Scientists Discover ‘Elixir of Life’ That Slows Aging

Pandora Dewan in Newsweek:

A common nutrient found in everyday foods might be the key to a long and healthy life, according to researchers from Columbia University. The nutrient in question is taurine, a naturally occurring amino acid with a range of essential roles around the body. Not only does the concentration of this nutrient in our bodies decrease as we age, but supplementation can increase lifespan by up to 12 percent in different species. Our main dietary sources of taurine are animal proteins, such as meat, fish and dairy, although it can also be found in some seaweeds and artificially supplemented energy drinks. It can also be produced inside the body from other amino acids. In a study published in the journal Science, a team of researchers from around the world looked at the effects of this nutrient on health and lifespan. “This study suggests that taurine could be an elixir of life within us that helps us live longer and healthier lives,” Vijay Yadav, one of the leading authors of the study, said in a statement.

Yadav, assistant professor of genetics and development at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, first discovered the importance of taurine while researching osteoporosis, uncovering the nutrient’s essential role in regulating bone growth. Similar studies have also shown that taurine can benefit immune functionobesity and the nervous system. “We realized that if taurine is regulating all these processes that decline with age, maybe taurine levels in the bloodstream affect overall health and lifespan,” Yadav said.

More here. (Note: Congratulations to Dr. Abdullah Ali from my lab, a co-author on this Science article)