Serum taurine and risk of coronary heart disease: a prospective, nested case–control study



Taurine (2-aminoethanesulfonic acid), a molecule obtained from diet, is involved in bile acid conjugation, blood pressure regulation, anti-oxidation and anti-inflammation. We performed the first prospective study of taurine and CHD risk.


We conducted a case–control study nested in the New York University Women’s Health Study to evaluate the association between circulating taurine levels and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Taurine was measured in two yearly pre-diagnostic serum samples of 223 CHD cases and 223 matched controls and averaged for a more reliable measurement of long-term taurine levels.


Mean serum taurine was positively related to age and dietary intake of poultry, niacin, vitamin B1, fiber and iron, and negatively related to dietary intake of saturated fat (all p values ≤0.05). There was no statistically significant association between serum taurine levels and the risk of CHD in the overall study population. The adjusted ORs for CHD in increasing taurine tertiles were 1.0 (reference), 0.85 (95% CI, 0.51–1.40) and 0.66 (0.39–1.13; p for trend = 0.14). There was a significant inverse association between serum taurine and CHD risk among women with high total serum cholesterol (>250 mg/dL) (adjusted OR = 0.39 (0.19–0.83) for the third versus first tertile; p for trend = 0.02) but not among those with low total serum cholesterol (p for interaction = 0.01). The data suggest a possible inverse association of serum taurine with diabetes and hypertension risk.


The findings suggest that high levels of taurine may be protective against CHD among individuals with high serum cholesterol levels.

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This research was supported by U.S. grants: NIH grants ES000260, CA16087, CA098661 and American Heart Association grant 0835569D. The authors thank Mr. Alan Bowers and Mrs. Yelena Afanasyeva for their involvement in the study.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Yu Chen.

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Wójcik, O.P., Koenig, K.L., Zeleniuch-Jacquotte, A. et al. Serum taurine and risk of coronary heart disease: a prospective, nested case–control study. Eur J Nutr 52, 169–178 (2013).

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  • Taurine
  • Serum
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Epidemiology