What is Taurine? Is it Safe or Dangerous?

what is taurine

Many people wonder exactly what is taurine? Taurine is known as an amino sulfonic acid or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid. It occurs naturally in meat, dairy, and fish. The substance is also abundant in the brain, muscles, heart, and eyes. In recent years, it has been synthesized and become a widely used and accepted naturopathic supplement.

What Is Taurine? Understanding the Facts and History

 In 1827, German scientists Friedrich Tiedemann and Leopold Gmelin isolated conditional amino acid from ox bile. At that time it was dubbed ‘taurine’ because of the Latin word ‘Taurus’ which translates into ox or bull. Many myths abound that state that the substance comes from bull urine or bull semen. Despite, the early origins of  2-aminoethanesulfonic acid being isolated in ox bile, today the widely available supplement is not gathered from any part of a bull.

The human body naturally creates low levels of conditional amino acid. It is one of the building blocks of the body’s ability to utilize protein. Humans also depend on the amino sulfonic acid for overall cardiovascular health, hearing, immune modulation, insulin sensitivity, and electrolyte balance.

Taurine May Promote Life Longevity

Taurine appears to be a key component in perhaps extending life expectancy.  Okinawa, Japan is frequently called the “Island of Longevity” because its residents typically live past the century mark. Researchers have studied the residents extensively to try to determine why they enjoy such long life spans. One pivotal component tends to stand out and that is their abundant and life long dietary consumption of 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid. Unlike many people in the world who suffer a decline in

2-aminoethanesulfonic acid as they age, the Japanese centurions in Okinawa maintain a lifetime elevated level of the amino sulfuric acid in their systems. This is believed to be one of the reasons they regularly live extended life spans.

What is Taurine and What Health Benefits Does it Provide?

The body requires and naturally produces the conditional amino sulfuric acid as a key component to function properly. However adding it as a supplement to your daily regime has been shown to provide numerous health benefits.

Congestive Heart Failure: Taking the synthetic amino sulfonic acid orally for six to eight weeks has been shown to dramatically improve the symptoms of congestive heart failure. It was found to be an acceptable treatment when combined with conventional therapy for individuals suffering from congestive heart failure, according to the New York Heart Association.

  1. Cardiovascular Disease: It reduces blood pressure and inflammation. Studies have shown that it increases function in the heart’s left ventricle and alleviates symptoms of cardiovascular disease, according to the Department of Physical Education and Sport Science and the Aliabad Katoul Branch, Islamic Azad University, Aliabad Katoul, Iran.
  2. Stroke Prevention: Studies by the Institute for World Health Development, Mukogawa Women’s University of Japan have shown that daily use of taurine may prevent strokes.
  3. Parkinson’s Disease: Parkinson’s Disease sufferers appear to have low levels of taurine. It is believed that a daily supplement could help regenerate brain cells. It appears to work by stimulating stem cells which increase neurons. This helps to boost the brain’s function, especially in the hippocampus where memories are stored.
  4. Improved Physical and Athletic Performance: Consumption of an amino sulfonic supplement may boost an athlete’s physical abilities.
  5. Metabolic Syndrome:  2-aminoethanesulfonic acid may be a key in fighting Metabolic Syndrome. It helps reduce triglycerides to prevent obesity, lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, regulate glucose metabolism, and improve insulin resistance according to the Beijing Key Laboratory of Bioactive Substances and Functional Foods, Beijing Union University,
  6. Macular Degeneration: People suffering from macular degeneration (AMD) experience improved vision when taking the supplement with conventional care.
  7. Stomach Ulcers: Taking the supplement daily heals and treats gastric ulcers, according to the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Kyoto Pharmaceutical University, Misasagi, Yamashina, Kyoto, Japan.
  8. Muscle Soreness: Taking the amino sulfuric acid in combination with branched chain amino acids (BCAAs)  alleviates muscle soreness in healthy individuals.
  9.  Anemia from Iron Deficiency: Combining the amino sulfuric acid with iron effectively treats anemia from iron deficiency and improves red blood cell counts.
  10. Retina: As we age, our eyesight frequently starts to decline. The levels of amino sulfuric acid within the retina is significantly reduced after the age of 40. This could be one of the key reasons for declining vision. Supplementation helps to restore levels and improve retinal function.
  11. Tinnitus and Hearing Loss:  Hearing loss often occurs because the fine hairs within the inner ear can no longer channel calcium flow to the auditory cells. Taurine supplements have been shown to restore hearing by allowing the calcium ions to flow free. Tinnitus is another auditory condition that causes ringing in the ears. It has also been found to respond positively to the addition of the supplement to the sufferer’s diet. In some cases, even eliminating the ringing completely.
  12. Seizures: Depletion of the body’s natural manufacturing process of amino sulfuric acid appears to make seizures more frequent and worse in epilepsy sufferers. However, supplementation appears to reduce the incidence of seizures. It is believed that this occurs because the amino sulfuric acid naturally increases the levels of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) which places a key role in the body’s production of the neurotransmitter GABA. This makes the supplement highly beneficial in treating and reducing the incidence of epileptic seizures in seizure-associated brain damage, according to the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities and The Center for Developmental Neuroscience, The City University of New York, Staten Island, NY.
  13. Liver Disease Treatments: Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is the most common form of liver disease in the United States. Over time, sufferers end up experiencing liver failure and cirrhosis. However, amino sulfonic acid supplements defend the liver against free radicals and toxins. This can help slow the progression of the disease by preventing damage. Researchers have combined the use of the 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid with conventional therapies for treating acute hepatitis.
  14. Diabetes: The 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid has been shown to regulate glucose in the body and may prove highly beneficial in the treatment of diabetes. It also appears to restore insulin sensitivity. A supplement of 1.5 grams of  2-aminoethanesulfonic acid per day has been shown to prevent the early onset of type II diabetes according to the Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL USA.
  15. Obesity: Obesity causes a significant decline in the body’s production of 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid. Taking a supplement to restore the amino sulfuric acid back to its pre-obesity levels appears to help the person lose weight, according to the Oxford Academic.
  16. Periodontal Disease: Amino sulfuric acid is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals. Patients suffering from periodontal disease appear to benefit from taking the supplement to balance antioxidant enzymes and promote gum healing.
  17. Sleepiness Reduction: A combination of 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, caffeine, glucuronolactone, and B vitamins reduces sleepiness and improves the body’s responses. The amino sulfuric acid’s ability to reduce sleepiness is one of the chief reasons that it is used as a key ingredient in energy drinks. On top of reducing sleepiness, when 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid is combined with caffeine it also appears to make a person feel happier and more at ease. Many people report feeling more focused despite lacking sleep after consuming the combination.
  18. Cystic Fibrosis: Children with cystic fibrosis suffer less from fatty stools (steatorrhea) when taking 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid in combination with traditional treatment methods.
  19.  High Blood Pressure: Taking a daily dose of 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid along with conventional high blood pressure medications have been shown to lower high blood pressure. Especially in people who suffer from borderline high blood pressure.

