Taurine in health and diseases: consistent evidence from experimental and epidemiological studies

J Biomed Sci. 2010 Aug 24;17 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S6. doi: 10.1186/1423-0127-17-S1-S6.


Taurine (T) was first noted as beneficial for stroke and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) prevention in genetic rat models, stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRSP). The preventive mechanisms of T were ascribed to sympathetic modulation for reducing blood pressure (BP) and anti-inflammatory action. Recent epidemiological surveys revealed the involvement of inflammatory mediators in the pathogenesis of stroke and also atherosclerosis for which T was proven to be effective experimentally. Arterio-lipidosis prone rats, a substrain of SHRSP selectively bred for higher reactive hypercholesterolemia, quickly develop not only arterial fat deposition but also fatty liver which could be attenuated by dietary T supplementation. CARDIAC (CVD and Alimentary Comparison) Study was a WHO-coordinated multi-center epidemiological survey on diets and CVD risks and mortalities in 61 populations. Twenty-four-hour urinary (24U) T was inversely related significantly with coronary heart disease mortality. Higher 24U-T excreters had significantly lower body mass index, systolic and diastolic BP, total cholesterol (T-Cho), and atherogenic index (AI: T-Cho/high density lipoprotein-cholesterol) than lower T excreters. T effects on CVD risks were intensified in individuals whose 24U-T and -magnesium (M) excretions were higher. Furthermore, higher Na excreters with higher heart rate whose BP were significantly higher than those with lower heart rate were divided into two groups by the mean of 24U-T, high and low T excreters. Since the former showed significantly lower BP than the latter, T may beneficially affect salt-sensitive BP rise. Included among the typical 61 populations, were Guiyang, China or St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada where in which the means of both 24U-T and -M were high or low, respectively. The former and the latter had low and high CVD risks, respectively. Australian Aboriginals living at the coastal area in Victoria were supposed to eat T- and M-rich bush and sea foods and be free from CVD 200 years ago, but they presently have nearly the highest CVD risks indicating that T- and/or M-containing seafood, vegetables, fruits, nuts, milk, etc, similar to prehistoric hunters' and gatherers' food should be good for CVD prevention. The preventive effects of T, good for health and longevity, first noted experimentally, were also proven epidemiologically in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / adverse effects
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Hypertension
  • Liver / pathology
  • Magnesium / metabolism
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke* / epidemiology
  • Stroke* / prevention & control
  • Taurine / metabolism
  • Taurine / therapeutic use*


  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Dietary Fats
  • Taurine
  • Magnesium