Why Mitochondrial Health, Muscle Mass, & Mitophagy Matter for Improved Healthspan

Frailty doesn’t have to be your reality as you age. With the right approach, it’s possible to maintain a vibrant and active lifestyle, even in your 60s, 70s and beyond. In this episode, I talk with Dr. Anurag Singh, the Chief Medical Officer at Timeline Nutrition, who also runs a Switzerland-based research company working to discover and develop novel nutritional compounds that target improvements in mitochondrial health.

We delve into the three essential elements that contribute to your overall well-being as you age: diet, exercise, and supplementation. According to Dr. Singh, one of the most important factors is maintaining the health of your mitochondria. With age, these powerhouses of your cells can decline, leaving you feeling tired and unable to do the things you enjoy.

You’ll discover how to know if your mitochondrial health is declining and steps you can take to keep them functioning at their best. Muscle health is critical, and maintaining it requires a sufficient intake of protein. After focusing on diet and an active lifestyle, specific supplements can further promote your health and support your energy levels, which we explore in this enlightening discussion.

We also discuss the exciting area of mitophagy, the process by which faulty mitochondria are eliminated and replaced with healthy ones. Dr. Singh shares information about a test he developed and the latest research on urolithin A, a food-based compound that plays a role in mitophagy and cellular health in ground-breaking ways.

Freebies From Today’s Episode

Get 10% off all Timeline products by using code JJ10

Get a free Mitopure Sample Pack from Dr. Anurag Singh (limited to the first 1000 listeners)


00:00:41 – Mitophagy and protein for optimal body composition.
00:06:56 – Muscle decline after third decade, frailty/sarcopenia rise.
00:09:30 – Two key elements escalating frailty syndrome.
00:11:17 – Importance of muscle protein synthesis in aging.
00:13:07 – Mitochondria are cell’s energy factories – crucial.
00:15:00 – Increasing mitochondria function.
00:17:44 – Benefits of resistance and cardio training discussed.
00:21:47 – Boosting benefits of exercise with nutrients is discussed.
00:24:39 – Polyphenols problematic; test invented for bioavailability.
00:27:14 – Urolithin A study trials and the edge for muscle health.
00:31:13 – Mitophagy helps with waste, aging & endurance.
00:34:08 – Mitophagy crucial for cell and muscle/tissue function.
00:37:14 – Three Fundamental pillars of good health.
00:37:51 – The daily recommended dose of uralithan a and its various formats.
00:38:51 – Mitopure free sample available.

Mentioned in this episode:

Learn more about Dr. Anurag Singh 

Read the research about mitophagy, declining mental health, and dementia

Click Here To Read Transcript

ATHE_Transcript_Ep 533_Dr. Anurag Singh
JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] Hey, this is JJ Virgin. Welcome and thanks so much for joining me. This is Ask the Health Expert here. I put the Power of Health in your hands and give you access to the top people in health and wellness. In each episode, I share safe ways to get healthy, lose weight, heal your gut detox and lots more. So if you wanna get healthy and get off the dieting for life merry-go-round, I’ll give you strategies that will help you look and feel better fast.
I am really obsessed now. Body composition, not now. I’ve been obsessed with this for 35, 40 years. But I think I’m obsessed now with really getting this information out with this idea that like, you can be living your best life in your fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, if you pay attention to what you’re [00:01:00] doing in your forties, fifties, sixties.
And boy, what we’re gonna be talking about today. Is so key for that because when you really look at what you need to do in terms of what you’re eating, how you’re moving, and what you’re supplementing with in order to play full out at a hundred, I have, I have like if that’s a three legged stool, I got one leg of the stool today that we’re gonna be digging deep into, and today we’re gonna be talking about.
Mitophagy you’ve heard about autophagy, we’ve talked about it before. You’ve heard about so much in the world of intermittent fasting because it’s one of the key benefits of longer intermittent fasting in that we can take out the cellular trash. Well, mitophagy is where you take out the cellular mitochondrial trash and, and how that’s important.
We’re also gonna be talking about mitochondrial. Boosting within the muscle and why that’s important. So if you are looking to have more energy, be able to recover [00:02:00] from where your workouts more, be able to hold on and build muscle more. Be able to have a better body composition. Yes, yes, yes. Check, check, check.
You are gonna love my guest today, Dr. Anurag Singh, and he is the Chief Medical Officer at Timeline Nutrition. And Amazentis which is a research company that’s behind Timeline doing some amazing work. It’s a company based in Switzerland that discovers and develops novel nutritional compounds, targeting improvements in mitochondrial health.
