We all must have heard of the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but very few of us are aware of the fact that adding pomegranates to our diet can keep the aging away and make us feel young. Yes, you heard that right. According to recent studies, it has been proved that the intake of pomegranates can counteract the aging process.
How Pomegranates contribute to reversing the aging process?
Pomegranate contains compounds called ellagitannins, which, when introduced in the body, get transformed by the gut microflora into a compound called Urolithin A, which is responsible for slowing down the aging process.
Let us take a deeper insight into how this actually works.
Mitochondria, popularly known as the powerhouses of the cell, are the energy producers of our body. With time, there is a decline in the functionality of these powerhouses. They may become less efficient & even toxic. These ineffective mitochondria are regularly recycled by the cells into new ones through a process called Mitophagy.
However, as we grow old, this natural process of Mitophagy becomes slow and less effective. As a result, the growth of new and recycled mitochondria is hindered, which leads to multiple aging issues like muscle weakness, etc. Urolithin A, produced by the transformation of ellagitannins present in Pomegranate, stimulates this process of Mitophagy and thus contributes to countering the aging process.
But, it is essential to note here that not all of us can transform the ellagitannins into Urolithin A in the same quantity. We all have different bacteria in our stomach, and the amount of Urolithin A generated varies from person to person, depending on gut bacteria. It is even possible that some persons do not produce Urolithin A at all.
Is ingesting Urolithin A safe for human health?
Urolithin A has been earlier established to be safe and effective for worms and animals. This study has encouraged the researchers to test its efficacy in humans as well. Since not all humans are capable of naturally generating Urolithin A, the scientists have developed a synthesized Urolithin A compound for conducting tests on humans.
Recently, research was conducted by the life science company Amazentis and Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB) to study the anti-aging benefits of Urolithin A and its impact on human health on ingestion. Sixty healthy but sedentary older people were enrolled in this first-in-human clinical trial. The study involved giving single or multiple doses of Urolithin A to the subjects over a period of 4 weeks. The trial demonstrated that Urolithin A is safe, bioavailable and stimulates mitochondrial and cellular health in humans.
None of the enrolled people was seen to have any side-effects post-study. Further, it was observed that Urolithin A invigorates the mitochondrial biogenesis, just like exercise does. And according to the researchers, it is the only compound that is capable of restoring the cell’s ability to recycle ineffective mitochondria, thus helping to delay the aging process in humans.
To conclude, we can say that this research will definitely lead to discovering some exceptional opportunities for maintaining mitochondrial and cellular health in humans. And, maybe there is a lot more in the field of nutritional sciences, which is yet to be explored.