By: Kenna McHugh
What are taurine supplements? The word “taurine” derives from the Latin word “taurus,” meaning ox or bull, for the compound derived from a castrated adult male bull. German chemists Friedrick Tiedemann and Leopold Gmelin discovered taurine when they isolated the compound from the bile of an ox. Bile generates in the liver and it is stored in the gallbladder. When it’s released, bile helps emulsify fats and aid digestion (x, x). What are the benefits of taking taurine as a supplement? Keep reading to find out.
What is Taurine?
Taurine comes from methionine and cysteine, two interrelated amino acids. Methionine is an essential amino acid that causes urine to become acidic, so it may be useful in addressing urinary tract infections (UTI). Cysteine is a semi essential amino acid that contains sulfur, which may contribute to protein building in your body. Taurine is an organic acid as well as a sulfonic acid because it contains sulfur. It’s commonly classified as a conditionally essential amino acid because your body can produce it naturally, especially in response to stress or illness (x).
Where Does Taurine Come From?
There is evidence of taurine in both human and animal cells in bile and the large intestines, where digestion takes place. There are also concentrations in other areas of your body, such as skeletal muscles, white blood cells and the heart, especially in the cardiac muscles. The central nervous system also has traces of taurine (x).
When you experience a severe illness or tension, the body is not able to produce taurine on its own. Some studies suggest that the body might conserve the compound to maintain a healthy system while your body is stressed and ill. Still, taurine levels do diminish under these conditions (x).
Taurine is found in a variety of foods that you might already eat regularly—especially those rich in protein—which makes it easy to consume:
- Infant formulas
What are Taurine Supplements Used for?
What does taurine do in the body? Your body produces taurine and you can get it from food. But why take supplements? Studies suggest that taurine supplements may help address several different aspects of health, such as digesting fats, reproduction and immunity (x).
Blood Sugar & Diabetes
Studies report that taurine as a supplement may assist with weight loss in diabetics and possibly reduce blood sugar levels. If a patient’s high blood sugar continues unchecked for a long time, it can damage the nerves. The supplement may also help prevent nerve damage and possibly reverse damage from diabetes, because it may help protect the body against metabolic and chemical stress (x).There are a limited number of studies with human subjects to definitively conclude whether it has an effect on blood sugar and diabetes.
However, Dr. Febin Melepura, medical director at Sports and Pain Institute of New York, supports this possibility. Dr. Melepura is double board certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Management and his practice is focused on traditional medical interventions to address sports injuries in combination with holistic approaches.
Dr. Melepura claims that diabetic patients “tend to have lower levels of taurine, indicating that the deficiency… [may] put you at risk of [diabetes mellitus] and its complications” (x). Further, he states that the supplement may even prevent these complications in the first place, possibly as a result of its natural role in glucose homeostasis, “a state of balance between insulin and glucagon.” Insulin is the hormone that reduces blood sugar, but glucagon is the hormone that raises them. If the relationship is balanced, the patient’s blood sugar remains stable (x).
Biomedical science suggests taurine is found throughout the body, but there are very high concentrations in the heart and muscles. Animal studies note that taurine deficiency can cause the heart muscle to deteriorate. Deficiency is also associated with reduced oxygen consumption and ATP production, which is one of the body’s sources of energy (x).
Research also reports that high triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels —the “bad” type of cholesterol—may indicate an increased risk for heart problems. Excessive amounts of LDL can cause triglycerides to circulate and attach to the artery walls, reducing blood flow to the arteries. Taurine supplements may help reduce these blood components that can lead to heart problems (x, x).
Dr. Melepura also supports these claims, stating that it may help reduce the risk for heart disease by controlling blood pressure. It may help reduce stiffness in the arteries, prevent clogged arteries, reduce cholesterol and help the body burn fat. Dr. Melepura states that “the combined outcome of all these effects is improved blood flow to the heart and reduced odds of heart disease.”
If you have an interest in achieving better athletic performance or better results from your workout, taurine may help because the compound is concentrated in your muscles. Studies suggest that taurine brings amino acids and blood sugar into the muscle cells. It stimulates muscle protein synthesis, while keeping your muscles from breaking down and wasting away. In a scientific study, individuals with congestive heart failure took the supplement three times a day for two weeks. The results suggested a potential increase in exercise potential (x).
Researchers have not reached a conclusion on the exact mechanisms responsible, but Dr. Melepura points out that “taurine enhances the muscles’ ability to contract, enabling them to do their job more effectively” (x). In addition, high-intensity workout can damage your muscles. Being a powerful antioxidant, taurine tends to counter muscle damage that stems from exercising. This reason probably also explains taurine’s ability to speed [up] post-workout muscle recovery (x).
Another benefit to taurine for exercise is that the muscle cells may hold more water. Cell volume increases, protein synthesis improves and muscle size may increase, a process called muscle hypertrophy. The taurine supplement may also help you lift and handle heavier weight during your workouts (x, x).
Central Nervous System Function
Taurine is abundant in the nervous system and acts as a natural neurotransmitter and neuromodulator in the brain, meaning it helps neurons move along the nerve channels and helps regulate their activity (x). Research also suggests that taurine may “protect brain cells… through its potent antioxidant potential,” according to Dr. Melepura (x). Antioxidants can help reduce oxidative damage, often the “key culprit behind neurodegenerative diseases… [such as]… Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease.”
Research also reports that taurine may cross the blood-barrier to the brain, making it a neuroprotective agent. It may reduce the risk for stroke, particularly ischemic stroke, which accounts for 80% of all strokes. The second most common is hemorrhagic stroke at 13% (x, x). Other studies support the theory that taurine may be able to help manage neurological conditions including memory loss, epilepsy, seizures and autism (x).
Dosage for Taurine Supplements
The recommended dosage for taurine powder is 500 mg twice times a day, or as directed by a physician. Always consult a doctor for accurate medical information and approval before taking taurine or any other supplement. Taurine is not intended to completely cure, treat or prevent any disease, illness or symptom.
What Side Effects Can Taurine Supplements Cause?
Taurine is possibly safe to consume by most medical standards, but like any other supplement, there is always a chance for side effects. Always take supplements in moderation after consulting a physician to potentially avoid side effects.
For example, it acts as a natural diuretic and increases water excretion from the body, so the supplement might affect some people adversely (x). People with kidney problems should also avoid taking taurine as a supplement, as it may worsen the condition (x). It may not be safe to consume during pregnancy or breastfeeding, so it may be best to be safe and avoid it. Taurine may also interact with medications including lithium and medications for high blood pressure (x, x, x).
Where to Buy Taurine Supplements
You can purchase taurine supplements in powder and capsule form at BulkSupplements.com. The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor for pure dietary supplements. BulkSupplements.com is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other brands that distribute food and other supplement products. All products at BulkSupplements.com are manufactured and tested according to current and proper manufacturing practices.
Are you interested in trying taurine as a dietary supplement to potentially support the heart, central nervous system and muscle function? Contact BulkSupplements.com to place an order today.
The body contains high concentrations of taurine in the heart and muscles, but it is present throughout the body. It comes from two amino acids, methionine and cysteine. Research may refer to it as a conditional amino acid because the body produces more of it under stress or illness. As a dietary supplement, taurine may help improve athletic performance, support central nervous system function, manage blood sugar levels and maintain heart health. However, taurine may cause side effects or interact with medications. Always consult a doctor before taking taurine or any other supplement.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.