Scientists Call for Large-Scale Clinical Trial to Investigate Taurine’s Anti-Aging Potential

Clinical Trial to Investigate Taurine's Anti-Aging Potential | The Lifesciences Magazine

A group of scientists is advocating for a significant clinical trial to explore the potential anti-aging effects of taurine, a substance commonly found in energy drinks. Their recommendation follows promising results from animal studies, which indicated that taurine supplementation could slow down the Anti-Aging process and promote healthier lives.

What Did The Researchers Discover?

The research team discovered that taurine levels decline significantly with age in various animal species, including mice, monkeys, and humans. However, when these levels were restored to more youthful amounts through supplementation, mice, and monkeys experienced improved health, and the lifespan of mice was extended.

While it remains unclear whether humans would derive similar benefits from taurine supplementation, or if high doses of taurine are safe for human consumption, scientists believe that the existing evidence justifies a large-scale clinical trial. Taurine is a naturally occurring micronutrient in the body and is already used as a supplement at lower doses.

Lead researcher Dr. Vijay Yadav from Columbia University in New York emphasized, “Taurine abundance declines with age, and reversal of this decline makes animals live longer and healthier lives. At the end of the day, these findings should be relevant to humans.” The question is how much, if any, is the right amount to produce anti-aging benefits in people.

Professor Henning Wackerhage, a molecular exercise physiologist from the Technical University of Munich and a member of the research team, explained that the proposed trial would compare the outcomes of individuals who receive daily taurine supplements against those who receive placebos. He emphasized that while assessing whether participants live longer might present challenges, determining if they live healthier for an extended period is a crucial goal for medical research.

More Insights into the Aging Process

The investigation into taurine as a potential driver of the Anti-Aging process originated in 2012 when researchers observed a sharp decline in taurine levels with age in mice, monkeys, and humans. By the age of 60, the taurine levels in an average individual had plummeted to only one-third of those observed in five-year-olds.

This significant discovery prompted the researchers to delve further into the effects of taurine supplementation in middle-aged mice. Dr. Yadav noted, “Whatever we checked, taurine-supplemented mice were healthier and appeared younger than the control mice.” The supplemented mice exhibited denser bones, stronger muscles, improved memory, and more youthful immune systems. “Taurine made animals live healthier and longer lives by affecting all the major hallmarks of anti-aging.”

In addition to the improvements in health, the mice receiving taurine supplementation lived longer. On average, males lived 10% longer, and females lived 12% longer, translating to an additional three to four months of life, which is equivalent to seven or eight human years. For humans, a comparable daily dose would be three to six grams of taurine.

Positive Effects of Taurine Supplements

To investigate the effects of taurine in species more closely related to humans, the scientists conducted a six-month trial involving middle-aged macaques. The results indicated that daily taurine supplementation appeared to enhance health by preventing weight gain, reducing blood glucose levels, and improving bone density and the immune system.

Further evidence suggests that taurine supplementation may also have positive effects in humans. The research team analyzed medical data from 12,000 Europeans aged 60 and above, revealing that individuals with higher taurine levels had lower rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and inflammation. The researchers also noted that intense exercise increased taurine levels.

A Cautious Approach Needed

However, the scientists caution against increasing taurine intake through pills, energy drinks, or dietary changes without conclusive evidence from a major trial. While taurine is naturally produced in the body and can be obtained from meat and shellfish diets, the healthiest diets predominantly consist of plant-based foods. It is important to note that energy drinks containing taurine often contain other substances that may be unsafe in high quantities.

Prof. Wackerhage emphasized the necessity of a human intervention study, stating, “We are raring to go.”

In an accompanying article, Joseph McGaunn and Joseph Baur from the University of Pennsylvania agreed with the need for caution. While taurine supplementation in baby formula and energy drinks has raised minimal safety concerns, they stressed the importance of considering potential risks, given the lack of long-term human trials. They suggested approaching taurine supplementation aimed at improving human health and longevity with caution, treating it as any other intervention requiring careful evaluation.

Source: The Guardian

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