taurine and the fountain of youth: is it the next longevity molecule?

taurine and the fountain of youth: is it the next longevity molecule?

Aging is a physiological function change affecting life at all scales, from the cellular to the organ level. The drivers of this alteration are still largely unknown. However, shifts in the concentration of various molecules occur with aging. In this respect, an interesting new study published in Science reports the association of the amino acid taurine with aging and improved aging parameters in worms and rodents when taurine is supplemented.

What is Taurine?

Taurine is a semi-essential amino acid, meaning it is produced by the body from cysteine but also needs to be obtained from dietary sources. It is abundant in many eukaryotic organisms and plays critical roles in several physiological processes, including bile salt formation, eye health, heart function, and the development and function of skeletal muscle, the central nervous system, and the cardiovascular system.

Food Sources of Taurine

Taurine is found in various foods, especially in animal products. Some of the best dietary sources of taurine include:

  • Meat: Beef, chicken, and lamb
  • Seafood: Fish and shellfish, particularly tuna and shrimp
  • Dairy Products: Milk and cheese
  • Eggs: Particularly the yolks

While plant foods do not contain taurine, some energy drinks and supplements are fortified with this amino acid to help meet dietary needs.

Taurine and Aging: Insights from a Groundbreaking Study

As the world population ages rapidly, it appears likely that one in six people will be aged 65 or more by 2050. Despite the increase in lifespan, age-related declines in health threaten the quality of life and impose potentially heavy costs on social and economic support systems. Therefore, understanding and mitigating the effects of aging has become a significant focus of scientific research.

The recent study titled "Taurine deficiency as a driver of aging," published in Science, sheds light on the potential role of taurine in aging. This study explored the impact of taurine supplementation on the lifespan and health of various organisms, including worms, rodents, and primates.

Key Findings of the Study

Decline in Taurine Levels with Age

The researchers found that, in aging animals from a number of species, taurine levels in blood declined by 80% or more compared to youthful concentrations. This significant drop suggests a potential link between taurine deficiency and the aging process.

Lifespan Extension

In a mouse model, taurine supplementation resulted in an 18-25% increase in lifespan compared to controls on the same diet. Similar effects were observed in the worm species Caenorhabditis elegans, with the lifespan extension varying with the dose of taurine. However, in yeast, no such effect was seen, likely due to differences in taurine metabolism between these organisms.

Improved Health Parameters

In mice, taurine supplementation slowed age-related weight gain and increased bone mass in aged females. Additionally, muscle strength, coordination, and endurance all registered improvements. Taurine supplementation also reduced anxiety and enhanced natural curiosity.

Other benefits included better glucose control, improved intestinal transit times, and enhanced immune-inflammatory responses. In female rodents with osteoporosis and post-ovariectomy weight gain, taurine supplementation reversed these conditions.

Mechanisms of Action

The study suggested that taurine's benefits might stem from its ability to reverse aging-related changes at the cellular and molecular levels. Key mechanisms include:

  • Telomere Maintenance: Taurine supplementation reduced the shortening of telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that are linked to aging.
  • Reduction of Cell Senescence: Taurine appeared to lower the number of senescent cells, which are cells that have stopped dividing and contribute to aging and tissue dysfunction.
  • DNA Damage Repair: Enhanced repair of DNA damage, even after oxidative stress, was observed with taurine treatment.
  • Improved Mitochondrial Function: Taurine boosted mitochondrial function, which is crucial for energy production and cellular health.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Taurine supplementation led to lower levels of inflammation, a key factor in many age-related diseases.

Implications for Human Health

The beneficial effects of taurine supplementation observed in various species suggest that it may play a significant role in inhibiting age-related cellular and physiological declines. In humans, exercise is known to induce a rise in taurine levels, which may contribute to the health benefits associated with physical activity.

Given that taurine has no known toxic effects in humans, can be administered orally, and affects all the major hallmarks of aging, human trials are warranted to examine whether taurine supplementation can increase healthy lifespan in humans.


As the search for effective anti-aging interventions continues, taurine emerges as a promising candidate. Its ability to reverse several markers of aging and improve health parameters across different species provides a compelling case for further research. While human studies are needed to confirm these findings, incorporating taurine-rich foods into your diet and maintaining an active lifestyle could be beneficial for promoting healthy aging.


Singh, P. et al. (2023). Taurine deficiency as a driver of aging. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.abn9257. https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abn9257.

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