And you know, if your mitochondria are not working well, You’re, you basically can’t do anything like you will be exhausted. These, these are, you’ve heard of ’em, the powerhouse in the cell. Think of them like your little energy battery. So anything that we can do to boost these, optimize these is super duper.
Important. And what this company does is find is do really amazing research. And especially with Dr. Singh, [00:03:00] they’re doing research looking at the natural moitophagy activator urolithin a and I first heard about this, Dr. David Perlmutter connected me with this company, and you’re gonna hear. Little test that they had me do.
So Dr. Singh developed this test, by the way, just found out he received his medical training in internal medicine from the Armed Forces Medical College in India. And then he got a PhD in immunology from the University of Connecticut and usa. Before this, he was the global, global medical director at Nestle and Nestle Health Sciences where he had clinical studies across a wide range of consumer health products.
And he just now has really doubled down into mitochondrial health, mitophagy and. Again, all of this real and, and really researching protein too. So I was like, oh my gosh, this is like everything I’m looking at now. So we’re gonna be talking about protein. How much should you have, which types of [00:04:00] exercise, and then how you can make your mitochondria the best ever because this is key critical to be able to play full out as we age.
So hang out with me. Oh, one more thing before we get into this. Make sure you write this one down. You’re gonna hear why Cuz we are giving you something amazing from this company. And I, we actually got on beforehand. I’m like, you can do this . So wait till you hear what you’re getting from them. I’ll give you a little an idea.
It might be a free trial. All right. jjvirgin.com/timeline is where you’re gonna go to get that. You’ll hear more about it when I come right back with Dr. Singh. Stay with me.
So I’ve been really looking at how do we. Get to play full out at a hundred. And when you really look at like what, what you wanna be able to do in your eighties, nineties, and and a hundred, you wanna be able to like, you know, carry the groceries up the stairs, play with your grandkids, run around with your puppies, you know, what are all those things?
All of them [00:05:00] require muscle. And especially when you start to look at all those frailty statistics, 65 and over, I have been like hitting it hard in a gym. So I’m super excited to have you. Dr. Singh, cause I know we’re gonna talk a lot about muscle health and aging and unpacking all of that, so thank you so much for joining me.
Dr. Anurag Singh: Sure. Thanks. Pleasures mine. Thanks for
JJ Virgin: having us. Well, let’s dive into, I know we’re gonna talk Mitochondria and mitophagy and muscle health, what got you excited and interested in all of this.
Dr. Anurag Singh: Yeah, so initially I was trained as an immunologist and I was studying aging sort of what happens to the immune system.
And one of the hallmark features that most of, you know, the older adults were coming with, as you touched upon is, is sort of this frailty syndrome that comes along with this sort of body being inflamed. But the muscle was the central organ, you know, that was behind it. And, and so that got me into studying muscle.
Organ as, as a key organ for longevity about 20 years back. So I started [00:06:00] studying the muscle and the immune system in older adults and then looking for solutions. And I did a lot of studies in high protein as a way, you know, with supplemented with exercise regimens and older adults back in the days. And then, yeah, this is always, you know, what in addition could you do?
So that’s how I came into muscle research and mitochondrial.
JJ Virgin: I’m so excited to pick your brain on all this stuff. So someone like who is just a typical American now, what would they expect? Because I’ve been looking at all the statistics on cardiovascular fitness and grip strength and balance and frailty.
First of all, I’d love to hear just the definition of frailty and then what the typical person, if they didn’t intervene, would expect to start to see their life like it’s 65, 75, 85.
Dr. Anurag Singh: Yeah, sure. That’s a great lead in to our discussion. So typically what we, all these sort of longitudinal studies of aging have shown is that muscle mass and muscle strength starts declining after the third decade of life.
And [00:07:00] so you are losing about 10% every decade and it really starts to double up after the 60, 65 years of age. So, What we are seeing now. And, and you touched what is frailty? So frailty is a, is sort of a syndrome, what we call now in the geriatric setup, and this was a definition given by a bunch of clinicians out of Mayo Clinical.
Linda, free. Dr. Linda Freed was one of them. And she basically defined it as a loss of muscle mass and a loss of muscle strength. And so what is muscle strength is basically grip strength. Is is moving around being able to, you know, climb a flight of stairs, sort of, and fatigue. And so these are sort of the hallmarks of, of frailty.
And, and what we are seeing now is the rates of frailty in sarcopenia are just skyrocketing. So you have about 20% of older adults in, in the US and in western countries who have either frailty or sarcopenia, which is basically sarcopenia is is the loss of muscle mass. And so, We are seeing a [00:08:00] big you know, we are always talking about this pandemic that exists today, but there’s really a pandemic of poor muscle health coming our way.
