Santé

Les scientifiques découvrent qu’un certain nutriment favorise l’anti-âge

Selon un essai clinique impliquant des femmes de 55 à 70 ans, l’ajout de ce nutriment à l’alimentation peut renforcer les défenses antioxydantes de l’organisme et éventuellement réduire le risque de développer un diabète, une hypertension artérielle et une maladie cardiovasculaire. Cependant, des recherches supplémentaires sont nécessaires pour confirmer son effet.

Selon l’étude, l’acide aminé taurine pourrait être utilisé dans les thérapies anti-âge.

Nos cellules produisent des sous-produits potentiellement toxiques appelés «radicaux libres» lorsqu’ils décomposent l’oxygène que nous respirons et les aliments que nous consommons chaque jour pour exister. Certaines de ces molécules remplissent des fonctions biologiques importantes, mais si elles sont trop nombreuses, les structures cellulaires internes peuvent être endommagées, altérant la capacité des cellules à fonctionner et pouvant entraîner des maladies chroniques. Nous appelons ce processus le stress oxydatif.

Notre corps dispose d’un arsenal remarquable d’enzymes antioxydantes qui aident à maintenir un équilibre sain des espèces réactives de l’oxygène, mais à mesure que nous vieillissons, ces mécanismes de contrôle diminuent. Une étude récente publiée dans la revue La nutrition suggère que compléter son alimentation avec les acides aminés[{” attribute=””>acid taurine could be a realistic approach to address the issue.

The study reported in the study was carried out at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil. It involved 24 female volunteers aged 55 to 70. They were randomly separated into two groups. One group consumed three 500 mg capsules of taurine per day for 16 weeks (1.5 g per day). The other group received pills that simply contained corn starch (placebo). Neither the volunteers nor the researchers were aware of which group each participant belonged to.

Oxidative stress markers were analyzed in blood samples taken before and after the intervention. One of the most intriguing findings was an almost 20% rise in levels of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) in the taurine group, compared to a 3.5% drop in the control group. SOD, the scientists explain, protects cells from the harmful reactions of the superoxide radical.

“Preventing the buildup of free radicals that naturally occurs with aging probably prevents cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, among other chronic conditions,” said Ellen de Freitas. Freitas is a professor at the Ribeirão Preto School of Physical Education and Sports (EEFERP-USP) and co-principal investigator for a project supported by FAPESP.

According to Freitas, very few studies of the effects of taurine in the context of aging can be found in the scientific literature. “This study was a first step, aimed at investigating the ideal dose and possible side effects, none of which was observed in any of the participants,” she said.

Anti-aging therapy

Taurine is a nutrient found in certain foods, such as fish, shellfish, chicken, turkey, and beef. Additionally, it is naturally produced in some tissues of the human body, particularly the liver, and is important to the functioning of the central nervous system, immunity, eyesight, and fertility.

The Freitas group has been studying taurine’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties for at least 10 years, initially in high-performance athletes and later in obese people, with daily dosages ranging from 3 g to 6 g. “The results showed that oxidative stress in these individuals could be controlled when their diet was supplemented with this amino acid. We then decided to test the strategy in the context of aging. This was very novel, so we began with a very low safety dose,” Freitas said.

The initial plan was to look at the effects of taurine supplementation in conjunction with exercise training, as well as both treatments separately. Physical activity is thought to be one of the main ways to regulate levels of oxidizing substances and antioxidants in the body, and the proper amount is thought to enhance the benefits of taurine. However, because of the pandemic and the fact that the volunteers were in a high-risk group for COVID-19 complications, the researchers chose to solely proceed with the nutritional component of the study, which could be monitored remotely.

Two other markers of oxidative stress were analyzed besides SOD: the antioxidant enzyme glutathione reductase (GR), which decreased significantly in both groups, and malondialdehyde (MDA), which increased 23% in the control group and decreased 4% in the taurine supplementation group.

“These results were modest, but we believe a higher dose of taurine could produce stronger evidence for its benefits,” Freitas said.

For Gabriela Abud, the first author of the article and currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Ribeirão Preto Medical School (FMRP-USP), changes in the volunteers’ diet in the early months of the pandemic owing to lockdown may have affected the results of the biochemical analysis.

“In addition to markers of oxidative stress, we analyzed levels of minerals such as selenium, zinc, magnesium, and calcium, which are important to the functioning of these enzymes,” Abud explained. “Selenium, for example, is a co-factor for glutathione peroxidase [which indirectly helps eliminate hydrogen peroxide from the organism] et a été réduite dans les deux groupes.

Pour Freitas, la supplémentation en taurine n’est que la « cerise sur le gâteau » et ne peut pas faire de miracles à elle seule. “Un mode de vie sain avec une alimentation équilibrée et de l’exercice régulier est fondamental pour que l’effet anti-âge se produise”, a-t-elle déclaré.

Dans la prochaine étude, le groupe prévoit d’inclure des femmes obèses âgées de 60 à 75 ans atteintes de sarcopénie, une perte progressive de masse musculaire qui peut être exacerbée par une inflammation chronique. « Ces personnes font face à un risque aigu de développer des complications. Nous allons proposer un entraînement physique associé à une supplémentation en taurine à 3 g par jour et observer les éventuelles altérations dues à ces interventions », précise Freitas.

Il est important de garder à l’esprit que les avantages et les risques de la supplémentation alimentaire en taurine sont toujours à l’étude. Les compléments alimentaires ne doivent pas être pris sans avis médical.

Référence : « La taurine comme thérapie anti-âge possible : un essai clinique contrôlé sur l’activité antioxydante de la taurine chez les femmes âgées de 55 à 70 » par Gabriela Ferreira Abud M.Sc., Flavia Giolo De Carvalho Ph.D., Gabriela Batitucci Ph.D., Sofia Germano Travieso B.Sc., Carlos Roberto Bueno Ph.D. junior, Fernando Barbosa Ph.D. junior, Julio Sergio Marchini Ph.D. et Ellen Cristinide Freitas Ph.D., 11 juin 2022, La nutrition.
DOI : 10.1016/j.nut.2022.111706

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