Taurine May Extend Both Healthspan And Lifespan

Posted on Jun 09, 2023, 7 p.m.

According to a study recently published in Science, taurine deficiency is a driver of aging. Findings showed that taurine supplements slowed down the aging process in worms, mice, and monkeys and extended the healthy lifespans of middle-aged mice by up to 12%.

Led by Columbia University an international team of researchers discovered that this amino acid appears to have a strong link to the aging process. The team examined taurine levels within the bloodstreams of mice, monkeys, and humans and found that its levels significantly decrease with age, for example, levels in 60-year-old humans were a third of what would be found in  5-year-old children. 

“For the last 25 years, scientists have been trying to find factors that not only let us live longer but also increase healthspan, the time we remain healthy in our old age,” says the study’s leader, Vijay Yadav, Ph.D., an assistant professor of genetics & development at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. “This study suggests that taurine could be an elixir of life within us that helps us live longer and healthier lives,” Yadav adds.

In previous research Yadav explored taurine with osteoporosis, finding that it played a role in bone construction. Other research revealed associations with immune function, obesity, and the nervous system. 

“We realized that if taurine is regulating all these processes that decline with age, maybe taurine levels in the bloodstream affect overall health and lifespan,” says Yadav. “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,” explains Yadav.

For this study, approximately 250 14-year-old mice ( equivalent to a 45-year-old human) were either given taurine or a control placebo solution every day. At the end of the study, the team found that the taurine group an experienced increased average lifespan of 12% in female mice and 10% in male mice. This is an additional 3-4 months of life for mice which translates to roughly 7-8 years for humans. 

Widening their scope, Yadav had other aging experts measure different health parameters in mice, findings showed that at the age of 2 ( the equivalent of 60 human years) the taurine group that received supplements for a year was significantly healthier across all parameters than the untreated control group. For example, they observed that age-associated weight gain was suppressed in the female mice, even during menopause, increased energy expenditure and bone mass, improved bone strength and endurance, and the amino acid helped to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Next, the team investigated how taurine would affect different species, finding the same results in middle-aged rhesus monkeys that received taurine supplements for 6 months. In these experiments the amino acid successfully prevented weight gain, lowered fasting blood glucose levels, decreased markers of liver damage, as well as increased bone density in the spine and legs, as well as improved immune system health. 

Senescence-wise taurine helped to make improvements down to the cellular level by lowering the number of old zombie cells that don’t die and wreak havoc on the other cells and tissues around them, decreasing DNA damage, and improving the ability of cells to sense nutrients. 

The team examined the relationship between taurine levels and 50 health parameters in 12,000 adults aged 60+, findings revealed that overall the healthier participants had higher levels of taurine, having fewer cases of obesity, hypertension, inflammation, and diabetes. 

In another experiment, the team investigated how taurine levels would respond to exercise, measuring levels in male athletes and sedentary people before and after finishing a cycling workout. Findings showed that there was a significant increase in taurine levels among both groups. 

“No matter the individual, all had increased taurine levels after exercise, which suggests that some of the health benefits of exercise may come from an increase in taurine,” Yadav says.

Although these results are promising no firm conclusions can be made regarding taurine supplements improving the health and longevity in people, even though these experiments indicated positive potential. 

“These are associations, which do not establish causation,” Yadav says, “but the results are consistent with the possibility that taurine deficiency contributes to human aging.”

The only way to make certain conclusions is to conduct randomized clinical trials. Currently, there are trials being planned for taurine and obesity, but there are none as of yet looking at any other health parameters. 

Yadav is certain that taurine could be pivotal for anti-aging benefits to human health and longevity. “Taurine abundance goes down with age, so restoring taurine to a youthful level in old age may be a promising anti-aging strategy.”

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.

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What is taurine?

Taurine is nonproteinogenic (it is not incorporated into proteins during translation) sulfur-containing beta-amino acid that is omnipresent in the body and is particularly abundant in electrically excitable tissues such as the heart, retina, brain, and skeletal muscle.

A small amount of taurine is produced in the liver from the metabolism of cysteine (which is derived from the essential amino acid methionine). Taurine can also be obtained directly from certain foods like beef and dark meat poultry, but most abundantly from shellfish such as scallops and mussels.

Taurine is considered a conditionally essential nutrient. Because it can be produced in the body, the average adult doesn’t need to be concerned about overt symptoms of taurine deficiency (unlike cats, who develop retinopathy and cardiomyopathy with inadequate taurine intake). Low plasma taurine levels are associated with various conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

In accordance with its ubiquitous presence in the body, taurine has diverse physiological functions. It is renowned as a cell-protecting agent and is involved in osmoregulation, modulation of mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum stress, cell membrane stabilization, conjugation of bile acids, calcium homeostasis, energy metabolism, neuromodulation, and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions.

What are taurine’s main benefits?

Interest in taurine primarily stems from its potential beneficial effects on athletic performance and cardiovascular risk factors.

Taurine was first used to treat heart failure patients and demonstrated the ability to improve symptoms — as evidenced by improved cardiac output and stroke volume — which spurred research to determine whether it elicited other cardioprotective effects.

