An anti-aging dietary supplement developed by the Swiss biotech Amazentis to combat age-related muscle weakening has improved the health of muscle cells in a first-in-human study.
Mitochondria are parts of the cell that generate energy, and are important for muscle movement. As we age, damaged mitochondria begin to build up in muscle cells, possibly contributing to age-related muscle weakening. Urolithin A, a chemical produced by the microbiome when you eat pomegranates and strawberries, might be able to slow down muscle weakening by making the cell replace damaged mitochondria with healthy ones.
To test the anti-aging potential of urothilin A as a dietary supplement, Amazentis gave 60 healthy elderly patients either a placebo or oral doses of urolithin A for four weeks. The treatment proved to have no side effects and decreased the levels of biomarkers in the blood that signal unhealthy mitochondria in the cell.
There are currently no treatments able to slow the weakening of our muscles as we age other than long-term exercise routines. As the population gets increasingly older, this dietary supplement could help the elderly to maintain an independent lifestyle for longer.
The process of removing damaged mitochondria, called mitophagy, takes place throughout life, but slows down as we age. Boosting mitophagy may also help to slow aging in other tissues in the body.
“Mitochondrial and cellular health declines with age, making these results a pivotal milestone as we explore the full breadth of benefits urolithin A offers for managing human health throughout the aging process,” said Amazentis’ co-founder, Patrick Aebischer, in a statement.
One of the key players in the Lausanne biotech ecosystem, Amazentis has attracted the attention of food giant Nestlé Health Science, which entered a partnership with the Swiss biotech back in April to co-develop urolithin A.
Aging is a complex process, and there are many companies developing anti-aging treatments across the various biological hallmarks of aging. However, mitochondria are crucial for so many cell processes that a treatment tackling mitochondrial damage could solve multiple aspects of aging in one go. The UK-based biotech Shift Bioscience thinks along these lines. The company is developing anti-aging drugs that force mitochondria to compete with each other for nutrients in the cell, clearing out the damaged mitochondria.
Images from Shutterstock