Friday, June 09, 2023
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How can you slow aging process? Scientists may have found a way

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A representational image of the hands of a baby and an old person. — Unsplash/File
A representational image of the hands of a baby and an old person. — Unsplash/File

A new study published Thursday revealed that low levels of Taurine, an amino acid found in meat can increase the aging speed, and its intake by supplements can slow the process leading to healthy and long life.

This was observed in several species of animals and scientists are anticipating that a similar phenomenon could also occur in humans, according to the research published in the journal Science.

The study co-author Vijay Yadav, an assistant professor of genetics and development at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, the medical school for Columbia University in New York City, said: "This is a really exciting time because researchers are now exploring specific molecules, such as taurine, that might improve health and lead to a longer life."

According to the findings, taurine levels declined with age in mice, monkeys, and humans. "No one knows yet why levels of the nutrient decline as much as 80% with age," Yadav said.

When the supplements were used in middle-aged animals in experiments with mice and monkeys, it led to better health.

The supplementation in mice led to less weight gain, increased bone density, improved muscle endurance and strength, reduced insulin resistance, a better-functioning immune system, and a 10% longer lifespan.

Moreover, in monkeys, it prevented age-related weight gain, improved fasting blood sugar levels, increased bone density, and led to healthier livers and improved immune system.

"It's hitting the brakes on aging, not putting things in reverse gear," he said at a news briefing.

The data indicate that it might be applicable to humans.

According to the findings while examining data from the University of Cambridge — which tracked health, diet, and physical activity of men and women from ages 40 to 79 from 1993 to 1998 —, people with higher taurine levels were healthier, had lower levels of inflammation and were less likely to have Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure or to be obese.

Can exercise boost taurine?

Researchers in their findings discovered that taurine levels rise with exercise.

Yadav said: "The next step is to run a clinical trial to determine whether similar benefits can be seen when humans receive taurine supplements,” adding that he couldn’t recommend that “people try to boost their taurine levels without such data."

Henning Wackerhage, a co-author of the study and a professor of exercise biology at the Technical University of Munich said: "Fortunately, the European Food Safety Authority has deemed doses of taurine in humans similar to what was given to the mice to be safe."

Levels of taurine added to energy drinks would be safe, but Wackerhage expressed concern about the levels of caffeine in the beverages.

As for higher doses, Yadav said no one knows whether there would be safety issues.

What foods are high in taurine?

Despite humans developing a small amount, they mostly get it via food.

Shellfish, as well as dark chicken and turkey meat, contain the highest levels of taurine whereas other meats contain moderate amounts of taurine.

Milk and ice cream including other dairy products also have taurine, but less.