Perinatal exposure to taurine (a β-amino acid) can alter adult physiological functions, including arterial pressure, hormonal and renal functions. Whereas perinatal taurine supplementation appears to have only minor effects on adult physiology, perinatal taurine depletion is associated with multiple adverse health effects, especially in animals postnatally exposed to other insults. New studies indicate that the mechanism for many of the physiological effects of taurine is related to the antioxidant activity of taurine. Thus the perinatal taurine depletion leads to oxidative stress in adult animals. It is likely that perinatal taurine depletion increases oxidative stress throughout life and that the early life taurine depletion leads to perinatal, epigenetic programming that impacts adult physiological function. © 2013 the American Physiological Society.