Taurine is an amino acid that can be found in the skeletal muscles, heart and the central nervous system. Taurine was originally derived from the bile of an ox. Taurine aids in digestion and absorption of fat soluble vitamins and it is an ingredient of bile. Our bodies produce this acid naturally from amino acids such as methionine and cysteine. However, infants cannot produce taurine naturally but they can take it from breast milk which contains this amino acid.
Taurine is found naturally in meat and fish proteins and seaweed. It is commonly available as a dietary supplement and it is a key ingredient of energy drinks. During extreme physical strain the body cannot produce sufficient amounts of taurine which can result in deficiency. Taurine supplements mainly use athletes to improve their performance and get burst of energy. Bodybuilders consume energy drinks containing taurine to increase their muscle mass.
Turine BenefitsTaurine aids in breakdown of fats and absorption of vitamins and controls cholesterol serum levels in the body. Taurine is important for maintaining cell membrane integrity. Taurine acts as a metabolic transmitter and it is vital for proper functioning of the musculoskeletal and the nervous system. This amino acid plays important role in the brain as well. Scientists suggest that taurine supplement can be beneficial to people affected by bipolar disorder. Studies on animals have shown that taurine can eliminate fatty deposits from the liver which means that taurine may prevent liver diseases. Taurine is used to treat heart arrhythmias and congestive heart failure. Taurine acts as potent antioxidant and may be used for treating type 1 diabetes. Taurine may reduce weight and high blood pressure. In infants and some animals, taurine is important for development and eye health. It is thought that taurine is helpful with anxiety, hyperactivity, and epilepsy. Additionally, taurine is believed to relieve symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
Dangers of Taurine
Taurine is synthesized by the body and found in sources such as meat, fish, eggs and seafood hence taurine deficiency rarely occurs. This means that people actually don’t need any taurine supplements except maybe vegans who don’t consume eggs and dairy products. Deficiency of taurine may impair vision and affect fat metabolism. People who take taurine supplements normally take 2 grams, three times a day. Studies have demonstrated that taurine is safe and beneficial supplement and no toxicity has been determined. Excess taurine is excreted by the kidneys. On the other hand, long term use of taurine supplements is associated with stroke, high blood pressure and seizures. Energy drinks with taurine in it are not for use by children, pregnant women and people sensitive to caffeine.