L-taurine, often referred to as simply “taurine”, is a non-essential amino acid found in meat, fish, and dairy products. Amino sulfonic acids are chemicals required to build protein. Adults can produce taurine, and if our bodies do not produce enough of it and we aren’t consuming enough taurine through our diet, L-taurine supplementation may be necessary as it plays a role in dozens of functions in the body. Taurine can be found in large amounts in our heart, brain, retina, and in blood cells as platelets. Read on to learn more about the benefits of L-taurine, see what taurine does in the body, and what it could be used for.
What Does Taurine Do in the Body?
The cardiovascular system relies on taurine to move key nutrients, such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium into and out of the heart’s cells. Patients experiencing a heart attack have been found to have low levels of taurine. Individuals with a variety of heart conditions from congestive heart failure to arrhythmia to heart attacks are often given multiple daily doses of taurine to improve cardiac functioning.
Once in the body, taurine is an antioxidant according to several clinical studies. Our body is under attack constantly from free radicals threatening the cells, and that can cause chronic health conditions or diseases including diabetes, cancer, and eye disease. Studies of taurine show that it can serve to help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.
Potential Uses for Taurine
Taurine may be useful in the treatment of epilepsy. It is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which can calm or sedate an excitable brain state. When you sedate a brain, it can prevent epileptic seizures or minimize bipolar manic states.
Japan has a large population of individuals over the age of 100 years old. They also have high levels of taurine in their diets – leading researchers to believe that taurine is a factor in longevity.
Taurine has been shown to improve the functioning of the gallbladder which lowers cholesterol by eliminating excess cholesterol through bile.
Supplementing with taurine can increase the body’s secretion of nitric oxide. Taurine dilates the blood vessels and through improved blood flow can deliver more oxygen to your muscles.
Studies also suggest L-taurine may be useful in the treatment of male infertility, depression, type 2 diabetes, and cirrhosis.
L-Taurine Side Effects
Before taking any kind of supplement you should always consider the possible side effects. Several studies across the US and Japan have shown that taurine supplementation doesn’t result in serious side effects when taken at appropriate levels. If you overdose on taurine however, you may experience taurine toxicity which can lead to peptic ulcers and diarrhea.
Taurine supplementation offers a variety of benefits from mitigating effects of excess insulin, fat, and glucose to protecting the heart muscles to protecting vision, to preventing seizures. Consider adding a product containing taurine to your supplementation regime to see what health benefits it may offer you.