Taurine has beneficial effects on lipid metabolism in experimental animals fed with high-cholesterol or high fat diets. Whether taurine benefits lipid metabolism in humans has rarely been investigated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of taurine on serum lipids in overweight or obese young adults. Thirty college students (age: 20.3+/-1.7 years) with a body mass index (BMI) >/=25.0 kg/m(2), and with no evidence of diabetes mellitus were selected and assigned to either the taurine group (n=15) or the placebo group (n=15) by double-blind randomization. Taurine 3 g/day or placebo was taken orally for 7 weeks. Triacylglycerol (TG), total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and plasma glucose were measured before and after supplementation. The atherogenic index (AI) was calculated as (TC-HDL-C)/HDL-C. There were no differences in any baseline parameter between the two groups. Taurine supplementation decreased TG and AI significantly. Body weight also reduced significantly in the taurine group. These results suggest that taurine produces a beneficial effect on lipid metabolism and may have an important role in cardiovascular disease prevention in overweight or obese subjects.