JJ Virgin: And I, you know what’s amazing is we are not looking at it like you look at weight. And you cannot look at weight and not look what, what that weight is made up of. It just drives me nuts in that we still are using this outdated mode and looking at a scale and going, oh, well I didn’t gain any weight. You know, I’m 65, I’m the same weight as I was at 30.
However, as you just described, if you’re losing 1% of your muscle every year starting at the age of 40, right, and doubling it up at the age of 60, if you stayed the same. Without intervening with resistance training, you just became a fluffier version of yourself, and there’s a whole host of problems that happen with that.
What I’m, I’d love to know is like, why are these rates of frailty skyrocketing, do you think? [00:09:00]
Dr. Anurag Singh: I don’t think there’s one answer to that. I think it’s a, it’s a blend of a lot of factors. And the two key factors are, are physical activity. So there has been a lot, lot of studies done and a lot of research done and.
Declining rates and sort of you know, we are sitting more, we’re sitting longer in our work. So there’s a, this shift towards being sedentary. And the second is the nutrition. You know, our, our, our, the food we eat. And, and a lot of it goes back to a, a lack of proper protein intake. There’s a lot more shift to.
You know, more fast food diet versus, you know eating vegetables and fruits. And, and I think these are two of the key elements that are accelerating this whole frailty syndrome.
JJ Virgin: What do you think of the current the current R d A for protein at 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight?
Dr. Anurag Singh: It’s in my.
It’s, it’s ridiculous. Cause [00:10:00] I don’t wanna,
JJ Virgin: it’s ridiculous. Yes. , that’s
Dr. Anurag Singh: challenge all the authorities and the organizations. But in, in essence, you know we, I got trained in medical school long back and, and. We always my, my professor of medicine would always tell me you, you, you actually need to have one to 1.2 grams per per kilogram of body weight.
So if you think about an older adult with even what, 65, 70 kilos you need to be taking at least 70 grams of protein. So, yeah those are, and actually with, with aging, your requirements should be going up. So yeah, there you go. Yeah, and
JJ Virgin: I’d love to talk about that because, you know, You look at it and with aging, the requirements should be going up is not a message that’s getting out there at all.
Mm-hmm. . And so first of all, why are the requirements higher with aging?
Dr. Anurag Singh: Yeah, because you’re losing much more this, you know, we can get into this semantic. So your [00:11:00] body, you know, is basically the, what we call is muscle protein. Synthesis rates are slowing down, right? So your, your body needs to be able to synthesize nutrients and, and amino acids from, from the food you’re eating to, to be able to, to reprocess them and synthesize them.
And that’s kind of adding on to the muscle mass. And it’s, in fact, it’s one of the reasons why. A lot of people are losing muscle mass with aging Is, is declining muscle protein since this rates, because with aging you hit this anabolic resistance, right? So that’s the key. So you, you need to add more to be able to get the same what you were getting in your
JJ Virgin: forties.
So is the anabolic resistance happening? Because of aging, because of people being more sedentary and not getting their muscle active because of hormones dropping, because of all of the above. What’s going on? ,
Dr. Anurag Singh: I think it’s all of the above. Plus a, a key factor that a lot of times we miss and we will touch upon it is, is mitochondrial.
Health because lot of times with aging and [00:12:00] muscle is a very active metabolic organ. The mitochondria in the muscle are, are sort of becoming quent or they’re not in the best shape. So it, it’s sort of this declining mitochondria function is also adding to this anabolic resistance. So it’s a blend of everything you said.
JJ Virgin: So how would someone know that there mitochondrial function? And their muscle is declining. And let’s just talk about what, like what, what does, what are mitochondria? I know we talked, we’ve talked about ’em. People have the powerhouse of the cell. What are mitochondria? Why are they important in muscle function?
Yeah. And then why are, how would we even be able to tell if they’re declining?
Dr. Anurag Singh: Yeah, so well, yeah. The standard definition of mitochondria you put it is basically the powerhouse, the powerhouse of the cell. Now, what it means basically is the mitochondria are the, the, you know, the energy factories in your, in your cells, in your organs and organs, such as the muscle, the heart, the [00:13:00] brain.
these are very, extremely active in metabolic organs, and so they need a lot of energy to do what they they’re supposed to do. So think clearly to, to move around for the muscle to pump blood for the heart. So what happens is, is that these think of mitochondria as, as a network of batteries, you know, in your, in your Tesla car, for example.
So these are this network. If it’s not working in sync, you, you’re not gonna get. Battery to power your Tesla to to go a certain distance. So that’s essentially what mitochondria doing. Now for the muscle. What happens is, is with aging is that they pretty much. Rapidly deteriorate. Now, today in clinic, we are still finding ways like doing muscle biopsies, which are a bit more invasive to study mitochondrial function.
