David Marcinek, Ph.D., leads study on improving muscle endurance and mitochondrial health

A headshot of David Marcinek

David Marcinek, Ph.D.

David Marcinek, Ph.D., a professor of radiology and director of the Translational Bioenergetics Lab, was the lead author on a paper that suggests an oral supplement, urolithin A, may help improve muscle endurance and mitochondrial health in humans.

The paper, published in the American Medical Association’s JAMA Network Open, suggests that the supplement may help improve or prolong muscle activity in those who are aging or have a chronic disease that makes exercise difficult.

The researchers studied a group of 66 people over 65 years old who were randomized to receive a placebo or a daily supplement of 1,000 mg urolithin A for four months. Each of the subjects had an average or subpar capacity to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which mitochondria produce to help cells perform myriad functions. Two comparisons of muscle functions supported the thesis, but two others did not. 

“Even though we did not observe an effect of the supplement in whole body function,” Dr. Marcinek told the UW Medicine Newsroom, “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.”

Dr. Marcinek was also recently featured on the Live Long and Master Aging podcast, which you can listen to here.

To read the full study, visit the JAMA Network Open website.

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