Along with many other benefits…

Taurine Lowers Blood Pressure
Through a previously unclarified hypotensive mechanism

By Will Block

T


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aurine is beneficial for preventing and treating insulin resistance syndrome (metabolic syndrome [MetSyn]). If you haven’t read the article on page 4, MetSyn is a group of risk factors that raises our risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke.

A recent review begins with the statement that MetSyn is a very serious public health concern.1 It then refers to a number of studies providing evidence that taurine has an efficient action against MetSyn, which includes:

• Reducing triglycerides to prevent obesity

• Restoring insulin sensitivity to regulate glucose metabolism,

• Lowering cholesterol (especially, decreasing VLDL + LDL cholesterol)

• Increasing HDL cholesterol to prevent diet-induced hypercholesterolemia

• Regulating the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) and the kallikrein-kinin system (KKS) to reduce blood pressure (BP).

Does Taurine in the Brain
Reduce Alzheimer’s?

In a paper published in 1985,1 concentrations of free amino acids were measured in the cerebral cortices of post-mortem brains from 5 cases of Alzheimer (AD)-type dementia and 8 histologically normal controls. The concentrations of taurine in the AD brains were significantly lower in the inferior temporal cortex (ITC). The ITC is located on the inferior convexity of the temporal lobe in primates, including humans, and is crucial for visual object recognition. Mild cognitive impairment and early stage AD are diagnosable through a test that measures visual object recognition.2

See "New Taurine & Bromine Formulation,” in the September 2014 Issue, and “Stave Off Hypertension,” in the June issue)

References

1. Arai H, Kobayashi K, Ichimiya Y, Kosaka K, Iizuka R. Free amino acids in post-mortem cerebral cortices from patients with Alzheimer-type dementia. Neurosci Res. 1985 Aug;2(6):486-90.

2. Poissonnet A, Henry-Feugeas MC, Drunat O, Wolmark Y, Delpierre S, Koskas P. Evaluation of visual recognition memory for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in patients over 75 years. Rev Neurol (Paris). 2012 Jun;168(6-7):483-7.

RAAS is a hormone system that is involved in the regulation of the plasma sodium concentration and arterial blood pressure. The KKS system consists of blood proteins that play a role in inflammation, BP control, coagulation and pain.

The review summarizes the data from in vitro, animal and limited human studies of beneficial effects of taurine on obesity, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus and hypertension, and addresses the metabolic and molecular mechanisms by which taurine prevents MetSyn.

Taurine May Help Alzheimer’s disease

Also, taurine may also slow down Alzheimer’s in its early stages (see “Taurine Stops Memory Loss” in the January 2016 issue of this publication). Among the references in that article is one showing that taurine increases hippocampal neurogenesis in aging mice.2

Taurine is Crucial for Neurogenesis

In fact, one of the most important effects of taurine is its critical role in neurogenesis, the production of new neurons that takes place only in specific brain areas of adult mammals throughout their lives.3 As this review describes the function of taurine in neurogenesis, “[o]f particular interest is the fact that within the subventricular zone of the cultured adult mouse brain, taurine activates stem cells and neural precursor cells to differentiate into neurons, rather than astrocytes [another type of brain cell]. The subventricular zone is one of the few regions in the brain in which neurogenesis continues throughout adulthood, and the cells from this region can proliferate and migrate via the rostral migratory stream to the olfactory bulb where they differentiate into neurons. Considering the high taurine content in the adult [mammalian] olfactory bulb, it is likely that taurine is an important factor for neurogenesis.” (see “New Taurine & Bromine Formulation—Designing Your Life Extension Program: Why NO LE Program Should Be Without Very-Low-Cost High-Benefit TAURINE,” in the September 2014 issue).

No Life Extension Program Should Be Without Very-Low-Cost High-Benefit Taurine

Taurine affects the development of the central nervous system, stimulates the influx and adhesion of calcium of cell membranes, stabilizes protein folding, helps regulate BP, and more.

