Articles

Taurine

Introduction

Taurine is an amino acid that is produced in the body. However, premature and normal infants and some adults cannot make enough taurine, making it an essential nutrient in these cases. Taurine is concentrated in parts of the body that have high electrical activity such as the eye, brain and heart.

Meat and fish are the best food sources for taurine for infants and people who cannot produce sufficient quantities.

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

500mg – 5 grams daily.

Most Common Dosage

1500mg daily.

Dosage Forms

Capsules and powder.

Reported Uses

Taurine helps regulate the contraction and pumping action of the heart muscle and it helps regulate blood pressure and platelet aggregation. (1) , (2) , (3) It is also the most abundant amino acid in the heart. Studies suggest that taurine may support its health and function while lessening symptoms of congestive heart failure. (4) , (5) , (6) Taurine may lower blood pressure when given in high doses under the supervision of a physician. (7)

Studies have also found that diabetics suffer from low taurine levels, which can lead to a thickening of the blood. Supplementation may reverse these effects. (8) Taurine may also be involved in the health of nerve cells. (9) Scientists think this function is related to its potential benefits in the treatment of some forms of epilepsy. (10)

Children with cystic fibrosis frequently have a condition known as steatorrhea. It is thought that this condition may be in part due to a deficiency of taurine in their bile acids. This condition often responds favorably to oral taurine supplementation. (11) , (12)

Taurine is concentrated in the eyes where it helps protect the photoreceptors in the retina of the eye from damage. (13)

Taurine is a detoxifying agent that helps protect liver cells against various toxins. (14) , (15) , (16)

Finally, as mentioned, taurine supplementation is necessary for infants. It is especially important for taurine to be part of the infant formulas for premature and low birth weight infants. (17)

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]

General

This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines.

Pregnancy / Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

References

  1. View Abstract: Schaffer S, Takahashi K, Azuma J. Role of osmoregulation in the actions of taurine. Amino Acids. 2000;19(3-4):527-46.
  2. View Abstract: Fujita T, Ando K, Noda H, Ito Y, Sato Y. Effects of increased adrenomedullary activity and taurine in young patients with borderline hypertension. Circulation. Mar1987;75(3):525-32.
  3. View Abstract: Zhang M, Bi LF, Fang JH, et al. Beneficial effects of taurine on serum lipids in overweight or obese non-diabetic subjects. Amino Acids. Jun2004;26(3):267-71.
  4. View Abstract: Azuma J, et al. Therapeutic Effect of Taurine in Congestive Heart Failure: A Double-blind Crossover Trial. Clin Cardiol. May1985;8(5):276-82.
  5. View Abstract: Azuma J, et al. Therapy of Congestive Heart Failure with Orally Administered Taurine. Clin Ther. 1983;5(4):398-408.
  6. View Abstract: Schaffer SW, Lombardini JB, Azuma J. Interaction between the actions of taurine and angiotensin II. Amino Acids. 2000;18(4):305-18.
  7. View Abstract: Fujita T, et al. Effects of Increased Adrenomedullary Activity and Taurine in Young Patients with Borderline Hypertension. Circulation. Mar1987;75(3):525-32.
  8. View Abstract: Franconi F, et al. Plasma and Platelet Taurine are Reduced in Subjects with Insulin-dependent Diabetes Mellitus: Effects of Taurine Supplementation. Am J Clin Nutr. May1995;61(5):1115-19.
  9. View Abstract: Billard JM. Taurine in deep cerebellar nuclei of the rat. In vivo comparison to GABA inhibitory effect. Brain Res. Apr1990;514(1):155-8.
  10. View Abstract: Durelli L, et al. The Current Status of Taurine in Epilepsy. Clin Neuropharmacol. Mar1983;6(1):37-48.
  11. View Abstract: Thompson GN. Excessive fecal taurine loss predisposes to taurine deficiency in cystic fibrosis. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. Mar1988;7(2):214-9.
  12. View Abstract: Smith LJ, Lacaille F, Lepage G, et al. Taurine decreases fecal fatty acid and sterol excretion in cystic fibrosis. A randomized double-blind trial. Am J Dis Child. Dec1991;145(12):1401-4.
  13. View Abstract: Gonzalez-Quevedo A, Obregon F, Santiesteban Freixas R, et al. Amino acids as biochemical markers in epidemic and endemic optic neuropathies. Rev Cubana Med Trop. 1998;50 Suppl:241-4.
  14. View Abstract: Hwang DF, Wang LC. Effect of taurine on toxicity of cadmium in rats. Toxicology. Oct2001;167(3):173-80.
  15. View Abstract: Waters E, Wang JH, Redmond HP, et al. Role of taurine in preventing acetaminophen-induced hepatic injury in the rat. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. Jun2001;280(6):G1274-9.
  16. View Abstract: Wu C, Kennedy DO, Yano Y, et al. Thiols and polyamines in the cytoprotective effect of taurine on carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity. J Biochem Mol Toxicol. 1999;13(2):71-6.
  17. View Abstract: Zelikovic I, et al. Taurine Depletion in Very Low Birth Weight Infants Receiving Prolonged Total Parenteral Nutrition: Role of Renal Immaturity. J Pediatr. Feb1990;116(2):301-06.