But in your regular daily life, if you are feeling fatigued, if you’re exercising and then taking longer to recover, if you’re having difficulty, you know, kind of climbing a set of flight of stairs that [00:14:00] you were able to kind of run through before. These are again, signs of declining mitochondrial.
JJ Virgin: Okay, so.
If someone has declining mitochondrial function, which it’s you know, again, you just ran through the typical symptoms of it, I think most people listening would go, yeah, each of those things could probably be improved. Some. What are the different ways that you could improve this? Mm-hmm. ?
Dr. Anurag Singh: Yeah. So today there are two great ways, and I always say, well, there two approved drugs out there to improve mitochondrial function.
One is exercise and one is good nutrition and. It’s easy to mention that as a clinician to patients, to, to tell them to, to, to do regular physical activity and, and to eat good, healthy nutrition. But the compliance rates are very poor. So in a sense they’re now, of course, other regimens uh, like calorie restriction and intermittent fasting that are being studied a lot as ways to improve mitochondrial function.
That’s another segment, but then, In our diets, in our sort of ecosystem of [00:15:00] food, they exist nutrients that are being very well studied to improve mitochondrial function. So the, there are different ways you can hit mitochondrial function. You can increase the number of mitochondria. To, to produce more energy, you can take existing mitochondria and make them function better.
So there are ingredients like Coenzyme Q 10 that do this. There are ingredients like or actives like estradiol and n a d boosters that are known to increase the number of mitochondria. And then the last is, is improving mitophagy which is basically cleaning the, the faulty mitochondria and giving way to healthier mitochondria.
JJ Virgin: right, let’s, let’s Let’s go a little deeper in exercise, and nutrition, and then I wanna definitely talk through, yeah, some of the supplements because I just have a pet peeve. I will admit, and maybe it’s because I started in the world as an exercise physiologist and I kind of come back, it’s like full circle cuz gosh, the more I study anti-aging research, the clearer it is.
That exercise [00:16:00] you cannot. You cannot be healthy without exercise. It’s, it’s and even those who are exercising are probably not doing enough of what they need to do. What are you seeing as the most effective types of exercise to help here?
Dr. Anurag Singh: Yeah, so I, I think there’s no one particular exercise in the studies that, look, they’ve looked at aerobic exercise regimens.
They’ve looked at resistance exercise regimens. They’ve looked at high intensity interval training regimens. And it, there’s no perfect. As you pointed out, no perfect regimen to, to boost your aerobic capacity or mitochondrial function in different ways. I, and, and I think that the juries out there, but I think the consensus is building to a, to a mix of yeah, all you need to do aerobic training.
You need to do. Do your, you know, brisk walking or running or jogging, and then you need to, to do sort of resistance training and if you add hiit to [00:17:00] it, then you get even some other benefits associated with it.
JJ Virgin: Yeah, I think it makes a ton of sense. Like, I’ve been looking at all this and, and I always go, well, first off it’s just move more.
You know, just like, track your steps, stand up more, walk the dog, take the stairs, et cetera. But once we get past that, There’s a definite difference between doing things like resistance training or doing cardio, and you need both of them you know, resistance training, so you really have that muscle mass that would decline otherwise and can even, can even stay up if you’re fasting, if you’re doing the resistance training and then the cardio.
And, gosh, I’m, I’m preparing for a talk right now and I was looking. Just some of the research on people in the highest cardiovascular fitness versus the lowest and more all cause mortality and it’s insane. Same with people with grip strength. Sure. So it’s really clear that you’ve gotta get both of those things.
Yeah. And so the more you know, [00:18:00] it’s like, and then more different things that you can do like yoga hit, you know, walking. Cycling resistance training the better. So I love that. Into diet. Before we go into nutrients, are there some key things in the diet that can help here?
Dr. Anurag Singh: Well, a lot of research is now pointing to a healthy gut microbiome.
So a lot of you know, a lot of fermented foods and eating right fibers is typically at the top of it, a lot of antioxidants as well. Berries and nuts. Anything that is beneficial to the gut microbiome, sort of and they’re even companies out there studying. What are the beneficial sort of gut microbiome.
Profile of healthy top athletes versus, you know, old, frail people. So definitely that, that’s part of the puzzle is, is is getting your right fiber intake taking the right sort of you know, high protein is definitely fits the, the discussion we are having today because we touched upon it as [00:19:00] well.
So making sure you’re drinking getting enough protein from your diet to, to boost your muscle. So that’s part of the.
JJ Virgin: Okay, so protein plus plants. I just actually was reading one this morning, a study this morning that was showing from Stanford. Mm-hmm. , they were looking at weight maintenance after weight loss.
