How Does Taurine Provide Benefits?
is an amino acid. For most people, the body can make more than enough of its own taurine, although this amino acid is also found in protein-rich foods. In addition to serving as a building block for making proteins, taurine may have several different roles in the human body. It plays a role in the photoreceptors in the function of the retina of the eye, blood platelet activity, sperm motility, insulin
activity, regulation of the nervous system, and the formation of bile.
There is some thought that taurine may lower blood pressure
(by decreasing nervous system signals that increase blood pressure
), may affect calcium
in the heart, and may work as a diuretic (a water pill). All of these activities might be the reason why this amino acid may work for congestive heart failure
. Taurine may also lower cholesterol
and serve as an antioxidant. Much research is currently underway to find out exactly how this amino acid works.
Possible Taurine Benefits in Children
Check with your child's healthcare provider before giving your child dietary supplements
(including taurine) for any purpose. Keep in mind that children may be more sensitive to the effects and toxicities of medications or supplements. Taurine is often included in infant formula, as infants have an underdeveloped ability to make this amino acid on their own. Breastfeeding infants usually do not need supplementation, as breast milk is a rich source of taurine. This amino acid has been studied in children with cystic fibrosis
and appears to be safe when used appropriately.