Deficiency in the amino acid taurine can speed up the aging process, scientists say British News
A deficiency in a molecule called taurine can speed up the aging process, scientists believe.
Researchers analyzing the amino acid in mice and monkeys found that the supplements can slow down the aging process.
For the study, the international research team examined blood samples and measured the taurine concentrations in mice, monkeys and humans at different ages.
The study used nearly 250 female and male mice around the age of 14 months – which corresponds to a human age of around 45 years. The researchers gave half of them a taurine supplement and the other half a control solution.
The life expectancy of the mice that consumed the supplements increased by an average of 12% for females and 10% for males.
The researchers said that for mice, this means three to four extra months, which is about seven or eight human years.
Taurine — commonly found in meat, fish, eggs, and some energy drinks — supports immune system health and nervous system function.
The study also found that daily intake of 500 and 1000 milligrams of taurine supplement per kg of body weight was also associated with improvements in strength, coordination and cognitive function in rodents.
Vijay Yadav, principal investigator at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, said, “Not only did we find that the animals lived longer, we also found that they lived healthier lives.”
The effect of taurine preparations was also tested on middle-aged monkeys.
The monkeys took the supplements daily for six months and showed improvements in their immune systems, bone density and overall metabolic health.
A human study
To understand things on a human level, the researchers also looked at data from a study of 12,000 adults aged 60 and over in Europe.
They found that people with higher levels of taurine were much healthier.
With fewer cases of type 2 diabetes, less obesity and less inflammation.
Professor Yadav said: “These are associations that do not support causation, but the results are consistent with the possibility that taurine deficiency contributes to human aging.”
The researchers also measured taurine levels in male athletes and people who engaged in strenuous cycling training before and after the activity.
The team said a “significant increase” in taurine levels has been observed in both athletes – such as sprinters and endurance runners – and people who engage in cycling.
“Regardless of the individual, all had elevated taurine levels post-exercise, suggesting that some of the health benefits of exercise may result from an increase in taurine,” Professor Yadav added.
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The team said taurine could be a promising anti-aging strategy.
Professor Yadav said: “Taurine richness decreases with age, so restoring youthful taurine levels in old age could be a promising anti-aging strategy.”
He added: “For 25 years, scientists have been trying to find factors that not only make us live longer, but also increase the health span, the time we remain healthy in old age.”
“This study suggests that taurine may be an elixir of life within us, helping us live longer, healthier lives.”
The study was published in the journal Science.