An amino acid, taurine plays a role in blood platelet activity, regulation of the nervous system, and other functions. While the body can make taurine on its own, some people may need to obtain it from dietary sources. Taurine is found in protein-rich foods and is also available in the form of dietary supplements. These products are often claimed to be useful for treating conditions such as:
- Congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Steatorrhea (fatty, frothy stools) in people with cystic fibrosis
- High blood pressure (hypertension).
Taurine is also used to help improve mental performance and is a common ingredient in energy drinks. Since some people may be more likely to experience problems when taking this supplement, it's a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider before taking it if you are pregnant, have bipolar disorder, or have any allergies.
(To learn more about these supplements, including how they are thought to work, click Taurine.)