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Review
. 2020 Mar;52(3):329-360.
doi: 10.1007/s00726-020-02823-6. Epub 2020 Feb 18.

Important Roles of Dietary Taurine, Creatine, Carnosine, Anserine and 4-hydroxyproline in Human Nutrition and Health

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Free PMC article
Review

Important Roles of Dietary Taurine, Creatine, Carnosine, Anserine and 4-hydroxyproline in Human Nutrition and Health

Guoyao Wu. Amino Acids. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

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.

Conflict of interest statement

The author declares no conflict of interest.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Absorption of taurine, creatine, carnosine, anserine, and 4-hydroxyproline by the human small intestine and the transport of the nutrients in blood. Dietary collagen is hydrolyzed by proteases, peptidases and prolidase to free amino acids as well as 4-hydroxyproline and its peptides. Dietary taurine, creatine, carnosine, anserine, and 4-hydroxyproline are taken up by the enterocyte across its apical membrane via specific transports. Inside the cell, taurine, creatinine and anserine are not degraded, some of the 4-hydroxyproline-containing peptides are hydrolyzed to 4-hydroxyproline and its peptides, some 4-hydroxyproline is oxidized to glycine, and carnosine undergoes limited catabolism. Taurine, creatine, carnosine, anserine, and 4-hydroxyproline, as well as the products of carnosine hydrolysis (β-alanine and histidine) exit the enterocyte across its basolateral membrane into the lamina propria of the intestinal mucosa via specific transporters (Wu 2013). The absorbed nutrients are transported in blood in the free forms for uptake by extra-intestinal tissues via specific transporters. β-Ala β-alanine, CAT cationic amino acid transporter, CN1 carnosinase-1 (serum carnosinase), CN2 carnosinase-2 (tissue carnosinase), CreaT1 creatine transporter-1, CreaT2 creatine transporter-2, GAT γ-aminobutyrate transporter, HypD 4-hydroxyproline-containing dipeptides, HypT 4-hydroxyproline-containing tripeptides, OH-Pro 4-hydroxyproline, PAT1 proton-(H+-coupled) and pH-dependent but Na+- and Cl-independent transporter for taurine (low-affinity, high-capacity transporter), PepT1 peptide transporter-1, PepT2 peptide transporter 2, PHT1/2 peptide/histidine transporters 1 and 2, TauT taurine transporters. Note that the distribution of PHT1/2 in tissues is species-specific in that human skeletal muscle expresses PHT1 but no PHT2, whereas mouse skeletal muscle expresses both PHT1 and PHT2
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
The transport of bile salts from the liver to the duodenum and the return of bile salt from the distal ileum to the liver via the enteral-hepatic circulation in humans. Conjugated bile acids are exported by the ATP-dependent bile salt export pump out of the hepatocyte through its canalicular (apical) membrane into the canaliculus. The bile salts subsequently enter bile ducts, the common hepatic duct, and the gallbladder. During digestion, the bile salts are secreted from the gallbladder to the common bile duct and then the duodenum. In the distal ileum, a fraction of bile salts is hydrolyzed by microbial bile salt hydrolases to form bile acids and taurine or glycine. Taurine, glycine and bile salts are efficiently taken up by the enterocytes of the distal ileum via specific transporters. The substances are transported in the blood for uptake by the hepatocyte via its sinusoidal basolateral membrane. During each enteral-hepatic cycle, about 95% of the liver-derived bile salts are reabsorbed to the liver. ASBT apical sodium-dependent bile salt/acid transporter (in ileal enterocytes), BA bile acids (unconjugated), BSEP bile salt export pump, CBA conjugated bile acids, Gly glycine, GlyT glycine transporters, M3 multidrug resistance protein-3, MBSL microbial bile salt hydrolases, NTCP Na+-taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide, OATP organic anion transporting polypeptide family, OSTα/β organic solute transporter subunit α/β, PD passive diffusion, Tau taurine, TauT taurine transporters
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
Major functions of dietary taurine, creatine, carnosine, anserine and 4-hydroxyproline on improving the health of multiple systems in humans. These beneficial effects of the nutrients are summarized on the basis of available evidence in the current literatrure. Some of the effects are tissue- and nutrient-specific. However, because all the systems of the body are integrated, the health of one system can affect that of other systems

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