Study shows anti-aging promise of taurine supplementation

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images - Allison Micheal Orenstein
©Getty Images - Allison Micheal Orenstein

Related tags taurine Amino acids Sports nutrition Sports nutrition products anti-aging functional beverage beverage

Supplementation with taurine – perhaps best known as an additive in energy drinks – may help control oxidative stress during the aging process, says a recent study published in the journal Nutrition.

Based on the compound’s known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, researchers at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil set out to evaluate the effects of taurine supplementation as potential antiaging therapy in women between the ages of 55 and 70.

“Preventing the buildup of free radicals that naturally occurs with aging probably prevents cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and high blood pressure, among other chronic conditions,” ​Ellen de Freitas, co-principal investigator on the study, said in a statement issued by the Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), which supported the project. 

From ox bile to anti-aging

Taurine, which was first isolated by German scientists in 1827 from ox bile, is a semi-essential amino acid found in meat, fish, eggs and seaweed. Naturally occurring in the human body as well, it supports digestive, cardiovascular, skeletal, eye, muscular and nervous system functions. 

“Taurine is an underappreciated, but yet important approach to cardiovascular health and oxidative stress that is the hallmark of aging,”​ Dr. Mark Miller, president of of Kaiviti Consulting, told NutraIngredients-USA in reviewing the study.

He added that although taurine has primarily been used as an additive in energy drinks, the research “reaffirms that there are important actions on limiting oxidative stress.”​ 

The study authors suggest that taurine’s therapeutic actions in aging may be associated with its ability to scavenge the toxic effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that damage cells over time.

“We believe that taurine supplementation may enhance the antioxidant defense system and could be a viable nutritional strategy to prevent oxidative damage induced by the aging process​,” they wrote, noting that antioxidant defense capacity and plasma taurine levels decrease in older adults. 

Study details

Participants (24 sedentary women between the ages 55 to 70) in the double-blind randomized clinical trial were administered either 1.5 g of taurine or a corn starch placebo daily over 16 weeks.  Plasma samples collected before and after the intervention were tested for taurine and oxidative stress markers, including antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione reductase (GR). Food consumption, functional capacity and blood minerals (selenium, zinc, magnesium and calcium) were also assessed.

“As a primary outcome, 16 weeks of taurine supplementation provided considerable benefits to oxidative stress markers and increased plasma taurine concentration,”​ the researchers concluded.  Results showed an increase in SOD and a reduction in malondialdehyde (MDA), a marker for lipid peroxidation.

Next steps: higher dosages

In past studies, the research team has evaluated the effects of larger doses of taurine, ranging from 3 g to 6 g, on young obese women and in young and healthy adults. Given the scarcity of research on taurine in the context of aging in the scientific literature, the trial used an initial low safe dose. Further study will explore the effects of 3 g per day supplementation on obese women between the ages of 60 and 75 with sarcopenia.

Source: Nutrition
101 (2022) 111706
Taurine as a possible antiaging therapy: A controlled clinical trial on taurine antioxidant activity in women ages 55 to 70
Authors: Gabriela Ferreira Abud et al.

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