Taurine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of proteins. Found in the nervous system and muscles, taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids in the body. It is thought to help regulate heartbeat, maintain cell membranes, and affect the release of neurotransmitters (chemicals that carry signals between nerve cells) in the brain.
There is no dietary requirement for taurine, since the body can make it out of vitamin B 6
People with diabetes have lower-than-average blood levels of taurine, but whether this means they should take extra taurine is unclear.
Meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, and fish are good sources of taurine. Legumes and nuts don't contain taurine, but they do contain methionine and cysteine.
Preliminary evidence suggests that taurine might be helpful in
congestive heart failure
(CHF), a condition in which the heart has trouble pumping blood, which leads to fluid accumulating in the legs and lungs.
Taurine has additionally been proposed as a treatment for numerous other conditions, including
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Taurine?
Congestive Heart Failure
Several studies (primarily by one research group) suggest that taurine may be useful for congestive heart failure
There are several viruses that can cause acute
One double-blind study suggests that taurine supplements might be useful for acute viral hepatitis. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 63 people with hepatitis were given either 12 g of taurine daily or placebo.
Acute hepatitis can also develop into a long-lasting or permanent condition known as chronic hepatitis. One small double-blind study suggests that taurine does not help chronic hepatitis.
As an amino acid found in food, taurine is thought to be quite safe. There is strong evidence that taurine is safe at levels up to 3 g per day, although higher dosages have been tested without apparent adverse effects. 17
As with any supplement taken in multigram doses, it is important to purchase a reputable product, because a contaminant present even in small percentages could add up to a real problem.
3. Yamori Y, Horie R, Nara Y, Kihara M, Tada M. Studies on stroke prevention in animal models, and their supportable epidemiological evidence. As cited in H Barnett, et al, eds. Cerebrovascular diseases: new trends in surgical and medical aspects. Amsterdam: Elsevier/North Holland, 1981:47-62.
4. Franconi F, Bennardini F, Mattana A, et al. Plasma and platelet taurine are reduced in subjects with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus: Effects of taurine supplementation. Am J Clin Nutr . 1995;61:1115-1119.
5. Marchesi GF, Quattrini A, Scarpino O, et al. Therapeutic effects of taurine in epilepsy: a clinical and polyphysiographic study [in Italian; English abstract]. Riv Patol Nerv Ment . 1975;96:166-184.
13. Azuma J, Takihara K, Awata N, et al. Beneficial effect of taurine on congestive heart failure induced by chronic aortic regurgitation in rabbits. Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol. 1984;45:261-270.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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