Synthetic Taurine and Energy Drinks

Taurine, 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is widely available as a synthetic supplement and is a common ingredient in energy drinks. One of the most famous energy drinks, Red Bull, contains the conditional amino acid as its key ingredient.

Breast Milk and Infant Formulas

Initially, at birth infants are unable to naturally produce taurine and must rely on their mother’s breast milk to supplement their physical requirements. However, nowadays, many babies are no longer breastfed and instead subsist on formula. It is essential that a well-rounded baby formula contain adequate taurine to meet the infant’s requirements.

 Taurine Supplements for Adults

In some cases, adults also cannot manufacture the amino sulfonic acid naturally and must depend on supplements. Vegetarians and vegans commonly lack adequate amounts because they do not readily consume meat or fish products. Adults can take a daily supplement of up to 3,000 milligrams. However, if breastfeeding or pregnant, you should consult a doctor before adding any supplement to your dietary regime.  2-aminoethanesulfonic acid is secreted through the kidney’s if consumed in excess, so anyone suffering from kidney issues or kidney failure should first consult with their physician before taking the supplement.

Foods Rich in Taurine

Although 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid is widely available as a synthetic supplement at most health food and naturopathic stores, it can also be increased in the natural body by consuming foods that are rich in the substance.

 Meats: Red meat and most poultry contain from 11 to 306 milligram/100 grams wet weight.

Seafood: Seafood contains 11 to 827 milligrams/100 grams wet weight

Dairy: Dairy products made from cow milk or goat milk contain two to eight milligrams/100 milliliters

Human and Infant Formula: Human breast milk and infant formula typically contain from four to seven milligrams/100 milliliters.

Cats and 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid

 Interestingly, cats require 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid and it is essential for their overall health. Domestic cats lack adequate 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid in their diets because they are no longer out hunting prey. The lack of red meat in their diets takes a toll on the feline’s system. Without adequate 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, a cat will quickly go blind. As more and more domestic felines started to lose their eyesight, pet food manufacturers started to add the important amino sulfuric acid into their commercially prepared foods. Since the addition of the supplement into the pet food, domestic cats no longer go blind because of a 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid deficiency.

Side Effects and Precautions

Taurine has been deemed to be safe when taken in moderation. However, prior to taking any supplement, it is suggested that you first consult with your physician. The safety of consuming energy drinks that contain high levels of 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid remains difficult to determine because each energy drink manufacturer puts various other ingredients in their beverages. Often the additional ingredients consist of high levels of caffeine and sugar. Some manufacturers even place ingredients into their products that are widely known to be unsafe for human consumption. Often if you want to take a supplement of 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, it is best to bypass the energy drinks and just buy the supplement in its pure form from a reputable health food store or naturopathic dispenser.

Final Understanding of What is Taurine

Understanding how important taurine is to the body’s daily functions enables you to tailor your physical needs to reap the amino sulfuric acid’s many health benefits. Adding a daily taurine supplement is worth considering if you want to improve your overall health and enjoy from the supplement’s numerous assets.






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