We’ve talked about sarcopenia here before. It’s a condition marked by losses in both muscle mass and muscle function.
The older you are, the higher your risk—but only because of the number of years of muscle loss already under your belt.
In fact, muscle mass starts taking a nosedive as soon as you hit 30. And if you haven’t taken measures to preserve your muscles as you age, by the time you’re 70, you could be struggling with the fallout of sarcopenia on a daily basis.
That includes disability, a loss of independence, a steep decline in quality of life, and sometimes, even death.
The exciting news is, this new supplement may be the answer we’ve been searching for…
Protect your muscles with urolithin A
Research suggests that a new supplement—urolithin A—may help improve or prolong muscle activity in aging adults and in those with illnesses that limit physical activity.
Urolithin A is produced by gut bacteria. Since different factors affect the makeup of the gut microbiome—including diet, age, genetics, and disease—people produce urolithin A at variable rates.
Of course, certain dietary choices, including pomegranates, berries, and nuts, help increase urolithin A production. But so can supplementation.
In fact, animal tests and molecular studies of humans suggest supplemental urolithin A can help improve the quality of your mitochondria.
(Mitochondria are the powerhouses of cells. Like every other cell in the body, they’re recycled and changed over time—but the process slows as we age. This is one way that muscles become less functional over time.)
To better observe this function, researchers analyzed 66 subjects over the age of 65 who had average or subpar capacity to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). (This is a measure of mitochondria function.)
Participants were randomized to receive a placebo or a daily supplement of 1,000 mg urolithin A for four months.
Ultimately, those who supplemented with urolithin A experienced an improvement in two measures of muscle endurance.
Both groups improved the distance covered during a six-minute walk. Yet neither group experienced a significant improvement in ATP production after four months.
Lead author David Marcinek, a professor of radiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, noted: “these results are still exciting because they demonstrate that just taking a supplement for a short duration actually improved muscle endurance. Fatigue resistance got better in the absence of exercise.”
Interestingly, blood samples were also collected at outset, two months, and four months to analyze the bioavailability of urolithin A and its effect on biomarkers of mitochondrial health and inflammation.
Results pointed to a significant reduction in several acylcarnitine and ceramides, which contribute to metabolic disorders involving mitochondria.
Take these simple steps
At the end of the day, this research suggests that a simple supplement can support one’s mitochondrial health—which may, in turn, help protect and improve your muscles.
(I’m constantly on the lookout for legitimate, science-backed supplements like this. I’m even a long proponent of helping companies fund research for a new product. Because science is expensive… but it’s so worth it. And the research on urolithin A thus far has definitely caught my eye.)
I recommend 1,000 mg of urolithin A daily.
Of course, to continue protecting your muscles as you age, I also suggest upping your protein intake and adding resistance training to your daily routine.
You can learn more about each in the November 2020 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“The deadly, underlying hazard of saggy ‘bat arms’”. Not yet a subscriber? Click here to become one!
“Supplement appears to boost muscle, mitochondria health.” ScienceDaily, 01/20/2022. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220120125342.htm)