Anti-aging

The Surprising Benefits of Taurine. The Roles of this Essential Nutirent for Whole-Body Health

Explore the science behind taurine and learn how to unlock its full potential for whole-body vitality

The potential health advantages of several vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements have received more and more attention in recent years. In the same way, taurine, an amino acid essential for many biological processes, is one such compound that has just come to light. A lot of people still don’t know what important role it plays in maintaining our health and well-being in general.

Let’s learn together about its uses, possible health advantages, and food sources—in this in-depth blog post.

What is Taurine? Screenshot 2024 06 28 033758

Taurine is non essential amino acid. In contrast to other amino acids, it is not involved in protein synthesis but is an essential part of many biological functions. It means that even though the body can make it on its own, there are times and stages of life when extra intake is needed.

The body also needs more taurine when it’s growing quickly, like when babies or young kids are growing quickly, when they are sick, when they are stressed, or when they are doing a lot of physical exercise. When this happens, this amino acid becomes conditionally important, which means that you need to get it from food or pills to make sure you have enough. For instance, not getting enough taurine when you are young can make your muscles, eyes, and central nervous system less effective.

How the Body Makes Taurine

The body makes taurine from methionine and cysteine, which are the only two other amino acids that contain sulfur. The pancreas is responsible for its natural synthesis. Chemical synthesis, on the other hand, allows for the laboratory production of taurine. It has many bodily functions, such as,

  • Eye Development: It is an essential building block for the eye, particularly the retina. As a cytoprotectant, it prevents stress-induced damage to retinal neurons and is essential for photoreceptor growth. The fact that it is found in large amounts in eye cells shows how important it is for keeping the eyes healthy.
  • Breast Milk: A lesser-known fact about this amino acid is that it is found in breast milk abundantly and is very important for the health of babies who were born early or with low birth weight. It helps with the absorption of intestinal fat, keeps the liver working well, and is necessary for developing hearing and vision. Observational studies show that babies born before they’re due may have problems with their long-term brain development if they don’t get enough taurine during birth.
  • Neuronal Protection: Taurine is known for protecting neurons in the central nervous system from damage and stress. This protective job includes the retina and helps keep the brain healthy generally.

Health Benefits of Taurine

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Image source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464620305752

There is a growing volume of research devoted to clarifying its potential uses.

1. Promotes Liver Health

The most encouraging association is that taurine has the potential to reduce blood pressure in the portal vein, the primary artery that supplies blood to the liver. It is thought to be very beneficial for people suffering from liver cirrhosis.

Research connecting taurine with liver function has shown encouraging results, such as one study showed that taurine dosage (more than 500 mg per day for three months) helped 24 people with chronic hepatitis with their liver damage. In another study, supplementing with it on a regular basis enhanced taurine levels and reduced the muscular cramps experienced by 35 individuals with liver cirrhosis.

2. Great for Fighting Diabetes

There is a piece of evidence that indicates that the content of taurine is 25% lower in diabetics compared to non-diabetics. This provides more evidence that taurine might have a role in the treatment of diabetes.

Further studies recommended that taurine has anti-inflammatory properties and may increase insulin sensitivity, which in turn lowers the chance of developing type 2 diabetes or makes it easier for people already living with the disease to control their blood sugar levels. A 2018 study also concluded that supplementation with it may help diabetics better control their blood sugar levels.

3. Improves Heart Health

While we all know that aging can take its toll on the heart. A higher risk of cardiovascular illnesses is associated with the natural decline in cardiac function that occurs with it.

There is evidence that taurine can improve cholesterol levels and lipid metabolism. Research indicates that it can enhance HDL cholesterol levels and reduce LDL cholesterol levels, potentially leading to improved blood vessel function and reduced atherosclerosis risk. (1)

Moreover, there are a number of studies that demonstrate that taurine may be useful in lowering hypertension. It does it by making muscular contractions in the heart and skeletal muscles more efficient and by lowering the resistance to blood flow in the walls of your blood vessels. (1)(2)

It may also be great for lowering obesity-related inflammation that may pose heart health risks. One study followed 16 overweight women for eight weeks, randomly assigning them to either 3 grams of taurine or a placebo every day. Those who took taurine-containing supplements saw a marked decrease in inflammatory markers.