And the big thing they found that people at the in weight maintenance, the people who were gaining weight and the people who were, who were maintaining their weight, were actually eating the same amount of calories. The, the difference in those who maintained was what they’d done to their gut microbiome.
There you go. Yeah. You know, so it’s, it’s amazing. I can’t wait till we can really pinpoint this, but I think overall what we’ll find out is it’s, it’s why there’s issues with things like the carnivore diet, cuz where the heck , where are the polyphenols? You know, like where’s the fiber?
Dr. Anurag Singh: And is one of the reasons why nutrition trials are so difficult to show an effect.
I think also because the gut microbiome is, is sort of the [00:20:00] underlying factors. It is dictating a lot of the, you know, who benefits So, yeah. Yeah.
JJ Virgin: So then you talk to nutrients and I would love, like, let’s go, let’s go deep into this, but before we do, we’re gonna take a quick break. So stay with me.
Okay. So let’s talk nutrients. And I like to do it in this order because I wanna make sure that people are doing the basics first. You know, you’re getting the exercise in, you’re eating correctly, and then you supplement. What you’re doing. Right. Okay, so let’s talk supplements and which things can be the most help here.
And I know we’re also gonna get into mitophhagy which I’m sure to talk about. So dig in.
Dr. Anurag Singh: Yeah, so I think I started touching upon it. Some of these nutrients have been studied for, for decades. You know, that they can hit different aspects. So I was starting to talk about how you can boost or add on to the benefits, benefits of good exercise and good nutrition on top.
Uh, Is, is Right. [00:21:00] So we, we have been studying, for example a a lot about on pomegranates and pomegranates have for long been known to be the superfood and, and, and, and we’ve taken a deep dive into some of the nutrients inside pomegranates for example, and, and what happens for in pomegranates
there, there are a lot of polyphenols. So they’re, they’re extremely rich sources of polyphenols. Certain class called ellgitannins and now, But what depends on how you process ellgitannins and if you get the benefits out of the ellagitannins is really back to the gut microbiome story. And so what we found was that down the road of metabolism of these polyphenols, the gut microbiome can synthesize a nutrient that we call as urolithin a that has some remarkable mitochondrial rejuvenating effects.
So this is one of the nutrients we are studying. In addition to your urolithan a there are a number of nutrients such as coenzyme cococuten. There’s the NAD boosters, which are basically [00:22:00] precursors of vitamin b3, and, and they’re known to boost sort of the, the abundance of mitochondria and get, give you more energy.
So in essence, these, the field is kind of studying all these different bioactive.
JJ Virgin: And so let’s, let’s get into urolithin A because that’s the one we’re gonna really dig into. Sure. And I’ll just, I’ll just give a little background as you guys sent me a kit. First of all, you told me I had to drink pomegranate juice and I freaked out a little bit because , I never drink
sugary juices and I was like, oh no. But you know, I, I was just doing a trial, but like walk through what you had me do Yeah. With that trial. And then let’s talk about this urolthin a and what it
Dr. Anurag Singh: does. Sure. Yeah. So in essence about 30 to 40% of the held the adult population can make the gut metabolite urolithin a if, if you are taking the right Diet.
So for example, if you’re taking a glass of juice or you’re eating a bowl of nuts, like pecans or walnuts, which are also good [00:23:00] sources of a bowl. Yeah, a bowl. A bowl is what? About 80 grams or something like that. Of pecans or walnuts?
JJ Virgin: Like a bowl. Like a cup. Like a cup, yeah, like a cup. Like that’s a lot of calories of, you know, that’s a lot.
Dr. Anurag Singh: Yeah. And, and, and same with, with juice.
JJ Virgin: It’s a lot. Yeah. The juice, like, I mean, you’re either talking about, you just like loaded yourself with a load of a big load of fat. I mean, it’s healthy fat, but still too much is too much. Or you’re hitting yourself with a bunch of sugar. So,
Dr. Anurag Singh: Yeah, problematic. So problematic and, and in a, in addition to that problem is that you’re thinking, you’re, you’re getting these ex polyphenols that are gonna give you these great effects.
Turns out that 30 to 40% of the people only have the right gut microbiome and. I’m in the camp of those who don’t have it. So I invented a test which basically would allow you to know if your body’s making this nutrient by itself from the diet. So you basically what you got was you got a box [00:24:00] with two set of tests, one where you would have to drink the juice, a glass of juice, which is.
Two 40 mls and, and a glass should give you if you have the right gut microbiome exposure to about 50 to 100 milligrams of, of the nutrient. And, and so that’s the first part of the test. So you know if your body is making it. If it’s not, then you take our product and you take one, one sort of intake, and then you see the difference of bioavailability and the levels that can change from you made that test.
