Taurine (a sulfur-containing β-amino acid), creatine (a metabolite of arginine, glycine and methionine), carnosine (a dipeptide; β-alanyl-L-histidine), and 4-hydroxyproline (an imino acid; also often referred to as an amino acid) were discovered in cattle, and the discovery of anserine (a methylated product of carnosine; β-alanyl-1-methyl-L-histidine) also originated with cattle. These five nutrients are highly abundant in beef, and have important physiological roles in anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory reactions, as well as neurological, muscular, retinal, immunological and cardiovascular function. Of particular note, taurine, carnosine, anserine, and creatine are absent from plants, and hydroxyproline is negligible in many plant-source foods. Consumption of 30 g dry beef can fully meet daily physiological needs of the healthy 70-kg adult human for taurine and carnosine, and can also provide large amounts of creatine, anserine and 4-hydroxyproline to improve human nutrition and health, including metabolic, retinal, immunological, muscular, cartilage, neurological, and cardiovascular health. The present review provides the public with the much-needed knowledge of nutritionally and physiologically significant amino acids, dipeptides and creatine in animal-source foods (including beef). Dietary taurine, creatine, carnosine, anserine and 4-hydroxyproline are beneficial for preventing and treating obesity, cardiovascular dysfunction, and ageing-related disorders, as well as inhibiting tumorigenesis, improving skin and bone health, ameliorating neurological abnormalities, and promoting well being in infants, children and adults. Furthermore, these nutrients may promote the immunological defense of humans against infections by bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses (including coronavirus) through enhancing the metabolism and functions of monocytes, macrophages, and other cells of the immune system. Red meat (including beef) is a functional food for optimizing human growth, development and health.
Keywords: Amino acids; Creatine; Function; Health; Metabolites; Peptides.