A new supplement for muscle recovery – clinical trial of gut microbiome postbiotic urolithin A shows age-related muscle fatigue can be improved.
A new supplement that stimulates a natural body process also promotes muscle recovery in humans. New research indicates that urolithin A can play an important role in improving muscles and prolonging activity – this is especially important as muscles decline with age, exposing us to the dangers of frailty.
Longevity.Technology sponsored content: As fast as we are unlocking the secrets of urolithin A we are also discovering obstacles. Urolithin A boosts mitochondrial and muscle function for sure, but it’s a metabolite, meaning it is made by the body from raw materials that we get from fruits, especially pomegranates; however, not everyone can make sufficient quantities of this antiaging molecule, and that’s where Mitopure steps in.
It seems to be universally accepted that the older we get, the more easily we get tired and the less energy we have – but perhaps it doesn’t have to be this way. The secret lies in our mitochondria, tiny organelles that pack a mighty punch when it comes to energy production. These minute powerhouses take oxygen and glucose and create a chemical called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and this is the energy our bodies use for movement, growth and repair.
Like all things, mitochondria wear out. This decline in function is one of the hallmarks of aging and is connected to other hallmarks of aging processes including genomic instability, telomere dysfunction and cellular senescence. Sensibly, our bodies engage in a continual maintenance programme called mitophagy – breaking down tired and sub-par mitochondria and reusing their molecules. As we age, not only does our mitochondrial dysfunction increase, but the rate of mitophagy decreases. The result is less energy for repair – which contributes to aging – and less energy for movement – which makes us feel like we’re aging.
Scientists have linked this decline in mitophagy not only to a loss of muscle function, but to other worrying issues such as a loss of memory and cognitive decline, and memory loss. Mitophagy also plays a role in tumour suppression and protecting against Parkinson’s disease, so it makes sense to try to keep the rate up – and this is where urolithin A comes in to the mix.
It’s not enough to simply consume enough urolithin A “ingredients”, your body has be be able to convert those ingredients into urolithin A. The secret to this process lies in your gut, or rather your gut microbiome to be exact. Teeming with trillions of microorganisms including bacteria, fungi and viruses, our microbiome help us to digest our food, regulate our immune system and produce various important molecules such vitamin K, thiamine and riboflavin.
Everyone has a unique microbiome, and it turns out that only about 40% of us have a microbiome that can take the ellagitannins found in pomegranates, berries and nuts and synthesise the important urolithin A, leaving us without muscle recovery’s secret weapon. For 60% of us, it doesn’t matter how much pomegranate juice we drink, we simply can’t make useful quantities of urolithin A.
This left scientists at Swiss company Amazentis facing a challenge. Research has demonstrated that nematodes given urolithin A have extended lifespan, increased mitophagy, improved mobility with age and increased activity . Urolithin A also led to improved exercise capacity in mice suffering age-related muscle decline.
Testing urolithin A in human trials means a precise dose is needed. Amazentis created Mitopure, a proprietary urolithin A supplement marketed under the Timeline brand which includes powder and soft-gel forms. The trials succeeded in a statistically significant way, with two measures of muscle endurance shown to be improved in the supplemented group when compared with a placebo group. Muscle endurance was measured with exercises involving the hand and leg, with researchers measuring the increase in the number of muscle contractions until fatigue between a baseline test and the final test four months later .
By bypassing the need to have the correct microbiome flora, an easy and effective way to boost muscle recovery is available to everyone – in fact a daily dose of Mitopure is equivalent to drinking six glasses of pomegranate juice, and all without the worry that you can actually convert it (and the sugar!).