UA, between 250 and 2,000 mg.
No side effects were spotted when this test group was compared to a control group.
Next up, the team tested the safety and effectiveness of the compound over a 28-day period. The subjects were split into four groups, each receiving a different daily oral dose of UA: 250 mg, 500 mg, 1,000 mg, and a control group which received a placebo.
Again, none of the subjects were seen to exhibit any side effects after prolonged use. The researchers checked for biomarkers of UA in plasma samples taken from the patients, and found them to be present at all doses.
Importantly, the team found that at doses of 500 and 1,000 mg, the gene expression of mitochondria in skeletal muscle cells was affected, stimulating biogenesis in the same way exercise does.
The hope is that treatment with UA could slow down or even reverse the loss of skeletal muscle mass that naturally occurs with age, as well as the weakening of other tissues.