Welcome to ReachMD. This Audio Abstracts was produced in collaboration with Nestlé Health Science, Empowering Healthier Lives Through Nutrition. Here’s your host, Dr. Chris Rinsch.
I'm Chris Rinsch, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder at Amazentis, a cellular health company dedicated to research and clinical development of advanced therapeutic nutrition products.
Today, I will be discussing our recent clinical trial on the impact of cellular nutrient urolithin A on muscle strength and exercise performance in middle-aged adults.
I'd like to start with some background on aging and muscle health. Age-related declines in muscle health can begin as early as the third or fourth decade of life. And environmental factors such as diet and exercise impact the rate of this decline. At the cellular level, impaired function of mitochondria, the energy factories within our cells, is associated with slower walking speed, muscle fatigue, and loss of strength. That's why in order to promote muscle health, we also need interventions aimed at promoting mitochondrial health.
One such intervention is urolithin A, or UA, which is a gut microbiome-derived metabolite produced from polyphenols found in foods like pomegranates, berries, and walnuts. UA activates a process called mitophagy, which selectively removes and recycles dysfunctional mitochondria, and has been shown to improve markers of mitochondrial health in older adults. Our research shows that only about one-third of the population has the gut microbiota required to produce UA naturally, which is why direct UA supplementation can provide a more bioavailable option.
So, to determine the effect of UA supplementation on muscle strength, exercise performance, and mitochondrial health in middle-aged adults, we conducted a randomized controlled trial enrolling 88 healthy individuals aged 40 to 64 years. Participants were randomized to three groups receiving either 500 milligrams UA, 1,000 milligrams UA, or a placebo daily for 4 months.
We found that improvements in hamstring muscle strength were significantly greater among those consuming both doses of UA compared to placebo. According to the results, average peak torque increased by 12% in the 500-milligram group, and 9.8% in the 1,000-milligram group. At the higher dose of UA, 6-minute walk distance increased by 33 meters from baseline, and exercise capacity - assessed by peak oxygen consumption, or peak VO2, during a submaximal cycling test - increased by 10%. Although not significant versus placebo, these changes in functional outcomes exceed the threshold for clinically meaningful improvements.
On top of that, data from skeletal muscle biopsies and blood plasma also revealed biomarkers of improved mitochondrial quality and respiratory capacity, and reduced markers of inflammation.
These findings are significant for muscle health research as they demonstrate that the improvements in mitochondrial function observed with UA supplementation can translate to meaningful physiological benefits. What’s more, these benefits are observed in the absence of an exercise intervention. This builds on a recent clinical study which found UA supplementation improved hand and leg muscle endurance in older adults. Together, this data adds to the growing evidence for UA as a beneficial nutritional intervention to support muscle health and promote healthy aging.
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