Yeah. Yeah. It was mostly inspired by the fact that one day I drank six glasses of juice and my body refused to make any urine.
JJ Virgin: But you got pretty hypoglycemic, probably .
Dr. Anurag Singh: I did. I was wearing one of those glucose sensors. Yeah. And it was flagging all red warnings on the sensor .
JJ Virgin: That’s But you know, here’s the thing, like even if you can make it, if even if you were in that lucky 30 to 40% of the gut microbiome, the what you have to ingest in order to get [00:25:00] sufficient levels is is not really practical.
Dr. Anurag Singh: It, it is not. And, and it, it’s very imprecise. So even if you’re making, it’s not a hundred percent conversion rate, right? For every molecule, your body will make it. So we, we see. 2% to 10% population. They’re really blessed as I call them, that have the everything right in their gut microbiome ecosystem.
And they, they convert well, but then the remaining 20, 30% that who convert, they convert it poorly to a point where, Those little levels, were not gonna give you any therapeutic sort of effect or benefit or health benefits associated with the molecule. So yeah. Plus, as you said, you’re taking all the sugar and yeah.
JJ Virgin: Well, why is this a big deal? Why do I need this urolithin a.
Dr. Anurag Singh: Well, it is a big deal because we’ve been studying this for close to 15 years and
JJ Virgin: we have And how did you, before you start, like you’ve been studying it, like, how’d you even find it to start studying it?
Dr. Anurag Singh: Yeah, so a little bit about background, [00:26:00] how the company was formed you know, 15 years back we said hey there’s a lot of nutrition.
There’s a lot of supplements where everybody’s blending probiotics and you know, antioxidants and plant extracts, but nobody’s really doing a deep biotech dive into sort of how is it happening? What is the biology, what are the, what are the exact bioactives? So we set out and we basically went around all the major pomegranate producing countries.
We started with pomegranate because pomegranate juice was, there was a lot of studies around pomegranate juice and as I. Some of them are positive, some of they’re not negative, but not too positive. And so we started uh, basically studying pomegranates and pomegranate juices from different parts of the world.
Spain you know, Azerbaijan whatever wherever’s, you know, pomegranate was being produced. And, and we started looking at its effects and, and what we found was that inside the pomegranate there were hundreds of thousands of actually beneficial compounds and. What LED was one eureka [00:27:00] moment where we were working with a famous professor who we gave one of the compounds and he came back running and saying, you know, most of the, let’s say Healthspan lifespan studies started with worms and he was sprinkling all these hundreds of compounds, and he found one that was dramatically extending the lifespan of worms.
So they were more mobile and they were living longer. And so he said, what have you? And we said, well, let’s, we went down the list and we saw urolithin a and that’s how it started basically. Wow. You know and from there we went into older animal models studying if it had an impact, and we saw that older animals were running 50% longer and, and there was 10% better group strand.
And then we’ve been basically building off that 10 years in clinical research now.
JJ Virgin: So what exactly does this.
Dr. Anurag Singh: So we have studied a number of populations in our clinical studies, all of which are randomized placebo control studies. We started studying older adults first. So in the first studies we did, we took [00:28:00] a cohort of older and active individuals who were all 70 plus, and we did.
What we call is muscle biopsies, which is taking small chunks of muscle and trying to study them. And what was clear was that the active folks, mitochondrial health was very good. The sedentary older adults, mitochondrial health was not good. And we took these folks, the sedentary folks, and we supplemented them with with a month of oral supplementation with this molecule.
and what we saw was that it was much more bioavailable compared to, for example, the precursors the, the polyphenols that always have a problem with bioavailability. And then when we, again, retook the muscle biopsies a month after we saw the mitochondria in these older adults who weren’t moving too much, they were looking very healthy, and they were almost looking like, Mitochondria of people who were exercising regularly.
And so from there we went and we did longer studies with two and four months in older adults and overweight adults. And what we see is improved [00:29:00] endurance. So people tend to walk longer. We see resistance to fatigue, which means that people can exercise longer, and we see better muscle strength by about 10 to 12%.
So these are some of the findings we are seeing in these
JJ Virgin: trials. You know, you hear that and that’s the closest thing to exercise in a bottle. , you know, it’s like right. , like you just, you just talked about all the things that happen as you start to improve your cardiovascular fitness and go out and do some resistance training.
Improve your grip strength. Yeah. Now this is not to say if you’re listening that, oh, you just need to take this pill, but think if you combine this Yeah. With, you know, getting more protein in your diet and doing the right types of exercise, it’s like bam. Yeah. So what exactly is it doing? How’s it, how’s it doing this?
