Urolithin A supplements may provide a way to stimulate mitophagy in older people and help them maintain strength and endurance. David Marcinek, Ph.D., a professor of radiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and his team are doing preliminary clinical trial to find out the efficacy and safety of such supplements (1). “Part of the issue is that as we age, our cells progressively lose their capacity for ‘mitophagy’, which is the breakdown and recycling of faulty mitochondria,” says Dr. Marcinek.
Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) and life-science company Amazentis similarly found a way to reduce muscle decline and low energy with a highly pure Urolithin A supplement, says a March 22 2022 Popular Science reported (2). Urolithin A boosts mitophagy. Urolithin A is produced as a by-product of mitophagy — when gut bacteria digest specific ingredients such as pomegranates, nuts, and berries. Mitophagy is the process of breaking down old worn out mitochondria. Mitochondria converts food into energy, generates adenosine triphosphate (ATP) life-sustaining chemical tissue.
Bacteria in the gut generate a natural supply of urolithin A when they break down the polyphenols found in pomegranates, berries, and nuts (1). The specific gut bacteria strain responsible for this is Gordonibacter urolithinfaciens, sp. nov. The type strain of the Gordonibacter genus, Gordonibacter pamelaeae DSM 19378(T), also produces urolithins, according to a National Institute of Health Pubmed report on the subject (4).
An August 2022 study showed Urolithin A improved mitophagy and mitochondrial respiration from joints of both healthy donors and Osteoarthritis (OA) in mice, says the report in Pubmed.org, National Institute of Health. Urolithin A reduced disease progression in a mouse model of OA, decreasing cartilage degeneration, synovial inflammation, and pain (3).