Taurine is considered one of the foremost vital amino acids. It’s often added to energy drinks and offers many health benefits. What makes taurine worth looking at is the large body of supportive research. Several studies label that amino acid is very essential. What’s with taurine that has made it so vital in one’s diet? Let’s explore the benefits of taurine and its side effects.
What Is Taurine and how does It Work?
Taurine is an amino acid found throughout your body. It’s crucial in most metabolic processes. And unlike most amino acids, taurine isn’t used to build proteins. It has an entirely different role to play.
Your body can produce some amount of taurine, that is why it’s also referred to as a ‘conditional’ amino acid. You can get some of it naturally through foods. Even taking supplements will help.
Taurine’s main functions happen in the central nervous system. It aids in its development and offers cytoprotection (where chemical compounds protect cells from harmful compounds). A taurine deficiency can result in cardiomyopathy, renal dysfunction, severe harm to retinal nerves, and even developmental issues. Taurine is additionally vital for cell development and survival, and it’s one of the foremost abundant substances in the ocular tissues.
Taurine additionally works as an antioxidant, fighting oxidative stress and cellular aging.
All of this only makes us wonder about taurine’s powerful benefits. Let’s see how it will help you live a better life – in detail.
Health Benefits of Taurine
1. Taurine can help Fight obesity
Taurine has a role to play in fat absorption and breakdown. A study done on 30 college students showed how taurine supplementation reduced triglycerides and the atherogenic index (ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol) considerably. The study concluded by stating that taurine may positively affect the metabolism of fats and even cut the danger of heart disease in obese people.
Taurine levels in tissues were additionally found to be depleted during obesity in humans. This would possibly establish a relationship between taurine deficiency and obesity.
2. Promotes Heart Health
A Japanese study shows the link between increased taurine intake and reduced risk of heart condition.
Taurine also helps lower levels of blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Supplementing this amino acid was additionally found to cut back arterial thickening, which may cause heart attacks. This way, it additionally reduces hypertension – a major reason for heart failure.
In one more study, taurine supplementation had reduced homocysteine levels. As high homocysteine levels are related to heart disease, taurine will work wonders in this aspect.
3. Aids Diabetes Treatment
Long-term taurine supplementation was found to lower blood glucose levels in diabetic rats. And apparently, this happened without any dietary changes.
Treating with taurine additionally prevented diabetes onset because it had suppressed the impending hyperglycemia. And as per reports by the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is characterized by taurine deficiency. This deficiency is also linked to diabetic retinopathy, neuropathy, and nephropathy.
4. Fights Stress And Boosts Brain Health
A Chinese study shows how taurine can exhibit anti-depressive effects. It can even contribute to brain development and help improve memory and cognition.
Taurine was additionally found to activate the gaba receptors in the brain – these receptors interact with some key neurotransmitters that promote brain development.
5. Promotes Liver health
Studies show that taurine can reverse liver injury caused by excessive alcohol consumption. In tests conducted on rats, those ingested with taurine showed reduced rates of fatty degradation and inflammation.
Dietary supplementation of taurine additionally reduced liver injury in patients with chronic hepatitis.
Taurine also protects your liver from oxidative stress and free radical damage. In a study, 2 grams of taurine taken thrice daily had reduced liver damage due to oxidative stress.
6. Taurine Enhances Vision
The fact that taurine is the most abundant amino acid in the retina explains a lot. Taurine has powerful antioxidant properties that may help boost retinal health and prevent vision ailments.
Taurine depletion has additionally been related to damage of the retinal cones and retinal ganglion cells. The amino acid can even prevent cataracts and dry eyes – that makes it an important nutrient for eye health.
7. Boosts Exercise Performance
Studies show how taurine enhances exercise performance. The amino acid additionally helps reduce exercise-induced muscle fatigue.
In rats ingested with taurine, the period of running time to exhaustion had significantly gone up – which suggests that taurine might help one perform physical activity for longer periods without getting exhausted.
8. Combats Inflammation
The primary role of taurine in the human system is as an antioxidant – that is one reason it helps fight inflammation in the body. Studies additionally promote the use of taurine in medicine to fight chronic inflammatory diseases.
Taurine conjointly aids the treatment of periodontitis, which is the inflammation of tissues around the teeth.
That’s concerning the benefits of Taurine. As we saw, taurine isn’t like most of the other amino acids. it has a different purpose. That takes us to the next question – how do you get enough of taurine? What are the food sources of Taurine?
Food Sources of Taurine
Adults are capable of synthesizing taurine to some extent – with the help of methionine and cysteine, 2 essential amino acids. Aside from that, we need to look at food sources like:
Fish – They contain high levels of taurine. These include whole capelin (6.17 grams per 1 kilo), cooked Dungeness crab (5.94 grams per 1 kilo), whole mackerel (9.29 grams per 1 kilo), and Alaskan salmon fillets (4.40 grams per 1 kilo).
Meat – boneless beef (197 mg per 1 kilo), beef liver (2.35 grams per 1 kilo), lamb (3.67 grams per 1 kilo), and chicken liver (6.67 grams per 1 kilo).
Sea algae And Plants – sea algae contains some taurine, although vegetables grown on land contain none.
Human breast milk also has an excellent supply of taurine, so, for infants, this can be a good source (as their bodies cannot generate taurine yet). Taurine is additionally being added to baby formula milk and powder, given its importance in growth and development.
What if you’re a vegetarian? What if you don’t have access to those limited food sources of taurine? Then, you may need to check out supplements.
What about Taurine Supplements (And Energy Drinks)?
If you’re a strict vegetarian or a vegan, you can get your daily dose of taurine through supplements. You can additionally opt for supplements if you are an athlete trying to enhance your performance.
But when we say supplements, we don’t essentially mean energy drinks. Though they contain high amounts of taurine, energy drinks additionally contain alternative ingredients (like caffeine and sugar) in undesirably excess quantities. An excessive amount of caffeine will elevate blood pressure, and excess sugar will wreak havoc on your health. So, we suggest you stay away from energy drinks if your sole objective is to fulfill your daily taurine needs.
You are likely to become deficient in taurine in the following cases:
You are a strict vegetarian or vegan.
You are deficient in methionine or cysteine, that is what the body uses to synthesize taurine.
You are deficient in vitamin B6, that is also needed by the body for taurine synthesis,
Health conditions like cancer, hypertension, diabetes, liver disease, and epilepsy.
Your taurine dosage shouldn’t exceed 3,000 mg per day. Otherwise, complications may arise.
Side Effects of Taurine
Issues With Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
There is not enough data in this regard. Stay safe and avoid use.
Might worsen bipolar disorder
Some sources suggest taurine might aggravate the bipolar disorder. Individuals with this condition should avoid its use.
Interactions With lithium
If you’re taking lithium, discuss it with your doctor. Taurine can increase serum lithium levels and will result in lithium toxicity. Your dose should be adjusted accordingly.
Whether it’s boosting your athletic performance or combating stress, taurine has an array of benefits. But since you don’t get it abundantly from foods, do take a glance at the supplements. Make a wise selection.
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