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Why pomegranate can keep your muscles young and healthy
I’m all about thinking age-positive…
I don’t think older people are senile and feeble. I don’t freak out about every fine line or gray hair. And I absolutely hate when anyone tries to put you in a box based on your age… whether you’re 30, 60 or 90.
All that said, the body changes with age. And some of these changes affect our ability to live a free and active life. Like sarcopenia.
Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass that happens with age. It starts around 40 and speeds up at a rapid pace by the time you hit 60 or 70. It can make you weak, put you at risk for falls and make you feel like a poster child for the “elderly.”
Since it’s mostly caused by age-related hormonal changes, sarcopenia is considered a natural part of aging. But do you know what I find truly amazing?
How so many “natural” aging processes can be improved or even prevented through nutrition. And sarcopenia’s one of them.
In fact, there’s a simple nutritional habit you can use to maintain strong, youthful muscles that allow you to keep walking, dancing, traveling and enjoying life no matter your age…
A fountain-of-youth fruit for strong, youthful muscles
You may already know that pomegranates are packed with antioxidants, but they’re packed with something else that can keep you healthy as you age — Urolithin A.
Urolithin A is a compound that’s created when your body processes polyphenols called ellagitannins.
In previous research on a roundworm known as C. elegans and on rats, researchers discovered that it keeps mitochondria — responsible for powering up cells — functioning in tip-top shape. In both cases, the compound showed anti-aging benefits. It extended the lifespan of the typically short-lived roundworm by 45 percent.
Now, a recent human trial shows that this compound can improve the function of your mitochondria, which could prevent some of those natural aging processes I mentioned earlier… especially sarcopenia.
The trial included 60 older adults who were sedentary but otherwise healthy. People in the study received a placebo or a 250, 500 or 1,000 mg daily dose of urolithin A for 28 days. After 28 days, researchers looked at biomarkers for cellular and mitochondrial health in the blood and muscles of participants. And here’s what they noticed…
Urolithin A increased mitochondrial mass through a process called mitochondrial biogenesis. Exercise does the same thing. Urolithin A also allowed cells to recycle defective mitochondria. Your cells start to lose this ability with age, and these defective mitochondria contribute to muscle weakening (AKA sarcopenia) along with the weakening of other tissues.
So, a bit of urolithin A could go a long way toward strong and youthful muscles as you age.
Using urolithin A (and exercise) to maintain strong muscles
A lot of experts suspect that urolithin A could be the answer to the less-appealing aspects of aging. That’s because, in addition to the results of this latest study, previous animal studies show that it can increase lifespan and improve endurance.
I already mentioned that pomegranate is a great source of urolithin A. But raspberries and walnuts are too. Unfortunately, not everyone has the right microbes in their gut to produce urolithin A naturally. Luckily, studies show that urolithin A supplements are safe and well-tolerated by most people.
But if you want to get the benefits of urolithin A without spending a dime on supplements, exercise can do the trick. Like I mentioned earlier, exercise triggers the same cellular process — mitochondrial biogenesis — as urolithin A. So, it’s a safe and inexpensive way to keep your mitochondria (and muscles) young.
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