Taurine supplement benefit and side effects, what is the right dosage?
Novemeber 24 2014
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

 

Taurine is a semi-essential sulphur containing amino acid derived from methionine and cysteine metabolism and present in virtually all cells throughout the animal kingdom. The amino acid was discovered more than two hundred years ago from animal sources. Taurine is distributed in both mammals and non-mammals and its content is high in several tissues. For more than a century-and-a-half, it was regarded just as an end product of sulfur metabolism. Recently, it has been rediscovered and its beneficial effects in processes like epilepsy, hypertension, congestive heart failure and diabetes have been tested. As an antioxidant, it may be helpful in neurodegenerative diseases and atherosclerosis.

   Mammals are able to synthesize taurine (2-aminoethanesulfonic acid), but humans are more dependent on dietary sources.

 

Source Naturals buy L Taurine supplement, 500 mg, 120 tablets

L Taurine is a crystalline, free-form amino acid. It is a soothing, inhibitory neurotransmitter and plays a major role in stabilizing the heartbeat and electrical activity of the nerves. It is also necessary for the proper functioning of the "sodium/potassium ATP-ase pump", which regulates the ion balance between the cells and the extra cellular fluid that surrounds them.


Supplement Facts
Taurine 500 mg per tablet

 

 

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This amino acid is found in higher amounts in electrically excitable tissues such as brain, retina, heart and skeletal muscles. In the central nervous system, taurine is involved in cell volume regulation and in inhibitory neuromodulation or neurotransmission.

 

Benefits

 

Antioxidant
Effect of taurine on antioxidant enzyme system in B16F10 melanoma cells.
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2009.
The aim of the present study was to examine whether taurine enhances endogenous antioxidant enzyme activity and/or regulates ROS generation in B16F10 mouse melanoma cells. Our results suggest that taurine decreases reactive oxygen species levels by increasing the levels of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase.

 

Cognitive function, effect on mind and brain
Taurine appears to have multiple functions in the brain participating both in volume regulation and neurotransmission. In the latter context it may exert its actions by serving as an agonist at receptors of the GABAergic and glycinergic neurotransmitter systems.

 

The effect of subacute supplementation of taurine on spatial learning and memory.
Exp Anim. 2009.
Although the effect of taurine on the heart and liver is well studied, there has been no direct observation concerning the effect of taurine on spatial learning and memory at the behavior level. In this study, we tested the effect of subacute taurine supplementation with evaluation by the Morris water maze method. Although swim distance to find the platform of taurine-supplemented rats was significantly longer than that of control rats due to increase of swimming velocity, escape latency and the efficacy of learning and memory was comparable in both groups. These results suggest that taurine supplemented orally does not affect the learning and memory function.

 

Neuroscience. Feb 13 2014. Taurine improves functional and histological outcomes and reduces inflammation in traumatic brain injury. We investigated the effect of taurine on inflammatory cytokine expression, on astrocyte activity and cerebral edema and functional outcomes, following TBI in rats. 72 rats were randomly divided into sham, TBI and Taurine groups. Rats subjected to moderate lateral fluid percussion injury were injected intravenously with taurine (200 mg /kg) or saline immediately after injury or daily for 7 days. Functional outcome was evaluated using Modified Neurological Severity Score (mNSS). GFAP of the brain was measured using immunofluorescence. Concentration of 23 cytokines and chemokines in the injured cortex at 1 and 7 days after TBI was assessed by Luminex xMAP technology. The results showed that taurine significantly improved functional recovery except 1 day, reduced accumulation of GFAP and water content in the penumbral region at 7 days after TBI. Compared with the TBI group, taurine significantly suppressed GRO/KC and IL-1β levels while elevating the levels of RANTES at 1 day. And taurine markedly decreased the level of 17 cytokine: eotaxin, G-CSF, GM-CSF, IFN-γ, IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-13, IL-17, leptin, MCP-1, TNF-α, VEGF, and only increased the level of MIP-1α in a week. The results suggest that taurine effectively mitigates the severity of brain damage in TBI by attenuating the increase of astrocyte activity and edema as well as pro-inflammatory cytokines.

 

Amino Acids. 2013 Oct. Neuroprotective role of taurine during aging. Supplementation might help forestall the age-related decline in cognitive functions through interaction with the GABAergic system.

 

Effect on exercise
Seven days of oral taurine supplementation does not increase muscle taurine content or alter substrate metabolism during prolonged exercise in humans.
J Appl Physiol. 2008.
In the first part of the study, after an overnight fast, 7 volunteers ingested 1.66 g oral taurine doses with breakfast (8 AM) and lunch (12 noon). In the second part of the study, eight men cycled for 2 h after 7 days of placebo (P) ingestion (6 g glucose/day) and again following 7 days of T (5 grams /day). Our data indicate that acute T produces a 13-fold increase in plasma taurine concentration; despite the ability to significantly elevate plasma taurine for extended periods throughout the day, 7 days of T does not alter skeletal muscle taurine content or carbohydrate and fat oxidation during exercise; and T appears to have some impact on muscle amino acid response to exercise.


