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Taurine in Energy Drinks May Be an ‘Elixir of Life’

Taurine, found in energy drinks, is being studied for its potential as a life-enhancing compound.
Taurine, found in energy drinks, is being studied for its potential as a life-enhancing compound. Credit: Jorge Franganillo / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

An intriguing discovery from Columbia University suggests that the secret to eternal youth could be hiding in your very own refrigerator. This remarkable study unveils the potential of taurine, a vital nutrient commonly present in foods such as meat, fish, and dairy products, as well as popular energy drinks like Celsius, Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar etc.

Surprisingly, taurine has demonstrated its ability to decelerate the aging process and prolong our years of good health.

In a recent press statement, Vijay Yadav, Ph.D., an assistant professor of genetics and development at Columbia University, expressed that “This study suggests that taurine could be an elixir of life within us that helps us live longer and healthier lives.”

Significance of taurine

Under the guidance of Vijay Yadav, along with a team of diligent researchers, extensive investigations were conducted involving both animals and humans.

The objective was to ascertain the significance of taurine, a compound naturally produced within our bodies, in relation to health and longevity.

The noteworthy findings revealed a significant disparity in taurine levels between individuals aged 60 and those aged 5. In fact, taurine levels in 60-year-olds were only about one-third of the levels observed in 5-year-olds.

These compelling findings have been published in the esteemed journal Science. Additionally, the researchers conducted further studies on mice and monkeys, which confirmed the gradual decline of taurine levels in these animals over time.

Driven by these outcomes, the team delved deeper, pondering whether a deficiency in taurine could be a contributing factor to the aging process. Subsequently, a large-scale experiment involving mice was set up to explore this possibility further, as explained by Yadav.

Testing and trials on mice

By incorporating taurine supplements into the diet of mice, they observed a notable increase in average lifespan. Female mice experienced an impressive extension of approximately 12%, while their male counterparts enjoyed a boost of around 10%.

To put this into perspective, these percentage increases roughly equate to an additional seven or eight years of life in humans.

Further investigations conducted as part of the study uncovered a range of additional benefits associated with taurine supplementation. The researchers found that taurine had a positive impact on various aspects of health and well-being.

It led to enhanced energy expenditure, improved bone mass, increased muscle endurance and strength, reduced symptoms related to depression and anxiety, mitigated insulin resistance, and even contributed to a more youthful immune system.

The significance of these findings goes beyond mere longevity. Dr. Yadav emphasizes that “Not only did we find that the animals lived longer, we also found that they’re living healthier lives.”

Trials on middle-aged rhesus monkeys

In a separate phase of the study, middle-aged rhesus monkeys were provided with daily taurine supplements over a span of six months. The results were quite remarkable. The monkeys exhibited several positive outcomes, including weight maintenance, reduced fasting blood glucose levels, increased bone density, and improved immune system health.

However, it is essential to exercise caution and avoid rushing to heavily rely on taurine supplements with the expectation of reaching an extraordinary age like 150.

Dr. Yadav and other experts emphasize that it is premature to draw such definitive conclusions from the current findings. They warn against the potential risks associated with excessive consumption of animal-based foods solely to elevate taurine intake.

Walter Willett, a renowned professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, voiced his concerns. He said, “This doesn’t seem like a story ready for prime time, and it could be harmful if people started consuming more animal-sourced foods to increase taurine intake.”

Willett emphasizes the need for further research before considering the widespread use of taurine supplements in humans. He suggests that conducting additional studies involving taurine supplementation in human subjects would be of great interest.

However, he cautions that we are still far from making any definitive recommendations regarding their usage.

Vijay Yadav shares a similar perspective, acknowledging that only a randomized clinical trial conducted on human participants can provide conclusive evidence regarding the potential health benefits of taurine.

Nevertheless, taurine holds certain advantages when compared to other compounds currently under investigation for their potential in promoting longevity and well-being.

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