Taurine, the substance beloved by the energy drinks and supplements industries, could hold the key to looking and feeling better for longer.
Research led by Columbia University has shown taurine deficiency to be a driver of ageing.
The study found taurine supplements can slow down the ageing process in worms, mice and monkeys, and even extend the lifespans of middle-aged mice by up to 12%.
Taurine, or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is a non-proteinogenic amino sulfonic acid that naturally occurs in fish and meat.
Its levels have previously been shown to correlate with immune function, obesity and nervous system functions, which inspired study lead Vijay Yadav, Assistant Professor of Genetics & Development at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, to investigate its relationship to ageing.
As detailed in ‘Taurine deficiency as a driver of aging’, published 8 June 2023 in Science, Yadav’s team looked at levels of taurine in the bloodstream of mice, monkeys and people, finding that taurine abundance decreases substantially with age.
In people, taurine levels in 60-year-olds were one-third of those found in five-year-olds.