Taurine: Essential for Good Health

Taurine is a naturally occurring amino acid and one of the most essential substances in the human body. This abundant amino acid is found in the brain, retina, muscles, heart and other organs throughout the body, as well as the central nervous system.

Taurine health benefits

Taurine provides many health benefits, some of which are just being realized, including:
  • Aids in fat metabolism and weight loss
  • Assists in cardiac health
  • Reduces glucose sensitivity
  • Strengthens and protects heart muscle cells
  • Helps to maintain a healthy weight
  • Promotes longevity
  • Promotes the health of retinal and inner ear cells

How does Taurine work?

The body produces taurine on its own through the synthesis of two other amino acids, methionine and cysteine. You can also get taurine from certain foods and supplements.

Taurine has a variety of functions, some of which researchers are just now discovering, including:
  • It works to maintain mineral levels, such as calcium and water in the bloodstream
  • It helps to regulate the heartbeat and the activity of brain cells
  • It is a component in bile acids, helping to absorb soluble fats
  • It plays a role in neurological and skeletal development
  • It is thought to have antioxidant properties

Preliminary research has suggested taurine may play a role in a number of conditions, including congestive heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease. Taurine deficiency is associated to a broad variety of health complications, including cardiomyopathy, kidney dysfunction, developmental abnormalities and retina damage.

Taurine and weight loss

Taurine helps with weight loss in a number of ways. It helps to metabolize fat by stimulating bile production. As a component of bile acid, taurine helps the breakdown of dietary fats and then helps excrete them. By stimulating bile production, taurine can help you lower your cholesterol level, reduce fat and lose weight.

Taking taurine supplements may increase your weight loss. One study found that taurine supplements increased fat oxidation during exercise. Another study published in 2015, found that taurine supplements may also help to reduce the appetite when supplements are combined with a high protein diet.

Taurine and heart health

Taurine is vital for heart function and for heart health. It makes up 50 percent of the amino acids in the heart. It helps to regulate the heartbeat and maintain the strength of the heart’s contractions.

A paper published in 2009 summarized several studies on animals which have shown that taking taurine supplements improves lipid profiles, lowers blood pressure and acts as an anti-inflammation agent. These results suggest that taurine has the potential to decrease cardiovascular risk factors and reduce the occurrence of heart disease. A few clinical trials on humans have also suggested in the short-term taking taurine supplements will improve lipid profiles and lower blood pressure.

Taurine and diabetes

Taurine supplements may have a positive effect on reducing glucose sensitivity and controlling diabetes. Low levels of taurine are linked with both obesity and type 2 diabetes. Researchers have found that naturally occurring taurine concentrations are lower in diabetic patients than in their non-diabetic counterparts.

Animal studies indicate that having an adequate taurine level can help reduce blood glucose levels, restore and insulin sensitivity and help control diabetes. Studies on humans have found that supplementing with your diet with just 1.5 grams of taurine a day may help in losing weight and controlling type 2 diabetes.

Taurine and tinnitus

Taurine plays an important role in hearing, and animal research has suggested that it may also help to address the ringing in the ears. In one study, published in the journal Hearing Research in 2010, supplementation with taurine helped to reduce and nearly resolve tinnitus.

Taurine and retinal function

Taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids in the retina, and taurine deficiency is associated with severe damage to retinal neurons. In the retina, taurine is critical for photoreceptor development. It also plays a protective role against stress-related neuronal damage.

One animal study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology (2007) suggested that taurine may help to protect the eyes from elevated glucose concentrations in retinal tissues. Another animal study published in the journal Free Radical Research (2003), which compared vitamin E and selenium supplementation, suggested a potential therapeutic effect of taurine supplements for diabetic retina.

Taurine and athletic performance

Athletes and bodybuilders recommend taking taurine as a supplement for its antioxidant properties. Though it’s an amino acid, it does not link to either amino acids to build protein or build muscle. However, it does have antioxidant properties and can protect the cells from damage during periods of intense athletic training or performance.

Because taurine is utilized by the body during times of stress and exercise, it is added as a key ingredient in sports energy drinks, along with caffeine and sugar. Taurine, however, has the opposite effect on the central nervous system from sugar and caffeine, and it may actually reduce some of the nervous and anxious symptoms caused by high caffeine intake.

Natural sources of taurine

Although taurine is manufactured naturally in the body, you can also get taurine through a variety of food sources. There are several foods which are good sources of taurine.

These include:
  • Animal and fish proteins
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Mussels, clams, scallops and other shellfish
  • Dark meat from turkey and chicken

Since vegetarians and vegans may not eat enough foods rich in taurine, they may want to consider capsule supplements. However, your body should manufacture enough taurine on its own to carry out all its necessary functions.

Taurine side effects

Taurine is very well tolerated by most people. Side effects from Taurine supplements are rare when taken in proper dosages.

Taurine dosages

Taurine supplement dosages vary depending on your goal. For example, a bodybuilder will probably want to take a much different amount than someone trying to lose weight.

Taurine capsules and Taurine powder

Taurine supplements are available in capsule form and powder form. You can also open the capsule, dilute the powder in water and drink it. The taste of Taurine powder is almost neutral and does not have an unpleasant taste.


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