Taurine is an amino acid that is important for building proteins. It is a "conditionally" essential amino acid, which means that although the body makes its own supply of it, some people may need to use supplements or obtain more of it through dietary means. Taurine is claimed to have several benefits, such as regulating the nervous system, forming bile, and lowering blood pressure. It may also be useful for treating congestive heart failure and hepatitis.
What Is Taurine?Taurine is a conditionally essential amino acid. This means that most people do not need to obtain it from dietary sources, as the human body can make taurine on its own. It is "conditionally" essential because supplementation or dietary intake may be necessary in some circumstances (such as for formula-fed infants or people undergoing IV feedings). The amino acid is found in high amounts in meat and fish. It is also used in dietary supplements and energy drinks, and is claimed to be useful for a variety of different conditions, such as congestive heart failure (CHF), hepatitis, cystic fibrosis, and high blood pressure (hypertension).
(Click Benefits of Taurine for more information on what it is used for, including additional uses.)
How Does It Work?Taurine 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 it may also lower blood pressure (by decreasing nervous system signals that increase blood pressure), affect calcium in the heart, and 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. It may also lower cholesterol and serve as an antioxidant. Much research is currently underway to find out exactly how this amino acid works.