Objectives: To assess effects of oral taurine supplementation on lipids and sympathetic nerve tone in healthy young men on experimental high fat and cholesterol diets.
Methods: Twenty-two healthy male volunteers, aged 18-29 years, were recruited for this randomized control trial after informed consent according to the Ethical Committee of Shimane Medical University. Volunteers were randomly allocated into 2 study groups and given experimental diet of identical regimen [total calorie 2500 kcal, cholesterol 1000 mg, polyunsaturated fat/saturated fat (P/S) ratio 0.52, fat 40% of total energy intake (%E), protein 14%E, carbohydrate 46%E] to raise serum cholesterol (CHO) level for 3 weeks. Alcohol intake, smoking and strenuous physical activities were prohibited. Taurine powder (6 g/day) was supplied to one group (T-group, N = 11) and placebo capsules to the other (C-group, N = 11), by a single-blind approach. Blood samples and 24 h urine specimens were obtained once every week. Two men in the C-group dropped out due to upper respiratory infection. There were no difference in age, body mass index (BMI) or blood pressure (BP) between the groups. Statistical analysis was performed by analysis of variance (ANOVA, repeated measurement) and Student's t-test.
Results: There were no changes in BMI and BP in either group during the period. Significant increases in total CHO (25.4 +/- 17.5 mg/dl, mean +/- SD), LDL-CHO (17.1 +/- 14.5) and LDL (43.9 +/- 37.6) were observed in C-group but were attenuated in the T-group. The T-group showed significant increases in VLDL-CHO, VLDL and TG. The T-group had significantly lower urinary norepinephrine excretion than the C-group in the last week.
Conclusion: Oral taurine supplementation attenuated increases in T-CHO, LDL-CHO and LDL in healthy men on high fat cholesterol diets but induced significant increases in VLDL-CHO, VLDL and TG, which could be explained by a possible effect of taurine on lipoprotein lipase. Significantly lower urinary norepinephrine excretion observed by the taurine administration implies the suppression of the sympathetic nervous system.