That is why it can be a major reason why its supplementation may be recommended

4. Enhances Exercise Performance and Muscle mass

While we all might have seen that taurine is a common ingredient in supplements that claim to boost performance in sports, so these supplements have also been shown to help athletes perform better.  These include improving muscle contraction and preventing muscle fatigue. Other benefits include:

  • Reduce muscle damage
  • Increased oxygen uptake
  • Increased time to fatigue
  • Lessened strain on muscles
  • Less time spent recovering

Research indicates that taking 1-3 grams of it one to three hours prior to exercise for a minimum of 6–21 days yields the best results. If followed correctly, this dosage regimen can maximize its ergogenic benefits, such as enhancing fat burning for more effective workout fuel. but more research is required to prove its efficacy.

Another benefit taurine has on the body is that it acts as a cell volumizer. This essential amino acid makes the environment more favorable for muscular development by driving water into muscle cells. People may be able to train harder and eventually gain greater muscle mass because of this cell-volumizing action.

It not only increases muscle mass, but some studies have found that taking taurine can tip the scales in the direction of more efficient muscle protein synthesis, even for people suffering from sarcopenia.

5. Stimulates Stem Cell Production

Stem cells are the key members of tissue repair and rejuvenation.  But like many other factors, these also face age-related changes. Evidence suggests that taurine can do more than just keep mitochondria running well; it can also promote the generation of stem cells, particularly brain stem cells. Possible advantages to brain function and tissue regeneration might result from this.

6. Boost Mitochondrial Function

As we age, mitochondrial dysfunction can contribute to fatigue and other age-related issues. However, there is some evidence that taurine has the ability to slow the aging process by promoting mitochondrial health, which in turn may aid with energy and physical function decreases.

7. Repairs DNA

DNA malfunction and damage is one of the hallmarks of aging. This can elevate the risk of cancer and other disorders in the long run. However, studies have found that this amino acid supports DNA repair pathways due to its radical-fighting properties, which in turn minimize the development of genetic mutations and contribute to general cellular health.

8. Improves Eye Health

Taurine has found its use for eye health aswell. The human eye has abundant taurine, which is essential for the proper functioning of the retina’s photoreceptor cells. Evidence suggests that it protects optic nerve and retinal cells from oxidative stress and vascular dysregulation. (1)

9. Improves Hearing

Tinnitus, sometimes described as ringing in the ears, is a common symptom of hearing loss that impacts a large number of Americans According to research, this amino acid has the ability to restore the integrity of the nerve cells in your ears. As a result, taurine has the potential to aid with hearing optimization.

A study with tinnitus sufferers found that taurine supplementation cured the ailment in 12% of the sufferers.

10. Can Increase Longevity

As per last year’s research of 2023, supplemental taurine can delay the aging process in monkeys, worms, and mice. The same study also discovered that it could increase the healthy lifespan of middle-aged mice by as much as 12%. This means that mice will live about 3–4 months longer, which is about 7–8 years longer than human years.

Although this trial has shown promise for taurine, the researchers are still unsure if taking supplements would enhance human health or extend longevity.

Dietary Sources of Taurine

Shellfish, red meat, organ meats, and chicken are some of the animal-based foods that naturally contain a lot of taurine. It is also very abundant in seaweed.

Some of the top foods that contain maximum amounts are:

Food Taurine Content (mg/100g)
Seaweed > 600 mg
Oysters 396 mg
Fish 130 mg
Beef 43.1 mg
Chicken 17.8 mg
Lamb 43.8 mg
Cow’s milk, 2% fat 2.3 mg

It is not found in hen eggs (yolk or white), dairy products, or honey. This recommends that anyone wishing to boost their taurine consumption should look into other food sources besides these. It does not get destroyed by cooking or by heat.