Dr. Anurag Singh: Yeah. So well, just to finish, I think you touched upon two very important things. Can you add it to protein and can you add it to exercise and, and it’s hitting a pathway called mitophagy which exercise is known [00:30:00] to do so. Exercise is a well known inducer of autophagy in mitophagy autophagy being the, the, the clearance of all the waste, cellular waste in the inside the cell, and mitophagy being
autophagy specific to mitochondria. So as we get older, as our, our cells sort of functionally decline over time, they accumulate waste. Okay? And the mitochondria accumulate waste and, and we can clean out this garbage bin as efficiently as when we are 70 then what we were doing in our thirties and forties.
And so essentially, This is what mitophagy is. It’s basically the garbage disposal system that, that slows off with aging. What we see with urolithin a is that it revs up mitophagy during the aging process. So now you’re taking all this cellular trash and, and this gets more efficiently clean and becomes sort of the building blocks for near healthy mitochondria that are producing more energy that gives people more endurance, et cetera.[00:31:00]
And. Yeah, it’s, it’s supposed to be taken in combination today, the studies we are doing, one is with a, a professor called Stu Phillips, who’s one of the sort of leading high protein guys. And, and he said, well, if I combine something with a muscle mass boosting which is let’s say 20 grams of high protein intake with something that is a bioenergetic booster, this is really sort of the magic Intake for muscle boosting muscle health.
And so he’s studying this right now as we speak. And then there’s another study in, in Australia we are running with professor Louis Burke, who studied master athletes all her career. And she’s wondered why a lot of these athletes. Performance over time, during a calendar year or with, you know the career decline sometimes.
And, and she thinks a lot of time over-training is causing decline in mitophagy and so she’s supplementing top athletes, Olympians actually with an aid to see if By improving mitophagy, some of their, you know, recovery can be
JJ Virgin: much faster. So now, is [00:32:00] mitophagy something that, like mitophagy and, and overall autophagy, is this something that slows down as we age?
I’m assuming so. Yes, the answer is yes, for sure. And, and. What happens when your mitophagy slows down, your autophagy slows down, and now you’re not getting rid of the cell debris and the mitochondrial debris that you should like. What are the, is that where you get this fatigue, you can’t recover, you can’t work as hard, all of that kind of stuff?
Maybe some inflammation.
Dr. Anurag Singh: Yeah, so it happens all in all cells, in all tissues. So, for example, in muscle the mitochondria of the muscle, if they are slowing down mitophagy for example that you won’t produce enough energy, which will mean now that your muscles can contract too well, which means you can Produce enough energy to move around, for example, or your muscle function will start declining.
Now, this is a phenomenonal very well studied in the brain as [00:33:00] well, in our brains as we age. For example, mitophagy is a very famous paper from the National Institute of Aging that showed that in the brains of older adults who had early onset dementia, they found declining mitophagy. So it’s almost like.
Aggregates of cellular waste are accumulating in the brain of these older adults. And and, and, and same similar things happen in, in other organs, like even in the immune system. Our immune system has mitochondria, immune cells in mitochondria and, and they slow down mitophagy. And which is why with aging we don’t respond as good to vaccination, for example.
Mm-hmm. .
JJ Virgin: So we know then like. Beyond exercising, helping induce some of this. And maybe, you know, some, some, and, and I know that’s all over the board right now with time-restricted feeding and how long it actually takes and you know what’s happening. But is there any other nutrient that’s been discovered that can do what, what urolthin a A [00:34:00] does or is that?
Dr. Anurag Singh: So in terms of boosting mitochondrial function, there are are several nutrients and I, I’m
JJ Virgin: talking mitophagy though, anyone thing that we found in terms of,
Dr. Anurag Singh: mitophagy I think it’s the. One, I’m aware that has been translated into humans. They, of course exercise is, is is one that Right. Don’t do it. They I, I believe there are some studies with spermidine.
There’s another bioactive called spermidine that is known as an autophagy inducer, but I such an
JJ Virgin: unfortunate name. Very unfortunate, right? It’s like why isn’t someone changing that one ?
Dr. Anurag Singh: But it hasn’t been yet shown that it is specific mitophagy inducer. So it is a known autophagy inducer, but not a mitophagy inducer. So I think urolithin a is the only known mitophagy activator that I think has been shown to be safe and, and have health benefits in human trials.
JJ Virgin: So then in order [00:35:00] to use it, cause I’m looking at going, to me the ultimate like playful out at a hundred, that’s my new, like what am I focused on, playful out at, at a hundred and would be to do, you know, the combo fitness training, making sure that you’ve got optimal protein with, you know, plant rich polyphenols and fibers.
So, you know, I think clean animal protein and. Plant rich fiber foods and then taking urolithin a seems like the trifecta.
