Taurine as the nutritional factor for the longevity of the Japanese revealed by a world-wide epidemiological survey

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2009;643:13-25. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-75681-3_2.


The initial observation that taurine (T) prevented stroke in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRSP) led us to study the effects of T on cardiovascular diseases (CVD), as well as the epidemiological association of T and mortality rates, by using the data from WHO-coordinated Cardiovascular Disease and Alimentary Comparison Study, which covered 61 populations in 25 countries. In this study, 24 hour urine (24-U) samples were examined along with biomarkers of CVD risk. The mortality rate from ischemic heart disease (IHD), which was lowest among the Japanese compared to the populations of other developed countries, was positively related to total serum cholesterol (TC) and inversely related to 24-U taurine excretion (24-UT), as well as the n-3 fatty acid to total phospholipids ratio of the plasma membrane, both biomarkers of seafood intake. Analysis of 5 diet-related factors revealed that TC and BMI were positively associated with IHD mortality in both genders while Mg and T were negatively associated with IHD mortality. TC and sodium (Na) were negatively and positively associated with stroke mortality, respectively. 24-UT was negatively associated with stroke mortality. These five diet-related factors explained 61 and 49% of IHD and stroke variances in male, 63 and 36% of IHD and stroke variances in female, respectively.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diet*
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Longevity*
  • Taurine / administration & dosage*


  • Taurine
  • Cholesterol