Prepared Foods of March 14, 2005 enewsletter

Dietary taurine supplementation has hypolipidemic and anti-atherogenic effects.

"Taurine supplementation may prove to be a safe and convenient method to reverse high blood cholesterol and the associated rise in atherosclerosis. Although human studies are limited, experiments using animal models provide extensive proof of the hypolipidemic and anti-atherogenic effects of taurine. Examples of these animal models involve feeding with high-fat diets, genetically determined or heritable disease conditions, and artificially induced or genetic diabetes," researchers in the U.S. report.

"Most importantly, the addition of taurine to the diet clearly has effects against pathological increases in serum and liver cholesterol and triglycerides," said Julius D. Militante and John B. Lombardini at Texas Tech University. "Another consistent and noteworthy effect of taurine is the simulation of cholesterol 7-alpha-hydroxylase activity, the enzyme that is responsible for the catabolism of cholesterol into bile acids. Taurine also exhibited considerable effects on atherosclerotic lipid accumulation, perhaps through an anti-oxidative mechanism and through the elevation of HDL cholesterol levels."

Militante and Lombardini concluded, "Data from animal model systems support the specific cardiovascular benefits of taurine, and hopefully, this research will be continued in human studies in the future."

Militante and Lombardini published their study in Nutrition Research (“Dietary Taurine Supplementation: Hypolipidemic and Anti-atherogenic Effects.” Nutr Res, 2004;24(10):787-801).

For additional information, contact John B. Lombardini, Department of Pharmacology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center; 3601 4th Street; Lubbock, TX 79430. E-mail: