Posted on Mar 28, 2012, 6 a.m.
The amino acid taurine may exert protective effects against coronary heart disease.
A naturally-occurring nutrient found in the dark meat of turkey and chicken, as well as in some fish and shellfish, taurine is the most prevalent of all the amino acids in the tissues comprising the skeletal and cardiac muscles and the brain. Yu Chen, from New York University Langone Medical Center (New York, USA), and colleagues conducted analyzed data collected from participants enrolled in the NYU Women's Health Study, originally involving 14,000 women, ages 34 to 65 years, between 1985 and 1991. From these subjects, the researchers measured taurine levels in serum samples collected in 1985 – before disease occurrence – for those subjects who developed or died from coronary heart disease during the study follow up period between 1986 and 2006. The researchers then compared those samples to the taurine levels in serum samples collected at the same time for 223 participants who had no history of cardiovascular disease. While the comparison revealed serum taurine was not protective of coronary heart disease overall. among women with high cholesterol, those with high levels of serum taurine were 60% less likely to develop or die from coronary heart disease, as compared to women with lower serum taurine levels. The study authors conclude that: “The findings suggest that high levels of taurine may be protective against [coronary heart disease] among individuals with high serum cholesterol levels.”
Wojcik OP, Koenig KL, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Pearte C, Costa M, Chen Y. “Serum taurine and risk of coronary heart disease: a prospective, nested case-control study.” Eur J Nutr., Feb 10, 2012.