Taurine – Study Finds it May Be the Ultimate ‘Elixir of Life’

Taurine – Study Finds it May Be the Ultimate ‘Elixir of Life’

According to the author of a recent research, taurine, an amino acid frequently used by bodybuilders and which is usually an ingredient of energy beverages, may be an “elixir of life” – at least as far as worms, mice, and monkeys are concerned.

Male mice lived around 10 percent longer, while middle-aged female mice fed high amounts of taurine lived on average 12 percent longer than mice that didn’t get taurine, according to senior study author Vijay Yadav.

The study was published in the Science journal and in an earlier news release, Yadav said that “This study suggests that taurine could be an elixir of life within us.”

According to other studies, it may be neuroprotective and anti inflammatory in older brains but possibly damaging to teenage brains that are still growing.

On the other hand, damage to the heart, kidneys, and retina has been related to taurine deficiency.

According to co-author Henning Wackerhage, taurine levels decrease with age and are absorbed from meals like shellfish and meat and dispersed by the liver.

“But if you top it up back to youthful levels, then you get this impact that the mice live healthier for longer,” Wackerhage mentioned in the briefing.

According to tests done on monkeys, those that used taurine supplements had improved blood sugar control, reduced liver damage, higher bone density, a younger looking immune system, and gained less weight.

“These studies in several species show that taurine abundance declines with age and the reversal of this decline makes the animals live longer and healthier lives. At the end of the day, the findings should be relevant to humans,” Yadav also said.

However, since humans are not worms, mice, or monkeys, research has a long way to go before it can establish taurine’s anti-aging benefits in humans, assuming such benefits even exist.

Dr. Walter, a nutrition researcher who was not part of the study, stressed that “This doesn’t seem like a story ready for prime time, and it could be harmful if people started consuming more animal-sourced foods to increase taurine intake.”

Willett shared that “In our cohorts with over 130,000 men and women followed for up to 30 years (with more than 30,000 deaths), greater intake of animal protein was related to higher overall mortality and mortality from most major diseases. Some additional studies in humans using taurine supplements would be interesting, but we are long way from suggesting their use.”

Exercise, which is frequently cited as the secret to longevity, was shown to increase taurine levels in humans, according to the study’s sole human trial.

However, in addition to lowering cholesterol and improving blood flow and blood pressure, exercise also strengthens muscles, particularly the heart, increases energy, enhances sleep quality, and prevents chronic illness.

Professor Gordon Lithgow said of the research that “I really dislike claims of extreme longevity extension in humans because we simply just don’t know. I’m not saying it’s not possible, but we need to have proper double-blinded clinical trials in people to see what happens.”

Sadly, he noted that once science has completed its investigation, many medications, dietary supplements, herbs, and vitamins that initially appear to be useful may disastrously fail.

Lithgow pointed out that “Take vitamin E for example. People have been taking vitamin E for decades, and then we find out it certainly doesn’t do any good and may actually be harmful. You have to wait for the clinical trial data — that’s the only real measure in biomedicine.”

All that being said, it is still quite difficult “not to get excited about this study. You’ve got something like 400 million years of separation between worms and people, and yet you see beneficial effects with the same restoration of this natural metabolite (taurine) in both worms and primates.”

More than 50 scientists from various laboratories across the world worked on the study, which took more than 10 years to complete.

They looked at how taurine affected various species, including yeast, worms, mice, and monkeys.

Worms given taurine lived longer and seemed to be in better condition, but according to Yadav, taurine “had no effect on yeast.”

However, mice who received taurine supplements “were slimmer, had an enhanced energy expenditure, greater bone density, improved muscular strength, reduced depressed and anxious behaviors, better memory, reduced insulin resistance, and a younger appearing immune system.”

According to Yadav, taurine appears to maintain mitochondrial health on a metabolic level.

Taurine reduces “zombie” or senescent cells, which are older, damaged cells that refuse to die and start excreting inflammatory chemicals that cause illnesses like Alzheimer’s and prolong aging, according to tissue analysis in mice given taurine supplements.

The study discovered that taurine expanded stem cells already existing in some organs, decreased DNA damage, and enhanced a cell’s capacity to sense nutrients.

“Taurine is hitting the aging brake. It is not putting the vehicle in the reverse gear. It is slowing down the aging process, and that is why animals are living longer and healthier,” Yadav said.

Despite the absence of scientific evidence, early findings concerning other possible anti-aging substances have led to large sales of these substances to a youth-seeking population.

“We do not recommend buying off the shelf. Our views are that (people) need to wait for the human clinical trials to be completed. The benefits versus the risk factors will depend on the age of the population studied,” Yadav goes on to stress.

Users should make sure any taurine supplements they buy off the shelf are “not contaminated,” Yadav added.

According to Dr. Pieter Cohen, this is a significant problem because supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA.

While some supplements may include unidentified chemicals, many supplements contain less or more of what is stated on the label.

The science of anti-aging is rapidly expanding, and taurine is only one of many potential routes to the elusive goal of a longer lifespan.


Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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