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Consider taurine when planning your anti-aging goals

taurine-anti-aging-?

Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid, more precisely an aminosulfonic acid. Therefore, it differs substantially from the protein building block cysteine and methionine amino acids, which contain sulfur too.

Its name derives from the source from where it was isolated first, the bile of the bull (taurus = bull). Shortly after identification it turned out to be present in all animals, in fact, not only present, but it has an important role in both animals and the human body.

Taurine has an effect on the function of mitochondria (the energy producing organelles of the cells) of excitable cells, such as brain and other neurons, skeletal muscles and cells of the retina. It is also present in the bile as part of bile acids.

taurine

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How did taurine end up in energy drinks?

taurine-in-energy-drink

There are several explanations why taurine was introduced in energy drinks. First of all, to balance the nervousness that might be caused by caffeine. Secondly, as it contributes in the processing of bile acids, it supports fluid and mineral homeostasis. 

As a non-negligible fact, taurine indirectly increases the insulin sensitivity of the muscles, thus they can take up more sugar, which they can turn into more energy.

A surprising trait of taurine, however, was just revealed: there is a causal link between extra taurine intake and aging.

Consider taurine when planning your anti-aging goals

A research team investigated the role of taurine in the body. In the first set of experiments they took blood from animals. After organizing the samples based on the taurine concentrations, a significant observation was made: younger animals had much more taurine in their blood. This was true for rodents, and also to rhesus monkeys, which are much closer to humans.

As a matter of fact, 15 year old monkeys had 85% less taurine compared to their 5 year old fellows. (Rhesus monkeys live until the age of 25 in general, thus 15 year old monkeys are rather middle-aged, than old).

Next step in the research was relatively obvious, they measured taurine levels in human blood samples. Not surprisingly teenagers had high concentrations, while at the age of between 50-60 years, it was 80% less, thus in humans, the decline of taurine level by aging was evidenced as well.

To continue with the experiments, alimentation of a group of middle-aged mice was supplemented with taurine, while as a control, and they fed another group with the default food. Taurine consuming mice were fitter, their coordination and cognitive functions were getting better – all of these parameters are the indicators of aging. Mice on taurine rich food lived 10-12% longer as other mice.

For monkeys, there were positive changes too, their bones and immune system got stronger. The increase in their lifespan is, however, not known yet, as monkeys live longer, thus we have to wait some years more to see the effect.

As a surprising conclusion, taurine was redefined as an effective anti-aging substance. However, energy drinks have a lot of sugar, and excess sugar consumption can lead to chronic diseases and speed up aging. If you decide to take taurine for anti-aging purpose, choose something else, than energy drink.

What else is taurine good for?

According to a former theory, taurine supports heart muscles too. In Japan, congestive heart failure is treated with taurine, with success.

Another hot topic of taurine research is related to diabetes. It seems that it enhances not only the insulin sensitivity of muscles, but also other tissues, thus in a hyperglycemic condition (when blood sugar is high) it is capable of decreasing the sugar level.

What to eat to ingest enough taurine?

Our liver can produce taurine to a certain extent, but it is still considered as a semi essential nutrient, because we need to have it also from our diet.

Highest concentration is found in various shells, meat, especially in red meat (thus in chicken breast, there is much less than in thigh), and fish. Small amount is also present in dairy products, and also in breast milk, which contributes to the normal neurological development of the babies.

In plants, there is almost no taurine, or under detection limit. There is only one exception: algae, especially red algae (from which Nori sheets for sushi is made). Therefore, it is of paramount importance that vegetarians take taurine intake into consideration, as they are more likely to develop taurine insufficiency, and the related illnesses.

Ingredients (100 g)

Taurine content (mg)

Nori seaweed (1 sheet is 2.5 g in general)

1300

Yellowfin tuna

964

Scallops

827

Mussels

655

Clams

520

Turkey thigh

290

Chicken thigh

193

Chicken breast

18

Lamb

170

Cod

120

Pork loin

56

Beef steak

55

Salmon 

44

Milk

3

What if we won’t take enough taurine?

Taurine insufficiency causes diverse symptoms, if sustained for long, such as high blood pressure, appearance of belly fat pads, visual impairment and depressive mood.

Dietary supplements are good sources for alternative taurine intake. Based on the scientific data presented herein, it is worth considering to supplement our diet with taurine. However, you don’t need much of it, especially at younger ages, thus a supplement with multiple other valuable substances, where taurine is one of them, is a good choice.

You can find the original article at the website of Science: Taurine deficiency as a driver of aging