The Influence of Different Taurine Diets on Hearing Development in Normal Babies
The cochleae of animals contain large quantities of taurine1 but its function there remains uncertain3, 15. It is well established that taurine levels of most organs are high at birth and decrease slowly during maturation but little is known about the clinical significance of this. Tyson et al. 13 suggest that dietary taurine levels influence hearing development in pre-term infants but whether this data justifies the routine supplementation of baby food is somewhat contentious10, 14. Nevertheless, most baby milk powders are now supplemented with taurine at 30–40 mg/100 g. However, the decision to make this supplementation has been made on rather less than conclusive evidence. The major argument for supplementation is that human milk contains substantial quantities of taurine11. There are also a number of animal studies that indicate its essentiality, certainly in some species. There is little doubt that taurine is an essential dietary component in some species such as cat4, 12 and the evidence that taurine is essential for good development and function of the retina in monkey is substantial6, 9. The evidence gathered from studies on babies, however, is much more equivocal. Studies on pre-term babies13 and babies receiving long-term parenteral nutrition2 suggest that taurine might be essential for good sensory development. Tyson et al. 13 used the auditory brain stem-evoked response (ABER) and electro-retinograms to monitor the development of their subjects and although they found no difference in the retinograms of babies fed the different diets, some differences in the ABERs were noted. Michalk et al. 8 were unable to detect any differences in the nervous or cardiovascular systems of term babies fed taurine-supplemented diets. Little further data are available on the influence of taurine on the development of normal babies.
KeywordsOtoacoustic Emission Baby Food Taurine Supplementation Taurine Level Taurine Content
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