Can an Ingredient in Energy Drinks Increase Your Longevity? 

Maureen, 64, is part of a “walking book club.” They meet every morning at 7 a.m. and exercise their bodies and brains as they discuss the book of the week, while logging steps in the neighborhood. Maureen has never been much of a morning person, but she knows how important it is to exercise each day, to stay active and hopefully stave off cognitive decline. Until recently, she would often lie in bed in the morning contemplating whether she should hit the snooze button, and she would usually start her morning workout feeling groggy. But recently she started taking a vitamin and energy supplement that one of her friends recommended, and since then her mornings have been much more productive, without any feelings of grogginess. Turns out that one of the ingredients in the vitamin and energy supplement she recently started taking is taurine, and new research shows that taurine, besides increasing energy levels, may actually increase longevity! 

Taurine is a common ingredient in energy drinks, including brands like Red Bull, Monster Energy, Rockstar, NOS, Full Throttle, and AMP. Taurine supplement pills are also available, providing the nutrient without the caffeine, sweeteners, and other potentially harmful ingredients in many energy drinks. Taurine is also an amino acid that is found naturally in the body and can be consumed by eating meat, fish, or dairy products. 

New Study at Columbia University Shows How Taurine Can Improve Lifespan 

A recent study led by Columbia University researchers finds that a deficiency of taurine drives aging and that taurine supplements can improve health and increase lifespan in animals. 

The study, published in the journal Science, found that animals with a deficiency in taurine age more intensely and that taurine level in the blood decreases with age. The study also found that taurine supplements slowed the aging process in monkeys, mice, and worms. In humans, researchers observed that the taurine level in 60-year-olds was only one-third that of five-year-olds! A lack of taurine during an individual’s early development can also lead to osteoporosis and blindness, problems that can be alleviated with supplements. 

Findings from the Study on Animals 

Based on the perceived correlation between taurine deficiency and aging, the researchers tested whether giving taurine to mice would reduce their apparent biological age. To do so, they chose mice of both sexes aged 14 months, the equivalent of about 45 human years. Every day, some of the mice in the experiment received a taurine supplement and others received a placebo. After the experiment, female rodents that had taken taurine lived an average of 12 percent longer, and male rodents that had taken taurine lived an average of 10 percent longer, the equivalent of approximately eight human years! The mice that were given taurine also had better health and more youthful traits, such as stronger bones and muscles, less depression, less insulin resistance (which is associated with diabetes), less obesity, and a stronger immune system. 

According to SciTechDaily, “(a)t a cellular level, taurine improved many functions that usually decline with age: The supplement decreased the number of “zombie cells” (old cells that should die but instead linger and release harmful substances), increased survival after telomerase deficiency, increased the number of stem cells present in some tissues (which can help tissues heal after injury), improved the performance of mitochondria, reduced DNA damage, and improved the cells‘ ability to sense nutrients.” 

Similar health effects were seen in middle-aged rhesus monkeys, which were given daily taurine supplements for six months. In the monkeys, taurine reportedly prevented weight gain, reduced fasting blood glucose, reduced markers of liver damage, increased bone density in the spine and legs, and improved the health of their immune systems. 

Studies Were Also Conducted on Humans 

Dr. Yadav and his team looked at the relationship between taurine levels and 50 health parameters in 12,000 people aged 60 and over. Overall, people with higher taurine levels were healthier, with fewer cases of type 2 diabetes, lower obesity levels, reduced hypertension, and lower levels of inflammation. According to Dr. Yadav, “(t)he results are consistent with the possibility that taurine deficiency contributes to human aging. Taurine abundance goes down with age, so restoring taurine to a youthful level in old age may be a promising anti-aging strategy.” 

The researchers also measured taurine levels in athletes and sedentary individuals before and after a strenuous cycling workout. They found a significant increase in taurine among all groups of athletes (sprinters, endurance runners, and bodybuilders) and sedentary individuals. “No matter the individual, all had increased taurine levels after exercise, which suggests that some of the health benefits of exercise may come from an increase in taurine,” Dr. Yadav says.  

Further research is being done on taurine and longevity, and we will endeavor to provide updates as they become available! 

Other potential anti-aging drugs — including metformin, rapamycin, and NAD analogs —are also being considered for testing in clinical trials. Dr. Yadav believes taurine has many advantages, as it is naturally produced in our bodies, can be obtained naturally in the diet, has no known toxic effects, and it can be boosted by exercise. 

Whether you want to go out and buy taurine supplements is up to you, but be sure to check with your doctor before adding any supplements to your morning regimen! 

Other Keys to Longevity 

Throughout the years, many experts have weighed in on keys to aging and longevity, and things we can do to live longer. For example, according to David Sinclair, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, when it comes to aging, “smile and let go a little – learning to not be so hard on yourself can lead to a healthier lifestyle. Exercise, eat right, get good sleep are the top 3 ways to prevent so many diseases.”  

Betty White, when she was age 98, agreed. White, who died on New Year’s Eve in 2021 at the age of 99, focused on living in the present and enjoying what life had given her. “I don’t think about things I might have missed out on,” she said. Mindfulness, she believed, is a way to be fully in the present moment, and to manage and accept thoughts and feelings. Research clearly indicates that mindfulness really does have a positive impact on well-being, especially when it comes to seniors! 

Read my longevity articles and check out these longevity calculators for more information about aging and longevity, research and studies on the subject, and things you can do to live the longest, healthiest life possible!   

Plan Ahead for Peace of Mind 

Remember, as you are being more positive, living mindfully, and supporting what you are most passionate about to maximize your longevity, it is also a good idea to plan for the always uncertain future of yourself and your loved ones.  

If you have not done Incapacity Planning, Long-Term Care Planning, or Estate Planning (or had your Planning documents reviewed in the past three to five years), now is a good time to plan or update to make sure your legal and financial house is in order! Among other services, we offer peace of mind through our four levels of lifetime protection planning:       

Level 1 — Incapacity Planning protects your assets from lifetime probate, also known as guardianship/conservatorship.       

Level 2 — Revocable Living Trust Estate Planning protects your assets from lifetime probate and after-death probate.       

Level 3 — Living Trust Plus® Asset Protection Planning protect your assets from probate, lawsuits, and long-term care expenses.   

Level 4 – Life Care Planning, Medicaid Asset Protection, and Veterans Asset Protection provides comprehensive planning and filing services anytime someone is beyond the first step of the Aging Continuum.        

Please contact us whenever you are ready to ensure that you have the appropriate level of planning:  

Northern Virginia Elder Law Attorney: 703-691-1888              
Fredericksburg, VA Elder Law Attorney: 540-479-1435              
Rockville, MD Elder Law Attorney: 301-519-8041              
Annapolis, MD Elder Law Attorney: 410-216-0703    

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.