While pomegranates have long been touted as an anti-aging superfood, there's been very little scientific evidence to back up that claim... until now. A team of researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has potentially uncovered the molecule that makes the seedy fruit such a nutritional powerhouse.
Published in the journal Nature Medicine, the results suggest that this distinctive molecule has anti-aging properties. Transformed by the microbes in the gut, the molecule gives muscle cells the ability to protect themselves against a major cause of aging, according to Science Daily. While the human testing period is still underway, the scientists had "amazing" results in rodents and nematodes.
According to the researchers at EPFL, as the body ages, the mitochondria that help to power the cells begin to slow down and malfunction, which results in the weakening of muscles and bodily tissue. However, the new data shows that a compound called Urolithin A, which is produced when pomegranates interact with the gut, can boost a bodily process called "mitophagy," or the recycling of worn-out mitochondria. "It's a completely natural substance, and its effect is powerful and measurable," says study co-author Patrick Aebischer of the pomegranate's key molecule.