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The humble pomegranate might just hold the key to youthful ageing

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The humble pomegranate might just hold the key to youthful ageing

It was revered in ancient times as a “food of the gods”

12 July 2016

It may not make you immortal, but a ruby red superfruit revered in ancient times as a “food of the gods” could hold the key to youthful ageing.

The humble pomegranate contains a chemical that combats a fundamental ageing process which causes muscles to weaken, scientists have discovered.

As in every legend involving a hidden secret to staying young, there is a catch, however.

To experience any anti-ageing benefit from the pomegranate compound you must first possess the “right” sort of gut bacteria.

The microbes are needed because they convert the fruit’s raw ingredient into the molecule urolithin A, shown in laboratory experiments to maintain youthful muscles.

Old mice fed the magic molecule as part of their diet were stronger than animals given ordinary food and their running endurance was boosted by 45%.

Excited scientists have already set up a company, Amazentis, to exploit the discovery. Early clinical trials testing finely calibrated doses of the molecule in human patients are now under way in a number of European hospitals.

Lead researcher Professor Johan Auwerx, from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, said: “We believe this research is a milestone in current anti-ageing efforts .. and illustrates the opportunity of rigorously tested nutritional bioactive agents that we consider to have outstanding potential for human health.”

The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, focused on mitochondria – tiny rod-like “power plants” in cells that play a vital role in turning food into energy.

Over time, mitochondria become worn out and damaged. A process called “mitophagy” allows the mitochondria to be recycled, clearing away those that are defective to make way for fresh replacements.

As we age, mitophagy becomes less efficient and cells end up cluttered with old, poorly functioning mitochondria. This harms the health of many organs and tissues, including muscles which weaken.

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1 comment :

  1. Yes, for sure! Husband's been drinking few ounces pomegranate juice per day for 10 years and he acts just like a kid!


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