Life Extension Magazine®

Low brain levels of taurine in women linked to depression

In the news: Low Taurine Levels Linked to Depression in Women

Low brain levels of taurine in women linked to depression; low vitamin D underdiagnosed prior to wrist fractures; higher niacin intake may lower ED risk; getting systolic blood pressure below 120 mmHg reduces cardiovascular events.

Scientifically reviewed by: Amanda Martin, DC, in June 2024.

Low Taurine Levels in the Hippocampus Linked to Depression in Women

Low levels of taurine within the hippocampus are associated with major depressive disorder in young women, according to a study published in Biological Psychiatry.*

The hippocampus is part of the brain that plays a major role in memory and emotion.

The study included 41 unmedicated women, 18-29 years old, with major depressive disorder, and 43 healthy controls.

To measure taurine levels in the hippocampus the researchers used proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy at 7T, which is an enhanced version of a tool that shows metabolic changes occurring in the body.

"The key finding of this study is that the concentration of taurine in the hippocampus of young women with major depressive disorder was lower by 19% compared with that of young women in the healthy controls group," the researchers stated.

Editor's Note: Taurine supplementation may help relieve some symptoms of major depressive disorder; the researchers asserted.

*Biol Psychiatry. 2023 Sep 9:S0006-3223(23)01558-5.

Vitamin D Insuffeciency Under-Defected Prior to Wrist Fractures

A significant number of patients with distal radius (wrist) fractures had shown signs of having osteoporosis prior to their fractures, but they did not receive this diagnosis or treatment for it, a recent study revealed.*

The study evaluated 102 people, 46-91 years of age, who underwent surgery for distal radius fracture.

Blood levels of vitamin D were used to help determine whether there was an indication for prior osteoporosis diagnosis. In addition, a questionnaire was completed for a guideline-based osteoporosis diagnosis. Fracture risk was assessed separately by the Fracture Risk Assessment Tool®, which includes factors such as age, sex, weight, height, medical history, and bone mineral density.

The results showed monthly levels of vitamin D over the course of a year averaged only 23 ng/mL, which are significantly below recommend levels. Despite indications for an osteoporosis diagnosis prior to the fracture in three-quarters of the patients, less than half received one. The fracture risk assessment tool showed that 57% of the patients have indications for receiving specific osteoporosis treatment before the incident.

Editor's Note: These study results highlight the importance of evaluating osteoporosis and fracture risk in aging people, which should include routine monitoring of vitamin D levels. Life Extension® suggests that optimal levels of vitamin D are between 50-80 ng/mL.

* Arch Orthop Trauma Surg (2024).

Erectile Dysfunction Risk Reduced with Greater Intake of B Vitamin Niacin

An association was seen between increased intake of the B vitamin niacin and a lower risk of erectile dysfunction (ED), a recent study found.*

Participants included 3,184 men who enrolled in the 2001–2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 863 of whom had ED. The men responded to questionnaires concerning food intake for two 24-hour periods, which were analyzed to determine niacin content.

As niacin intake increased, a decrease was observed in ED risk.

After adjusting for factors that might influence ED risk (such as age, body mass index, smoking, drinking status, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and testosterone levels) men whose niacin intake was among the top one-third of participants had a risk of ED that was 56% less than those who had the lowest intake of the vitamin.

* Asian J Androl.:202378, January 30, 2024.

Reducing Systolic Blood Pressure to Below 120 mmHg Lowers Cardiovascular Events

Findings from a 3 year clinical trial in China presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2023 support the recommendation of achieving a systolic blood pressure of less than 120 mmHg to help protect against cardiovascular events.*

The ESPRIT trial randomized 11,255 hypertensive adults with established cardiovascular disease or at least two major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, to receive either intensive blood pressure therapy that targeted systolic blood pressure below 120 mmHg or standard treatment that targeted systolic pressure to only less than 140 mmHg for a period of three years.

After two years, compared with standard treatment, intensive treatment prevented 12% of heart attacks, stroke, revascularization procedures, death from cardiovascular causes, or hospitalization or emergency department visits for heart failure.

Intensive treatment was associated with a 39% reduction of mortality from cardiovascular causes and 21% decrease in all-cause mortality.