A 2020, randomized, double-blind trial has shown that taurine supplementation associated with chronic exercise may increase mitochondrial activity and fatty acid oxidation gene expression in the subcutaneous white adipose tissue of obese women.
While excess adipose tissue, as in the case of obesity, is associated with metabolic complications, mass itself is not the only culprit in obesity-driven metabolic abnormalities, highlighting the importance of healthy and metabolically adaptable adipose tissue.
Taurine has been found to increase post-exercise lipid oxidation at moderate intensity in fasted healthy males. What’s more, it has been seen that taurine-mediated browning of white adipose tissue may be involved in its anti-obesity effect in mice.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of taurine supplementation associated or not with chronic exercise on markers related to the subcutaneous white adipose tissue (scWAT) of obese women. A randomized and double-blind trial was created for 24 obese women, who were divided into three groups: one with 3 g daily of taurine supplementation alone (Tau group), the second with exercise training for 8 weeks only (Ex group), and the third received both supplementation and the same exercise intervention (TauEx group). Anthropometry (measuring body composition such as body fat, bone and muscle), gene expression related to mitochondrial activity and lipid oxidation, scWAT biopsy for mitochondrial respiration and indirect calorimetry were assessed before and after the study interventions were made.
The results showed no observed changes in the anthropometric characteristics of the participants. The Ex group showed an increase in their resting energy expenditure rate. Both the groups that exercised (TauEx group and Ex group) exhibited increased lipid oxidation and a reduced respiratory quotient. Additionally, both of the groups that were trained (TauEx and Ex) demonstrated enhanced mitochondrial respiratory capacity in their subcutaneous white adipose tissue (scWAT). There were no notable changes in mitochondrial markers for the group that received taurine supplementation without exercise (Tau group). However, the TauEx group exhibited higher expression of genes including CIDEA, PGC1a, PRDM16, UCP1, and UCP2, which are associated with mitochondrial activity and thermogenesis. Genes involved in fat oxidation (ACO2 and ACOX1) showed increased expression in both the Tau and Ex groups, while the TauEx group showed elevated expression of additional genes including CPT1, PPARa, PPARγ, LPL, ACO1, ACO2, HSL, ACOX1, and CD36.
The conclusion taken from these findings is that the combination of taurine supplementation and exercise improved lipid metabolism by modulating genes associated with mitochondrial activity and fatty acid oxidation, indicating a potential browning effect in the subcutaneous white adipose tissue of obese women.