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According to research, the vitamin taurine, which is present in meat, fish, and dietary supplements, increases lifespan and improves health in a variety of animal species.
Taurine levels decrease with ageing in several animals, including humans. Experiments on middle-aged rats revealed that increasing taurine to young levels increased physical and mental health and extended life by almost 10%.
According to the researchers, taurine supplementing in humans has not been studied but it may be an “elixir of life. “Therefore, the group at Columbia University in New York advises against taurine supplementation to extend life.
However, the animal study represents the most recent advancement in the search for anti-ageing strategies. The first step in this investigation was to examine the distinctions between young and elderly by studying the chemicals in the blood of various animals.
Taurine was “one of the most dramatically downgraded [molecules],” according to scientist Dr Vijay Yadav. Levels were 80% lower in the elderly than in the young. In plants, taurine is essentially nonexistent. In other words, the vitamin is either produced by the body or comes from the animal protein in the food.
The study team has been working to clarify its involvement in ageing for the past 11 years. Let’s look at the benefits of taurine.
Benefits Of Taurine
The 14-month-old mice, which are equal to people around the age of 45, received a daily dosage.
Male mice looked to be in better condition and lived 10% longer than female mice, according to the findings, which were published in the journal Science.
Dr Yadav noted that taurine-supplemented mice seemed younger and were generally healthier.
“They were leaner, had a higher energy expenditure, increased bone density, improved memory, and a younger-looking immune system.”
Worms also showed increases in lifetime of between 10 and 23 per cent.
Then, six months of taurine supplementation were given to 15-year-old rhesus monkeys. While this period was too brief to detect a change in life expectancy, the researchers did discover improvements in body weight, bone density, blood sugar levels, and the immune system.
Prof. Henning Wackerhage, who was part of the research at the Technical University of Munich, remarked, “I thought this is almost too good to be true.” “Taurine hits the engine room of ageing in some way.”
Following an investigation of 12,000 individuals, the researchers found that those with higher blood levels of taurine were typically in better health.
According to the researchers, an extra seven to eight years of life would be gained if the findings from mice were transferred to people.
But to determine whether there is any advantage, it will be necessary to conduct appropriate clinical studies in which some participants receive the nutrient and others a placebo.
Taurine may not function properly due to differences in human biology, or levels may be intended to decrease with ageing for some evolutionary purpose. There is current evidence that taurine is safe, including the fact that energy drinks have been available for decades.
Although taurine is a part of our diet, it would be difficult to consume the levels employed in the trials. Scaling up the amount from the animal studies to humans would result in a daily intake of 3-6g (0.2oz).
For fear of improperly influencing individuals, Dr Yadav declined to specify whether he opted to use taurine supplements himself.
“Let us wait for the clinical trials to be finished before advising the general public to go to the shelf in a grocery store and buy taurine,” he said in an interview with BBC News.
Prof. Wackerhage argued that there were already effective techniques to extend life rather than rushing out to buy supplements.
According to a scientific study, taurine may help prevent cellular senescence, a characteristic of ageing in which the body’s cells cease to divide.
The vitamin also appeared to keep mitochondria, the body’s cells’ power plants, operating.
But how it does any of this is yet unknown.
The University of Sheffield’s Prof. Ilaria Bellantuono stated that while the research “fits well with the existing evidence” on ageing, the consequences for people would be “limited” until potentially extremely costly human trials were carried out.
It might be utilised to prevent several long-term chronic disorders like osteoporosis, muscular weakness, diabetes, and perhaps neurodegenerative diseases if there is a clear therapeutic benefit.
Joseph McGaunn and Joseph Baur from the University of Pennsylvania commented on the findings, saying: “A single focus on boosting dietary taurine risks influencing bad nutritional decisions, as plant-rich diets are linked to human health and lifespan.
Taurine supplementation to enhance human health and lifespan should thus be used with discretion, as with any intervention.