The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

Taurine shows its ability to reverse aging after prolonging life in mice


Highlights: Taurine, an amino acid, is found naturally in the body and can be consumed by eating meat, fish or dairy products. In humans, the level of taurine in people in their 60s was only one-third that of five-year-olds. The amino acid has also been linked to a better functioning of the immune system and less obesity and has an essential role since embryonic development. In the U.S., a team led by Nir Barzilai is about to launch the TAME project to test the anti-aging power of metformin.

Experiments with animals and people indicate that levels of this amino acid can be raised and extend life in rodents the equivalent of eight human years

Although with old age the ailments multiply, having many years is not considered a disease. Therefore, it is difficult to propose trials to test drugs that aim to treat what happens to us when time passes. However, there are several groups of scientists who want to carry out large experiments on humans to see if it is possible to act on aging and the health problems that accompany it. In the United States, a team led by Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Research on Aging at Albert Einstein School of Medicine, is about to launch the TAME project, a series of trials with more than 3,000 participants to test the anti-aging power of metformin, a drug used against diabetes. To win FDA approval, the body that decides which drugs are marketed in the U.S., will analyze the effects of metformin in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer or dementia, all of which are more common in the middle of life.

The journal Science publishes an international study that proposes to include taurine among the substances that can slow down aging. This amino acid, famous as an additive in many energy drinks, is found naturally in the body and can be consumed by eating meat, fish or dairy products. In their article, the researchers explain how they have found that, in all the animals studied, blood taurine levels decrease with age. In humans, the team led by Vijay Yadav of Columbia University found that the level of taurine in people in their 60s was only one-third that of five-year-olds. The researcher became interested in taurine during previous work on osteoporosis, when he observed its role in bone generation.

The amino acid has also been linked to a better functioning of the immune system and less obesity and has an essential role since embryonic development. As explained in the article, organisms have a concentration up to four times higher in embryonic tissues than in adults and the lack of taurine during the initial development of an individual can cause osteoporosis and blindness, problems that can be alleviated with supplements.

Learn moreWhy it's so hard to create anti-aging drugs

Based on this correlation between taurine deficiency and aging, the researchers tested whether giving it as an additive to mice would reduce their biological age. To do this, they chose mice of both sexes of 14 months, the equivalent of about 45 human years. Every day, part of the mice in the experiment received a taurine pill and another part took a placebo. After the experiment, rodents that had taken taurine lived, on average, 12% longer if they were females and 10% longer if they were males. It was up to four months longer, the equivalent of eight human years. The benefit was not limited to greater longevity either way, they also had better health and youthful traits, such as stronger bones and muscles, less depression, less insulin resistance, associated with diabetes, less obesity and a stronger immune system.

Signs of ageing

In addition to these more visible traits, the study also found the positive effects of taurine on the so-called hallmarks of aging. The pills reduced cellular senescence, the accumulation of cells unable to divide that continue to release harmful substances that inflame and injure neighboring cells. In addition, it protected against telomerase deficiency, which can lead to pulmonary fibrosis or dementia, reduced accumulated DNA damage and relieved inflammation. Similar beneficial effects were also observed in macaques.

In the study, the effects of exercise on taurine were also tested, both in athletes and sedentary people. After subjecting them to an intense bicycle session, taurine levels increased in all individuals, a little more in sedentary people than in athletes. The authors believe that these results support the idea that taurine and its metabolites explain, at least in part, the health benefits of exercise and how it slows aging. In addition to exercise, this amino acid can be consumed with meat or fish, but not on a vegan diet.

In addition, the authors studied 12,000 people over the age of 60 and found that higher levels of taurine were associated with less obesity, fewer diabetes diagnoses, less hypertension and lower levels of inflammation. However, Vijay cautions that these data are a correlation that will need to be tested with randomized trials showing that a lack of taurine causes aging and that supplements reverse the process. "We need a randomized, placebo-controlled trial to find out if taurine works in humans before we can suggest human use of taurine supplements," Vijay said. "This will require three or four more years," he estimates.

20 factors that prolong life

Rafael de Cabo, a researcher at the National Institute on Aging, in Baltimore (USA), remembers how not so long ago, "the only intervention that served to prolong life in mice was caloric restriction." "In recent years, we have seen more than 20 interventions, with molecules such as resveratrol or metformin, that prolong life, something that seemed unthinkable," he recalls. De Cabo considers the study interesting, although he proposes, like the authors themselves, that a follow-up study is necessary to see how taurine levels evolve over time in the same people and what effect it has on certain health markers to understand well what happens with taurine. "In addition, they need to find the mechanism that explains this relationship between taurine and aging, which they do not have," he says.

In the meantime, De Cabo recommends caution with the use of taurine supplements. "If you look at the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) data, the safety of taurine supplementation is very good, it's not a compound we know nothing about, but I think taking everything you want without consulting the doctor is not a good idea, particularly for people who have chronic diseases." says the researcher. "We don't know, for example, what interactions it may have with other medications, such as those used for diabetes or antidepressants," he adds. On the possibility of drinking energy drinks containing taurine, De Cabo warns that "these drinks have many other substances, in addition to taurine." "It's not the way to take it. We know that a healthy diet and exercise maintain adequate levels of taurine. It's more uncomfortable than opening a can, but in the long run it's better."

Anna Novials, researcher at the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS) believes that "the work is very interesting" and values the possibility of proposing studies to see the role of taurine in people with diabetes. "It would be one of the mechanisms by which exercise improves metabolic patterns in healthy individuals and in diabetics," he explains. Nor does he rule out the interest of this amino acid to combat diseases associated with old age, but warns of the difficulty of doing the large studies necessary to verify its validity with a natural molecule that would not allow exploiting a patent. The studies, in addition, should be very long-term to see if it can prolong life significantly, as has been seen in mice. Or if, as has happened with other substances, it turns out that in humans it is not as effective. Although the data presented in Science are promising, at the moment, there is no guarantee that taurine is a new elixir of youth.

You can follow EL PAÍS Salud y Bienestar on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-06-08

You may like

News/Politics 2023-04-24T23:48:21.303Z

Trends 24h


© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.