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Taurine Health Benefits

Taurine is an important amino acid that is present in certain foods and also available as a dietary supplement. It is commonly added to energy drinks since it is known to improve performance. It may also help in treating congestive heart failure. Taurine offers many other health benefits such as relief from insomnia, reduced anxiety and lowered blood pressure levels. Taurine occurs naturally in the body and is also available in the form of supplements.
It is also a common ingredient in energy drinks. Taurine is known to improve sports performance, boost eyesight, enhance heart health, strengthen cognitive function and increase energy levels. Here is a closer look at some of the health benefits of taurine.
  • Some health experts recommend the use of taurine for anxiety related problems. Animal-based studies indicate that taurine may provide relief from anxiety. However, there is not much research on the anti-anxiety effects of taurine in humans.
  • Taurine is found in the muscles and brain of the body. It supports the nervous system neurotransmitters such as melatonin and aids in their release into the brain. Adequate levels of taurine in the body are known to lead to a sense of calmness which is helpful in inducing sleep.
  • Low levels of taurine have been detected in people with depression. Since the amino acid has a protective effect on the brain, some researchers recommend taurine for depression. It is, therefore, often found in supplements for depression.
  • Taurine is categorized as an inhibitory neurotransmitter and hence may be beneficial in treating epilepsy, ADHD and other excitable brain conditions. Taurine works as a mild sedative and relieves hyperactivity.
  • Taurine is known to help in weight loss. It enhances metabolic activity on the cellular level and enables an individual to burn more fat. It can also prevent loss of muscle mass during bouts of quick weight loss. Since taurine boosts the body’s sensitivity to insulin and improves protein synthesis, it helps in muscle building.
  • Many people use taurine for energy through supplementation and energy drinks. It is known to enhance athletic performance. Some studies indicate that when taurine is combined with caffeine, there is a considerable boost in mental performance. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support this.

Heart Health:

Taurine may play an important role in lowering blood pressure. It works like a diuretic and eliminates excess salt and water from the body, thereby reducing blood pressure levels. Hence diuretics are usually prescribed for individuals with hypertension. Taurine may help to reduce blood pressure also by inducing a suppressive effect on the central nervous system. This relaxes the arteries and brings down the blood pressure. Some studies have also indicated that taurine may help to lower the levels of epinephrine or adrenaline. You must keep in mind though, that any medication or supplement should be taken only after you consult your doctor.

Studies done on the use of taurine for congestive heart failure have shown that the nutrient has a positive effect on affected individuals since it reduces blood pressure. When there is congestive heart failure, the heart finds it difficult to pump blood and this can lead to a state of low blood pressure. It can also contribute to fluid retention in the lungs and extremities.

Women’s Health:

Taurine is a natural component which is found in the body and also contained in various foods. However, when taken in supplement form or energy drinks, it may pose some risks especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Many energy drinks contain taurine along with caffeine. Doctors normally advise pregnant women to drink caffeine in limited quantities since it can cause the blood vessels to constrict and this can hamper the blood flow to the developing baby. It can lead to an elevated risk of miscarriage and developmental problems. Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers should exercise caution and check the ingredients carefully before consuming any beverage that contains taurine. The daily intake should not exceed 200 mg of caffeine. It is also always advisable for pregnant and breastfeeding women to consult their doctors before using any medication or dietary supplement. The doctor can evaluate the benefits and risks of the product and if necessary, recommend a healthier alternative.

Side Effects Of Taurine

Most studies have not indicated any negative side effects of taurine supplements. If side effects do occur, they may be dose-dependent. There may be some effects on health when taurine is taken in high doses or used for long periods of time. People who drink too many energy drinks may also experience some adverse effects. More than 5 g of taurine a day may lead to diarrhea. Since most energy drinks also contain caffeine, it may be difficult to understand which ingredient is triggering the symptoms. High intake of taurine may also lead to a higher production of stomach acid and this can lead to heart burn and stomach ulcers. There may also be a burning sensation in the throat and a bitter or sour taste in the mouth. Gastric ulcers can result in pain and discomfort a few hours after eating. It is important to seek medical care if you experience such symptoms.
There may also be some other possible side effects which may or may not have been caused by taurine. For instance, as individual with bipolar disorder experienced aggravation of his symptoms after drinking high amounts of energy drink. In another case, a bodybuilder who took taurine supplements along with insulin and steroids experienced brain dysfunction and encephalopathy.

It may be difficult for your doctor to know beforehand if you will develop side effects after taking taurine or any other medication or supplement. Therefore, it is important to inform your doctor as soon as you experience any adverse signs or symptoms during or after taking taurine. Even if the symptoms are not due to taurine, your doctor will be able to detect and treat the problem quickly.

Information & Facts

Taurine is one of the most vital ingredients of bile. Bile is necessary for proper digestion of fat and also absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Bile is also responsible for regulating the levels of cholesterol serum in the body. Some of the other uses of taurine are as follows:

  • Taurine assists in the proper utilization of calcium, potassium and sodium in the body.
  • It helps in maintaining the health of the cell membranes.
  • It is known to help in hydrating the brain and improving brain function. It is also believed to help in relieving anxiety, hyperactivity and epilepsy.
  • Along with zinc, taurine helps in maintaining good eye health.
  • Deficiencies of taurine may create problems in vision and fat metabolism.

Taurine can be manufactured naturally in the adult body. It is also found in foods such as fish and meat. Individuals who do not get enough taurine through the diet may need to take a taurine supplement. However the body is usually able to produce enough of the nutrient to fulfill requirements. Women undergoing treatment for breast cancer and people suffering from metabolic disorders may benefit from additional intake of taurine since such conditions can result in loss of the nutrient through the urine.

Submitted on January 16, 2014