Benefits of Taurine
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What are the Benefits of Taurine?
Research shows this amino acid has the following health benefits:
- Reduces blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels
- Protects against liver damage
- Protects cells against damage from harmful toxins
- Functions as an anticonvulsant in the body
- Strengthens the retina of the eye for those suffering from
- As an antioxidant, it inhibits the production of
proinflammatory cytokines (signaling molecules).
What is Taurine?
Taurine is a free beta-amino acid which can be produced by the body. It occurs in the highest concentration in the brain, the retina and in the myocardium (heart muscle). This substance comprises 50% of the amino acids found in the heart.
Sources of Taurine
This amino acid can be found in the following foods:
- Dairy products
Taurine Side Effects
There are no known side effects of taurine or taurine supplements. However, if you are pregnant, nursing or taking prescription drugs consult your health care provider before taking extra taurine.
One potential positive taurine side effect has been noticed by individuals undergoing chemotherapy. Some chemotherapy medications can deplete the body's store of taurine. The patient can be made to feel better by taking taurine supplements before treatments.
Caution should be used if you are taking medications to lower your blood pressure, lower your body's sugar or cholesterol levels, Check with your physician before taking taurine supplements if you are taking prescription medications for any of the above health conditions.
There are no known side effects from taurine found in foods. The taurine levels in food are much lower in comparison to the amounts found in taurine supplements.
Since taurine can be manufactured by the body it is rare for someone to suffer from a taurine deficiency. It should be pointed out, however, that people following a vegan diet may need to take taurine supplements.
Research indicates low levels of taurine in the heart can lead to cardiomyopathy (heart disease).
A research study showed that rats who were fed low taurine diets were susceptible to liver damage from carbon tetrachloride.
Taurine can be made by the body and is therefore not considered an essential amino acid. You may, however, need taurine supplements in times of injury, illness, physical exertion or if you are taking chemotherapy treatments. Body builders take taurine supplements to increase blood flow to the muscles.
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