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Taurine provides many health benefits, some of which are just being realized, including:
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:
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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 is very well tolerated by most people. Side effects from Taurine supplements are rare when taken in proper 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 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.
1. Yan-Ju Xu, MD, et al. The potential health benefits of taurine in cardiovascular disease. Exp Clin Cardiol. 2008 Summer; 13(2): 57–65. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2586397/ 2. Ripps, Harris, and Wen Shen. Review: Taurine: A 'very essential' amino acid. Mol Vis. 2012; 18: 2673–2686. Published online 2012 Nov 12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3501277/ 3. Oktawia, P Wojcik. The potential protective effects of taurine on coronary heart disease. Atherosclerosis. 2010 Jan; 208(1): 19. 4. Published online 2009 Jun 11. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2009.06.002 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2813349/ 5. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/taurine/faq-20058177 https://ods.od.nih.gov/pubs/conferences/taurine_supplementation.pdf 6. http://jbiomedsci.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1423-0127-17-S1-S6 7. http://a-fib.com/supplements-for-healthy-heart/ 8. Di Leo MA, Ghirlanda G, Gentiloni Silveri N, Giardina B, Franconi F, Santini SA. Potential therapeutic effect of antioxidants in experimental diabetic retina: a comparison between chronic taurine and vitamin E plus selenium supplementations. Free Radic Res. 2003 Mar;37(3):323-30. 9. Son HY1 Kim H, H Kwon Y.Taurine prevents oxidative damage of high glucose-induced cataractogenesis in isolated rat lenses. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2007 Aug;53(4):324-30. 10. Brozoski TJ, Caspary DM, Bauer CA, Richardson BD. The effect of supplemental dietary taurine on tinnitus and auditory discrimination in an animal model. Hear Res. 2010 Dec 1;270(1-2):71-80. 11. Galazyuk AV, Wenstrup JJ, Hamid MA. Tinnitus and underlying brain mechanisms. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 Oct;20(5):409-15. 12. Davies E, Donaldson I. Tinnitus, membrane stabilizers and taurine. Practitioner.1988 Oct 22;232(1456 ( Pt 2)):1139.
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