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Taurine 

Other name(s):

2-aminoethane-sulphonic acid

General description

Taurine is an essential amino acid for babies. Adults can make their own taurine, but, there are high amounts of it in meat and fish. Normally, enough taurine is made in the human body from cysteine and hypotaurine. Taurine has many functions in the body including working as a neurotransmitter in the brain.

Unsubstantiated claims

There may be benefits that have not yet been proven through research.

Taurine may help congestive heart disease. But the way it works is not clear. More research is needed. 

Taurine may help control the nervous system. It’s been used to treat anxiety and seizure issues. It’s been used to treat the hyperactivity due to attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).

It may aid in treating hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). It may help treat high blood pressure (hypertension). It may help prevent heart rate issues.  

Recommended intake

Amino acids (AAs) are available as single AAs or in AA combinations. They also come as part of multi-vitamins, proteins, and food supplements. The forms include tablets, fluids, and powders.

By eating enough protein in your diet, you get all of the amino acids you need.

If you don’t consume enough taurine, you may need to take supplements. This may happen during parenteral nutrition. This is because the body cannot make enough of it.

Babies who aren’t breastfed may need taurine supplements. This is because their ability to make it isn’t fully developed. Many infant formulas and parenteral nutrition solutions have taurine added to them.  

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

Using a single amino acid supplement may lead to negative nitrogen balance. This can lessen how well your metabolism works. It can make your kidneys work harder. In children, single amino acid supplements may cause growth problems.

You should not take high doses of single amino acids for long periods of time.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn’t use taurine supplements. Breast milk has high levels of taurine as compared with cow's milk. Taurine is added to formula made with cow’s milk.

Online Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Godsey
Online Medical Reviewer: Diane Horowitz MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2019

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