What is taurine? Why do we need it?
Taurine is a non-essential amino acid produced by the body
through the synthesis of two other amino acids (methionine
and cysteine). It is an important component of bile acids,
which are used to absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins.
also regulates heartbeat; maintains the stability of cell
membranes; transports potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium
in and out of cells; and regulates the activity of brain cells.
As an antioxidant, it detoxifies toxic substances, retinoids
and environmental toxins.
Taurine is believed to play a role in treating a number of
conditions, including congestive heart failure, high blood
pressure, gallstones, diabetes, and nervous system disorders.
How much taurine should I take?
Because taurine is produced by the body, most people do not
need taurine supplements. Depending on the condition, many
practitioners typically recommend two grams TID for a total
of six grams per day.
What are some good sources of taurine?
What forms are available?
Taurine is found in human milk and most infant formulas;
however, the amount in these substances is considered inadequate
for infants. Good sources of taurine include brewer's yeast,
eggs and other dairy products, fish and red meat.
What can happen if I don't get enough
taurine? What can happen if I take too much? Are there any
side-effects I should be aware of?
Taurine is produced by a combination of cysteine, methionine
and vitamin C; low amounts of these substances can in turn
lead to taurine deficiency. Low amounts of taurine may cause
anxiety, epilepsy, hyperactivity and poor brain function.
As of this writing, there are no known toxicity levels for
taurine; however, excessive levels may cause diarrhea and
Taurine may interact with certain chemotherapy medications.
Be sure to consult with a qualified health care provider before
taking taurine supplements.
- Birdsall T. Therapeutic applications of
taurine. Alt Med Rev 1998;3(2):128-136.
- Franconi F, Bennardini F, Mattana A, et
al. Plasma and platelet taurine are reduced in subjects
with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus: effects of taurine
supplementation. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;61:11159.
- Haas E. Staying Healthy with Nutrition:
The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine.
Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 1992.
- Tenney L. Todays Herbal Health.
Pleasant Grove, UT: Woodland Publishing, 2000.
- Wright J, Gaby A. The Patients
Book of Natural Healing. Rocklin, CA: Prima Health,