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Case Study

Metabolomics for Evaluating the Role of Taurine in Aging

This research study reveals that taurine is a promising metabolic target for increasing healthy life span in humans.

The Metabolon Global Discovery Panel and targeted metabolomics showed that in humans, low taurine levels are associated with multiple age-related diseases and that exercise training can increase taurine levels.

The Metabolon Global Discovery Panel and targeted metabolomics showed that in humans, low taurine levels are associated with multiple age-related diseases and that exercise training can increase taurine levels.

Metabolomics for Evaluating the Role of Taurine in Aging

The Challenge: Exploring Taurine’s Impact on Aging

Aging is a biological process that leads to increased vulnerability to diseases and, ultimately, death. It is a significant risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Ensuring that the elderly remain healthy is crucial to enhance their quality of life and reduce the societal costs associated with aging. Therefore, more efforts have been placed on identifying compounds that may increase the healthy lifespan. Taurine is a naturally occurring semi-essential amino acid found in various body tissues, particularly in high concentrations in the brain, heart, and muscle.1 Due to the decrease in taurine levels as people age and its established impact on health, this study aimed to investigate whether taurine deficiency contributes to the aging process and influences longevity.2

The Metabolon Insight: Metabolon’s Approach Explores a Link Between Taurine Metabolites and Aging

This research group used the Global Discovery Panel to profile human blood samples. Metabolon provided the most extensive solution to determine whether taurine and taurine-related metabolites are linked to age-associated diseases. Metabolon also helped this group perform targeted metabolomics of taurine pathway metabolites in the serum of a human exercise cohort.

The Solution: Taurine Supplementation is Linked to Human Health Variables that Influence Aging

This study demonstrated a decline in serum taurine levels in aged mice, monkeys, and humans. This research team also showed that taurine supplementation increased the health span and life span of mice and the health span of monkeys and worms. Mechanistically, taurine supplementation decreased DNA damage, protected against telomerase deficiency, and attenuated inflammation in mouse and zebrafish models.

Next, this study also aimed to determine whether taurine is associated with human health variables. To do this, they performed an association analysis of circulating taurine levels with clinical risk factors. The Global Discovery Panel revealed that lower levels of taurine pathway metabolites (taurine, hypotaurine, and N-acetyltaurine) were associated with type 2 diabetes, obesity, and higher waist-to-hip ratio in humans. Conversely, targeted metabolomics showed that exercise increased the concentrations of taurine metabolites in blood.

The Outcome: Metabolomics Reveals a Promising Target to Combat Aging

Untargeted metabolomics demonstrated that in humans, lower levels of taurine pathway metabolites were associated with multiple age-related diseases, such as obesity and diabetes. Targeted metabolomics showed that taurine levels increase after exercise training in humans. These clinically relevant findings indicate that taurine supplementation may be a promising antiaging strategy. In the future, human trials must be carried out to examine whether taurine supplementation increases healthy life span in humans.

References

1. Wu G. Important roles of dietary taurine, creatine, carnosine, anserine and 4-hydroxyproline in human nutrition and health. Amino Acids. Mar 2020;52(3):329-360. doi:10.1007/s00726-020-02823-6

2. Singh P, Gollapalli K, Mangiola S, et al. Taurine deficiency as a driver of aging. Science. Jun 09 2023;380(6649):eabn9257. doi:10.1126/science.abn9257

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