How to live longer: The ‘powerful’ fruit that counteracts effects of ageing

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As we age, the billions of cells struggle to recycle their powerhouses, which contributes to the muscle loss that threatens mobility. By restoring muscles, however, one fruit could act as a buffer against all complications associated with ageing.

Scientist suggest that one of the main molecules in pomegranate could allow muscles to protect themselves against the major causes of ageing.

The fruit’s Urolithin A (UA) molecule, a chemical by-product that is made by the body after consuming pomegranate, could counteract the effects of ageing associated with muscle loss, according to the researchers.

Scientists found that the molecule was able to re-establish the cell’s ability to recycle mitochondria in the body’s cells.

A team of researcher from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne probing UA were able to determined the compound’s effects on different animals.

READ MORE: How to live longer: Why a bowl of cereal every day could prolong your life

Upon closer inspection, they noted that worms lived an average of 45 percent longer compared to those who did not consume pomegranate.

After administering UA to mice, the animals were able to run 42 percent further distance than they had previously been able to.

The researchers noted that the animal’s performance improved without significant changes in muscle size, which suggested it was the quality of muscle that improved.

Upon closer inspection, the team found that UA improved muscle cells by triggering them to eliminate damaged mitochondria, which is the powerhouse of the cell.

When these are purged, remaining healthy mitochondria proliferates, which means the muscles produce more energy and work more efficiently.

Patrick Aebischer, co-author of the study, said: “It’s the only known molecule that can relaunch the mitochondrial clean-up process, otherwise known as mitophagy.

“It’s a completely natural substance, and its effect is powerful and measurable.”

Chris Rinsch, who took part in the study, estimated that a person would have to drink four large glasses of pomegranate juice daily to receive an equivalent dose of UA than that administered to rats in the study.

He explained that the function of US’s molecule is down to tens of millions of years of parallel evolution between plants, bacteria and animals.

He said: “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 favours 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.”

Speaking of the potential effects of UA on humans, co-author of the study Joham Auwerx, said: “Species that are evolutionary quite distant, such as C elegant and the rat, react to the same substance in the same way. That’s a good indication that we’re touching here on a essential mechanism in living organisms.

The researchers believe the molecule could succeed where other pharmaceutical products have failed to increase muscle mass.

The researchers said: “The nutritional approach opens up territory that traditional pharma has never explored. It’s a true shift in the scientific paradigm.”

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