Taurine Supplementation Slows Aging, Extends Life in Mice

Taurine levels drop with age, and correlate with health in aged humans. Researchers here show evidence for taurine supplementation to improve health and extend life span in mice. While it isn't mentioned in this paper, if one takes a look around the literature on this topic, taurine may act on the pace of aging by increasing levels of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione, and has been shown to diminish oxidative stress. You may recall that supplementation with glutathione precursors has been shown to improve health in both old mice and old humans. Glutathione itself is harder to deliver directly, hence the more indirect strategies. The observed effects on health and life span may be due to improved mitochondrial function, reducing the dual impact of mitochondrial dysfunction: loss of ATP production needed to power cell processes on the one hand, and and excessive production of oxidative molecules that can damage molecular machinery elsewhere in the cell on the other.

Aging is associated with systemic changes in the concentrations of molecules such as metabolites. However, whether such changes are merely the consequence of aging or whether these molecules are drivers of aging remains largely unexplored. If these were blood-based drivers of aging, then restoring their concentration or functions to "youthful" levels could serve as an antiaging intervention. Taurine, a semiessential micronutrient, is one of the most abundant amino acids in humans and other eukaryotes. Earlier studies have shown that the concentration of taurine in blood correlates with health, but it is unknown whether blood taurine concentrations affect aging. To address this gap in knowledge, we measured the blood concentration of taurine during aging and investigated the effect of taurine supplementation on health span and life span in several species.

Blood concentration of taurine declines with age in mice, monkeys, and humans. To investigate whether this decline contributes to aging, we orally fed taurine or a control solution once daily to middle-aged wild-type female and male C57Bl/6J mice until the end of life. Taurine-fed mice of both sexes survived longer than the control mice. The median life span of taurine-treated mice increased by 10 to 12%, and life expectancy at 28 months increased by about 18 to 25%. A meaningful antiaging therapy should not only improve life span but also health span, the period of healthy living. We, therefore, investigated the health of taurine-fed middle-aged mice and found an improved functioning of bone, muscle, pancreas, brain, fat, gut, and immune system, indicating an overall increase in health span.

Investigations into the mechanism or mechanisms through which taurine supplementation improved the health span and life span revealed that taurine positively affected several hallmarks of aging. Taurine reduced cellular senescence, protected against telomerase deficiency, suppressed mitochondrial dysfunction, decreased DNA damage, and attenuated inflammation. An association analysis of metabolite clinical risk factors in humans showed that lower taurine, hypotaurine, and N-acetyltaurine concentrations were associated with adverse health, such as increased abdominal obesity, hypertension, inflammation, and prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Moreover, we found that a bout of exercise increased the concentrations of taurine metabolites in blood, which might partially underlie the antiaging effects of exercise.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abn9257