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Does taurine slow down aging? Downsides

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Nov20,2023

The current state of knowledge does not allow us to recommend taking taurine supplements.

Does taurine slow down aging? Downsides

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Molecular model of taurine, an additive commonly used in energy drinks. It is found naturally in meat, fish and seafood.

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Mice and monkeys who who received a taurine supplement saw their healthy lifespan extend, shows the work of American scientists, carried out over 11 years, published in the journal Science (New window). But the current state of knowledge does not allow us to recommend taking taurine supplements.

Taurine is an amino acid that is found mainly in meat and fish, but there is very little in plants, explained by Doctor Martin Juneau of the Heart Institute of Montreal on the show Tout un matin.

It is also present in several energy drinks such as Red Bull, Monster and the Rockstar.

In their study, Dr. Vijay Yadav and his colleagues at Columbia University first showed that the concentration of taurine in the blood decreases with aging in mice, monkeys and humans. In the latter, the concentration in adults is approximately 80% lower than in children.

Researchers then gave a taurine supplement to mice and monkeys, only to find that it increased their lifespan. Mice that received a taurine supplement lived longer than control mice. The median lifespan of taurine-treated mice increased by 10 to 12%.

They also observed that their healthy lifespan also increased. Researchers saw improvements in the functioning of their muscles, pancreas, brain, fat, gut, bones and immune system.

Similar effects were observed in monkeys.

Concretely, taurine would reduce the cellular senescence, i.e. the aging of cells.

In humans, lower taurine concentrations are linked to several age-related diseases. Taurine deficiency could be a factor in aging, as its reversal increases lifespan in worms, rodents and primates, they add.

What is new with this study is that they have shown that they have extended the survival of mice, summarizes Doctor Juneau, for whom this work is part of a scientific field which is growing. : slowing down aging.

Aging is the basis of all chronic diseases that cause premature mortality in our societies; cardiovascular diseases, cancers, dementia. The common origin is the aging of the cell.

A quote from Martin Juneau, Montreal Heart Institute

So, why not attack cellular aging rather than each disease in particular?, continues the cardiologist.

At least that's the The opinion of the American team for whom these results justify the establishment of a clinical trial in humans which would verify whether taurine deficiency can be a factor in aging in humans.

Dr. Juneau recalls that there are other candidate molecules that slow cellular aging, including metformin (an antidiabetic), rapamycin (an immunosuppressant) and berberine (anti-inflammatory and antibacterial), but there is no no long-term studies have been conducted, due to costs.

Let me be skeptical, because taurine is found very little in plants. However, we know from epidemiological studies that people who eat a vegetarian diet generally live longer than carnivores.

A quote from Martin Juneau, Montreal Heart Institute

That would tend to say that if you eat a lot of meat, it's better. But it is the opposite that we see in epidemiological studies, continues Dr. Juneau, who thinks that a randomized study could confirm this somewhat strange discovery.

We could randomly give taurine or a placebo to, say, 5,000 humans, who we would then follow over a period of 6 to 7 years to see if they have fewer illnesses or lower mortality.

A quote from Martin Juneau, Montreal Heart Institute

Dr. Juneau thinks that carrying out such a study is rather uncertain due to the astronomical costs. This would require investments of hundreds of millions of dollars for a company that could not obtain a patent, since taurine is a substance naturally present in the body.

For example, Dr. Juneau says scientists have been trying for two years to find the $42 million needed to run clinical trials for metformin and still haven't managed to complete their funding. And we have more data for metformin than for taurine, notes Doctor Juneau.

There is certainly a risk of seeing certain individuals consume beverages energy instead of adopting healthy lifestyle habits, such as a better diet.

For the cardiologist, the intervention which prolongs life in human is exercise. And this has been proven beyond any doubt for 50 years, he says.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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