Taurine The Wonder Supplement
Only a small population of people make it past 100 years old, and somehow, a place in Japan called Okinawa holds the reputation of being the ‘Island of Longevity’ for it holds several individuals who have passed this feat. Japan is also known for having the highest life expectancy rate in the world.
Must there be something in the water? Evidently, these people seem like they have formulated a certain recipe for living longer. If there’s anything they share, studies have shown that it is their optimal consumption of an amino acid called Taurine.
While other factors come into play with longevity, Taurine was such an outlier in experiments that scientists have dubbed it as ‘The nutritional factor for the longevity of the Japanese’.
Taurine is an amino sulfonic acid, more referred to as an amino acid. When proteins are broken down, amino acids are what’s left of it. This is essential to the body to make proteins and help break down food. It is largely found in the eyes, brain, heart, blood cells, muscles– some of the most vital parts in one’s body.
Taurine is essential in cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, electrolyte balance, and immune modulation. Keeping these areas of the body keeps it immune from several conditions, both minor and major. It has also been dubbed as a ‘wonder molecule’ for its broad scope of benefits in the body.
Taurine is often referred to as a ‘conditional amino acid’ which indicates that the body is capable of producing it on its own, whereas an essential amino acid needs to be taken through one’s diet or supplements.
While the body can produce this amino acid on its own, supplements are usually suggested to reach its optimal intake. This is especially true for those with special conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease, for they will be needing more of it.
Infants who are not breastfed may also need to supplement this amino acid, for cow’s milk does not provide an adequate amount of taurine for a baby’s proper development. This goes for those who feed through tubes as well.
If Taurine is capable of doing all these and more, then why does it sound like a foreign concept to most? Amid continuous research and experiments to discover the next big thing in terms of longevity, Taurine had been kept in the dark and has lost its fame in the industry.
It used to be more prominent, with a study in 2012 even claiming it to be one of the most essential substances in the body. This is true to individuals for all ages and sizes, for Taurine has been present in treating some of the most widespread conditions.
Treats Epilepsy and Anxiety
In cases of seizures, Taurine acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter that prevents this from occurring in epileptics. Research has also claimed that it is capable of treating seizure-associated brain damage. For patients with bipolar disorder, this function also deems helpful in regulating manic states.
With its role in neurotransmitter regulation, taurine also helps in calming down and stabilizing the mind, much like GABA functions, which is another neurotransmitter found in the brain. The amount of taurine in the mind is pretty concentrated, and because of its ability to generate nerve impulses, this prevents it from erratic bouts.
The same way it controls epilepsy and other similar brain states, taurine can also help in reducing stress and anxiety. As it slows down the release of adrenaline, it protects an individual from the usual fight-or-flight response that most people with mental health issues battle with.
Aside from its mild sedative properties, it has been used in treating the likes of migraines, sleeping conditions, agitation, restlessness, irritability, and depression.
Aids and Reverses Cardiovascular Diseases
Taking 2-3 grams of Taurine twice daily makes all the difference for those going through conditions of the heart.
Low levels of taurine have been found in heart attack patients. Taurine counters instances such as these and exponentially affects functions of the heart and blood vessels. It helps smoothly move key nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium around the heart, which significantly lowers the rate of acquiring conditions such as fatal coronary heart disease.
People who take Taurine also have lower mass body index, blood pressure, and lower levels of harmful lipids in their body. The regulated and less resistant blood flow also lowers blood pressure and minimizes the impulses in the brain that drive it up.
Taurine supplementation has also been found to reduce arterial thickening and stiffness that cause atherosclerosis, restores the arteries and reduces inflammation in these areas.
Candidates for coronary bypass surgery have also been spared by their intake of taurine, once combined with carnitine and multivitamin nutrients. It has reduced left-sided ventricular volume during the heart’s resting phase, which is the main cause of death in patients requiring this surgery.
Obesity rates have been going up by the day in different parts of the world, and taurine can also aid in preventing this from rising any further. Obesity takes effect in several areas of the body because of the inflammation-generating fat it stores. A human study has shown the reduced body fat in obese individuals that took 3 grams of taurine daily over 7 weeks. This also brought about a decline in their serum triglycerides, some cholesterol components that pose a risk for atherosclerosis.
Animal studies have also backed up these same effects. It improves glucose tolerance in obese animals, which is helpful to prevent the development of diabetes in obese people. One of the most important discoveries is how the presence of obesity shows a decline in taurine levels, which makes supplementation all the more important.
A team in Japan also conducted a research that showed the role of taurine in the dilation of the vascular system. It secretes more nitric oxide, dilates blood vessels, which in turn improves the blood flow and delivery of oxygen around the body.
Glucose Control and Diabetes
As mentioned, the drop of taurine due to obesity only worsens the condition and may eventually lead to it developing into diabetes. With this said, taurine is evidently lower in a diabetic’s body than that present in a healthy individual. With just half the dose than the recommended amount with obese patients, just 1.5 grams of taurine can already restore one’s levels to normal, and can even prevent the onset of type II diabetes from occurring.
Normal taurine levels are essential in controlling diabetes and its further severe consequences. With conditions that require maintenance medicine, managing the situation and preventing it from getting any worse is key. Animal studies have shown how taurine has made an impact on reducing blood glucose and restoring insulin sensitivity, which is what most diabetics aim for. Taurine studies have even gone so far as saying that this amino acid is capable of reversing several consequences associated with the disease.