Even though taurine is found in foods, the amount of taurine in people’s blood still drops by about 80% as they age. 

Supplemental Taurine

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As we age, the amount of taurine produced in the body decreases, and implementing it with other methods becomes necessary. This amino acid was approved as a supplement by the FDA in 1984. These days, you may get taurine in energy drinks, nutritional supplements, and baby formula.

This amino acid supplement is available in tablet form or as a powder and the usual practice is to take 500 to 2,000 milligrams of taurine daily, with most supplements containing 500 to 1,000 mg per dose.  Importantly, taurine has been shown in studies to be safe for supplementation up to 3,000 mg daily for the rest of one’s life. A study showed that taking this amount regularly, 60 to 120 minutes before working out and at different times during the day, improved results.

However, it is usually suggested to start with a lesser dose (500 to 1,000 mg) and gradually increase it. Another best practice is to take it on an empty stomach. It helps to improve its bioavailability.

Taurine Use in Energy Drinks

Probably the most famous cause of its use. It is used in energy drinks because of its physiological ability to enhance muscle function and athletic performance, as we have discussed above. While each serving of taurine-containing energy drinks typically contains 1000–2000 mg, which is far more than the average daily consumption of 58 mg,. This has prompted studies in the field and caused some health advocates to be concerned, as some people may consume more than one serving daily. In general, dosages up to 3000 mg daily are safe, with very few adverse effects, while the long-term consequences are unclear.

Another thing to consider is that these energy drinks may provide health benefits for the elderly, but there’s data to show that kids and teens shouldn’t consume them. The sugar and caffeine content of most energy drinks is rather significant.

How Much Taurine Is Safe to Take?

Human trials have used doses ranging from 0.5-1.5 grams daily; the longest of these trials lasted twelve months and utilized a dosage of 10 grams per day. From what we can tell, it’s safe to ingest 3 grams daily without any ill effects ever occurring.

Although taurine is found in abundance in the body’s tissues and there is no evidence that taking taurine supplements is harmful,. But it’s always a good idea to consult a certified dietitian if you have any questions or concerns.

Side Effects of Taurine Supplementation

There have been no cases of serious side effects associated with taurine supplementation. (1)(2) .Still, some people who took taurine reported side effects, such as sickness, vomiting, stomach pain, and headaches.

But remember, whenever you take supplements for health and longevity, it is always great to use them as part of a larger, more holistic strategy that also involves things like eating right, exercising regularly, managing stress, and choosing wisely overall.

Possible Interactions

There are some well-researched interactions between taurine and some medications, such as with anticoagulants, statins, anti-depressants and antiepileptic drugs. So care must be taken while supplementing with it. Another side effect that has been seen recently is when it is taken with caffeine, like in energy drinks, it has the potential to raise blood pressure and speed up the heartbeat.

All these medicines, like statins, antidepressants, and others that depend on the enzyme cytochrome P-450, don’t work well with taurine. This is because taurine blocks enzymes, which means that medicines that depend on these enzymes to break down drugs will not work as well.

Storing Taurine Supplement

Like all the other supplements, the best practice is to avoid exposing taurine to moisture and sunlight by storing it in a cool, dry area with a well-sealed container. Make sure no one can get to it, especially kids and dogs. Always read the labels on the container for further instructions.

Now we know that taurine is essential for a variety of bodily functions, including but not limited to controlling metabolism, improving exercise performance, and supporting heart health and brain function. For extra help achieving your health goals, try eating foods that are high in amino acids or think about taking a supplement.

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Dr Aimen

Being a Doctor by profession, Aimen is passionate about helping people get better health in their lives. Aimen enjoys her research on Prime With Time subjects and strives to create better awareness of the problems and changes related to women's health.
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