Dr. Anurag Singh: Well, that’s the message I think folks that, that I, I always say that three pillars, fundamental pillars of good health. I don’t know about lifespan, but I am more focused on healthspan because, you know, we all want to be fit when we are in our eighties and nineties.
And, and I think the first pillar is exercise, as you mentioned. The second filler is, is good nutrition with. You know bullet points we’ve talked about. And the third is what can we do in addition to these two that can maintain good health? Mm-hmm. good cellular health is, is key to that.
JJ Virgin: And this nutrient, this is something that you take every [00:36:00] day, correct.
Dr. Anurag Singh: Yeah, I do. I do take we, we have studied doses between 500 milligram to a gram. We see health benefits starting at 500 milligram. And, and in some of the other studies we see one gram being even better. So I personally take a gram.
JJ Virgin: Right. And it’s, you can take it in capsule. You can take it in powder.
So easy enough to take, yeah.
Dr. Anurag Singh: So we have several formats. We’ve studied all the different formats in terms of bioavailability, they’re very equivalent. So today we have products that are, you know tippens into yogurts and smoothies that come with fruit flavorings, like pomegranate flavored or ginger flavored that you can put, you know, kind of blends with the lifestyle.
A lot of people then now prefer to take soft gels and pills, and so we have the soft gels that are also giving you their, the right calibrated dose. And, and then we have the high protein in combination with high protein as. It’s,
JJ Virgin: I know when I first heard about this, cuz our, our, our joint buddy, Dr.
David Perlmutter, turned me [00:37:00] onto this and then I did the little tests and I started to read about it and I’m like, where? Holy smokes. First of all it is, you never see a nutrient that has this kind of research. It just, It doesn’t happen. I mean, that’s one of the challenges we have in the supplement field.
But then you start to look at what this can do and it’s like, oh my goodness. So I have been on it. My husband’s on it as I’m listening to this, I’m realizing, and it was funny, even last night, my ex-husband came over and he goes, he showed me, he goes, you know, have you heard this research? I’m really looking at our son.
I have my son with a traumatic brain injury. And we’ve been looking at what we need to do about some of the, the. Issues. You know, he’s, he’s got some real neurodegenerative issues from having a massive brain injury. And I was like reading this, he was reading something I think about urolithin a coming over to the house going, have you heard of this?
I’m like, as a matter of fact, . So, so this is quite spectacular information and what’s super awesome that you guys are doing [00:38:00] is making this easily available to my audience. And here’s what’s great. If you’re listening. You are gonna get an opportunity. Now, I have to warn you that this is a first come first serve.
So if you’re listening to this one, this is one that you want to immediately after listening take advantage of. And you can do this at jjvirgin.com/timeline Timeline, that is the name of the company. They’re gonna give you an opportunity to have a little freetrial, a little test. . And so if you go again to jjvirgin.com/timeline, you’ll have that opportunity to say yes, get Advan, take advantage of that.
If for some reason you missed the deadline of that, they’ll still have a great option for you there because we always do something amazing. Plus you’ll have the ability to access all of this research, which is ridiculously compelling, like, One of those things where you go, okay, if I could only take one thing, what would it be?
Right? Like people always ask me, so what are the things that you take? And again, I always [00:39:00] start with the diet and exercise piece cuz I think it’s ridiculous to, you know, you’re not gonna sit there and lie on the couch, eat it. Eat cupcakes and think you’re gonna solve all your health problems by taking a nutrient.
But boy, when you put these things together, it is not a one plus one plus one equals three. It’s like an exponential impact. So I know a bunch of my buddies who are all focused on this too, like Dr. David Perlman and Dr. Mark Hyman are are loving the stuff. So this is one we’re making available to you.
and I thank you for doing that too, doctor Singh like, this is like, first of all, like just even coming up with that cool test and really digging into this you are going to be, if not already one of the game changers here in the you know, playing full out thing. Cuz again, it is like, who wants to be a hundred and can’t do anything 80, 70, right.
Exactly. I know I’ve got a mom who’s 93 who’s still golfing. Yeah. And then I had a dad who I watched waste away from two 20 down to 150. So I’ve seen both sides. I know which side I want to [00:40:00] pick. So this is part of my, my Playful Out plan. So thank you so much for being with me. Amazing information and thank you more for all the work you’re doing.
Dr. Anurag Singh: Thank you so much, JJ, for having me. Great talk.
JJ Virgin: For more info on this and other health topics I cover or to rate and review, find me on Instagram, Facebook, and my website jjvirgin.com. And don’t forget to subscribe to my show so you won’t miss a single episode. Go to subscribetojj.com. Thanks again for being with me this week.


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