Taurine slows aging in mice. Will it ever work for people?

An ingredient common in energy drinks and baby formula makes mice healthier and extends their life spans. It also appears to make worms live longer and improves the health of middle-aged monkeys, a large international group of scientists reports in the June 9 Science.
The ingredient, an amino acid called taurine, is made by our bodies, and we eat it in meats (SN: 7/21/22). It’s not known whether extra taurine slows aging in people or if it is even good for us, though the new study turned up an association between lower levels of the amino acid and conditions such as diabetes and obesity.
Aging “is one of the great biological unknowns,” says biologist and cardiologist Toren Finkel of the University of Pittsburgh, who was not involved in the study. “So any way you can chip away at that edifice is great. And this is a new set of findings that deserves to be followed up.”
The results, 11 years in the making, center on taurine in part because scientists found its levels fall with age in the blood of mice, monkeys and humans. As far as amino acids go, taurine is an oddball: Unlike other more familiar amino acids, it doesn’t get incorporated into proteins. Nevertheless, it has a range of suspected jobs in the body, from helping the developing brain to eye health to digestion.

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