In adult diabetics, the reversal of abnormalities in arterial stiffness due to diabetes has been reversed. The ability of the vasculature to respond to the changes in blood flow has also been impacted. This changes the game for diabetics, for it is in these abnormalities that cardiovascular diseases stem from.
In addition, taurine helps further in preventing heart muscle damage, in connection with its ability to increase glucose transport from the blood to the heart muscle cells. In this transfer, blood glucose levels are lowered.
More studies on animals and cell culture have further supported the claim that taurine supplementation plays an effective role in fending off diabetic complications. Nerve fiber integrity also comes into play– it restores deficient levels of nerve growth factor, that is needed in maintaining retinal health.
One common part of the body that gets affected by elevated blood glucose is the retina. Here, taurine plays a part in fighting oxidant stress from glucose and preserves the light-sensing cells in diabetic retinopathy. The kidneys are also spared from damage, as shown in an experiment in taurine supplementation in animals.
Besides the role it plays in protecting the retina in diabetics, taurine has a further impact on keeping the eyes healthy. The optimal amount of this amino acid can prevent individuals from experiencing the vision loss that comes with aging, while a deficiency can develop vision problems. It is mostly from oxidative stress on the light-sensing cells that create these problems in the first place, which taurine helps lessen, as mentioned. This kind of damage can branch out into other retinal diseases.
A significant amount of taurine can be expected from the retina, but it declines with age. According to several studies, other different vision problems such as ganglion cell degeneration and retinal dysfunction in children can occur with taurine deficiency. In these instances, supplementation deems necessary.
Certain types of drugs can deplete the presence of taurine in the body and can play a part in retinal damage. This includes chemotherapy drugs, anti-epileptic drugs, and radiation therapy.
Besides the eyes, taurine can also help in preserving one’s sense of hearing. Some studies claim to have concluded that adequate taurine can reverse the biochemical processes that come with hearing loss. Tinnitus, a perception of noise in the ears that affects about 20% of people, can also be reversed by this amino acid, according to studies.
Most damage to hearing comes from the nerve cells that convert sound waves into energy that is perceived in the brain. These hair cells depend on the calcium ions that go in and out of the cell, and taurine helps the smooth flow of these into the auditory cells.
Taurine also improves the hearing ability of animals that are exposed to different drugs such as antibiotic gentamicin, which is known to be toxic to hearing. The animal equivalent of 700mg to a human’s 3.2 grams has also shown an improvement in cases of tinnitus in animals.
A sufficient amount of evidence shows that taurine may also help in treating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the most common liver disease in the US. This disease comes from too much-accumulated fat in the liver, which is caused by insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. This is usually where the loss of liver function stems from.
Since the liver is the prime source of detoxification, several screenings of blood flow for substances may cause damage in the body. Taurine is important in keeping the liver at an optimal state for this tedious task.
Taurine also defends the liver against free radicals and toxins, which reduces a liver injury caused by a severe amount of oxidative stress. This deems highly significant in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases.
In a conducted human study, it was shown how 24 patients with chronic hepatitis had their levels of oxidative stress plummet once they took 2 grams of taurine three times a day. Their elevates cholesterol and triglycerides went down a hefty amount as well.
Improves Workout Performance
Athletes may be more educated in the importance of taurine, as it is known to optimize one’s and exercise performance and traverse longer distances with less fatigue.
While it does not help in building muscle tissue, it does a good job of regulating energy production, both physically and mentally. It builds muscle contractility which helps muscles work harder, rids of lactic acid, the chemical that brings out the soreness that gauges the endurance in a workout, and protects the muscles from damage by regulating the oxidant stress that comes with exercise.
Even without supplements, taurine can be added to one’s regular diet for it can be found in dark meat, turkey, and shellfish such as clams, mussels, and scallops. With this, vegetarians and vegans may need to take supplements as the amount of taurine in the usual food available for these diets would not suffice. Some pre-workout drinks also come with taurine.
Since supplements have been the main suggestion for the optimal function of taurine, here are a few notable ones worth trying:
1. Transparent Labs RawSeries Taurine
Each serving of this drink comes with a potent 2000mg worth of taurine. Besides being a good pre-workout pick-me-upper, this boosts cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, electrolyte balance, weight loss, and glucose control. It has no added preservatives or sweeteners and is gluten-free.
2. NOW Double Strength Taurine
For those whose diets may be deficient in taurine, these capsules come at 1000mg per serving and are vegan-friendly as they have been sourced from a vegetable cellulose blend. Stearic acid is the only thing added to this, to simply bind it together. This supplement is a strong, calculated source of taurine.
3. Pure Encapsulations Taurine
For a moderate dose of taurine, Pure Encapsulations come in 500 mg vegetable cellulose capsules that are best for those who wish to up their intake a mild notch. This is advisable for smaller and lighter people who won’t need a significantly higher dose but would still wish to obtain its effects at an optimal level.
4. BulkSupplements Pure Taurine Powder
If one wishes to obtain the effects of an energy drink without having to resort to drinking too much Red Bull, BulkSupplements would be a good compromise. While this is a less calculated option, there is no harm in going over the optimal dosage of taurine anyway. This supplement is 100% pure taurine and is the perfect option for those who wish to mix other things with their daily dose.