Pomegranate finally reveals its powerful anti-aging secret


Intestinal bacteria transform a molecule contained in the fruit with spectacular results

Are pomegranates really the superfood we’ve been led to believe will counteract the aging process? Up to now, scientific proof has been fairly weak. And some controversial marketing tactics have led to skepticism as well. A team of scientists from EPFL and the company Amazentis wanted to explore the issue by taking a closer look at the secrets of this plump pink fruit. They discovered that a molecule in pomegranates, transformed by microbes in the gut, enables muscle cells to protect themselves against one of the major causes of aging. In nematodes and rodents, the effect is nothing short of amazing. Human clinical trials are currently underway, but these initial findings have already been published in the journal Nature Medicine.

As we age, our cells increasingly struggle to recycle their powerhouses. Called mitochondria, these inner compartments are no longer able to carry out their vital function, thus accumulate in the cell. This degradation affects the health of many tissues, including muscles, which gradually weaken over the years. A buildup of dysfunctional mitochondria is also suspected of playing a role in other diseases of aging, such as Parkinson’s disease.

One molecule plays David against the Goliath of aging

The scientists identified a molecule that, all by itself, managed to re-establish the cell’s ability to recycle the components of the defective mitochondria: urolithin A. “It’s the only known molecule that can relaunch the mitochondrial clean-up process, otherwise known as mitophagy,” says Patrick Aebischer, co-author on the study. “It’s a completely natural substance, and its effect is powerful and measurable.”

The team started out by testing their hypothesis on the usual suspect: the nematode C. elegans. It’s a favorite test subject among aging experts, because after just 8-10 days it’s already considered elderly. The lifespan of worms exposed to urolithin A increased by more than 45% compared with the control group.

These initial encouraging results led the team to test the molecule on animals that have more in common with humans. In the rodent studies, like with C. elegans, a significant reduction in the number of mitochondria was observed, indicating that a robust cellular recycling process was taking place. Older mice, around two years of age, showed 42% better endurance while running than equally old mice in the control group.

Human testing underway

Before heading out to stock up on pomegranates, however, it’s worth noting that the fruit doesn’t itself contain the miracle molecule, but rather its precursor. That molecule is converted into urolithin A by the microbes that inhabit the intestine. Because of this, the amount of urolithin A produced can vary widely, depending on the species of animal and the flora present in the gut microbiome. Some individuals don’t produce any at all. If you’re one of the unlucky ones, it’s possible that pomegranate juice won’t do you any good.

For those without the right microbes in their guts, however, the scientists are already working on a solution. The study’s co-authors founded a start-up company, Amazentis, which has developed a method to deliver finely calibrated doses of urolithin A. The company is currently conducting first clinical trials testing the molecule in humans in European hospitals.

Darwin at your service: parallel evolution makes good dinner partners According to study co-author Johan Auwerx, it would be surprising if urolithin A weren’t effective in humans. “Species that are evolutionarily quite distant, such as C elegans and the rat, react to the same substance in the same way. That’s a good indication that we’re touching here on an essential mechanism in living organisms.”

Urolithin A’s function is the product of tens of millions of years of parallel evolution between plants, bacteria and animals. According to Chris Rinsch, co-author and CEO of Amazentis, this evolutionary process explains the molecule’s effectiveness: “Precursors to urolithin A are found not only in pomegranates, but also in smaller amounts in many nuts and berries. Yet for it to be produced in our intestines, the bacteria must be able to break down what we’re eating. When, via digestion, a substance is produced that is of benefit to us, natural selection favors both the bacteria involved and their host. Our objective is to follow strict clinical validations, so that everyone can benefit from the result of these millions of years of evolution.”

The EPFL scientists’ approach provides a whole new palette of opportunities to fight the muscular degeneration that takes place as we age, and possibly also to counteract other effects of aging. By helping the body to renew itself, urolithin A could well succeed where so many pharmaceutical products, most of which have tried to increase muscle mass, have failed. Auwerx, who has also published a recent discovery about the anti-aging effects of another molecule in the journal Science, emphasizes the game-changing importance of these studies. “The nutritional approach opens up territory that traditional pharma has never explored. It’s a true shift in the scientific paradigm.”

Source: http://bit.ly/29DRnHW

10 Tasty Anti-Aging Foods

There are so many products that claim to combat aging, and many of them aren’t cheap. But a simpler and potentially more effective way to look and feel youthful is to take control of what you put in your body. Here are nutritious foods that research has found to have anti-aging qualities.


Carrots are a sweet and crunchy snack that contains loads of beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. That stimulates skin cell growth (for healthy scalp and shiny hair) and builds collagen. Beta carotene also is packed with antioxidants, which protect the skin from free radicals–molecules associated with aging. Carrots are also nature’s toothbrush because they clean and whiten teeth with each munch.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are also rich in beta carotene, which helps balance the skin’s pH and combats dryness, resulting in improved skin texture and tone. As an added benefit, sweet potatoes are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, making them a nutritional winner.


Nuts are an excellent source of protein, calcium, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids – all of which promote healthy, youthful skin. Essential fatty acids also help reduce swelling and inflammation, which is a common side effect of many skin conditions. Nuts also are packed with the mineral selenium, which helps repair cell damage and slows down the skin’s aging process.

Red wine

Yes, it’s true that a glass of red wine a day can protect you from heart disease. To sweeten the benefits, red wine also contains the antioxidant resveratrol, which can help prevent blood clots and soaks up free radicals that can damage your both your appearance and your health.


This delicious fruit is packed with vitamin E, which protects against free radicals, and potassium, which helps maintain heart and bone health. It also contains antioxidants, which can ward off disease and slow the aging process.


Garlic packs quite a healthy punch as it is an anti-viral, antibacterial food that can boost your immune system, and may also help reduce the spread and growth of cancer cells and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure.


Blueberries contain more antioxidants than all other berries which makes them excellent for fighting free radicals. They also have strong anti-inflammatory properties that reduce skin redness and wrinkles. Perhaps most surprising is that they may also help reduce the mental effects of aging because of the ingredient anthocyanin, which can slow the deterioration of mental function.

Leafy greens

Leafy greens are packed with lutein, an antioxidant which protects skin from sun damage and wrinkles. Leafy greens, including kale and spinach, are also rich in vitamin C, which is essential in building collagen. That can break down as we age, giving skin a gaunt, dull appearance.


As with leafy greens, citrus fruits are high in vitamin C which boosts collagen production. Citrus fruits such as blood oranges and lemons are also rich in bioflavonoids that help defend the skin from sun damage.


Tomatoes contain the powerful antioxidant lycopene,  which reduces skin redness and prevents UV damage. Tomatoes can make an excellent face mask, but will still work for your skin if you choose to just eat them.


Source: health central