Taurine, a nonessential amino acid, is found in high concentrations in the white blood cells, skeletal muscles, central nervous system as well as the heart muscles. It is a building block of all the other amino acids as well as a key component of bile, which is needed for the digestion of fats, the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and the control of serum cholesterol levels. In adults, but not children, this nutrient can be manufactured from methionine in the body and from cysteine in the liver. Vitamin B6 must be present for these processes to be successful.
It is a key ingredient of bile, which in turn is needed for fat digestion, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins as well as the control of cholesterol serum levels in the body. (It is incorporated in the bile acid chenodeoxychloic acid, which emulsify the dietary fats). This nutrient is also used in the proper use of potassium, calcium, as well as sodium in the body, and for maintaining cell membrane integrity. It is thought to be helpful with anxiety, hyperactivity, poor brain function and epilepsy as well as hydrating the brain. Taurine, together with zinc, is also required for proper eye health and vision.
Function and Benefits of Taurine
- It is vital for the proper utilization of sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and it has been shown to play a particular role in sparing the loss of potassium from the heart muscle. This helps to prevent the development of potentially dangerous cardiac arrhythmias.
- It is a building block of all the other amino acids as well as a key component of bile, which is needed for the digestion of fats, the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and the control of serum cholesterol levels.
- Taurine has a protective effect on the brain, particularly if the brain is dehydrated. It is used to treat anxiety, epilepsy, hyperactivity, poor brain function, and seizures.
- Taurine is found in concentrations up to four times greater in the brains of children than in those of adults. It may be that a deficiency of taurine in the developing brain is involved in seizures.
- Taurine supplementation may benefit children with Down syndrome and muscular dystrophy.
- This amino acid is also used in some clinics for breast cancer treatment.
- Taurine is a nonessential amino acid, which means that it is manufactured from other amino acids in the liver; it does not have to be obtained directly through the diet. High concentrations of taurine are found in the heart muscle, white blood cells, skeletal muscle, and central nervous system.
- Is needed for fat digestion, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, the control of cholesterol serum levels in the body, maintaining cell membrane integrity.
Deficiency Symptoms of Taurine
Zinc deficiency also is commonly found in people with epilepsy, and this may play a part in the deficiency of taurine. Taurine is also associated with zinc in maintaining eye function; a deficiency of both may impair vision.
Rich Food Sources of Taurine
- Taurine is found in eggs, fish, meat, and milk, but not in vegetable proteins.
- It can be synthesized from cysteine in the liver and from methionine elsewhere in the body, as long as sufficient quantities of vitamin B6 are present.
- For individuals with genetic or metabolic disorders that prevent the synthesis of taurine, taurine supplementation is required.
- Taurine is not consumed in any significant quantity by vegans – who are vegetarians without dairy products or eggs in the diet. However, even vegans synthesize enough taurine in the body to avoid a deficiency of the compound in the body.
Some people mistakenly believe that the taurine in energy drinks, such as Red Bull, comes from the testicles of a bull. That myth might be rooted in the origins of the word taurine. The Vanderbilt University Psychology Department notes that the word taurine has it roots in the Latin word “taurus,” which means bull. It was found originally in the bile of an ox, or castrated bull, and can be found in the urine of female cattle. However, taurine used in today’s energy drinks is made synthetically.
- Methionine : The essential amino acid which assists with metabolic function, breaks down fat, and is the primary source of sulfur in the body. (blissreturned.wordpress.com)
- Valine : The essential amino acid that is needed for muscle metabolism, tissue repair, and the maintenance of a proper nitrogen balance in the body. (blissreturned.wordpress.com)