A recent study suggests that the semi-essential amino acid taurine has the potential to slow down the ageing process. Although taurine is naturally present in humans and certain foods like meat, dairy, and fish, this study was conducted on animals and focused on its association with physiological changes.
The research, led by Vijay Yadav, an assistant professor of genetics & development at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in the US, was published in the journal Science. According to the study, administering taurine externally resulted in a deceleration of ageing in mice and monkeys, leading to improved overall health. The researchers observed that taurine supplementation slowed down various ageing markers such as increased DNA damage, telomerase deficiency, impaired mitochondrial function, and cellular senescence.
After conducting year-long experiments on mice that received taurine supplements, the scientists discovered that this amino acid increased the average lifespan of female mice by 12% and male mice by 10% (equivalent to seven to eight human years). Furthermore, the taurine-fed mice of both genders had longer lifespans compared to the control group. Additionally, the team observed improved functioning in various systems including bone, muscle, pancreas, brain, fat, gut, and immune system due to taurine supplementation.
In rhesus monkeys, taurine was found to prevent weight gain, increase bone density in the spine and legs, and enhance immune system health.
While the impact of taurine supplements on humans is still uncertain, the researchers noted the promising results of two experiments they conducted. The first experiment analyzed around 50 health parameters in 12,000 European adults aged 60, revealing that higher taurine levels were associated with better health outcomes, including reduced rates of type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and inflammation. Vijay Yadav stated, “The results are consistent with the possibility that taurine deficiency contributes to human ageing.”
To determine whether taurine deficiency also affects human ageing, the researchers emphasized the need for long-term, well-controlled taurine supplementation trials that measure health span and lifespan as primary outcomes.