Taurine: ‘Elixir of life’
INTRO: Meat, seafood, dairy products, and some energy drinks are good sources of taurine, a vitamin that may delay the onset of ageing and increase longevity
Some claim it to be the “elixir of life,” while others vouch for its capacity to give one a much-needed lift. An amino acid called taurine helps the body produce energy, digest bile, and maintain fluid balance, among other functions. According to a Columbia University study, taurine may increase health and longevity.
Is taurine the key to living a longer life?
Taurine is essential to the body in a number of ways. The benefits of it include boosted immunity, antioxidant properties, preservation of electrolyte balance, aiding in fat digestion, and balancing neurotransmitters in the brain, all of which lead to a longer and healthier life, according to Dr. G V Rao, Chief of Gastrointestinal & Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology.
Taurine blocks neurotransmitter receptors, which may have a relaxing effect, according to Dr. Rao. It’s an amino acid that the body naturally produces and is concentrated in large amounts in the eyes, muscles, and brain. Only a small proportion of healthy adults suffer from taurine shortage, he reveals, as taurine is a chemical that the human body naturally manufactures in sufficient amounts.
According to a recent study on mice, taking taurine supplements in middle age can increase healthy lifespan by 12% and slow down the ageing process. “These are encouraging results and taurine may extend human life,” he says, but adds that more studies are required to demonstrate these effects in humans.
Taurine doesn’t stay in the body for very long because it is water-soluble and relatively safe even at high doses, according to Aradhana Sharma, sport nutritionist. She did, however, caution that taking taurine supplements in addition to consuming energy drinks containing taurine might not be a good idea. Even if taurine is safe, she warns that other components, like caffeine and sugar, that are frequently found in energy drinks, may not be.
“Taurine is present in a defined amount in energy drinks in some countries. The safety of energy drinks is linked to non-taurine ingredients such as caffeine, sugar, herbal extracts, and so on. In India, we need detailed guidelines on appropriate amounts of ingredients in energy drinks. Although taurine supplements have a high safety profile when used in reasonable doses, it is important to consult a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for your health,” says Aradhana.
Longevity and diet
People in the Japanese island of Okinawa have been found to live longer due to a higher dietary intake of Taurine. “It is essential for the proper functioning of the heart and brain. It also promotes nerve growth. It helps restore insulin sensitivity, which prevents obesity, and it also prevents arterial thickening,” says Aradhana.
“Our bodies can produce taurine from proteins in our diet. Taurine is mostly found in animal products such as fish (tuna), chicken, and beef. To ensure adequate taurine production in the body, vegetarians must consume high-quality protein,” adds Dr Rao.
Taurine occurs naturally in the human body - in the eyes, brain, and heart - but you can also obtain it by eating certain foods. Taurine is abundant in protein-rich foods such as meat and seafood.
“Taurine has many benefits including improved brain function, enhanced athletic performance, and increased energy levels,” says Aradhana.
The amino acid is essential for a variety of bodily functions.
* Taurine can help your heart’s health.
* It can help prevent diabetes.
* It has the potential to improve your brain function and mental health.
* It may aid in the improvement of your immune system.
* It can also improve your vision and prevent muscle contractions.