What Is L-Taurine?
L-Taurine, otherwise known as taurine, is a conditionally essential amino acid. Unlike most amino acids, taurine doesn’t play a role in building proteins. Rather, it helps to maintain proper hydration and electrolyte and mineral balance in your cells, supporting the functions of the digestive, nervous and immune systems. Our bodies produce taurine in small amounts to fulfill these daily functions.
Where Is L-Taurine Naturally Found?
In the human body, taurine is found most abundantly within the brain, retina of the eyes, heart, and platelets. Taurine is also found in food sources, particularly meat.
It is often added to energy drinks alongside caffeine, as some studies suggest it may improve mental and athletic performance. Most energy drinks contain around 1 gram of taurine per 8 ounces.
When Should Taurine Be Supplemented?
Most people create enough taurine in their bodies or get enough out of their diet for essential daily functions. However, some people require supplementation, such as individuals with heart or kidney failure and some premature infants.
There are many conditions that use taurine for treatment, including congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, hepatitis, high cholesterol, and cystic fibrosis. Some evidence has shown that taurine can help to lower blood pressure and calm the sympathetic nervous system in individuals with congestive heart failure. Taurine is also frequently used for its antioxidant properties to prevent cell-damaging side effects of chemotherapy.
Taurine is supplemented for the treatment of:
- – congestive heart failure (CHF)
- – liver disease (hepatitis)
- – retinal disorder
- – chemotherapy side effects
- – cirrhosis
- – cystic fibrosis
- – diabetes
- – fatigue
- – high blood pressure
- – reduced mental performance
- – reduced exercise performance
- – insomnia
- – psychosis
- – anemia
When taken in reasonable doses, taurine causes no side effects.
This medication is contraindicated in those with a hypersensitivity to taurine. Those with kidney problems or who are pregnant or lactating should use caution or avoid taking taurine altogether.
The recommended dosage of taurine is usually less than 3,000 mg per day. Different conditions require different dosages. Therefore, it is important to follow your physician’s instructions when taking this medication.
There are several medications that may interact with taurine. Please be aware of the following:
- – Lithium: Because taurine may have a diuretic effect, it may decrease how well lithium is excreted. This can leave serious side effects as lithium levels may be increased in the body.
- – Antiplatelets: Therapy modification should be considered due to chance of increased adverse effects of antiplatelet medication. Bleeding may occur.
- – Anticoagulants: Therapy modification should be considered due to chance of increased adverse effects of anticoagulant medication. Bleeding may occur.
- – NSAIDs: Therapy modification should be considered due to chance of increased adverse effects of NSAIDs. Bleeding may occur.
- – Salicylates: Therapy modification should be considered due to chance of increased adverse effects of salicylates. Bleeding may occur.
- – Thrombolytic agents: Therapy modification should be considered due to chance of increased adverse effects of thrombolytics. Bleeding may occur.