A particular fruit that slows the aging process sounds too good to be true, but that’s exactly what researchers have discovered. It turns out that pomegranate doesn’t just look beautiful and taste amazing but it contains a unique substance that, when eaten, slows the aging process. Before you run out to your local grocery store to stock up on pomegranates and pomegranate juice, I’ll explain how this wonder fruit can help to transform your health.
The exciting research published in the medical journal Nature Medicine sounds like something out of a science fiction movie because the likelihood of making the discovery is like finding the microscopic needle in a haystack. Researchers discovered that a naturally-occurring compound found in pomegranates interacts with intestinal bacteria in humans to be converted into another substance known as urolithin A, which in turn slows the aging process. The scientists at École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne, Switzerland, deserve a round of applause for their incredible, and seemingly impossible, discovery. Impressive discoveries like this remind me of the miracle of nature. The study results also demonstrate how humans and other animals co-evolved with plants and bacteria over millions of years and how we have an interdependence on each other.
In the animal study, researchers determined that urolithin A slows aging by improving the functioning of the microscopic energy factories found in the cells—known as mitochondria. Impaired mitochondria have been linked with aging and some health conditions like Parkinson’s disease. The research is in its infancy so it is not yet clear how wide-reaching the benefits may be; however, the animals in the study experienced improved muscular function.
While researchers made the discovery with pomegranates, several other foods contain the natural compound known as ellagic acid, which is the compound that interacts with gut bacteria to form urolithin A. Ellagic acid is also found in blackberries, blueberries, sour cherries, black and red currants, elderberries, grapes, raspberries, strawberries, walnuts and to a lesser extent, pecans.
Ellagic acid also helps to ensure the body can kill cancer cells before they can do harm by regulating the process of cancer cell destruction. It has also been found to stimulate the liver to improve its detoxification of environmental toxins, hormones and food toxins.
When researchers tested the anti-aging effect on nematode worms, the worms lived 45 percent longer than worms not exposed to urolithin A. According to one of the study’s lead researchers and professor of neuroscience, Patrick Aebischer in an interview with Medical News Today, “it’s the only known molecule that can relaunch the mitochondrial clean-up process, otherwise known as mitophagy. It’s a completely natural substance and its effect is powerful and measurable.”
Will humans live 45 percent longer by eating pomegranates on a regular basis? It’s not likely but we’ll have to wait for research on urolithin A on humans to find out. As an amusing anecdote: as I’m writing this blog, the song “Who Wants to Live Forever?” by the Canadian Tenors just started playing. While we await the research to determine just how much longer we might live thanks to urolithin A, you may want to start enjoying pomegranate and the other fruit and nuts that contain ellagic acid to start reaping the antiaging and energy benefits of these delicious and healing foods.