Direct supplementation with Urolithin A overcomes limitations of dietary exposure and gut microbiome variability in healthy adults to achieve consistent levels across the population.
Eur J Clin Nutr. 2021 Jun 11. Epub 2021 Jun 11. PMID: 34117375
BACKGROUND: Urolithin A (UA) is produced by gut microflora from foods rich in ellagitannins. UA has been shown to improve mitochondrial health preclinically and in humans. Not everyone has a microbiome capable of producing UA, making supplementation with UA an appealing strategy.
OBJECTIVE: This is the first detailed investigation of the prevalence of UA producers in a healthy population and the ability of direct UA supplementation to overcome both microbiome and dietary variability. Dietary intake of a glass of pomegranate juice (PJ) was used to assess UA producer status (n = 100 participants) and to characterize differences in gut microbiome between UA producers from non-producers.
METHODS: Subjects were randomized (1:1) to either PJ or a food product containing UA (500 mg). Prevalence of UA producers and non-producers were determined in the PJ group. Diet questionnaires and fecal samples were collected to compare differences between UA producers and non-producers along with plasma samples at different time points to assess levels of UA and its conjugates between the interventions.
RESULTS: Only 12% of subjects had detectable levels of UA at baseline. Following PJ intake ~40% of the subjects converted significantly the precursor compounds into UA. UA producers were distinguished by a significantly higher gut microbiome diversity and ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroides. Direct supplementation with UA significantly increased plasma levels and provided a>6-fold exposure to UA vs. PJ (p < 0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: Differences in gut microbiome and diet that dictate natural exposure to UA can be overcome via direct dietary UA supplementation.