Heart tissue benefit, role in heart failure

The function of taurine in the cardiac vascular system is extensive, and the mechanism is complicated. It protects cardiac cells from injury caused by ischemia. This amino acid helps prevent endothelial dysfunction caused by hyperglycemia, hypercholesterolemia, smoking and homocysteine; suppresses the proliferation and calcification in vascular smooth muscle cells, promotes metabolism and excretion of cholesterol in animal models of hyperlipemia. This amino acid mainly acts inside the cell. However, taurine transport system becomes aberrant in pathological myocardial and vascular tissues.

 

J Cardiol. 2011. Effect of taurine supplementation on exercise capacity of patients with heart failure.
A total of 15 patients received taurine supplementation 500 mg three times a day while the remaining 14 patients received placebo for 2 weeks. Exercise time, metabolic equivalents METS, and exercise distance increased significantly in patients who received the supplement for 2 weeks.

 

Your taurine page includes a question about its effect on heart arrhythmias. George Eby has a website that reviews the role of taurine in heart rhythm disturbances. Can it be classified as human studies? Is it reliable? I consult your website often and find it very useful.
    A Medline review in 2012 did not reveal any human studies regarding the role of taurine supplements in terms of preventing or treating heart rhythm disturbances. I will await to see results of published trials before commenting on the accuracy of the opinion by George Eby whether this amino acid plays a role in reducing the risk for arrhythmias.

 

Myocardial infarction

As a non-toxic endogenous antioxidant, the semi-essential amino acid taurine is a potential attenuator of oxidative damage such as that produced by ischaemia-reperfusion injury. Ischaemia-reperfusion injury is a well established if paradoxical phenomenon whereby ischaemic tissue, doomed to necrosis if it is not reperfused, is actually further damaged by oxidative attack when perfusion is restored. There is consistent experimental evidence of an important role of taurine in ischaemia-reperfusion injury, with a clinical role emerging in human trials of taurine administered prior to coronary artery bypass grafting and heart valve surgery.

 

Liver tissue protection
J Biochem Mol Toxicol. Dec 3 2013. Mechanisms of Phenytoin-Induced Toxicity in Freshly Isolated Rat Hepatocytes and the Protective Effects of Taurine and/or Melatonin.

 

Vision improvement
Dietary taurine supplementation ameliorates diabetic retinopathy via anti-excitotoxicity of glutamate in streptozotocin-induced Sprague-Dawley rats.
Neurochem Res. 2007.
Sprague-Dawley rats were injected with streptozotocin to establish experimental diabetic model, then fed without or with 1.2% taurine for additional 4-12 weeks. Our results showed that chronic taurine supplement effectively improved diabetic retinopathy Chronic taurine supplementation increased glutamate transporter expression, decreased intermediate filament glial fibrillary acidic protein and N-methyl-D: -aspartate receptor subunit 1 expression in diabetic retina. These results demonstrated that chronic taurine supplementation ameliorates diabetic retinopathy via anti-excitotoxicity of glutamate in rats.

 

Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
Hear Res. 2010. The effect of supplemental dietary taurine on tinnitus and auditory discrimination in an animal model.
Taurine, a partial agonist at inhibitory glycine and γ-amino butyric acid receptors, was added to the daily diet of rats to examine its effects on chronic tinnitus and normal auditory discrimination. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that taurine attenuates tinnitus and improves auditory discrimination by increasing inhibitory tone and decreasing noise in the auditory pathway.

 

Q. What would be the right dosage in humans for taurine use to treat tinnitus?
   A. I do not have enough feedback or experience in this topic to know, but starting with 500 or 1,000 mg a day is an option.

 

Sexual health
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013. Taurine can enhance the sexual response and mating ability in aged male rats by increasing the level of testosterone and NO, but the exact mechanism of which needs to be further investigated.

 

Analogues

A large number of l taurine derivatives have been reported in the literature with partial to marked activity. Taurine derivatives like taltrimide, acamprosate and tauromustine, are already in the market as anti-convulsant, anti-alcoholic and anti-cancer agents.

 

L Taurine side effects, risk, danger
No significant l taurine side effects or risks have been reported in the medical literature as of 2012.

 

Questions
My son has a mild controlled epilepsy, treated with Tegretol, but he still has (from time to time) problems going to sleep, a problem where he jerks awake ( maybe going into a deeper sleep stage) connected with his epilepsy. We don't want to increase Tegretol dosage. Two years ago, I used a taurine supplement for several months with success, but can't remember the taurine dosage regimen. Before meals or after, for this type of complaint? Peptic ulcer a risk if before meals? Interestingly, Adenosine, 1 morn and night, has been successful for 2 years, but just lately, not so effective, so thought a 2 week stint on taurine amino acid again , and then go back to Adenosine, would be a good idea.
   The timing on the use of a taurine supplement depends on what is being treated and on individual response. It is best to try different times to determine which works better. Most amino acids are more effective and better absorbed when taken on an empty stomach.

 

What about the amino acid taurine for heart arrhythmias? This is an amino acid found abundantly in the heart. It works as a modulator of nerve impulses. Do you know of any research done in relation to heart rhythm problems?
   Although some rodent studies indicate it may play a role in reducing the risk for cardiac arrhythmias, as of 2013 I have not come across human studies regarding its influence on heart rhythm.

 

What dosage do you recommend to take for L-taurine for heart disease prevention? Is divided dosage throughout the day better or all at once each day? Between meals or with meals?
   There is not enough research to know the answers to these questions as of 2013.

 

Red Bull
L Taurine is found in the popular energy drink Red Bull.