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Taurine: Healthy Aging & Athletic Performance Support

Friday, May 04, 2018

Taurine is a favorite nutrition team player.  It's considered to be one of the most important conditionally essential amino acids in the body. It increases the action of insulin, improves glucose tolerance, acts as a super antioxidant, helps maintain hydration, and it's vital for the proper electrolytic function of sodium,  potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and bicarbonate.

Taurine is also vital in maintaining optimal retinal function, so a deficiency of this amino acid is linked to a variety of vision problems including structure / function degeneration of both retinal ganglion cells and the macula. Taurine deficiency is now suggested to increase light-induced photoreceptor degeneration.

Taurine supplementation is suggested to protect heart muscle cells and vessels that supply blood throughout the body.

It fights oxidative stress and helps restore deficient levels of nerve growth factor required for retina and brain health. Taurine increases the levels of glutamic acid  decarboxylase (GAD), the enzyme responsible for the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system that reduces neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system by blocking inappropriate impulses between nerve cells in the brain.

Taurine deficiency is also suggested to play a significant role in age-related hearing loss, because it stimulates the biochemical processes associated with nerve cells that convert sound waves into the electrical energy received in our brains. These “hair cells” depend on the flow of calcium ions into and out of the cells

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According to many researchers, trained athletes who supplement with taurine experience better exercise performance and cyclists ride longer distances with less fatigue.

Taurine increases muscle contractility (the force with which muscle cells pull together) in both skeletal and cardiac muscles. This means more powerful workouts as muscles work harder longer. Working muscles generate oxidant stress and damage DNA, leading to the potential for muscle damage and poorer performance. Taurine helps protect muscles from stress damage.

Scarce amounts of taurine are found in plant-based foods, but it's fairly abundant in seafood and meat. Therefore, non meat eaters may want to consider taurine supplementation.

Science views taurine as a conditional amino acid instead of an essential amino acid because the human body produces some taurine from the metabolism of the amino acid cysteine. However, the aging process seems to interfere with the cysteine / taurine metabolic process.

Ellen Troyer, with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff


Energy drinks frequently include taurine. Unfortunately, the biggest consumers of these drinks, adolescents and young adults, are proving to be at increased risk of seizures and even sudden death following high consumption.

The good news is that there doesn't seem to be evidence for taurine's involvement in any adverse outcome of these drinks. It's the outrageous amount of caffeine per serving and the amount of servings consumed that's to blame for health problems associated with these products, way too often stationed right at supermarket and convenience store checkout stands.

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Clinical references available in the Biosyntrx office.