A new study reveals that pomegranates help fight the process of aging by reviving the cell function and preventing their damage. Significant health benefits have already been linked to pomegranates. The fruit is packed with antioxidants and is said to reduce the risk of heart disease and fight inflammation and arthritis, improve memory, boost exercise performance, and combat prostate cancer.
Mitochondria, known as the "powerhouse of the cell" provides energy to the cell to function normally. As the body ages, the cells struggle to recycle the mitochondria. Mitophagy, the process by which the damaged mitochondria are removed, becomes less efficient and the cells end up cluttered with old and poorly functioning mitochondria. The buildup of dysfunctional mitochondria affects the health of many tissues and muscles and also plays a role in other diseases of aging such as Parkinson's disease.
‘Pomegranate juice is found to slow down aging process by aiding in the production of a molecule called Urolithin A’
Scientists from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Amazentis company in Switzerland identified a 'miracle molecule' that managed to re-establish the cell's ability to recycle the components of the defective mitochondria, urolithin A. A natural metabolite of ellagitannins, a class of compounds found in the pomegranate and other fruits and nuts is converted to Urolithin A by the microbes in the gut. The fruit does not itself contain the 'miracle molecule', but rather its precursor. Humans can only benefit from the anti-aging chemical if they possess the right sort of bacteria in their gut.
Researchers investigating the molecule fed it to mice as part of their diet and found it increased their 8-10 day lifespan by more than 45 per cent. They observed a significant reduction in the number of mitochondria, indicating that a robust cellular recycling process was taking place. Older mice, around two years of age, exposed to urolithin A showed 42 per cent better endurance while running than equally old mice in the control group.
"It is the only known molecule that can re-launch the mitochondrial clean-up process, otherwise known as mitophagy. It is a completely natural substance, and its effect is powerful and measurable," said Patrick Aebischer from EPFL. Professor Johan Auwerx, from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, 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 was published in the journal Nature Medicine