Is Urolithin A ‘Intermittent Fasting’ in a Bottle?
November 4, 2023
Unless you’re steeped in the cutting-edge science of anti-aging and longevity, you may not have heard of the amazing gut metabolite Urolithin A. I have been doing some intense research on this incredible supplement and in this article I want to explain what Urolithin A is and why it has the health span community buzzing!
What is Urolithin A?
Urolithin A is a metabolite produced by the gut microbiota through the transformation of dietary ellagitannins, which are abundant in certain foods such as berries (e.g., strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries), nuts (e.g., walnuts and pecans), and especially in pomegranates. However, not everyone can produce Urolithin A from these foods due to differences in gut microbiome composition.
The good news is that by taking a Urolithin A supplement, individuals can help to overcome these limitations and ensure consistent levels in their bodies. The reason physicians and scientists are so intrigued by what Urolithin A can do is because this metabolite may mimic many of the same benefits derived from the popular intermittent fasting eating protocol.
For those who aren’t familiar, when someone practices intermittent fasting (IF), they eat on a set schedule with a “feeding window”. The most popular version is 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating, while some people opt for 12/12 (twelve hours of eating/twelve hours of fasting) or a more extreme version, 18 hours of fasting and only 6 hours of eating. For more information, read my 4-Step Breakdown of Intermittent Fasting here.
Urolithin A and Mitochondria
One of the essential advantages of Urolithin A lies in its remarkable ability to augment cellular energy production within the mitochondria. Mitochondria, often called the powerhouses of cells, convert glucose and oxygen into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule responsible for delivering energy to various biological processes. Unfortunately, mitochondrial function tends to decline as we age, resulting in diminished energy production, muscle weakness, and a heightened susceptibility to age-related ailments.
Fortunately, Urolithin A comes to the rescue by aiding in the process of mitophagy. Mitophagy involves removing and replacing damaged mitochondria with healthier counterparts, restoring and rejuvenating mitochondrial function. Urolithin A can enhance mitochondrial function and elevate cell energy production by supporting the crucial cellular mechanism of mitophagy. Encouragingly, human studies exploring the effects of Urolithin A supplements have demonstrated positive outcomes in terms of muscular endurance, strength, and power.
A Variety of Other Benefits
Beyond its impressive contributions to muscle health, Urolithin A also exhibits considerable potential for promoting gut health. Research suggests that Urolithin A could significantly improve individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. Furthermore, growing evidence indicates that Urolithin A may possess anti-cancer properties, accentuating its potential as a multi-faceted health-promoting compound.
What Are Some Other Benefits of Urolithin A?
Urolithin A has been shown to activate AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a master regulator of cellular energy metabolism. AMPK activation helps restore cell energy balance by increasing glucose uptake and fatty acid oxidation. Urolithin A exhibits anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting the activation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB), a key regulator of inflammation. By suppressing NF-κB signaling, Urolithin A reduces the production of pro-inflammatory molecules and mitigates the inflammatory response.
Urolithin A also influences gene expression profiles related to various cellular processes, including energy metabolism, oxidative stress response, and inflammation. It regulates the expression of specific genes involved in mitochondrial function, antioxidant defenses, and cellular stress response pathways. Urolithin A supports cellular health and resilience through its gene-regulatory effects, ultimately promoting overall well-being.
The bottom line is that incorporating a Urolithin A supplement into your regimen can help your body’s natural processes and promote overall health and longevity.
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