Welcome to ReachMD. This Audio Abstracts was produced in collaboration with Nestlé Health Science, Empowering Healthier Lives through Nutrition. Here’s your host, Dr. Anurag Singh.
I'm Anurag Singh, Chief Medical Officer at Amazentis, a cellular health company dedicated to research and clinical development of advanced therapeutic nutrition products.
Today I will be reviewing our clinical trial on the impact of a urolithin A nutritional supplement on muscle endurance and mitochondrial health in older adults.
But before we dive into the trial, I'd like to share some background on this demographic. The population over 60 is the fastest growing age group in the world, and is projected to represent 1 in every 4 adults by 2050. As we know, aging is associated with a progressive loss of muscle mass and strength, which can lead to reduced physical performance and endurance capacity. In parallel, this loss of muscle mass and strength is often accompanied with a progressive decline in age-associated cellular health. Together, these can negatively impact quality of life and independence. And so there's an urgent need to identify practical interventions to help combat these declines.
If we look at the cellular level, mitochondrial dysfunction is seen as a key factor in age-related changes in muscle performance. A reduction in the cell's ability to selectively eliminate dysfunctional mitochondria by a process called mitophagy can contribute to that decline in mitochondrial health. Urolithin A, or UA, is a gut microbiome-derived metabolite that has been shown to activate mitophagy and improve markers of mitochondrial function in older adults.
To assess whether targeting mitochondrial health could translate to improved muscle performance in older adults, we conducted a randomized controlled trial, in which 66 individuals aged 65 to 90 years consumed 1,000 milligrams UA or placebo daily for 4 months. Performance on the 6-minute walk test and resistance to fatigue, or muscle endurance, tests were assessed at baseline, 2, and 4 months in anatomically different hand and leg skeletal muscles.
The results of this trial showed that UA supplementation significantly improved muscle endurance, measured as change from baseline in the number of contractions until fatigue, in muscles of both the hand and leg compared to placebo at 2 months. At 4 months, endurance in the UA group continued to improve, although this was no longer significant versus placebo. Six-minute walk distance improved by 60.8 meters in the UA group, and 42.5 meters in the placebo group. These improvements are considered clinically meaningful, but the differences were not statistically significant between the groups.
On top of that, analysis of plasma biomarkers found that UA improved measures of mitochondrial function and reduced inflammation compared to placebo.
This clinical trial found that long-term supplementation with UA had a positive impact on endurance in functionally diverse skeletal muscles of the hand and leg. This is especially interesting, given the improvements were observed in the absence of an exercise training program.
This study adds to the growing literature on UA and muscle performance, including a recent study showing improvements in hamstring muscle strength with long-term supplementation in middle-aged
adults. Taken together, the results show the potential for urolithin A supplementation as a practical nutritional intervention to support muscle function and cellular health during aging.
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