We all need energy to live. Energy powers our bodies’ vital functions, from metabolic reactions to moving our muscles. Unfortunately, as we age, our energy levels decline. This is where urolithin A comes in. The powerful postbiotic can be synthesised from certain whole foods and is also available in supplement form. What is urolithin A exactly and how does it benefit health and longevity?
What is urolithin A and where is it found?
Produced by bacteria in the gut microbiome, urolithin A is a postbiotic that is synthesised after eating certain foods high in polyphenols like berries, nuts and most famously, pomegranates. Postbiotics are by-products from the gut that can act as health-promoting compounds.
One of the most well-known sources of urolithin A is the pomegranate. Despite being known as the fruit of death in Greek mythology, the jewel-like pomegranate has remarkable longevity benefits. During digestion, gut bacteria convert the molecule ellagitannins contained in pomegranate into urolithin A.
Our gut microbiome is as different as we are and varies by diet, age and genetics, so different individuals produce urolithin at different rates. Those without bacteria specifically from the Clostridiales and Ruminococcaceae families living in their gut cannot produce any urolithin A at all! Even those who can produce urolithin A do not produce nearly enough of it. Indeed, as few as 1 in 3 people produce enough urolithin A.
While healthy and delicious, eating superfoods like pomegranate is not enough for your gut to produce enough urolithin A. Instead, the only way to ensure you are getting enough is from direct supplementation .
Indeed, so-called longevity supplements promoting weight loss, antiaging and longevity are fast becoming a major health and wellness trend. But what are some of the benefits of getting enough urolithin A through supplements?
The benefits of urolithin A supplements
One of the biggest benefits of urolithin A is boosted cellular energy in the mitochondria. Famously known as the powerhouse of the cell, mitochondria are microscopic organelles that convert glucose and oxygen into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for energy.
Unfortunately, mitochondrial function declines with age, impairing the mitochondria’s ability to produce enough energy. Mitochondrial dysfunction is one of the nine ‘hallmarks of aging’ that cause cellular and molecular damage to the body that can lead to age-related illness. Known as an antagonistic hallmark, mitochondrial dysfunction can cause loss of muscle strength, which many people experience from their 40s onwards .
This can lead to a serious condition known as sarcopenia that affects 30% of older people and is associated with poor mobility, frailty and fall-related injuries. One way to counter this is through regular physical exercise to maintain bone and muscle strength, with the CDC recommending two strength training sessions as part of the ideal 150 minutes of exercise per week.
For those who are less physically able, urolithin A can be used to boost mitochondrial health without the need for exercise. Available from the diet and more effectively, from dietary supplements, urolithin A has been shown to promote mitochondrial health and muscle endurance. It does this by improving mitochondrial activity, specifically by activating the process of mitophagy.
Mitophagy is a special type of autophagy that occurs within the mitochondria, recycling aging and damaged organelles. This makes way for new, healthy mitochondria to thrive. This process is thought to be essential to antiaging and protects against numerous age-related diseases .
Therefore, urolithin A supplements could be an effective and accessible tool to improve health and longevity in older people. Considering that the aging population is growing exponentially, with projected figures predicting that there will be 1 billion people aged over 65 by 2030, longevity supplements like urolithin A are worth taking seriously.
One such supplement is Timeline, which contains a highly pure form of urolithin A known as Mitopure. While longevity supplements are growing in popularity, they are not subject to the same strict FDA regulation as pharmaceutical drugs, and few have been legitimised by clinical trials. However, Mitopure is the only clinically tested urolithin A supplement and its efficacy has been validated by research published in the JAMA Network Open .
Produced by Swiss company Amazentis, Mitopure is a new class of nutritional product backed by cutting edge science and has been shown to improve muscular strength in older adults without any exercise in just four months. From blood plasma samples, Mitopure was also shown to significantly reduce acylcarnitines and ceramides that are associated with metabolic disorders involving mitochondria.
It can also counter age-related cellular decline and can induce gene expression associated with mitochondrial function. Mitopure urolithin A supplements show promise as a safe and effective way for older adults to improve mitochondrial and muscular health without exercise.
The Mitopure supplements contain 500mg of highly pure urolithin A, delivering six times the amount of urolithin A available from diet alone! .
It is especially effective as the precisely calibrated dose of Mitopure delivers urolithin A and activates mitophagy in the body regardless of individuals’ diet or microbiome. Designed to be taken daily, the supplement known as Timeline is available in powder and soft-gel forms that can be mixed in your morning smoothie or yogurt.
While not intended to replace regular exercise or fruit intake, urolithin A supplements like Mitopure are a convenient and accessible way to boost mitochondrial health, muscular strength and energy in older people.
Photograph: Tetyana Kovyrina/Pexels
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