- Taurine is a compound found in humans as well as dairy products and some energy drinks.
- In a study, researchers say taurine was effective as an anti-aging agent that promoted longevity in mice.
- Experts say the findings are promising, but more research needs to be done humans.
A deficiency in the nutrient taurine appears to drive aging in animals, but experts say more research is needed to determine if the same effect is found in humans.
A study published today in the journal Science reports that supplements of taurine slowed the aging process in monkeys, mice and worms and extended the healthy lifespan of mice in middle age by up to 12%.
“For the last 25 years, scientists have been trying to find factors that not only let us live longer, but also increase health span, the time we remain healthy in our old age,” Vijay Yadav, PhD, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of genetics & development at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, said in a press statement.
“This study suggests that taurine could be an elixir of life within us that helps us live longer and healthier lives,” Dr. Yadav added.
In undertaking their study, the researchers first examined the levels of taurine in the blood of monkeys, mice and people and discovered that levels decrease significantly with age.
In humans, they found that taurine levels in 60-year-olds were only a third of those found in 5-year-olds.
“That’s when we started to ask if taurine deficiency is a driver of the aging process, and we set up a large experiment with mice,” Yadav said.
The researchers examined