Taurine Unlocking Longer Life in Monkeys

Taurine Unlocking Longer Life in Monkeys wsjrenewal

Longer Life Unveiling the Potential of Taurine.- Scientists are actively investigating a fresh biological connection to extend longevity. Recent research published in the journal Science reveals that elevating levels of the amino acid taurine has led to longer lifespans in mice and worms. Furthermore, middle-aged monkeys administered taurine supplements demonstrated improved health. Decreased taurine levels in humans link to age-related issues.

Co-author Vijay Yadav, an assistant professor of genetics and development at Columbia University, expressed optimism, stating, “This is a very promising molecule.” Throughout history, people have relentlessly sought substances capable of prolonging life. Recent studies have explored the anti-aging properties of various compounds, such as resveratrol found in red wine and the immunosuppressive drug rapamycin. Yadav’s interest in taurine’s relationship with aging arose over a decade ago when his lab compared blood samples from individuals of different ages.

“Our objective was to identify molecules that change with age,” explained Yadav. “What we discovered was a significant decline in the abundance of many molecules, but one stood out with a dramatic decrease.”

That molecule was taurine. The research team discovered that elderly individuals had 80% lower levels of taurine in their blood compared to younger individuals. This led them to theorize that declining taurine levels could be a driving force behind aging, and that boosting taurine in the body could slow down this process.

Yadav and his collaborators embarked on a comprehensive investigation, studying the impact of different taurine levels on yeast, worms, mice, monkeys, and humans. Except for yeast, all the organisms tested exhibited changes in health or lifespan due to taurine. Yadav noted that yeast does not produce taurine, making it the sole exception.

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German scientists in the 1820s initially identified taurine in bull bile, naming it after the Latin term “Taurus,” meaning bull. Mammals and some other organisms naturally produce it. Research suggests that taurine assists in cell and muscle function, as well as the cardiovascular and central nervous systems in humans. However, the precise mechanisms by which taurine operates within the body remain poorly understood.

Clinically, Japan has already used taurine to treat congestive heart failure, and certain athletic supplements and energy drinks like Red Bull contain it. Meat and seafood contain high levels of taurine.

The new study revealed that taurine concentrations decline as mice, monkeys, and worms age. To explore whether raising taurine levels to those comparable to younger individuals within the same species could affect health or lifespan, researchers administered daily doses of taurine to hundreds of 14-month-old mice, considered middle-aged. The results showed that female mice given taurine lived an average of 12% longer, while male mice lived 10% longer.

Critics not involved in the study raised questions about the feasibility of administering taurine doses equivalent to those given to mice to humans. Yadav, however, pointed to earlier research suggesting that such administration would be both possible and safe. He clarified that taurine consumption has not been associated with adverse side effects and emphasized the need for clinical trials to validate the safety and efficacy of taurine for anti-aging purposes before recommending its use.

Furthermore, taurine-treated mice exhibited signs of improved health. They had approximately half the body fat and about 60% more bone mass than untreated mice. Additionally, they displayed enhanced muscle strength, endurance, coordination, and improved insulin sensitivity. Lack of insulin sensitivity is linked to Type 2 diabetes. Taurine-treated mice also exhibited more curiosity when navigating mazes and were less likely

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to exhibit signs of depression and anxiety, as indicated by their reduced tendency to hide in the dark.

The study also demonstrated that taurine increased the lifespan of worms by 10% to 23% compared to untreated worms. Furthermore, middle-aged rhesus monkeys fed taurine once daily for six months displayed improved health compared to monkeys that did not receive it. The treated monkeys gained less weight and exhibited higher bone density.

While the exact mechanisms by which taurine impacts aging are still unclear, the study uncovered evidence suggesting a connection between this amino acid and processes such as cell senescence and telomere shortening—sections of DNA associated with aging.

Martin Borch Jensen, an aging researcher not involved in the study, acknowledged the compelling data but stressed the need for further research to understand the underlying mechanisms.

“Taurine is undeniably exerting effects. We must delve into its biological functioning,” commented Borch Jensen, the chief scientific officer of Gordian Biotechnology, a company dedicated to drug discovery for age-related diseases.

To assess the impact of taurine on human health, researchers examined taurine levels in the blood of nearly 12,000 individuals in Europe. The results revealed that lower taurine concentrations were associated with age-related problems, including higher body-mass index and Type 2 diabetes. In a separate test, researchers also observed an increase in taurine levels in men after exercise.

Yadav and his collaborators are currently organizing a multinational, randomized trial to further investigate the effects of supplemental taurine. Yadav exclaimed, “Here’s a molecule that perhaps can make humans live healthier and longer.”

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