aurine is an amino sulfonic acid that naturally occurs in the body. It is classified as a conditionally essential amino acid because unlike other amino acids, it is not used to build proteins. The name Taurine is derived from the Latin word Taurus which means a bull or an ox. It is an organic compound widely distributed in animal tissues. It is often confused that Taurine is extracted from a bull's semen. However, it isn't true!! It is widely present in large numbers in our brain, heart, muscles, platelets, and eyes.
Our body can produce Taurine. The main sources of Taurine are eggs, meat, fish, and dairy. Although some vegetarian foods may contain Taurine, it might still not be enough to suffice the required levels by our body. Taurine is usually added in energy drinks; however, it is not recommended to drink them since they are combined with other ingredients that may be harmful to our body.
Consuming foods rich in Taurine or taking supplements is the safest possible option. Breast milk is rich in Taurine. So, infants who are not breastfed are likely to have lesser amounts of Taurine which is usually supplemented by infant formulas.
Taurine is vital for a person's overall health. It is one of the most abundant amino acids in the muscle tissue, brain, and many other organs in the body. It has a very wide range of functions which include maintaining hydration and proper electrolyte balance in our body, aiding digestion by forming bile salts, regulation of minerals such as Calcium in our cells, supporting the functioning of the central nervous system (CNS) and eyes and regulating the immune system and antioxidant functions. Deficiency of Taurine is unlikely since it is a conditionally essential amino acid and a healthy individual can usually produce the required levels by the body. Higher amounts may be required in cases of kidney or heart failure or infants who have not been breastfed.
Lack of Taurine in the body may lead to a range of health complications including kidney dysfunction, cardiomyopathy commonly known as heart failure, and eye tissue damage. It can also affect the metabolism since Taurine helps to create bile salts that break down the fatty acids in the intestines.
Taurine is known to be extremely beneficial for the brain since it helps in brain function, its growth, and development, neuromodulation, neurotransmission, immune function, and anti-oxidation. Not only does it preserve the neurological function by preventing brain cells deterioration during a stroke, but it also protects the brain from the stress caused during a paralytic stroke. Few studies also reveal that Taurine may play a major role in protecting the brain cells from exposure to harmful chemicals.
Taurine is beneficial in preventing aging of the brain by the process of stimulating new brain cells formation which in turn leads to the replacement of aging and damaged brain cells. Taurine supplementation is also known to have slowed or prevented Alzheimer's disease by acting on toxic beta-amyloid proteins. Other mental health and neurological conditions that Taurine can be helpful for include attention disorders, bipolar disorder, sleep disorders, neuropathy, neurotoxicity, epilepsy, hypertension, stroke, depression, autism, and substance abuse.
While there is no proper evidence to prove the fact that Taurine is a performance booster, there is sound evidence for the fact that it helps in reducing stress. GABA or Gamma Amino Butyric Acid is the key neurotransmitter that helps the brain to feel relaxed, happy, and calm.Sometimes there might be a decrease in the levels of GABA due to factors like stress, gluten intolerance, injury, blood sugar imbalance, or physical exertion.
People often tend to self-medicate themselves against the low levels of GABA with food, alcohol, or anti-anxiety pills. But a much better and a healthy option is taking Taurine supplements since it increases the Glycine and GABA levels to calm the brain. Hence it is very effective in tackling Insomnia and panic attacks also. There might also be a correlation between higher levels of Taurine in the body and longevity. However, taking Taurine for anxiety or mood swings might lead to drowsiness. Hence it is advised to take them during bedtime. People with low blood pressure also need to be careful while using it since it can reduce blood pressure.
One of the major functions of Taurine is that it helps grow new brain cells. Since the Taurine levels decline with age, there is a significant chance of the rise in brain disorders in the aged and elderly. Recent studies have revealed that this effect can be reversed by giving supplements of Taurine as they help to rejuvenate the brain structure and function. In addition to promoting the growth of new cells, Taurine enhances Neurites which help the cells to communicate better, which means Neurites maximize connections between those cells, along which electrical impulses flow to support memory, cognition, feeling, and thinking. So, it is indeed a boon for all those with ailments related to aging.
Taurine has also been proven very effective in treating conditions like Parkinson's disease and depression. Taurine supplementation has been shown to benefit neuronal proliferation and synaptogenesis aiding in improving learning and memory.
Some people also take Taurine as a dietary supplement. Taurine supplementation is not known to have any significant side effects. Taurine is also known to stimulate metabolism. It is however advised to consult your doctor before taking supplements of any kind to be on the safer side. Taurine supplement dosages vary between the ranges of 500 mg – 2000 mg and have proven to be effective. Higher levels over a long period also won't have any toxic or harmful side effects. For example, a dosage of 3g per day over a lifetime would possibly not have any side effects. However, researches about the potential benefits of supplementing Taurine in the diet is still in its early stages and on animals. High-end research on humans is yet to conducted to ascertain the benefits of Taurine on human health.