Taurine is a nonessential amino acid, which means that the body can synthesize it on its own. Taurine is abundant in the tissues of the heart, the skeletal muscles, and the central nervous system. It is essential for the proper digestion of fats, the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and the production of bile salts. Recently, researchers have found exciting new uses for taurine.
One particularly intriguing use for taurine is for heart failure, a serious condition that is often very difficult to treat. Heart failure means that the heart muscle can’t effectively pump blood through out the body. When the heart muscle becomes sluggish, the blood backs up, and this can lead to swelling in the legs and fluid retention in the lungs. Like prescription drugs such as digitalis, taurine can enhance the contractile action of the heart, which makes the heart pump more forcefully. In Japan, where natural remedies such as coenzyme Q10 are often used for heart disease, physicians use taurine to treat heart failure. In fact, in one 1992 study involving 17 patients with heart failure, physicians reported that patients given taurine for heart failure showed greater improvement than those given coenzyme Q10. In the United States, innovative alternative physicians are already recommending taurine to patients with heart disease to prevent heart failure. If you have a heart condition, do not try to self-medicate; work with a knowledgeable physician or natural healer.
Taurine is not just good for your heart; there is intriguing new evidence that it may also be good for your eyes. Animal studies have shown that when fed a taurine-deficient diet, animals will develop macular degeneration, destruction of the macula, the part of the retina that is responsible for central vision. In humans, macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50. Taurine may prevent macular degeneration by protecting the rods and cones, specialized cells in the retina that are instrumental in vision. This is especially important for diabetics, who are particularly vulnerable to macular degeneration. Although the cause of macular degeneration is unknown, it is probably related to oxidative damage and free radical damage from exposure to ultraviolet rays. Taurine, along with antioxidants, zinc, and herbs such as bilberry, is often included in special formulas designed to bolster vision.
Strengthens heart function.
May prevent macular degeneration.
Taurine requires zinc to help it function properly. In an adult, taurine is a conditionally essential amino acid and is made from methionine and cysteine. In children, it is an essential amino acid and must be taken in. It is required for normal brain development. Stress depletes your body of taurine.
Functions of taurine in your body:
Symptoms of taurine deficiency:
Taurine is used in the treatment of:
Foods that contain taurine are brewer’s yeast, dairy products, eggs, fish, meat and seafood.
Side effects: Taurine should not be taken with aspirin or any salicylates.
Dosage: 1 – 4 grams. Your requirement for taurine increases when you are stressed or ill.
If your homocysteine level is high you may have a block in the pathway that makes taurine.
Taurine is one of the most critical of all cell nutrients. An amino acid-like substance it is required for mineral transport. The fat is it is one of the body’s most efficient means of transporting minerals into cells.
Taurine is a difficult nutrient to procure in the diet. Plus, it is readily destroyed by toxic chemicals as well as drugs. People who are on multiple medications are usually taurine deficient, as are those who endure prolonged hospitalizations. Individuals suffering from cardiac disease usually have significant need for taurine. Thus, in the case of severe deficiency supplements are necessary.
TAURINE TEST (each response is worth 1 point)
Which of these apply to you?
1. chronic fatigue
2. increased susceptibility to infections
3. lowered white blood cell count
4. accelerated aging of the skin
5. weak and/or flabby muscles
7. mood swings
8. muscle stiffness
9. muscle cramps
10. macular degeneration
11. tendency to form calcium deposits
13. psychotic tendency
14. spastic jerking of the limbs
16. low blood calcium levels
17. loss of peripheral vision
18. restless leg syndrome (legs become stiff or jerk at night)
19. spinal stiffness
21. never or rarely eat whole milk products
22. history of one or more heart attacks
23. heart failure (congestive heart disease)
24. muscular wasting
25. light sensitivity
26. failure to thrive
27. high cholesterol level
28. consistently have light-colored stools
29. slow growing nails
30. never or rarely eat eggs
31. low cholesterol diet
32. sensitivity to cold weather
33. Do you suffer from epilepsy?
34. Do you drink alcoholic beverages on a daily basis?
35. Do you drink alcoholic beverages on a weekly basis?
36. Do you suffer from gallbladder disease?
37. Has your gallbladder been removed?
38. Do you suffer from heart rhythm disturbances?
39. Do you suffer from congestive heart failure?
40. Have you had a hear attack recently (within the past five years)
41. Are you taking cholesterol-lowering drugs?
42. Do you take numerous heart medications on a daily basis?
43. Are you suffering from extreme mental stress?
44. Do you suffer from chronic liver disease such as hepatitis and/or cirrhosis?
45. Have you suffered from hepatitis or cirrhosis for more than 10 years.
46. Are you constantly exposed to chemical fumes?
47. Do you suffer from low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria)?
48. Are you following a low protein diet?
49. Do you try to get most of your protein from vegetables, grains, and beans?
50. Do you eat only small portions of meat, fish or poultry?
51. Are you a diabetic?
52. Are you a vegan?
53. Are you a vegetarian?
54. Do you suffer from manic depressive syndrome?
55. Do you rarely or never eat red meat?
56. Are you consuming sugar or sweets on a regular basis?
57. Do you take mood altering drugs, such as Prozac, Xanax, or Zoloft, etc., on a daily or weekly basis?
58. Do you take the tranquilizer drug Chlorpromazine?
59. Are you taking the anti-malaria drug chloroquine?
60. Are you on intensive antibiotic therapy?
61. Are you vulnerable to severe allergic reactions?
62. Do you consume acetaminophen on a daily or weekly basis?
63. Do you have an enlarged heart or a condition known as cardiomyopathy?
64. On a daily basis do you take 2 or more medications?
3 or more checks = mild Taurine deficiency
Your Score ______ 6 or more checks = sub-clinical Taurine deficiency
________________________10 or more checks = severe Taurine deficiency___________