More research on taurine is still required. But so far, the available evidence shows this amino acid may have several potential helpful effects on our health and well-being ranging from heart health and healthy aging to an exercise aid.
- By lowering heart disease risk factors and relaxing blood vessels, taurine appears to benefit heart health.
- Taurine’s antioxidant activity and its potential to fight cellular aging, mitochondrial dysfunction, DNA damage, and inflammation suggest a role in healthy aging.
- By protecting cells from oxidative stress, taurine may promote overall health and longevity.
- As a potential exercise aid, taurine may minimize DNA damage during workouts and control rising lactate levels, though more research is required.
- Despite indications that taurine could safeguard our nervous system against neurodegeneration, additional clinical trials are necessary to confirm its brain-boosting abilities.
You may think of taurine as just an ingredient in energy drinks. But, this lesser-known amino acid is now gaining attention for its possible effects on health. Taurine is naturally produced in our bodies, but aging and diseases can limit its production.
As research continues to uncover its secrets, taurine emerges as a multifaceted player in maintaining our health.
Table of Contents
1. Taurine May Improve Heart Health
Some studies have shown links between higher taurine intake and improved heart health. People who increased their taurine intake had fewer heart issues, including coronary artery disease (CAD).
In experiments with rabbits, adding taurine to a diet that usually causes artery plaque buildup helped lower heart disease risks. This suggests taurine may have a beneficial effect on blood vessels.
Also, when taurine was directly given to blood vessels in lab tests, it caused the blood vessels to relax. Relaxed vessels are healthier for the heart. Taurine seems to work by affecting potassium channels in these blood vessels, which helps them relax and may prevent heart disease.
The researchers agree that these early findings are encouraging. But, more studies in humans are still needed to confirm if taurine-rich foods or supplements can truly help treat heart problems in people.
2. Taurine May Promote Healthy Aging
However, when this decline was reversed through taurine supplementation, it had positive effects. In mice, it extended their healthy years and overall lifespan, while in monkeys, it primarily improved their healthspan.
It’s believed that taurine works by:
- Reducing cellular aging
- Protecting against telomere shortening (which is linked to aging)
- Improving mitochondrial function
- Reducing DNA damage
- Lessening inflammation associated with aging
In humans, low taurine levels were linked to age-related diseases, and taurine levels increased after vigorous exercise. Taurine may also help prevent aging-related issues like cell damage and inflammation. This suggests that taurine deficiency might be one of the factors driving the aging process.
However, more research is needed to fully understand the exact role of taurine in healthy aging.
3. Taurine May Help With Antioxidant Defense
Studies show taurine acts as an antioxidant in the body. Antioxidants fight harmful free radicals, which are chemicals that can damage cells.
By neutralizing free radicals, taurine lowers oxidative stress, which is linked to chronic diseases and aging. As a result, taurine may support better health and longevity.
In one 2022 study, 24 women ages 55-70 received 1.5 grams of taurine daily for 16 weeks. The researchers found taurine boosted the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) levels. This means taurine may help manage oxidative stress in aging women.
Lab research is promising, but more clinical trials are needed in humans to confirm if taurine supplements are helpful for diseases related to oxidative stress.
4. Taurine May Support Exercise Performance
One review looked at different taurine doses and exercise ability. The studies measured exercise performance in various ways, like muscle strength and creatine kinase levels.
The results suggested taking 2 grams of taurine three times daily may lower DNA damage during exercise. Taking 1 gram of taurine before or after a workout seemed to reduce lactate levels. High lactate levels in the blood can be a sign of inadequate oxygen supply to tissues or certain medical conditions.
High taurine doses (6 grams) pre-workout did not affect lactate. But they raised glycerol levels, which could benefit high-intensity exercise. A small 0.05-gram taurine dose before strength training lowered muscle fatigue and increased antioxidants.
However, current research on taurine for performance and metabolism is limited and mixed.
Some studies show taurine may help recovery and prevent muscle damage. But timing and exercise type might impact results. More trials are needed to draw clear conclusions.
