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Taurine

Other name(s):

2-aminoethane-sulphonic acid

General description

Taurine is an essential amino acid. There are high amounts of it in meat and fish. Normally, enough taurine is synthesized in the human body from cysteine and hypotaurine.  

Unsubstantiated claims

Please note that this section reports on claims that have not yet been substantiated through studies.

Taurine may help congestive heart disease. But the mechanism of action is unclear. More research is needed. 

Taurine has been said to help control the nervous system. It’s been used to treat anxiety and seizure issues. It’s also been used to treat the hyperactivity due to attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).

It may aid in treating hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). It may also help treat high blood pressure (hypertension). It may also help prevent heart rate issues.  

Recommended intake

Amino acids (AAs) are available as individual AAs or in AA combinations. They also come as part of multi-vitamins, proteins, and food supplements. The forms include tablets, fluids, and powders.

Note that by eating enough protein in your diet, you get all of the amino acids you need.

If you don’t consume enough taurine, you may need to take supplements. This may happen during parenteral nutrition. This is because the body cannot synthesize enough of it.

Also, babies who aren’t breastfed may need taurine supplements. This is because their ability to synthesize it isn’t fully developed. Many infant formulas and parenteral nutrition solutions have added taurine.  

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

Using a single amino acid supplement may lead to negative nitrogen balance. This can decrease how efficient your metabolism is. It can also make your kidneys work harder. In children, taking single amino acid supplements may also cause growth problems.

You should not take high doses of individual amino acids for long periods of time.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn’t use taurine supplements. Breast milk contains high levels of taurine as compared with cow's milk. Taurine is added to formula made with cow’s milk.

 

 

Online Medical Reviewer: Poulson, Brittany, RD, CDE
Online Medical Reviewer: Wilkins, Joanna, R.D., C.D.
Last Review Date: 8/1/2016