More recent evidence demonstrates that taurine modestly reduces blood pressure, and it seems to be more effective in people with prehypertension or hypertension. Taurine may also reduce total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Taurine is a common component of energy drinks, which has been shown to enhance various aspects of physical performance (e.g., endurance exercise performance, vertical jump height). However, energy drinks also contain, among other ingredients, so it is unclear how much of their benefit can be attributed to taurine.

Because taurine levels are much higher in type I than type II muscle fibers, most studies have investigated whether taurine supplementation improves endurance exercise performance. Taurine appears to have a small positive effect on time to exhaustion in both untrained healthy people and older adults with heart failure. In contrast, taurine does not seem to benefit time trial performance.

Research on whether taurine improves muscle strength and power is limited and inconclusive. However, taurine has shown promise for reducing symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness and accelerating strength recovery following exercise.

What are taurine’s main drawbacks?

Serious adverse effects have not been reported with taurine supplementation. The highest dose used in a human trial was 10 grams per day for 6 months, and the longest human trial was 12 months and used a dose of 0.5–1.5 grams per day. Based on the available evidence, it’s suggested that 3 grams per day can be consumed indefinitely without risk of side effects.

How does taurine work?

Most of the taurine’s benefits are thought to derive from its role as a cell-protecting agent; it regulates cell volume, calcium homeostasis, and membrane stabilization and exerts antioxidant effects. The primary mechanism by which taurine acts as an antioxidant is unclear. Taurine may have the ability to directly scavenge free radicals, but it's more likely that taurine works by regulating antioxidant enzymes and inhibiting the generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species. 

Taurine may have cardioprotective effects by decreasing oxidative stress and a few other mechanisms. It can modify blood lipids by binding to bile acids and facilitating the breakdown and excretion of cholesterol. Additionally, it reduces blood pressure by enhancing vasodilation (i.e., a relaxation of blood vessels, leading to an increase in blood flow). Taurine may also reduce blood pressure by reducing the production of angiotensin II, a potent vasoconstrictor within the renin-angiotensin system.

Muscle contraction is triggered by the release of calcium from the sarcoplasmic reticulum. Taurine may improve physical performance by increasing the calcium-storing ability of the sarcoplasmic reticulum, as well as increasing the sensitivity of force-generating proteins (i.e., actin and myosin) to calcium, thus increasing muscle force.

With special reference to endurance exercise, taurine may aid performance by increasing the use of fat for fuel and reducing the contribution from glycogen, as well as improving the function of mitochondria.

Effect of Taurine and Coenzyme Q10 in Patients with Acute Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)

Reperfusion-induced free radical stress, lipid peroxidation, and a deficiency in antioxidant vitamins, minerals, and coenzyme Q10 are common during acute myocardial infarction (Heart Attack). These alterations are associated with cardiac necrosis, resulting in arrhythmias, myocardial dysfunction, and coronary thrombosis which continue as a chain reaction for several days after the infarction. A fall in the amino acid content of the heart, with a consequent rise in the blood, is seen in experimental studies after ligation of the coronary artery and during both hypoxia and drug-induced cardiac necrosis. Due to its loss from the cardiac cell, the concentration of taurine in the blood is also raised in patients with AMI, unstable angina, and after cardiac surgery. Experimental studies in cats indicate that feeding a taurine-deficient diet can predispose the animal to cardiomyopathy. Taurine depletion during ischemia appears to be a novel mechanism for cardioprotection from regional ischemia.

Myocardial infarction (MI): death of the cells of an area of the heart muscle (myocardium) as a result of oxygen deprivation

Necrosis: the death of most or all of the cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury, or failure of the blood supply.

9 Foods High In Taurine


Shrimp, clams, and oysters are great sources of taurine. They’re also loaded with selenium, which is an important antioxidant for your thyroid gland.


It’s a good idea to eat liver at least a few times per week, as it is one of the best sources of vitamin B12. Liver also has plenty of taurine and other nutrients that are great for your body.

Other organ meats (such as brains, kidneys, and the heart) are also good sources of taurine.


Eggs are one of the few protein sources that some vegans eat that are high in taurine. 


Seaweeds contain significant amounts of taurine, but the iron-rich varieties are even better.

Kelp is a type that’s high in both taurine and vitamin A (which aids vision).

Brewer's Yeast

Brewer’s yeast is a terrific source of taurine. It also contains selenium and zinc, which are minerals that have been linked to a protective effect on the adrenal gland in animal studies


Peanuts are a great source of taurine because they’re one of only three nuts that has an adequate amount (the others being almonds and hazelnuts). One ounce contains nine percent – or about 45 milligrams


Milk, yogurt, and cheese are all high in taurine.

The average American consumes about three cups of milk every day – which translates to over 300 milligrams a day (2). That’s almost half your daily allowance without eating any other food! If you’re not into dairy products or are lactose intolerant, try adding some organic plain Greek yogurt with honey on top for breakfast instead. 


Salmon is a great source of omega-three fatty acids which are important for brain health. They’re also high in taurine, as well as vitamin B12 and selenium


Lamb is a great source of taurine, B12, and selenium. It’s also leaner than other meats so it can be used as a healthier option for your family if you’re trying to avoid saturated fat from red meat like beef or pork. And when cooked right the lamb will taste delicious!