5. Taurine May Help Control Blood Sugar
Studies show taurine can improve the activity of glucagon (a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels).
Taurine does this partly by reducing advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). AGEs are harmful compounds that build up and cause health issues. Taurine may also help the pancreas release more insulin and improve insulin resistance.
Research indicates including taurine in your diet may help prevent metabolic syndrome, including obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
However, there’s a notable lack of clinical trials in this area, and the existing ones have limitations.
6. Taurine May Support Neurological Development
In conditions that affect the nervous system, taurine might help protect against damage seen in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s.
Scientific investigations suggest that taurine can act as a protector for the brain in cases of stroke. Furthermore, recent research has uncovered the potential of taurine in treating neurodevelopmental disorders.
7. Taurine May Aid With Eye Health
A 2021 study looked at how oxidative stress leads to retinal disorders that can cause blindness. The findings suggest taurine may slow the progression of degenerative retinal diseases. This makes it a promising option to help prevent or treat these conditions.
Another study says taurine should be looked at closely as a treatment for retinal diseases. Since taurine has antioxidant effects, it could be given along with other antioxidants.
Researchers are interested in taurine’s potential to support eye health. However, more studies are required to understand how taurine protects the retina specifically.
What foods contain taurine?
Taurine is primarily found in animal-based foods like meat, fish, and dairy products. Some energy drinks also contain taurine.
Are taurine supplements safe?
When taken in moderation and as directed, taurine supplements are generally considered safe for most people. However, it’s a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen to ensure it’s appropriate for your health needs.
How does taurine help with healthy aging?
Taurine can contribute to healthy aging by protecting cells from damage caused by oxidative stress and supporting various bodily functions. Its antioxidant properties and potential to promote heart health may support longevity and well-being as we age.
What about taurine side effects?
Taurine is generally considered safe when consumed in recommended amounts through food or supplements, with very few reported side effects. However, taking an excessive amount of taurine may cause side effects such as back pain, vomiting, fever, headache, and stomach pain.
What are ways to boost taurine levels naturally?
Eating meat, fish, and dairy products can naturally boost taurine levels.
How do I choose taurine supplements?
When choosing taurine supplements, look for trusted brands with clear ingredient labels. Also, consult a healthcare professional for dosage and suitability for your specific needs.
Taurine shows potential health benefits, including supporting heart health and promoting healthy aging, aiding exercise performance, controlling blood sugar, and protecting neurological and eye health. While research in animals and lab studies is encouraging, more clinical trials involving humans are needed to validate taurine’s effectiveness fully.
Ultimately, remember that taurine is just one component of health. Proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress management also contribute to well-being.
- Abud et al. 2022. Taurine as a possible antiaging therapy: A controlled clinical trial on taurine antioxidant activity in women ages 55 to 70.
- Baliou et al. 2021. Protective role of taurine against oxidative stress (Review).
- Castelli et al. 2021. Taurine and oxidative stress in retinal health and disease.
- Chen et al. 2021. The Dose Response of Taurine on Aerobic and Strength Exercises: A Systematic Review.
- Froger et al. 2014. Taurine: the comeback of a nutraceutical in the prevention of retinal degenerations.
- Imae et al. 2014. Potential role of taurine in the prevention of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
- Inam-U-Llah et al. 2018. Ameliorative effects of taurine against diabetes: A review.
- Jakaria et al. 2019. Taurine and its analogs in neurological disorders: Focus on therapeutic potential and molecular mechanisms.
- Kurtz et al. 2021. Taurine in sports and exercise.
- McGaunn et al. 2023. Taurine linked with healthy aging.
- Niu et al. 2008. Vasorelaxant effect of taurine is diminished by tetraethylammonium in rat isolated arteries.
- Qaradakhi et al. 2020. The Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Taurine on Cardiovascular Disease.
- Singh et al. 2023. Taurine deficiency as a driver of aging.
- Venkatachalam et al. 2014. The potency of essential nutrient taurine on boosting the antioxidant status and chemopreventive effect against benzo (a)pyrene induced experimental lung cancer.