Science: The Role of Taurine in Mitochondria Health: More Than Just an Antioxidant
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2.0 years ago
david 4.2k

The FitEyes community has long had an interest in taurine for eye health. Taurine is an amino acid that concentrates in the mitochondria.

Several years ago we shared the article Taurine may prevent age related changes in the eye | which includes these quotes:

Exogenous taurine administration may be helpful in preventing age related changes in the retina.(Militante & Lombardini 2004)

Taurine concentrations seem to be markedly decreased in injured photoreceptors of dogs with glaucoma.(Madl et al. 2005)

Recently research is showing mounting evidence of the importance of healthy mitochondrial function for preventing glaucoma progression. Therefore, the present article about taurine's role role in mitochondrial health is particularly interesting.


Taurine is a naturally occurring sulfur-containing amino acid that is found abundantly in excitatory tissues, such as the heart, brain, retina and skeletal muscles.

Taurine was first isolated in the 1800s, but not much was known about this molecule until the 1990s. In 1985, taurine was first approved as the treatment among heart failure patients in Japan.

Accumulating studies have shown that taurine supplementation also protects against pathologies associated with mitochondrial defects, such as aging, mitochondrial diseases, metabolic syndrome, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and neurological disorders.

In this review, we will provide a general overview on the mitochondria biology and the consequence of mitochondrial defects in pathologies. Then, we will discuss the antioxidant action of taurine, particularly in relation to the maintenance of mitochondria function. We will also describe several reported studies on the current use of taurine supplementation in several mitochondria-associated pathologies in humans.

Mitochondrial dysfunction, along with oxidative stress, is a key hallmark of various pathologies, such as aging, cardiovascular diseases, mitochondrial diseases, metabolic syndrome, cancer and neurological disorders, such as neurodegenerative diseases (including glaucoma) and neurodevelopmental disorder.

From the full text:

Often, antioxidant therapy, such as:

  • coenzyme Q [15],
  • mitoQ [16,17],
  • vitamin E [18],
  • gingko biloba extracts [19],
  • ebselen [20], creatine [21],
  • lipoic acid [22],
  • melatonin [23,24]
  • l-arginine [25,26],

provide some protections, potentially by improving the mitochondrial function and reducing oxidative stress in these diseases. Recently, taurine has been approved in Japan in treating stroke-like episodes in patients with MELAS, which is a mitochondrial disease.

Keywords: taurine, mitochondria, antioxidant, 5-taurinomethyluridine, oxidative stress, apoptosis glaucoma

The full text article is freely available here:

The Role of Taurine in Mitochondria Health: More Than Just an Antioxidant

From a related article, we gather the following additional information:

In the mitochondria, taurine deficiency appears to diminish the formation of an important intermediate (5-taurinomethyluridine), prevent a series of essential steps, cause inefficient decoding for the mitochondrial codons of four amino acids (leucine, lysine, glutamate and glutamine), and ultimately leads to a reduction in the output of the universal energy molecule of the body, ATP.

Taurine deficiency is associated with a reduction in oxygen consumption, an elevation in glycolysis and lactate production and a decline in ATP production. None of those are good. A similar sequence of events takes place in mitochondrial diseases.

Optic nerve cells are particularly dependent upon optimal mitochondrial functioning. Mitochondrial dysfunction can lead to optic nerve cell death and eventually blindness.

dietary-supplements mitochondria taurine • 569 views

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