Taurine also acts as a thermoregulator, a protein-folding agent (see “The Origami of Aging: How Small Molecules Help Maintain Proper Protein Folding for Better Health and Longevity” in the September 2008 issue), an anti-inflammatory agent, an antioxidant agent, an osmoregulator (regulating and maintaining the proper balance of solutes or salts of body fluid), and even helps with heart disorders.


About 30% to 50% of the world
suffers from hypertension.


From Animals to Humans

As the most abundant semiessential sulfur-containing amino acid, taurine is well known to lower BP in hypertensive animal models. By semiessential, is meant an amino acid or organic compound of which an adequate amount must be consumed in the diet to prevent the use of essential amino acids to synthesize it. However, no rigorous clinical trial has validated whether this beneficial effect of taurine occurs in human hypertension or prehypertension, a key stage in the development of hypertension.

About 30% to 50% of the world suffers from hypertension. What’s more, this condition frequently complicates other cardio-metabolic risk factors and is closely associated with coronary heart disease, stroke, and renal dysfunction.

Taurine for Prehypertension

In a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study, scientists from a Military Medical University, Chongqing Institute of Hypertension, Chongqing, China, assessed the effects of taurine intervention on BP and vascular function in prehypertension.4 Prehypertension is a medical classification for BP elevated above normal, but not to the level considered hypertension (high BP) (see “Stave Off Hypertension” in the June 2016 issue). In the study, 120 eligible prehypertensive individuals received either taurine supplementation (1.6 g per day) or a placebo for 12 weeks.

The activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosteron system (RAAS) is the primary event in the development of hypertension. Since taurine suppresses RAAS, it results in a hypotensive effect.
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Taurine supplementation significantly decreased the clinic and 24-hour ambulatory BPs, especially in those with high-normal BP (Systolic BP, 130–139 and Diastolic BP, 85–89 mmHg). Mean clinic systolic BP reduction for taurine/placebo was 7.2/2.6 mm Hg, and diastolic BP was 4.7/1.3 mm Hg. This reduction took many out of the high range. Mean ambulatory systolic BP reduction for taurine/placebo was 3.8/0.3 mm Hg, and diastolic BP was 3.5/0.6 mm Hg.

In addition, taurine supplementation significantly improved endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent vasodilation and increased plasma hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and taurine concentrations. Besides, changes in BP were negatively correlated with both the plasma H2S and taurine levels in taurine-treated pre-hypertensive individuals.

The Hypotensive Mechanism

To further clarify the hypotensive mechanism of taurine, experimental studies were performed both in vivo and in vitro. These showed that taurine treatment:

• Upregulated the expression of hydrogen sulfide–synthesizing enzymes (H2S has been reported to relax precontracted rat arteries in vitro and to lower blood pressure)

• H2S exerts vascular relaxation by targeting mediated calcium influx transient receptor potential channel subtype 3 (TRPC3) in human and mouse mesenteric arteries.

In conclusion, the antihypertensive effect of chronic taurine supplementation shows promise in the treatment of prehypertension through improvement of vascular function.

References

  1. Chen W, Guo J, Zhang Y, Zhang J. The beneficial effects of taurine in preventing metabolic syndrome. Food Funct. 2016 Apr 20;7(4):1849-63.
  2. Gebara E, Udry F, Sultan S, Toni N. Taurine increases hippocampal neurogenesis in aging mice. Stem Cell Res. 2015 May;14(3):369-79. doi:10.1016/j.scr.2015.04.001. Epub 2015 Apr 10. PubMed PMID: 25889858.
  3. Ripps H1, Shen W. Review: taurine: a “very essential” amino acid. Mol Vis. 2012;18:2673-86.
  4. Sun Q, Wang B, Li Y, Sun F, Li P, Xia W, Zhou X, Li Q, Wang X, Chen J, Zeng X, Zhao Z, He H, Liu D, Zhu Z. Taurine Supplementation Lowers Blood Pressure and Improves Vascular Function in Prehypertension: Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Hypertension. 2016 Mar;67(3):541-9.


Will Block is the publisher and editorial director of Life Enhancement magazine.

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